HOW TO make an electric Branding Iron for less than $30!!
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  1. #1
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    Default HOW TO make an electric Branding Iron for less than $30!!

    I built a branding iron using a band heater and and SCR voltage controller for less than $30. Commercial electric branding iron may cost you upwards of $200. If you have lathe+milling machine or Dremel tool then you are in business! Couple of items you will need for this projects:

    380W Band Heater: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01A6N84FI/
    2000W PWM AC Motor Speed Control Module: https://www.amazon.com/HiLetgo-Contr.../dp/B00LODGP2E

    https://youtu.be/rzVlcTzGhbs
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by pjigar; 01-26-2019 at 10:32 AM.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: HOW TO make an electric Branding Iron for less than $30!!

    thats great man well done!

  4. #3
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    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
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    Default Re: HOW TO make an electric Branding Iron for less than $30!!

    I think I'll try that, Thanks.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: HOW TO make an electric Branding Iron for less than $30!!

    How many of us have a lath and milling machine sitting around for free which you did not include in your $30 budget? Your letters are too wide and not branded deep enough in the frame. They will be illegible in a few years of bee traffic and propolis. Frank as usual.
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: HOW TO make an electric Branding Iron for less than $30!!

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    How many of us have a lath and milling machine sitting around for free which you did not include in your $30 budget? Your letters are too wide and not branded deep enough in the frame. They will be illegible in a few years of bee traffic and propolis. Frank as usual.
    You can burn as deep as you want. It is just an iron. You can also use Dremel or any other way to profile the pattern. You DON'T HAVE TO USE milling machine. The video is focusing on the "electrical" part which seems to cost a lot more if you buy commercial.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: HOW TO make an electric Branding Iron for less than $30!!

    Use an angled cutter so that the letters come to a peak (yes with a dremmel or a bit in a drill) and they will burn deeper rather than the blunt design. I liked your idea of using the band heater for it, though it does limit the brand to a smaller circle. Thanks for the contribution.
    46.91° N

  8. #7
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    Default Re: HOW TO make an electric Branding Iron for less than $30!!

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthMaine View Post
    Use an angled cutter so that the letters come to a peak (yes with a dremmel or a bit in a drill) and they will burn deeper rather than the blunt design. I liked your idea of using the band heater for it, though it does limit the brand to a smaller circle. Thanks for the contribution.
    Now even I could try this - simple.

    Instead of cutting the letters out (too much work as for me), I would rather make the grooves of my own markings into the cylinder.
    Then I would hammer soft metal wires into those groves (wire hanger I am thinking about - about 2-3 mm thick).
    That would make thinner letters, but I want them to burn deep profiles into the wood.
    With the profiled burn, you can even paint over them - profile will stay forever.

    PS: some sheet metal strips could be shaped and hammered into the grooves too, instead of the wire - like a cookie cutter.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: HOW TO make an electric Branding Iron for less than $30!!

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Now even I could try this - simple.

    Instead of cutting the letters out (too much work as for me), I would rather make the grooves of my own markings into the cylinder.
    Then I would hammer soft metal wires into those groves (wire hanger I am thinking about - about 2-3 mm thick).
    That would make thinner letters, but I want them to burn deep profiles into the wood.
    With the profiled burn, you can even paint over them - profile will stay forever.

    PS: some sheet metal strips could be shaped and hammered into the grooves too, instead of the wire - like a cookie cutter.
    I like that idea!

  10. #9
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    Default Re: HOW TO make an electric Branding Iron for less than $30!!

    Quote Originally Posted by pjigar View Post
    I like that idea!
    Thanks for sharing, pjigar.
    I did watch the video too.
    As I have hives across several yards I'd like to brand them - so this is a practical, cheap way.
    Very cool!
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: HOW TO make an electric Branding Iron for less than $30!!

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    .... Frank as usual.
    Well, Frank, this is a great design as of me (with few minor mods).
    For $30, heck, worth a try.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: HOW TO make an electric Branding Iron for less than $30!!

    Please cover all of the exposed electrical terminals before you electrocute yourself or someone else

    Please make sure everything metal is properly grounded.

    I would not trust that controller with anywhere near 25 amps or 2000 watts. At that power it is going to overheat, burn traces off the board, or fail in some other fashion. The traces to handle about 25 amps with a 2 oz copper pour need to be about 1/2" wide and they are nowhere near that wide.

    https://www.4pcb.com/trace-width-calculator.html

    Do you have a fuse or anything in that system to prevent thermal runaway if the SCR goes bad and gets stuck on at full power? What is the maximum temperature rating of the heating element?

  13. #12
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    Default Re: HOW TO make an electric Branding Iron for less than $30!!

    Quote Originally Posted by elmer_fud View Post
    Please cover all of the exposed electrical terminals before you electrocute yourself or someone else

    Please make sure everything metal is properly grounded.

    I would not trust that controller with anywhere near 25 amps or 2000 watts. At that power it is going to overheat, burn traces off the board, or fail in some other fashion. The traces to handle about 25 amps with a 2 oz copper pour need to be about 1/2" wide and they are nowhere near that wide.

    https://www.4pcb.com/trace-width-calculator.html

    Do you have a fuse or anything in that system to prevent thermal runaway if the SCR goes bad and gets stuck on at full power? What is the maximum temperature rating of the heating element?
    Your comments are valid but the band heater is only 380W so we are only at maximum current of 3 A. This SCR controller should be able to handle 3 amps. I did not feel the heatsink over-heating at the lowest voltage output setting. I realized that I like to keep the voltage output to maximum anyway so thermal runaway risk is minimized. But yes, someone may want to add a 5A fuse to safeguard if desired. Agree on covering the circuit and grounding.
    Last edited by pjigar; 01-30-2019 at 09:43 AM.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: HOW TO make an electric Branding Iron for less than $30!!

    nice job. I was going to try a 1200 W heating iron from Harbor freight and cut mine into a plate with a dremmel. I am currently working on a OAV with a glow plug and piece of Aluminum and just have to figure out a way to mount the handle (the second hole was tapped to a metric fine so I can not use the all thread from Lowes) as you did with yours. Maybe a z bracket? suggestions?
    Mostly I work with wood so breaking into a new area here.
    good video quality and sound.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  15. #14
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    Default Re: HOW TO make an electric Branding Iron for less than $30!!

    Quote Originally Posted by minz View Post
    nice job. I was going to try a 1200 W heating iron from Harbor freight and cut mine into a plate with a dremmel. I am currently working on a OAV with a glow plug and piece of Aluminum and just have to figure out a way to mount the handle (the second hole was tapped to a metric fine so I can not use the all thread from Lowes) as you did with yours. Maybe a z bracket? suggestions?
    Mostly I work with wood so breaking into a new area here.
    good video quality and sound.
    Thanks. You can re-drill and tap with 5/16 drill bit and 3/8NC16 tap if the hole is smaller than 5/16. It's cheaper to buy the whole tap and die set from harbor freight.

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