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


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?


4 Replies

Alpha Odyssey (author)2011-06-11


Would it make sense to use a Dimmer dial to control the heat?

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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.


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steveastrouk (author)2011-06-03

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.


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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.

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