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  • Build Your Own Burner?

    I'm pretty poor, but I have electrical/electronic skills, and I am interested in Pyrography. Has anyone ever heard of or know where I can get a schematic for a variable Pyrography base unit? Possible to convert a Soldering Gun to a hand held burning unit?

  • #2
    Re: Build Your Own Burner?

    what a punk idea. sounds like she should work

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    • #3
      Re: Build Your Own Burner?

      I suspect you will not be happy with the results when you build your own. In teh sticky notes at the top of this thread are instructions for using a dimmer control to make a temperature control for a fixed temperature wood burning pen. I tried that and it does indeed vary the temp, but you don't have real good control, the pen is still awkward to hold and likely to burn you and you don'y have a lot of variety with the tips. I have seen a link before for building your own control unit from a battery charger, which seems kinda dangerous! And I've also seen links for making your own pens to use with store -bought temperature controllers....that seemed more doable but requires special wire for the tips.....not sure if it is cost effective. In the end, you can buy Colwood and other burner control units for $50-$$$$ depending on which model you get. You can buy this unit, a pen, and several tips from Smokey Mou ntain Woodcarvers for about $120 and it is money well spent. The control and performance you get far surpass anything I was able to build and tips are inexpensive. I was able to do extremely fine, controlled burning and was comfortable doing it for extended periods. My advice is to check out EBay or buy the pieces one at a time. I think you'll end up saving the money I spent trying to do it cheap (fixed temp wood burner + dimmer + outlet + box = about $40?).
      'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"

      http://mikepounders.weebly.com/
      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mike-...61450667252958
      http://centralarkansaswoodcarvers.blogspot.com/

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      • #4
        Re: Build Your Own Burner?

        If you do a search, you will find the wire for making your own tips and a tutorial for making your own pens. Most of the materials can be scrounged up or salvaged from other electronic equipment. I looked at one time but can't remember where I saw all of it.

        Good luck/.
        Ron T.
        http://stickcarving.webs.com/

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        • #5
          Re: Build Your Own Burner?

          I believe it is basically an AC/DC transformer and the heat is generated at the thinest part, the tip. Dunno... I've let the smoke out of too many things to be much use to you!
          'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"

          http://mikepounders.weebly.com/
          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mike-...61450667252958
          http://centralarkansaswoodcarvers.blogspot.com/

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          • #6
            Re: Build Your Own Burner?

            I have a few soldering irons around, I putz with Electronics quite a bit, I wouldn't even try using a stick-type iron type of burner for this. I have an old Trigger type Soldering Gun that I took apart today, they are all AC, no rectification going on there at all, two position switch tapping off the transformer for different 'wattage'. Took an IR Temp off the gun's tip today, it was up to 400 degrees. I have some thinner Stainless Steel wire, I know I need Nichrome, but I am going to see what the thinner gauge wire gives me in Temperature.

            Going to play with the innards of the gun, see what I can fabricate up with it, of course I will be running it thru a rheostat.

            May not work, but for me, a lot of times the trip is more fun than the arrival anyway...

            I will keep you guys informed. My goal is to try my hand at some bird carving, I just got a couple chunks of Tupelo in the mail!

            Thanks for the input friends.

            Today, most (if not all) of the newer generation woodburning systems use an electronic circuit to more evenly regulate power output. The circuitry is similar in operation to a lamp dimmer, except that a transformer (primary side) takes the place of the light bulb. The control circuit varies the level of AC voltage to the transformer. The secondary of the transformer is connected to the output jack of the burner, which is where the burning pen is plugged in. The burner transformer is unique in that most units only generate around 2 volts AC to the burning pen. But even though the voltage is low, the current to the pen can be as high as 20 or more Amperes! This high current is needed to heat the resistance alloy (most use Nickel-Chromium wire) of the burning tip.

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            • #7
              Re: Build Your Own Burner?

              EWW, time to locate an old toaster and play with the wire in there. I wonder how an inch of that will react to the soldering gun secondary?

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              • #8
                Re: Build Your Own Burner?

                I admire your gumption in trying such a thing, for which I have neither the skill or inclination. I suppose it is much like building your own canoe. The satisfaction is in the process and the accomplishment if you succeed, but you can buy a very good one immediately and at less cost than a DIY would ultimately have. Good luck and I hope you experience "the thrill of victory".

                I built a Heathkit TV back in the '70s so I can relate to this project. I finished it, it worked (most of the time) and was a nice TV to use, but whenever something went wrong, I had no recourse - TV repairmen would not touch it, and troubleshooting was usually beyond my skill level. After a year or so, I got rid of it and bought a TV.

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                • #9
                  Re: Build Your Own Burner?

