Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Thermal thoughts

I attached the wires of my new heater with some small crimps that I cut from connector pins like this:-

to just leave the crimp part :-

I also soldered them with lead free solder which melts at about 220°C rather than the tin lead solder that I used last time, which melts at 183°C. It could do with being higher still so I might see if I can buy some high temperature solder (301°C) for the next one I make.

Rather than insulate with the recommended heat shrink sleeving, which is only rated for 125°C, I used some high temperature woven sleeving. Even that seems to discolour at 240°C. PTFE sleeving might be better.

I pushed the wires from the thermistor into a two pin connector so that I can easily remove the nozzle.

I had to make a new mounting bracket because when I added the pipe around the PTFE insulator to stop it expanding it made it too big to go through the hole in my previous bracket, which also doubles as my spindle mount when milling.

The bit of aluminium box section I cut it from has been waiting for a new life since it appeared in a prototype electronic photo booth on Tomorrow's World in the early nineties.

I calibrated the thermistor by putting a thermocouple into a second hole in the nozzle with some silicon grease. I also put a second thermocouple inside the barrel. I then put a range of voltages across the heater and waited for it to reach thermal equilibrium before reading the temperatures and the resistance of the thermistor.

Notice how dark the J-B Weld has gone when briefly heated to 240°C.

I made the new heater resistance 7.1Ω compared to 8.6Ω last time because I guessed the acorn nut nozzle would have a larger surface area and hence greater heat loss. In fact it has a remarkably similar temperature power curve to my last nozzle.

Note that the difference between the internal and external temperatures is as much as 25°C. The PTFE tape I used to seal the nozzle may not be helping here. I also measured the outside temperature of the J-B Weld using an IR thermometer which read 242°C when the inside was 245°C and the nozzle was 220°C.

After calibrating the thermistor it seems to track the thermocouple within about 5°C.

1 comment:

  1. Gad, you do beautiful work! I feel like such a slob. :-)