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Can/Beer Cooler mod

So, once again I'm just sittin' here, drinkin' warm soda. Once every few hours I head into the kitchen to throw my hot soda down the drain and refill my cup with cold soda. What a waste. I'm thinkin to myself, I could build my computer inside a fridge! Nah, who wants to deal with the condensation.  I find it hard to justify buying a fridge just to cut apart for my machine (not to mention how my wife would feel about it!). There has to be a way to keep my soda cold.

I could use a peltier!  Check this out.

I started to get my stuff together...


  • One cheap waterblock ( I recommend the tidal pool aluminum universal, available at
  • 2 pieces 3" diam. dryer duct 
  • 1 3x5  tie plate ( simpson strong tie #TP35 ) 
  • foil tape 
  • 4 inches of 3 1/2 inch diameter abs pipe 
  • tin snips or something to cut metal 
  • 72 WATT TEC ( Peltier )  
  • cheap 5 dollar copper cold plate

I didn't have a clue how a peltier worked. I knew they got very cold. That was it. Thankfully I was referred to an expert on water cooling and TEC devices, Tom R. over at He patiently answered hundreds of questions, many of which must have seemed insane at the time. Many thanks dude! 

My first big mistake was trying to convert an old heatsink to a waterblock. It actually worked okay, until it got dropped and then no matter what I did it was a leaker.  I would suggest you just buy one. It makes the whole thing much easier and not that much more expensive.

The first thing I wanted to do was get the cup holder assembly put together while everything was fresh in my mind.  I headed to home depot and browsed for a while to see what my options were. This is what I came up with.

Above you can see Dryer Duct's and Foil Tape and Tie Plate.

The first step is to pop, drill or cut out the rivets holding one of the pieces of dryer duct together, like so.

Slide the piece that you just cut inside the second piece of duct. Decide how tall you want the can holder to be and tape the duct pieces together. Now for the base. You'll need to cut the the tie plate to the approximate size of the can holder. Then make 2 notches to use to connect the waterblock hold down ends. Here's how my first one looked. I made another "cleaner" base after this but this one worked fine and should  give you a general idea of what I made.

Tape the tie plate (aluminum tape is STRONG!, don't substitute with another kind of tape!) to the bottom of the can holder. Use narrow strips of tape, this makes it stronger. Place your waterblock hold down in place and use some pliers to bend the ends through the holes in the hold down. (note: don't put any tape on the base of the can holder on the inside, the stuff makes a great heat and cold shield)

Now we can add some thermal compound. Go ahead put the water block, coldplate and peltier into place and tighten everything down.

     Now slide the whole thing into the ABS pipe. Sand down the edges, rounding them a little and VOIS LA! Sweet eh?



One thing that became painfully obvious as I got ready to put this in my case was the lack of space. After all the work I had put into making my old case work no matter what there was just no way to squeeze all the parts I needed into a mid case. So I went to Compucare and whined at Brian who was nice enough to give me a deal on a demo supercase. This thing should have room enough for everything. 

Now I cut my hole.  I traced the contraption onto the top of the case and then cut. I wish I had been paying more attention. After I cut the hole I lifted my jigsaw to examine my handy work and found a nice 4 inch long gouge in the top of my case. BUMMER. Oh well, to prevent this tape down some thick paper that the jigsaw table can rest on.

I then took the can holder, found the height I wanted the assembly to protrude above the top of the case and used a book to hold the top of the case in place while I did the tape trick once again.

Now that it is where it's supposed to be lets take a look at some temps. First I used tap water, not very cold either. ( Shown Below )

I put the temp probe in the can holder after about 10 minutes and got the reading below.

Then I waited like an hour, maybe an hour and a half and tried again ( after putting it into the cooler ).

And then in the can holder again

Then I put it all back together

WOOHOO! I would definitely say that was a success. And there it is. What? You say you have no water cooling system and they're kinda spendy?  Well it just so happens that I didn't have one either. Ill show you how I put one together on the cheap.

UPDATE! After I was done with everything I went back to the way I run my machine normally and for the heck of it tried to get a temp one last time. Here you see me holding the temp probe down on the base of the can holder with a thermometer. How's that for a temp?!

Written By: John Collard (nutxo)
Date: 3-5-04
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