Friday, July 10, 2015

DIY PID Controller for BBQ Smoker

 A good BBQ smoker requires the ability to maintain a constant temperature almost like an oven. Some of the best smokers are insulated and able to be set at a specific temperature. My smoker is a gas smoker that is not insulated, so it loses temperature and the temperature is very uneven. I plan on building my own smoker in the future, but for now I made a temperature controlled electric heating element that works almost like and oven.

I built this device using a PID controller that I bought online. Since I am using this outside, I had to make it weather proof. The device is fully sealed and safe from rain water damage.

The way it works is by setting a temperature on the device. If the device senses that the temperature probe is below the desired temperature it triggers a relay to power a 110V outlet. I use a electric heating element that I plug into the 110V outlet. The outlet is triggered on and off until the desired temperature can be kept constant. I also installed an audio alarm that sounds when the temperature gets higher than my desired temperature.

Here you can see all of the electronics and required wiring that went into the construction.

DIY Knife Sharpener

After sharpening my knives with low quality sharpeners and having them be somewhat sharp but not sharp enough, I looked to a professional. A professional usually has a polishing wheel or some other type of device that is used to sharpen knives. These devices work extremely well but each time you need your knives sharpened they must be brought to the shop. I wanted to be able to sharpen my own knives, so I looked to the internet and found that there are multiple websites devoted to knife making and knife sharpening. After researching different types of sharpeners that can be bought and different levels of sharpness that can be achieved, I decided to build my own knife sharpener.

I decided to build this sharpener instead of buying one to get the level of sharpness that I wanted to achieve. It can achieve a high level of sharpness with a small amount of skill needed, unlike a wheel which requires skill and practice before proper results can be achieved.

The construction required a lot of metal working, wood working, grinding, drilling, threading, and creative design, but turned out to be a great knife sharpener.

The finished assembly