Help: NiChrome wire, making a dry/cure/melter panel 330f


Can anyone answer a few questions for me or direct me to a site for Nichrome information?  

My background:  I'm more into mechanical tinkering:  drill press, saw, lathe.  I have minimal skills in Arduino.   I have very little understanding in Ohm, Resistance, etc....many things electrical.  I can read an electrical schematic and build it; but, I have no clue how to design it.

My purpose for this:  heating panel for vacuum form machine as well as a curing plate on top of wet paint and coating (two different machines).

I'm trying to make this:  http://www.infraredheaters.com/solar-f.htm   <--- something like this with it's blown air as a convection-like dryer over water base coating.

My requirement is:  
1,  120v prefer, highly desire.  220v isn't an option at the moment until I move to a new place.
2,  +250-350f temp range, I'll be using an Arduino to set this up
3,  14" x 18" panel
4,   as efficient as possible, I want it as close to 1000watt as practically possible.

My questions are:  size of nichrome?  length?  How tightly should I pack the wires.  Should I use a dimmer switch to control the heat?  would that be a good idea?  Where can I find information to get 120v AC into nichrome to give me 330f without killing myself or burning down the house?


Alpha Odyssey (author) 5 years ago

Would it make sense to use a Dimmer dial to control the heat?
Generally, no, unless you get a nice fat dimmer - a typical domestic on is ~500W (at least in the UK) and the smallest heater is probably around 1kW.

By far the easiest way to do this would be to buy a spare heating element for something WITH a 1kW heater in it.

The heaters inside tumble driers would probably be about perfect for what you want.

If you use a computer, make sure there is an independent failsafe thermostat or something to shut down the heater if the system goes over temp.

Alpha Odyssey (author)  steveastrouk5 years ago
Thanks, Obi Wan Steve.

That is a great idea! I was trying to come up with using a space heater, hot plate and large flat skillet (used in vacuum forming, but not in curing on some DIY source); but, never thought of the heating controller from an electric dryer.

I'll see if I can find an electric dryer that can run on a 120v line.


I think I can use an arduino with a temp guage, hook it up as an independent shut off switch or an alarm.