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Need Advice on homemade Broiler

I'm making a 24"x24" vacuform machine. I have the base built but racking my brain for a cost effective heating source. 

Is it possible to take a replacement broiler element for an electric stove and just solder a split extension cord to each side?

Or better yet get an adjustable thermostat cord like one that would come with an electric skillet and use that?

Is this a safe way to do this? The unit that would hold this, would be steel and wood to help radiant heat down plus keep anything or anyone getting burned.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

12 Replies

Qcks (author)2014-06-27

With regards to the first question... probably not. there are voltage and amperage ratings involved that differ from one heating element to another. pushing 120 volts through something that's only rated for 25 would be bad. I'd need to know what sorta component you're looking at to say anything more definitive.

Electric skillet cords might be able to be used if the electrical requirements of the element matches the electrical requirements of the skillet, but it will do nothing for the temperature control. You need a thermo-couple designed for that, and i don't believe that's included in the power cord of an electric skillet. That said, you might look at thermocouples for electric water heaters and furnaces. One there might match the thermal range you're interested in without having to completely design it from the ground up.

As far as safety, I can't say. "Safe" is a relative term to me, but you seem to be aware of the fact that this can be dangerous. Bear that in mind and design your stuff so as to limit risk. This isn't molten steel, but molten plastic can still be quite bad if you are not careful.

Josehf Murchison (author)2014-06-20

Flood lights

that is what I use on mine.


Are those standard PAR flood lights for recessed fixtures or they have to be the IR heat lamp kind they use to keep french fries warm?

Standard 175 watt some plastics are damaged by IR lights.


Thanks, I have an old 500 watt halogen work area light that I might try with. Those things put out so much heat they really are a fire hazard, so much better I that I replaced it with an LED floodlight.

I haven't tried LED lighting let me know how it comes out.


LEDs put out hardly any heat at all, even the driver heatsink is cool. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-5-ft-1720-Lumen-L...

Those are great to light up a room for painting or renovation when the regular lights are out.

I see said the blind man I miss understood what you said.

Haha, this is the internet. I would have been staring at the piece of plastic all day wondering why it would not melt if I used an LED lamp as the heat source.

Josehf Murchison (author)2014-06-20

You could use a broiler element they just run full on and off only at 220 volts 30 amps NA standard.

Skillet cord the center post is the thermostat sensor and they run on 115 volts 10 amps NA standard. They won't carry the power of a broiler element.

A portable heater with a coil element would work better, with the heating element strung out and it comes with a thermostat that cam handle the power.

If you look at my small vacuum molder you can adjust the height of the flood light to control the heat to the plastic, it gives constant heat, and it never gets so hot to cause a fire.


zatman (author)Josehf Murchison2014-06-20

Great thanks for the help. I'll use your recommendation

Josehf Murchison (author)zatman2014-06-20

Your welcome

Remember If you are molding deep objects you may need a suck and blow mould.

A suck and blow mould blows air under the plastic as the plastic heats.

As the plastic heats it will bubble up.

Then you switch from blow to suck and it will suck the plastic into deep moulds.