Looking into building a custom oven with temperature control

  1. #1
    askywalker98's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
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    Orlando, Florida
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    Looking into building a custom oven with temperature control

    Hello everyone,

    I know I haven't been very active on this forum for quite a while. School and life have taken over, but I try to poke in from time to time.

    Right now, I'm working at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland on an engineering internship. Everything is very exciting, and I'm faces with new challenges and problems to overcome everyday.

    Today has brought a challenge to my attention that reminded me of good 'ol TDH. We are working with carbon fiber tubes, and at a point in the assembly process, they need to be "baked" for two hours at 150 deg F. The problem is, the largest sample is going to be 10 feet long, so as I'm asking around the center, it looks like no one has an oven that large. The current plan is to have a metal tube slightly larger in diameter than the carbon fiber samples, wrap that metal tube in some sort of heating tape, and that will be our oven. I'm having trouble finding the right heating element to wrap around the tube. Commercial off the shelf products like heating tape for pipes in the winter only get to about 100 deg F, and the highly specialized equipment from suppliers is looking expensive.

    I know a lot of people around here use ovens for vac forming, and some have built their own with heating elements. Could anyone point me in the right direction to some tutorials on building the oven, and what type of temperature control is offered?

    I realize this is an odd request, so please, if this is either in the wrong section, or has no place here, feel free to move or remove this post.

    Thank you everyone for all the great years of help,
    -Anthony

    If you would like to know more about the project I'm working on, have a look : SPIE Newsroom :: Experimental twin telescope enables new scientific studies

  2. #2
    Account Deactivated
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    Re: Looking into building a custom oven with temperature control

    Have you ever thought about the tires heaters used in the Formula 1 and Moto GP? I think they can be any lenght. I'm sorry I can't help you more, but I don't know almost anything about ovens.

  3. #3
    askywalker98's Avatar
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    Re: Looking into building a custom oven with temperature control

    KaanE,

    Thanks for the suggestion! I hadn't thought of that. I'm looking into it now, but so far it appears they are only available in the length of the tire's circumference.

  4. #4
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    Re: Looking into building a custom oven with temperature control

    And what about a custom and cheap resistance heater like this one:

    calentador-electrico-de-radiacion-png

    With a termic MDF box, and a thermostat in the heater circuit. The oven is built like this vacctable but in the lenght you want: www.TK560.com: Vacuform Table IV

  5. #5
    askywalker98's Avatar
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    Orlando, Florida
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    Re: Looking into building a custom oven with temperature control

    Thanks for the second idea,

    I'll go over this tomorrow. We did find some other options but they were adding up really fast! I'll see if I can price this assembly out.

  6. #6

    Re: Looking into building a custom oven with temperature control

    There are lots of cool discussions about this sort of thing at www.TK560.com :: Index

    If electricity is no object, I'd consider something like the protoform modular heating system:
    Fast Heat Flyer

    That's what I use on my vac table... the plastic heats fast and evenly. Since they are in 6" x 24" panels you can put in as many or as few as you need. Rig it up to a thermostat and it could work.

    I use 30 amps at 240 volt to power my 24" x 24" . So depending on how many panels you used you could need a lot of juice.

    But, since you're only looking at 150 degrees you could probably experiment with a few strategically placed panels. My heater gets up to 350 in about a minute and a half, for whatever that ends up being worth.

  7. #7

    Member Since
    Jun 2009
    From
    Newcastle NSW Australia
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    Re: Looking into building a custom oven with temperature control

    Hi Anthony

    Have you looked into traveling powder coating oven systems? They are designed to have all sorts of large panels and objects pass through them. The systems I'm familiar with I think are heated with gas not to sure about electricity.

  8. #8
    dlzx9r's Avatar
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    Re: Looking into building a custom oven with temperature control

    The building u in have a boiler ? Think they heat water to around 240 deg. 1/4 copper tubing wraped in a coil around the tube all the way down would do good I would think. Should have a bleed down valve on the supply and return lines to the boiler. Tie one end of the Copper to one the other in to the other and cut on the valves. If it getting to hot close off the valve on the supply some.
    Or if your boiler is long enough lay the pipe your using on top . should get hot enough.

  9. #9
    I wish I could get my Suit started unfortunately I don't have time til end of October

  10. #10
    That sounds like an awesome job I hope the best...as for your post it's interesting I wish I could work there

  11. #11
    askywalker98's Avatar
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    Re: Looking into building a custom oven with temperature control

    Wow, thank you everyone for the innovative replies,

    We will be running through some testing on sample segments during the next two weeks. These samples are only 2 feet long, so there is a small oven available to bake out half of our samples. If the unbaked control group fails, while the baked group passes these tests, we get to avoid the oven obstacle entirely. If not, I'll certainly bring all these ideas to the team.

    stormtrooperguy,
    That is an interesting suggestion. My only concern is providing too much heat.

    Werstrooper,
    Do you mean like a pizza oven, with a slow moving conveyer belt pulling delicious pies onto the dinner table? This could work, and avoid the problem of having a long structure.

    dlzx9r,
    This is a very interesting suggestion. I haven't seen a boiler yet, but this place is huge, so I would imagine there is one hiding somewhere. We have a huge sphere of liquid nitrogen outside. It may be hard to gain access to the boiler (if we have one), and the construction may be a bit tricky. My real concern is the vapor content in the air during operation. The purpose of heating the tube is to bake out any water that may have made its way into the carbon fiber. This method may work against the purpose.

    Thanks everyone!

  12. #12

    Member Since
    Jun 2009
    From
    Newcastle NSW Australia
    Posts
    136

    Re: Looking into building a custom oven with temperature control

    pretty much mate except they have a conveyor system like that you'd see at a dry cleaners, so you just hang your job up and it travels through a heating section, is painted and then baked.

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