Induction Heatingsince 08/13/09 Don't miss my Blog entries on Induction heating.
UPDATE 05/25/2010 - A mailing list for the discussion
of induction heating and heaters has been established. You may subscribe by
UPDATE 03/22/2010 - Our commercial web site, http://www.fluxeon.com is now up and running. Still in a preliminary stage so don't be too hard on us. That is the place to go to buy kits and complete induction heaters.
Induction heating is the process of making electrically conductive objects get hot by causing electricity to flow through the object via induction. That is, there is no electrical connection to the work piece. The usual method is to place the object to be heated (the work) inside of or adjacent to a coil that is being driven with high power radio frequency energy. The frequency can range from 60 cycles for large foundry heaters to over 1 mHz for heating very small objects.
Since I make neon and other kinds of custom lighting, I'm naturally interested in heating things like electrodes and stuff. I also have an induction range in my kitchen. This induction range does not get hot but instead heats iron and steel pans by causing a very high current to circulate within the metal. It cooks the food while putting very little heat out into the room. This heater does not do Aluminum or stainless steel, though there's no technical reason for that. It's just the way they decided to do things. This heater has its own page so that you can learn more about it.
The primary reason for this page and the ones following is to provide you with good technical information on induction heating and to present a working design that you can build for your own use. Both the technical information and a working design are practically absent from the web.
There is very little reading material on the net. Richie Burnett in England has a pretty good page on induction heating. He shows the heater that he put together as an experiment but he does not show the driver circuit. Another fellow named Erik Taylor designed a nifty self-tuning heater using a phase locked loop. Tim Williams is doing some interesting work on building an induction foundry. There are a couple more pages where guys show off their creations but nothing else that shows HOW to design and build a heater. I'm here to remedy that situation. (If you happen upon any other sites, please drop me a line so that I can link to them.)
The best in-print book right now is Elements of Induction Heating by Zinn and Semiatin, ISBN 0-87170-308-4. That book is kinda spendy but is essential for understanding how things work on a technical level. You won't need the book to build the heater that I present here nor to use it but if you want to do anything different, the book is vital.
The sponsor of this page - in fact the very reason that it exists - is EliteLampTech and its head honcho Garett Churchill. Several months ago Garett commissioned me to design him a custom induction heater to be used in processing his custom lamps. The heater presented here that he has generously agreed to open source is the first result. I am now working on an advanced computerized self-tuning heater that can heat just about anything that is metallic. When I'm finished, the product will be offered by Elite. Stay tuned here or at Elite's web site.
Hard to Get Parts Kit
Garett is considering offering a "hard to get" parts kit including a PCB for interested parties who want to build their own. If you're interested, send your interest to Garett. If there is enough interest then we'll do a run of boards and parts.