Picture of DIY Sous Vide
Sous Vide is a wonderful cooking technique to get the most out of your meats. However, actual off-the-shelf sous vide setups can run in the hundreds of dollars. Here's an alternative approach the uses an analog slow cooker, an aquarium controller, and a laser-cut plywood enclosure. 

Full Discloser: I made it at Techshop and I highly recommend anyone near one to check them out. 

Materials List:
1 Analog Slow Cooker: I used one I found on Amazon. The analog part is important because we're going to mess with the power. 
1 PID Controller: Search for "Mini Digital Temperature Controller Thermostat Aquarium" on ebay and find one for around $16.00
1 sheet of 1/4" thick plywood: I used Create for Less 
1 lightbulb socket adapter: I got one from Amazon
1 lightbulb socket: From Amazon
1 two prong power cord (I took mine from a broken appliance)
a small length of regular electrical wire

Step 1: Laser Cut The Encloser Pieces

Picture of Laser Cut The Encloser Pieces
Disclaimer, this step may seem optional, but what I've learned from experience is that working with a slow cooker means you're inevitably going to spill some water on whatever surface you're cooking on. If you have a bare PID controller (or worse, bare wires) anywhere around the area, you could put yourself in danger. I would highly recommend making at least some type of enclosure for your PID controller and to practice safe wiring techniques. 

I have attached the three .ai files you'll need for the Epilog laser cutter (found at most Techshops). It's based on a 1:1 scale and is designed for 1/4" thick plywood and the exact controller I linked to on the previous page. If you are in any way going to deviate from the plan (and even if you aren't) I would highly advise going in and double checking thicknesses and clearances. Make it yours. Also, the hexagonal shapes on the layouts are not necessary, I just included them since two pieces couldn't fit in my original lasercutting stock. Feel free to disregard those. 

Step 1: Follow all necessary procedures to setup your laser cutter
Step 2: Cut the stock
Step 3: Check fits

This is supposed to be a tight-fitting jigsaw puzzle, so definitely play around with it. The tolerances in my design were rather snug, so I chose to lightly sand some area, but for the most part was able to leave the design as it was. 
maozai835 months ago

It works great. The min ON and OFF span can be set to 0.1F. The difference is that there's only one relay. You can use it to controller a heater OR a refrigerator by switching H/C in HC parameter. But I think it's enough to most users. It's fun to DIY. But this can save a lot of time.

maozai837 months ago

Check this controller. No wiring.

Get it and use it in 1 minutes.


robertdavidmartinez (author)  maozai835 months ago

Ha, wow. Excellent find. AFAIK, these weren't available when I made this instructable. Have you used one of these controllers personally? I checked the ebay reviews from your link and they (the reviews) were all with regards to the transaction/shipping with the seller. Nothing about the actual product. Would love to know how it works!

dllind2 years ago
Do you have a wiring diagram? What is the light socket for?
robertdavidmartinez (author)  dllind2 years ago
Alas, I do not have a wiring diagram. I did my best to describe how it should be wired up, and took the clearest pictures I could. Feel free to PM is you have any questions i this regard.

The light socket was used as the only fastener in the enclosure. Admittedly, there are much better ways to do this, but for this project I felt compelled to be as fastener-less and adhesive-less as possible. I needed some way to hold the back panel on, so I decided to use the light socket and socket-plug adapter to accomplish this. The tines on the light socket dig into the wood as you screw in the socket-plug adapter, essentially locking the back panel into place.
That's awesome - I love the enclosure. :D
Thanks so much for the feedback! I really enjoyed this project.