Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 124: It's Alive!

It's alive!  My project from last night is up and running.  I adapted the batter charger into a high powered woodburning unit.  The last piece I needed was a small piece of Nichrome wire for the actual burning tip.  I bought a blow drier from Goodwill this morning (Thanks Bernie for the tip) to salvage one of the coils in order to test my unit.

Good news is that it works, bad news is that it works too well.

The nichrome wire in the blow drier is fairly fine and softens and bends too easily when heated (even after I adjusted the power down via the dimmer switch).  I'm going to order some heavier Nichrome wire off of the internet later today.  Once that arrives the real fun begins.

I also turned and assembled another handle and made a slight adjustment to the dimmer switch so that the on/off function (push to turn on, push again to turn off) is working.  I also played around with the charger and found that the switch on the front to select either a 6V or 12V battery is reducing the output by 1/2, meaning I will have even finer control over temperature and intensity than I expected.  Finally I also switched out the dial on the dimmer switch.  I went with the cream colored on rather than the white one, the cream fits in better with the 1970s color scheme on my charger.  I'm still a little concerned that at only 4 amps the charger won't be powerful enough to heat a heavier gauge wire, I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

So far my investment (other than the battery charger and a few misc items already on hand) is:
Home Depot: (wire nuts, JB weld, dimmer switch, 6' 16/2 indoor extension cord) $13.88
Radio Shack (1/4" headphone jack, 1/4" headphone plug, mini European wire connectors) $10.66
Goodwill (blow drier) $6.99
Nichrome supplier $12.95
Total : $44.48

Song of the night:
The Raconteurs, Steady as She Goes

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