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Thread: Bending a heating element.....?
08-30-2004, 02:42 PM #1
Hell- Rebuilding a old Espresso machine which had a screw in type heat element, same as a water heater element. I have a heating element which will work but it is too long. Can I bend the long heating element to shorten it? The bend radius will be 180 degrees, ie- back upon itself. Hate to destroy a good heating element if it will not work.
Thank You- KP
08-30-2004, 02:49 PM #2
I doubt it, but you may want to contact the element mfg. I have found Wattlow to be very helpful in this regard. ALso, these elements tend to be pretty cheap to buy new
08-30-2004, 04:26 PM #3
Those things are bent to shape commercially, and I don't think they are specially made to bend only in certain spots. I could be wrong. Cannibalize an old toaster oven or something, and do some bend tests of the elements. They're usually the same type, element inside a tube type of thing. I imagine the ceramic insulation inside would prevent the tube from collapsing while bending, and would still do it's job even if cracked to a powder at the bend . If I had one I'd check it out. Maybe grind open a section of a defunct one at a sharp bend to see the nature of the insides at that point.
08-30-2004, 05:02 PM #4
It really depends on the type of element. If it's the type that you see in the bottom of a stove, no way. If it's just wire, about 1/16 of an inch thick or something, it should be ok.
It's hard to know without knowing what the material is. Do you have a picture of the element? Might shed a little more light.
Basicall, kanthal/nichrome wire bends really great until it has been heated (it then gets brittle)...but I doubt that is what you have.
It might be better to just get a new element that is the proper size...check out www.omega.com
they sell lots of different heating elements.
08-30-2004, 05:14 PM #5
The insulation inside these elements is highly compressed magnesium oxide powder, with the actual nichrome wire centered in it down the middle of the tube. The elements are bent during manufacture, so I can't see why it couldn't be done afterwards.
I would definitely use an ohmmeter (or better yet, a megger) to check for leakage between the element and the casing before and after bending.
08-30-2004, 05:34 PM #6
Thank you for the information. The element which I have is like the one in the link below. My element is new, never heated if that is a determining factor.
Thank You- K.P
08-30-2004, 06:38 PM #7
you can buy heating elements from McMaster Carr, they come straight, there is a minimum bend radius, but it works well. I built an oven for a job that required a radiant heat source for a special heat shrink teflon, I wrapped them around a 2" dia pipe into a coil shape and had no problems. once they are heated the stuff inside hardens and they cannot be rebent.
08-30-2004, 07:06 PM #8
I'll second what T Wise said.
I'd recommend looking up a similar type of heating element on mcmaster or omega to see what the minimum bend radius is, then just bend it a little bigger.
The only other thing that I might mention, dont know if you have done this. You might want to check the resistance of your element to make sure that the power output is about the same. This for two reasons...you dont want to overheat or underheat your machine, and you dont want to overpower the control electronics.
08-30-2004, 10:24 PM #9
Thanks again folks. I'll bend it after I finish the fabrication work to adapt the heater element. The machine was produced 25 years ago with a 800W screw in heat element with a metric 1.25 thread flange @ 54mm. I'm going to bore the base piece from the old element and cut new threads for the 1 1/8" thread on the new element. I can't bend the element until I place it through the flange. The machine uses a pressure-stat to control the boiler pressure. It also has a pressure gage to monitor the boiler pressure. I'm going to mount a thermometer also. Here's a link to the machine like I'm working on. The machines are made in Italy. 3rd generation family business, the grandfather started the business, passed it to the son and he passed away in 1996. The widow and the 3 daughters produce about 60 machines a year. They changed the heating element about 10 years ago and my machine is a orphan without a available heating element.
Thank You- KP