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Variable Power Supply for Custom Log vape?

Discussion in 'DIY' started by Ratchett, May 25, 2014.

  1. Ratchett

    Ratchett Delta 3D Studios Designer Accessory Maker

    Messages:
    1,260
    So all my recent research into Log vapes (and the decision to purchase a nano) has me thinking about building my own!

    My friend is an expert on the lathe (He often has his bowls shown in art galleries), and he always has blocks of beautiful local exotic woods (burls, tiger eyes, hardwoods, etc) which he burns in his 55gallon drum almost monthly! I plan on using this to source my log's exterior design.

    I however am more of a gadget guy. I'm great when it comes to wiring, and have a lot of knowledge gained from 3D printing about heating elements and heat dispersion.

    What I suck at, is PCB's. I don't know anyone locally, nor have I EVER had any luck with PCB's (Just too complicated, and nobody to teach me!). I'm looking for a cheap and simple way to provide a variable power to a ceramic heating element (12vDC or 120VAC TBD).

    I'd prefer something like I've seen for the Nano which the controller is built into the power cord. But I can always design that part myself (3D print a case and control knob). What I'm really asking is the best/simple way to regulate current going to a heating element. I'm looking for something reliable because I want to ensure I can leave it running 24/7

    I've got a few friends who can't quite afford to enter the vapeing market, and building them a cheap reliable log vape just might convince them to break their combusting habits!

    Thanks all!
     
    placetime likes this.
  2. OF

    OF Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,874
    Location:
    Left Coast
    Although it's a bit of overkill for the lower power levels typical of log vapes, the regulators I came up with for Solo should work just fine and as you see need no PCB:
    [​IMG]

    The basic design, using LM317 regulators, was modified and packaged by both Pipes and Tim. It's fixed output is about 8 Volts, but can be easily made variable by replacing the fixed resistor at a diagonal just right of center in the bottom of the channel. A later (and closer to final) version had cords instead of connectors and an LED under the covers:
    [​IMG]

    IIRC the PD was about 8 Watts?

    OF
     
  3. Ratchett

    Ratchett Delta 3D Studios Designer Accessory Maker

    Messages:
    1,260
    Thanks for that, this is still a ways off, but I know my friend (master carpenter) will jump at the chance to turn some logs for me.

    Any other possible suggestions? I was hoping for a higher wattage for more power
     
    OF likes this.
  4. OF

    OF Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,874
    Location:
    Left Coast
    It depends. Doesn't it always?

    Log vapes traditionally reach equilibrium over time (typically half an hour?) at the point where heat losses equal heat production. This heat is stored in a largish thermal mass so we can pull heat on demand from it. Without cooling it off too much. This leads to small loads as well for the same reasons.

    You could attack the long warm up time with a thermostat. Speed it up by drawing lots of power until you get close to magic time. Then, using a temperature switch at some strategic spot to kill the big heater and light the 'time to party' light.

    A VV supply would let you tweak the power, but it's a pretty narrow band between 'too cold' and 'nasty hot' really I think, but giving the customer such control might be a big plus.

    I'd lean heavy on 'COTS' (Commercial, Off The Shelf) parts, much smarter than purpose made ones.

    Construction wise I'd think ceramic or maybe mortar/cement as insulation and perhaps structure. I'd also, I think recess the power connector and power control in a well in the bottom with a notch in it for the cord so 'noting shows'.

    Or not.

    OF
     
    Ratchett and Quetzalcoatl like this.
  5. stickstones

    stickstones Wasted Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,199
    Put the control inline like the nanos
     
    Ratchett likes this.
  6. Ratchett

    Ratchett Delta 3D Studios Designer Accessory Maker

    Messages:
    1,260
    Thanks for that writeup. I'm still getting acquainted with my Nano. I am looking for some sort of affordable off-the-shelf solution for my DIY log, but not really sure what websites to hit up for that.

    I was planning on using my CAD design skills to create a custom ceramic insulator to hold everything together nicely in the bottom of the log (3D printed and glazed by Shapeways) - that single piece could be pretty cheap to produce - probably around $20 for what I need.
     
    OF likes this.

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