Some of my earliest projects were flimsy. I don’t mean they weren’t well-intentioned, I mean they would fall apart under their own weight or I would use #12 bolts to hold the weight of a 12 year old. Since then I’ve gotten a better idea of how robust to make a project and I’ve notice another thing, I like my projects to look nice. If a project looks like it was cobbled together and held up with duct tape I’m less likely to use it and less likely to show it off. When a project looks finished I’m proud to bring it out and show people.
I take more pride in my work and I like when things hold together instead of needing constant maintenance. The products I envision before I ever start a prototype is one people can just pick up, they work. If something needs to be painstakingly tuned every time it is used people won’t use it as often. How much fun would it be to tune the 200+ strings every time you want to play the piano. No question mark, it’s rhetorical.
While shopping for parts today I allowed myself to spend a bit more on the enclosure for the electrical parts since I want this to look finished rather than out of place in a kitchen. Sure, I could have built this into an old Tupperware container and hacked apart an old extension cord then glued it all together with giant gobs of hot glue but that would look shoddy. Heck, I don’t actually need an enclosure, I could just tape the temperature controller to the side of a dusty rice cooker and call it a day.
I want this to look like a device people would pull off their shelves when they want to make a meal. I don’t want this to look like a junior high science fair project make with short little fingers and good intentions.
A 6x6x4 enclosure was purchased from a home improvement store. The 6x6 face was large enough to fit a duplex receptacle cover and the temperature controller face. The enclosure was electrical PVC gray so a gray duplex receptacle and stainless steel receptacle cover were purchased. A 4x4x4 enclosure was also available but the receptacle cover would have hung over the edges. The larger enclosure has ample room for a solid state relay (SSR) for a future upgrade.
Receptacle template traced on a label
Receptacle template applied to the inside of the lid
Cutting out a space for the duplex receptacle and temperature controller will be done with a drill and jig saw. The areas will be marked out, a hole will be drilled at each corner and the jig saw will be used to remove the bulk of plastic. A template for the receptacle was made by putting the receptacle cover face down on a white pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) label and tracing the holes. The label was applied to the inside of the enclosure cover and aligned so the receptacle is parallel/perpendicular to the edges and the screw in the middle is centered on the middle of the nearest enclosure edge. This should give a uniform appearance to the finished product. The paper model of the temperature controller was stood on the enclosure lid and the receptacle cover was placed in its approximate location to give an idea of what it will look like.
Idea of what the lid will look like
A trip was made to a thrift store where a small whisk was purchased to act as a guard for the temperature probe. A vacuum sealer was on the shopping list but none was found.
- Buy a power cord entry method
- Find mono 3.5mm jack and mono 3.5mm plug
The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.
A list showing of all the final posts of COMPLETED projects.
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