As you may have noticed I use a fair amount of pyrography on some of my turned pieces. This is possible largely in part to, what I call, the Priddle Vaporizer 1000 that I built a couple of years ago.
The Priddle Vaporizer 1000 is made from a 10 amp battery charger and based on a design by woodturner, Graeme Priddle, hence the ‘Priddle’ portion of the name.
I made it because, although the smaller, commercial versions of woodburners are very good for traditional woodburning applications, they don’t lend themselves well to projects that require a lot of burning or those that require larger brands. The problem in these cases is that the tip tends to cool quickly and you have to wait a long time for it to reheat, therefore a project may take much longer than necessary. Likewise, with the extra power the options for homemade brand styles greatly increases.
Here’s a photo of the burner in use. You can see why it’s called a vaporizer.
Here’s an example of some of the brands that I use:
Here’s what they look like when burned into wood:
You can see them here on a few projects that I decorated with the PV1000:
I made my burner from a 10 amp manual battery charger that I picked up used. It is important that the charger is a manual type as this ensures that it will stay on all the time. The automatic ones are designed to turn themselves off when a certain amount of’ charge’ is reached. The ’10 amps’ is important too. I tried a 6 amp which I ended up burning out when using some heavy gauge wire on my brands. I also used a 20 amp which offered very little control on the rheostat and it ultimately kept burning up my wire.
Speaking of wire, I use nichrome wire for my brands. Because of its high resistance qualities it can take a lot of heat. It is the type of wire used in toasters, hair dryers, hobby rocketry, etc. There are lots of places to buy this online and I bought mine from Norm Smith at Jacobs Online with good results. I bought 18 and 20 gauge for use with the PV1000 and 22 gauge to use with my Razortip burner:
I easily make my own pens using a hollow shaft (I turned my from wood), a plug to match the one I used in burner, some wire, a couple of terminal strips and some epoxy:
Because they’re so cheap to make I have several of them so that I don’t have to always keep changing the different brands.
Making the different brands is just a matter of shaping the nichrome wire to give me the design, or part of a design, that I want.
If you would like to make one of these burners yourself I have included several links to websites that offer varying amounts of instruction.
Although the burner is simple to make it does require knowledge of electricity and electrical systems. If you are not familiar with these items you should not attempt to make one of these woodburners. Likewise, this project requires that you use a product not for what it is intended for. This can lead to grave implications as well. Take heed!
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