CPU Cooler In A Printer’s Hot End

[Proper Printing] often does unusual 3D printer mods. This time, he’s taking a CPU cooler made for a Raspberry Pi with some heat pipes and converting it into a 3D printer hot end. Sound crazy? It is even crazier than it sounds, as seen in the video below.

Heat pipes contain a liquid and a wick, so bending them was tricky. It also limited the size of the heat break he could use since the two heat pipers were relatively closely spaced. Once you have the cooler reshaped and a threaded hole for the heatbreak, the rest is anticlimactic. The heatbreak holds a heat block that contains the heating element and temperature sensor. A few changes were needed to the custom extruder cut out of acrylic, but that didn’t have anything to do with the fan and mount.

Normally, a hot end assembly has a substantial heat sink, and a fan blows air over it. The heat pipe technique is a common way to move heat away from a tight space. So, the way it is used here is probably not very useful compared to a conventional technique. However, we can imagine tight designs where this would be viable.

Heat pipes aren’t the same as water cooling, even though some use water inside. A heat pipe is a closed system. The fluid boils off at the hot end, condenses at the cool end, and wicks the liquid back to close the cycle. On the other hand, you can use more conventional water cooling, too.

9 thoughts on “CPU Cooler In A Printer’s Hot End

    1. The v6 is a fine hotend. And its been a good one for a very long time. Yes there are much better hotends available right now but don’t forget what happened when the v6 first came out. There wasn’t much else with those specs for that money.

      Why would you make such a statement? Probably just to troll or try to stir things up and get reactions.

  1. I’ve had great luck with a cheap V6 knockoff. At the time I bought it I wanted to support E3 and buy the real thing… but I also wanted to build up two extruders, one for 1.75mm filament and one for 3mm. Having to spring for 2 of everything made knockoffs that much more tempting.

    Anyway.. I never used the knockoff straight out of the box though. I followed instructions from a YouTube video to smooth out the filament path with a drill bit and tooth paste for lapping compound. For all I know this may have made all the difference.

    Ah, here it is: https://youtu.be/N60tm2eItUw?si=Zydft0cZcyoC3ZdS

    In the video he calls it an “all metal J-head”. They were sold as that. I guess because they have the same mount and so are an easy replacement for a J-head? That’s why I bought mine. I wanted to be able to safely print PET-G and the J-head had a nylon insert that could be damaged at that temperature. But, anyway… they are definitely copies of the V6.

    1. And that was supposed to be a reply for @MinorHavoc. Between replies not going in the right place and the “Nonce error” HaD comments are not doing well for me today!

  2. He refers to it as a “all metal J-head” in the video. That’s how they were marketed. Perhaps because they are a simple substitute for a J-head and share the same mount? Which is why I purchased mine. I needed to be able to print PET-G without risk, and the J-head’s nylon insert may get harmed at that temperature. However, they are unquestionably duplicates of the V6.

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