My next project

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When I was at the auction last week, one of the items I was bidding on was a welding rod oven. My favorite rod is 7018 and you get a lot better operation and cleanup if it is stored in a bone-dry environment. They ship it in sealed plastic or metal containers but as soon as you open it, air and moisture start coming in. I use a desiccant pack for mine and that works OK but is not preferred. Plus, using a hot rod allows for easier starting and a more stable arc. Win/win.

Unfortunately, these are expensive. The units at the auction were going for much more than they were really worth.

Here is the high end:

20190818-weld01.JPG

And here is the low end:

20190818-weld02.JPG

There are pluses and minuses to each unit. The big unit can store 350 pounds of rod. This is great for a large fab shop with several welders using different kinds of rods on a daily basis. It also has an adjustable thermostat for specific rod temperatures. The downside is that it takes a lot of counter space and costs $3,342.59 plus tax. Wince!

The low end unit will only hold ten pounds which is one box of rods. It only has one fixed temperature. I want to hold maybe sixty pounds so I can have different types of rod (6010 and 6013) as well as different diameters. Again, each one comes in a ten pound box.

It occurred to me that it would not be difficult to build my own. I ordered a PID temperature controller from Amazon for $40. It arrived today. The unit has all the parts I need - the PID controller, the K-type thermocouple and a solid state relay to switch my heater. I picked up a smallish 3,500 Watt water heater element for $7 at a local hardware store and it fits into a bog-standard 1" National Pipe Thread.

Proportional–Integral–Derivative controllers are very very cool - from the Infogalactic entry:

A PID controller continuously calculates an error value as the difference between a measured process variable and a desired setpoint. The controller attempts to minimize the error over time by adjustment of a control variable, such as the position of a control valve, a damper, or the power supplied to a heating element, to a new value determined by a weighted sum:

Comes up to temp faster and holds temp better. It will "learn" what to do when the door is opened - how best to recover from the temperature drop. Looking at about $40 in steel sheet for the case and some expanded mesh for the inside shelving. Already have refactory materials for the wall insulation. Planning to do a YouTube video when I do the build in a couple of weeks.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on August 18, 2019 8:22 PM.

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