Within the relative chaos of my domestic arrangements, I have one small oasis of perfect order. One thing that I can call 'organised' and 'fully functional'. One thing that I can touch and know that it is reliable and ready for action at a moments notice - and that is my wonderful home made Hackable Arduino Prototyping Board.
This vaporisation project was initially envisaged to be a simple fumigation machine for beehives, but very quickly got completely out of hand and developed into so much more than that. Indeed, people are now flocking from all four corners of my island to witness the amazingly performance of this machine as it sits in the centre of my living room vaporising all manner of exotic substances, including frankincense and cheese.
Back to December ...... It is Winter 2015 and Sussex university has just published a report that concludes that vaporising oxalic acid is the best way to treat honey bees for the varroa mite. I must therefore build my vaporising machine immediately. There can be no delay .......... I wonder what else I can vaporise?
The varroa is a tiny 'mite' that lives on honey bees and in their brood cells, sucking the bee's blood for nutrition. It is not particularly harmful in itself, but it does carry some very nasty diseases which are very harmful to the bees and can cause complete destruction of the colony if kept unchecked. I must act now to protect my bees.
The treatment for varroa must be performed in the coldest part of Winter, when the amount of brood cells in the hive is at it's minimum as the mites can hide in these cells and completely avoid the oxalic acid vapour. The report was only released on the 17th of December and so the pressure is on for me to build my fumigation machine before the bees start to produce more brood in the early spring.
Fortunately, I have a whole load of electronic bits and pieces left over from previous projects, so with a bit of hunting around in my untidy workshop and unsoldering of a few components here and there I was able to build this project in time for the coldest part of Winter to arrive.
Apart from my illustrious hackable prototyping board, this project was very much designed as I went along and I made no drawings or sketches before hand. I drew the main vaporisation chamber in Fusion 360 as this was the most esoteric part of the design. Much of the metal tube and plate was picked up off the workshop floor or found in dirty rat infested boxes leftover from months/years/decades gone by.
I am so pleased with the end result that the machine now doubles up as a coffee table in my lounge. Occasionally, if I am 'in the mood', I press the 'on' button and vaporise something, sometimes just for fun and sometimes to fill the air with exotic perfumes. Surely, this must be the most ridiculously over engineered air freshener ever built?
This Instructable actually has three major parts to it:
Most likely, specific parts of this projects will be useful to people, like how to use resistance wire to build your own heater and how to control a hazardous process using an Arduino. But most useful of all is the prototyping board and, yes, the files are included for building it yourself - you just send the files to Hong Kong with a few dozens of dollars and they post you back a stack of boards. The boards have even been thoroughly tested and debugged so you know they will be perfect.