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Make your own thermal epoxy

Make your own thermal epoxy

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Published by: Alan D Cobourne-Smith on May 22, 2008
Copyright:Public Domain

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09/11/2011

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Make your own thermal epoxy
1. You can use materials that you probably already own - namely, a tube of TIM and some epoxyresin - to make your own thermal epoxy. Any TIM will do, but the more viscous it is, the better,although you should avoid electrically conductive TIM. We used Arctic Alumina.2. You can use any epoxy, but some types will be easier to work with than others. We chose touse Araldite Rapid, since we already had a tube. This sets quickly, though, which can be slightlyproblematic, as the epoxy will quickly become more viscous and difficult to mix with the TIM if you don't move quickly.
 
3. The mixing dish you use isn't particularly important, as long as it fills a couple of criteria: it must benon-porous to prevent contamination to the resin, and it must be disposable, aluminium pie tin orplastic lids are perfect candidates.4. Mix the epoxy and TIM at a 1:1 weight ratio, going by weight rather than volume. The TIM weighstwo or three times as much as the epoxy, so you have to add two or three times as much epoxy asTIM. Mix tiny amounts - just enough for one heat sink - at a time, or you'll waste a lot of TIM.
 
5. Place the TIM and epoxy into your mixing dish and mix thoroughly. Then remove all the streaksfrom the epoxy as quickly as possible. If you've lost the mixing tool from the epoxy pack, make a newone from an off-cut of plastic. Don't use metal, card or wood, as this will contaminate the resin.
6. Spread the thermal epoxy on your heat sink. TIM alters the fixing strength of the epoxy. Themore TIM you add, the weaker the bond will be, but the greater the thermal conductivity. If you're gluing small memory heat sinks, adding a greater ratio of TIM and hardener will make itset rapidly and allow easier removal.

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