This is an alternative to the very expensive variable temperature vaporizers. It allows you to use different types of herbs such as tobacco, spearmint, and eucalyptus that vaporize at different temperatures without burning them. The entire project will cost between $20 - $40, which is a small fraction of the price of vaporizers you can buy on the internet. This can be used to vaporize marijuana, but i do not promote it unless it is legal where you are.
Step 1: Materials
You will need...
A soldering iron (preferably one with screw in tips)
An empty quart paint can (or any container that is mostly airtight, and will not react to heat)
A 1/2 inch copper pipe cap
A screw that matches the threads on the end of the soldering iron, no longer than a 1/2 or 1/4 inch. ( Or a nail that fits in the end of the soldering iron and can be tightened snugly and has a fairly wide head)
A small amount of plumbers epoxy putty
A dimmer switch with the highest wattage rating you can find.
A small diameter tube that wont react to heat, and won't release chemicals.
A digital thermometer with a fast response time. (I use a fluke multimeter with a thermocouple, but i don't expect everyone to have one of those.)
A drill with a bit just larger than the nail or screw you will use to go into the tip on the iron.
A nail or other sharp object that can penetrate the metal can.
A pair of pliers
A knife or wire strippers
A small amount of tape
Step 2: Preparing for Construction
Drill a hole in the bottom of the copper pipe cap. Create a hole in the bottom of the quart can, large enough for the metal part of the iron to go through, but stops at the top of the handle. I did this by making a small hole then using the pliers to carefully peel back the metal to make it larger, but be careful of the sharp edges. Puncture the can so that the thermocouple wire can go into the can, but wait until a later step if using a digital thermometer with a temp probe. Place a hole in the lid of the can just large enough for the tube to go through and fit tightly.
Step 3: Construction
Screw the pipe cap onto the tip of the soldering iron, and make it fairly tight. Insert the iron into the bottom of the can and use some of the putty to bond it to the metal of the can. Make sure the iron is standing straight up inside the can, and allow 5 minutes for it to harden. Insert the tube into the hole in the lid. Cut one side electrical cord powering the soldering iron, and wire the dimmer switch into it. Make sure to cover all connection with electrical tape so you don't cause a short or get shocked Now run the thermocouple wire into can, and bend the end of the wire so that the tip is inside the copper pipe cap, or if you have a digital thermometer with a probe you will need to do an additional step. Puncture a hole in the can so that the probe can go in and touch or go inside the pipe cap. Now you can either make a base for the can to sit on and let the soldering iron hang below, or do what i did which was to sit it on top of a tall vase. YOU'RE FINISHED!
Step 4: Using It
Place your ground up herbs in the bowl which is the copper pipe cap. Turn on the thermometer, and plug in the soldering iron. Turn the knob of the dimmer switch all the way up and you will notice the temperature climbing quickly. As the actual temperature approaches the desired temperature, begin to turn the dimmer switch down. It will take some practice of playing with the dimmer switch to find the sweet spots and such to keep the actual temp near the desired temperature. Research on the internet to find the appropriate temperature for vaporizing the herb you have. This site has most temperatures for herbs listed. Just comment or send me a message if you have any questions.