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Long time builder in Calgary, AB! New to the forum.

Just an intro post here.
Been building my whole life but after University, I hit it hard. My speciality is Thermodynamic Efficient Systems & unique original designs of such that allow maximum thermal and/or electric efficiency. But damn is tough being in a non Oil and Gas industry sector! My building materials are almost all imported, so I've join this forum, mostly, to try and source cheaper core building materials like structural steel, various chemical, and ceramics (Can u beleive Calgary only have one adequate seller of ceramic materials "Ceramics Canada").
Holler at me if u feel my pain or just wanna say hey as another builder.



Ultra Member
Premium Member
Welcome. Hope you find some common interests & synergies with others on the forum. I'm curious - what specific thermal/electric efficient projects are you working on or have been involved with?

Nice to meet you. What types of projects are you interested in?



Foundry Upgrade Build
- I am at the tail end of completing an arc foundry. Power by series MOT Transformer. (A Classic DIY - But very dangerous for those inexperienced around electric, luckily that's not a catagory I fall into)

Electronic Temperature Controllers
- I've actually perfected my design of these. They have a built in controller that controls current based on a PID program or Set-Point. I even have one with a 30 set point ramping system for extremely complex alloy heat treatments.

Kiln Build - I have all my materials (finally). Did my calculation and sourcing for elements a year ago and been sitting on them ever since. Chopping up the 16 guarge sheet metal right right now, should be finishing the final cuts today. Its body held together by rivets through angle-aluminum. And luckily i came into a surplus of Cerablanket, by Morgan - Theroceramics. Like a Sh*t ton of Cerablanket, over 50 feet @ 24" wide, 2 different densities as well.
->I could upload my schematic, I am very proud of it, but i am still figure out this forums system and don't quite know the best place to post it, yet. suggestions?

Propane Burner - A perfected design of an accelerated Venturi system. Naturally aspirated with a choke sleeve for on the fly Air-Fuel mixture variation. I use these to power my foundry furnace that double as a steel forge, since it's idle temperature at 4-PSI Fuel Choked to a seriously reducing atmosphere is 1280°C. I came up with my own refractory recipe years back and my furnaces are things of beauty (another custom design) too if i dont say so myself.

KMG - Knife Making Belt-Grinder - Just picked up my steel for this one last week. Again, have a schematic that I am a little less proud of. It's a little messy but gets the idea accross. Suggestions where to post?

Lathe Build - This one I'm not gonna get into in any type of detail. It's a beast of a build, and right now I'm finally getting my fabrication of the table it will lay on finished.
Wow, that's a lot of projects on the go!

I would be really interested in seeing your heat treating oven and burner design. I have built a few burners myself, but nothing that I have been overly pleased with.

With respect to the grinder, I can offer some insight / help with that.


Wow, that's a lot of projects on the go!

I would be really interested in seeing your heat treating oven and burner design. I have built a few burners myself, but nothing that I have been overly pleased with.

With respect to the grinder, I can offer some insight / help with that.


Help with the belt grinder would be great, im actually planning on getting started on the layout, and likely start-up on welding, today.

Absolutely, I love showing off my burner design. Ill attempt to throw a pic here, maybe also find a bit better of a place to start a new thread for my design, and if all goes to plan post a link to that thread here. But I'll warn you, i am not forum savvy by any means. The above plan for a making a new thread, with a pic, then linking, is probably the most complex thing i've ever done within a forum environment. So bare with me...

Out of foundry Burner.JPG Out of foundry Burner.JPG
This pic shows all the important parts of my design, save for the internals of the accelerator.
The ugly scaling flare on the end was made using a custom shapped frustum (Frustum: a conicle shape like a cone with the top point chopped off) that was turned out from a trailer hitching ball. Its actually the same process I use to make the flare on the choke sleeve. This is done to capture a greater amount of air that is being pulled via the Venturi Effect.
The 1/8" 6-8 inch long accelerator, is the only hard piece of this assembly to source. It's called a red copper 6" pipe nipple. You could use a 1/4" brass nipple, but the goal here is to achieve the greatest amount of fuel (Propane) compression, without creating turbulence, prior to it's laminar release from the orifice of the accelerator.
For compression in an accelorator, a tighter and longer linear tubular section is a key design factor to acheiving a greater gas velocity at the orifice. And that just makes the entire operation of the burner run much more stable, efficient, and predictably.
Welcome. Hope you find some common interests & synergies with others on the forum. I'm curious - what specific thermal/electric efficient projects are you working on or have been involved with?
Fell free to point me in the right direction. Are there any active thread on the subject?
If you are interested in the field why not start up a Q&A thread on thermo-electric efficiency in heat-treat furnace/kiln design. Then post the link here, I'll dive right in:)
I'd love to share my experience & builds in the field of thermo-electric controllers, element design, guidelines for element surface loading to extend element life. But like this thread exclaims i am new, and am not too experienced at forum nav from a posters position. I've used them for research, ALOT, but being an active poster it another level.
Mostly I've just been poking around, trying to get a sence of how this forum is organized, subject-wise and topically. So a nudge towards any active thread on such topics/subjects where my knowledge could assist other canadian builder would be great. Or if you are attempting such a build, i'd love to assist, just start up a therm-electric build thread in new projects.


