So I am working on a project to which I need a heater. Currently I am using a cheapo heat gun that I purchased at Harbor Freight which works decently but I would like my heat to be more evenly distributed in my test environment and also a higher heat output as well. I am looking for around 1500-2000 watts of heat as my current heat gun is rated for about 1500 watts.

From what I have seen, nickel chromium seems to be the choice many people are using but have a few questions in using that.. Can you get the 1500 watts of heat I am looking for with this? It seems all the projects I found that use this method seem to be requiring much less heat. If someone here has a better material choice please let me know.

So once I have my material, lower gauge (larger diameter wire) = higher heat output and higher power requirement right?

It also seems that the projects that I have found connect DC power to the coils.. can this not be done with AC? My heat gun uses AC and has no transformer so I would think AC would work as well? Also stoves seem to have heat coils that plug in with two terminals.. I assume these just hook up to AC power through a switch on the stove which simple turns the power on and off?

Also what are standard techniques to "hold onto" the heater coil to mount it for a project? Is this typically just done with steel / aluminum mounts?

I know many questions but basically if someone can outline how to create such a heat coil, it would be incredibly helpful as I am sure someone is much more knowledgeable than me on this subject and probably has done it before.

closed as off-topic by isherwood, mmathis, Machavity, ThreePhaseEel, Daniel Griscom Nov 7 '17 at 4:50

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I use Cadet. Seriously, it is not worth your time to hand-build a heater. The engineering requirements are ridiculous, because you must protect the heat wire (or to be more precise, protect everything from the heat wire) since it is red-hot and all at mains voltage. Metal holders are right out, as it will energize them at mains voltage. If you thought of looping the wire twice through the same metal hanger, well, don't quit your day job :)

Electric heaters are cheap, even by Harbor Freight standards. A baseboard heater intended for permanent installation will cost about $50 for a 2000 watt unit, and will last 20 years. Thermostats about $12.

Or a 1500W Holmes heater-fan is about $15, and it'll last a couple years.

Or if you want compact industrial grade components, get the excellent Chromalox heater elements in low 3-digit prices for 2kw worth of array that is reasonably over-engineered.

So many choices of commercial product!

However my favorite is a bunch of ASIC blades, provided your target tempature is compatible with the ASICs. Why? Because unlike the Holmes, Cadet or Chromalox heaters, ASICs make heat by mining Bitcoin. So the heater itself becomes a profit center!

  • I definitely was looking at the Chromalox ones so maybe those are my best bet. The problem is that they don't make ones to my custom size though so then it is not a very even heat. My custom size is a 5" ducting tube so you see if the heater only occupies 2" or so then it is not very even – Eric F Nov 6 '17 at 19:46
  • So it is possible to just buy the tubing and bend it to my shape, isn't it? Like this for example chromalox.com/-/media/images/catalog/en-us/… – Eric F Nov 6 '17 at 19:49
  • @EricF you'd have to check with Chromalox but I think they are custom bent. I was thinking more strip or ring heaters chromalox.com/en/catalog/component-technologies which are sold by Grainger and McMaster-Carr also. – Harper Nov 6 '17 at 22:46
  • I actually found this one which will work for my application: webstaurantstore.com/… 1300 watts so should be fine on my 15A breaker at 120volts. It has a 5 1/8 OD but I can probably compress it the 1/8" no problem. Thank you for your help – Eric F Nov 7 '17 at 13:29

The reason you don't find larger heaters than 1500 w is the max load for a 15 amp circuit. Going to a 20a 120v circuit can get you to the range you want these industrial heat guns are quite expensive but are out there and much safer than building one because they have built in safetys and the proper heat & electrical insulation / insulators to prevent a fire. But most do use nicrome wire as the heat source.

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