                  After I noted above that I was looking for a toaster, somewhere back in my addled mind I thought I recalled having a an old heating coil that I had ripped out of, ahh something, at some time. I think I was going to use it in my next homemade smokehouse... Anyway, off to the basement, after about a half hour searching I found it. Nice wound coil, about 4 foot long, probably about 28 gauge heating element wire (Ni-chrome?). I cut out a piece of the coil, and applied it to the now dissembled soldering gun, turned it on, no heat. I then took the wire back to the basement and I ballpeened it flat in the middle on my anvil till I got it pretty thin, and then ground down the tip so that it was really flat and thin. Reattaching THAT to the gun, I had a wisp of smoke. The heat was there, but it was wimpy. If I held a piece of paper on the tip, it burned it, after few seconds, still not enough heat. Since Ni-chrome wire is rated in resistance per foot, I then made the wire as short as possible, certainly not usable as a hobby burner, but it ended up about a half inch long, just spanned the gun's attaching points. Turned it on, and another wisp of smoke. This burned my paper quickly, but dragging a piece of wood across the tip worked, but I am sure it wouldn't have held the heat long enough for an efficient burner, and this was without the dimmer/controller circuit yet. Unless the wire I got out of my salvaged element was a lot less effective that the type of wire I can purchase on: Make your own fish scale wood burning tips and wood burning pens by Ed Walicki, I think the soldering gun idea is dead, I don't think I can get the voltage I need out of the secondary. Now, where did I put that old car battery charger....

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                  • #10
                    Re: Build Your Own Burner?

                    I have built burner controls several times. These were from parts that I had salvaged from old electronic equipment. The soldering gun idea is neat, but there is not enough voltage to work properly. Burning pens need approx. 3.2 volts to create max heat. A solder gun produces only about 1.2 volts. If you could rewind the secondary coil of the gun, you might be able to get satisfactory results, but I learned that when you have to purchase all the parts you can buy a ready made much cheaper.
                    Good luck

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                    • #11
                      Re: Build Your Own Burner?

                      Originally posted by pinefeathers View Post
                      I have built burner controls several times. These were from parts that I had salvaged from old electronic equipment. The soldering gun idea is neat, but there is not enough voltage to work properly. Burning pens need approx. 3.2 volts to create max heat. A solder gun produces only about 1.2 volts. If you could rewind the secondary coil of the gun, you might be able to get satisfactory results, but I learned that when you have to purchase all the parts you can buy a ready made much cheaper.
                      Good luck
                      Any suggestions on what 'old electronic equipment' for the salvage would work? I thought of rewinding the secondary, it seems that the soldering gun is only one wrap. I don't intend to purchase much if anything, maybe a dimmer to use as the control. Where did you salvage your transformer? I assume the burner control produces VAC, it is never rectified, am I correct?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Build Your Own Burner?

                        I don't know if this is of any help, but both my burners, Detail Master and Razor Tip are fix voltage with the amperage being adjustable instead of the voltage.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Build Your Own Burner?

                          This is a very interesting thread! I don't have the skills or knowledge to do something like building a burner, but admire an attempt like this! I heard toaster wire is nichrome and am looking at my toaster and thinking, hmmmm, Maybe a trip to the thrift shop? I've made some tips for my burners and it was fun( the journey thing), some are kind of funky and some are pretty cool and work darn good. I got my nichrome with my razortip create a tip pen. I cut the wire to what length I wanted, then attached to the pen and heated it up till it was just past red. i have the old fashioned clothes irons that you put on a wood stove to heat them up.I used it for my anvil, and then beat them with an upholstery hammer till I got the shape I wanted.If they didn't turn out, I annealed them again on the pen and rebeat them. I have my little no.2 needle nose files I used to refine the shapes. I have also redone some ready made tips. I haven't tried making the actual pens yet, but that day is coming. There's a couple of places I have found on the internet that show how to do it. Anyway keep sharing the journey!
                          My ETSY shop:
                          https://www.etsy.com/shop/WoodforddellDesigns

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                          • #14
                            Re: Build Your Own Burner?

                            If anyone would like to have some free heating coil wire I have from that salvaged piece I have, send me a SASE to: Steven S. Perun, 222 Walton Ave., Barnesville, OH 43713. I think it's nichrome. You can see what you can create out of it yourself! Let me know what lengths you need and I will cut them to that length.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Build Your Own Burner?

                              I know I have read about this before and it didn't sound difficult how they explained it but it has been to long ago. So not actually sure where it was. They said you could use a toaster too. I know Bill, Mesquiter, has mentioned some things before on other discussions, threads. But he isn't on as much as he use to be but you could check out his websites and email him. I'm sure he could give you some advice or direct you on where to get some info. Good luck.

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