Tom O

Well-Known Member
I want to build a vacuformer where in Calgary do you get your insulators for the nichrome wire or is ebay the best option?
My first suggestion would be to order all of your contact wheels from Sunray Inc and shop for a good 2" tracking wheel and 4"-5" drive wheel on Ebay. Also, as you probably already know, both the drive wheel and tracking wheel need to be crowned. I tried running with a rubber uncrowned drive wheel for the longest time with a great deal of frustration. The other suggestion I would make is to bush the tracking arm pivot points; this seemed to make a lot of difference for my machine. The other thing that I would have done differently would have been to use a 2HP C-face motor mounted directly to the chassis in order to save bench space and eliminate alignment issues with flange bearings.


Hello Ivy,

I'm looking for a burner to power my new forge and was wondering what temps you can realize with this burner? I realize Forge design has a lot to do with the final temps achievable, however I have used a design I did but cant get to yellow steel and welding temps with steel. Just curious, welcome.


Ultra Member
Premium Member
Not sure if this link is helpful but might be a start. https://jacobs-online.biz/wire-xformer_selection.htm

They offer nichrome cutting wire, ribbon (flat section) resistance wire & electrical do-dads for power supply components. I used to do quite a bit of hot wire polystyrene foam cutting for RC components, but that might be a different than your application. Is it basically a grid row of wires that warms up an area to heat the plastic? Anyway, they have a calculator App that might help you determine what you are looking wire & power wise to deliver X amount of heat.
Hi all, apologies for the delayed response.
For anyone looking to learn how to build their own Naturally Aspirated Ventury Burner, Mike Porter's book "Gas Burners for Forgers, Furnaces and Kilns" is basically a manual detailing how to build a few different ventury burner variations utilizing components that can be sourced from most any hardware store.
Using Mike's book to ultimately produce a functional propane burner not only gives the DIY builder an extremely versatile game-changing tool, but the knowledge and experience gained in that endeavor will provide a solid foundation for further research into burner design.
This schematic differs from my design on a few components, #9, #16, #4b (Mine has 3 set screws, M5 size, spaced evenly around Part #4b to adjust accelorator aim down the barrel. Having a linear accelorator connection in line with the gas line will reduce turbulance from tight 90 degree turns. 2) Use set screws to lock any adjustable sliding components, like the 1/8"accelorator which slides through the bored 1/2" Brass Hex Numbered Part #19.
I am currently at Burner generation #5, each 'Gen' up represented a major revision/design shift that drastically improved usability, function, or uniform production of highly modified/self manufactured parts. But i was benchmarking efficiency, stability, & combustion BTUs neck and neck with one of the hybrid burner models (and my burners are made using no lathe processes, no milling, mostly un-modified plumbing cast iron. compare that to the hybrid burners all out machining procedures in burner production. Thats the jist of why things got competitive :) good times),
I almost surpassed, ok, match their 3/4" burner in terms of efficiency, but their design eeked out the win with flame stability 0.2 psi under my 1 psi minimum flame stability. But that level of efficiency & perfection is stupid elite, literally. By using the established dimensional metrics of the burner components anyone caan acheive a functional, self regulating air to fuel ratio, venturi burner, but to elevate a burners caliber from functional to efficient and extremely stable (refering to flame holding ability w/o popping etc), it takes more than having the basic dimensional metrics worked out. . .
(An Aside defining what is meant by 'burner form metrics': Since the ventury effect is physics based there is therefore a relational connection between the dimensions of a burners components. By holding a burners structural design closer to the known relational calculated/theoretical form, the burner is more likely to perform better as a system; with each component performing to support the systems function & stability, aka burn stability. And thus allowing for the burner to perform with effortless functionality and broad versatility.)
. . . The relation b/t component dimensions provides a great spring-board to get some raw functionality of a burner design locked in. This will give the burner enough usability to function, but it will be maximum 70% to 80% dialed-in (So it will be still pretty twitchy/temperamental). But as modifications are made to correct design flaws, the methods for producing those modified components must be able to produce identical component, modified or otherwise, any time.
Because no matter how few burners a person builds, without the ability to duplicate components (especially improved components) there can be no testing of better or worse function, due to un-mitigated variations in form factor, that more or less will cause a lack of control and obscured perception in a side by side comparison of old vs modified burner function.

Duplicate-ability! A cornerstone of the scientific method. Variables that are controlled, uniform, and the modifications, or manipulated variables. Wavering from this strict rule can domino quickly, until minute discrepancies compound to cause catastrophic effects, and the only solution then is back-tracking and re-manufacturing. To build upon any modification based improvement of an assemblies design, a 'form factor standard' & performance standard must be maintained, before and after each improvement or upgrade, so the subjects, in this case the burners, are prepped and comparable, for testing the next mod or improvement.