Turning Archive 2008

Re: Graeme Priddle Type Wood Vaporizer

John K Jordan

I opened an old transformer-type (not electronic) 6/12v charger intending to draw a circuit diagram for you but it was so simple I don't think it's necessary. To build as suggested just find the wire inside that comes into the box from the 110v power supply and goes to the switch on the front, snip it in two, and wire the light dimmer inline.

Note that you don't have to put the dimmer inside the box. To keep from opening the battery charger, you could mount the light dimmer in a double plastic box from your borg along with a duplex outlet or a combo switch/pilotlight/110v outlet. Plug the battery charger into the outlet on this box. The switched outlet would let you leave the dimmer at a particular setting and switch the power to the whole thing on/off as needed. (This is real simple to make. I use one of these to control the brooder lamps for baby chicks and have also built them with a transformer inside to make hot-wire styrofoam cutters with nichrome wire.)

The banana plugs are simply to connect your handpiece.

If wiring the thing up into a single nice clean package, I would remove the cables that would normally go to the battery, pull a length inside the case, and wire them instead to a pair of case-mounted banana sockets mounted somewhere on the front of the charger case. Or simply cut the cable somewhere and wire a pair of banana sockets made for cables rather than case mounting. Either way, wire banana plugs to the ends of the wires to the handpiece. It would also work, at least for testing, to just clip the battery terminal clamps to the wires to the handpiece but you would have to be careful not to let them short. Using double-banana plugs and sockets would be nice rather than using two single-conductor sets.

I found a few more notes about this on the rec.crafts.woodturning newsgroup, below. Some of the advice is questionable but the idea to use the cheap router speed control to reduce the voltage to the battery charger is even simpler than wiring in a dimmer or making a dimmer box. Just plug the charger into the speed control.

If you find you need more/cheaper power, Graeme Priddle has a great idea that I have copied.
Take an old car battery charger - preferalbly without any of the electronic circuitry in it. Use a piece of limp lamp cord to replace the cables - should only be about 3 - 4 feet long for max power. If youi want to use a store-bought burning handle/tip - then pick up a connector at radioshack -- but this might overpower some of those. I made a handle out of 1" pvc, screwed a terminal block (radioshck) to a piece of wood that fits snugly in the pipe. Run 2 - 3" of 6 gauge wire to a second terminal block(gets the heat away from your fingers and the PVC). Design your own tips and attach it to the other side of the second block. Add a light dimmer switch as the power source for the charger, and you are good to go! This is the only method I have found that can keep a hot tip when doing a lot of texturing - -

Good luck - Hought

the battery charger is typically 12V - you'd be better off if you could find an old 6V charger. And, you want to use a newer lamp dimmer - many of the old ones cannot stand the inductive load of the charger's transformer - harbor freight sells a thing they call a "router speed control" for around $10 - that would work fine for this application...... pretty much anything that puts out low voltage high current will work, the key is you need 1 to 3 volts and you need it adjustable.

William Noble


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