Vacuum Former Nichrome Heating Element

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joevennix
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Vacuum Former Nichrome Heating Element

Post by joevennix » Sat Sep 02, 2006 8:40 pm

So yesterday I got out of school early and spent sometime building the frame of a vacuum former. It cost almost nothing, I had everything except for some pegboard (clearance at HD for 1.00) and some studs (3.17 for 9 feet). My friend and I sawed everything (no jigsaw = manual saw = blisters) and screwed it all together. We used the HalloweenFear(?) design, and sealed the cracks with caulking and duct tape on the inside. Here's a picture:

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Well now that we got the frame out of the way (minus the heating element casing), it is time to think about the heating element itself. I'm going to take some nichrome wire from an old toaster and snake it around the top of the former. The top will be made of plywood, and I'll staple the nichrome wires to it. But now I need to know, do I need a certain circuit for the wires? Can I just hook it up to AC voltage? I'm not sure if I can use the circuit from the toaster, as the toaster was broken.

Also, my design differs from the HF design because it does not include the acrylic sheet under the drilled cookie pan. Is it necessary to include such a sheet, so as to limit the amount of area the vacuum sucks from, or can I just cut a hole in the box and let the vacuum suck from the hole box and down through the holes in the pegboard? I know this is confusing but I can't find a better way to pose this question.

BTW I am using an old home vacuum, not a shop vac, still works fine though. Do you think that will be an issue?
Last edited by joevennix on Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Indigno » Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:00 pm

I don't have too much experience with vac tables, but I'm concered about you stapling the heating element directly to the wood as that might cause a fire hazard...
Getting a tan while everyone else is in a blizzard... >.<

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Post by joevennix » Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:11 pm

Hmm maybe I should use MDF, or maybe sheet metal, but I don't think nichrome is insulated.
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Post by Triton » Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:33 pm

clever with the pegboard, i approve,beats drilling 200 holes lol. for heating element swing by your local goodwill and buy some of those electric grill thingies, they work good for that purpouse

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Post by joevennix » Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:51 pm

Well I already have this toaster, and this is supposed to be as cheap as possible, I've think gannon built one with nichrome wire, I'm not sure if it was him though.
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Post by *o* » Sat Sep 02, 2006 10:03 pm

DO NOT REUSE NICHROME WIRE FROM TOASTERS! it is way more trouble than its worth

you can get 10m for AU$10 its cheaper and it will get hotter
Penn & Teller wrote:It's BULLS#%@

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Post by joevennix » Sat Sep 09, 2006 3:25 pm

Well I solved my own problem, I used guitar strings. Am I a genius or what? No but really, I got the idea off of some instructable for making a hot foam wire cutter, apparently nickel plated guitar string = nichrome wire. And, best of all, the local music store was going out of business, so I got a full set of bass strings for only five bucks. Then I biked over to the Shack and picked up a 25V 2A transformer. I installed everything in the former, but have yet to test it since I need a dimmer switch to control the voltage going through it. Here's a picture of the items I got:

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Vacuum formers are not hard to build at all as it turns out. Now its time to watch the game

-joe
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