Use this space to cheer the creator along, and talk to your fellow backers.
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Those stickers should be fine on the outside of the oven. We were careful to get relatively durable stickers and have been putting them on our own oven as a test. They get a little bit soft when the oven is warm, but hold their shape.
Got mine and excited to give it a try. Ive got one question though; are those stickers included meant to stick directly on the oven? Wont the glue melt and the sticker burn or are they heat resistant?
Great to hear! We've just finished assembling the LAST round of Kickstarter edition Reflowsters are in the process of shipping them. Unfortunately because of how annoyingly difficult it is to ship internationally, we've saved your batch for last.. but it should be on its way within the next week or so!
Just received my boards and components for my next project. Cant wait to receive my reflowster now ^^
So happy you guys made your goal!!! Hopefully we can achieve such success with "The SoGo Mini": http://kck.st/1zFvaAW
We're in the process of shipping right now! We've shipped a total of about 70 units and have another 20 that we expect to be shipping soon. That'll leave only another 50 or so units to ship. We will probably be done shipping all units by the end of November!
When is the estimated shipping date?
My reflowster worked right out of the box. I've never done reflow before. I just bought some Kester and made a stencil from a soda can. My very first board soldered up perfectly. I'm really happy with the results.
So i got my reflowster the other day. After setting it up and playing around with it a little i did a quick right up of my initial impression and a few concerns i had, nothing major mind you. The reflowster team was quick to write me back and responded to each of my concerns. The product seems to be functioning well at this time but i will be doing my first actual test with a circuit this weekend and will report back. From what i see here i sincerely believe that everyone who backed this project will be thrilled with the final product.
Things are going pretty well; we just posted an update with some details. We should have all our final parts here on site before the end of the week. Still need to perform some final qualification tests, but we think we're pretty close to production. We're on track for an early delivery!
How is everything going?
A forum would be cool. And SMF is an extreemly powerful and completely free forum software that is easy to use.
On powder coating. For custom profiles, I suspect you are just writing the software as a good PID controller, with profiles for input. As long as your software is open and adding new profiles is easy, I think the powder coating profile should be easy enough for someone to add. For sharing, I think forums will be the most accessible way to go about it... not everyone will want to use git or even understand version control. I'll be using this for both powder coating and soldering.
Congratulations on making your Kickstarter! Now comes the hard work (speaking from experience on my Pinhole Printed project)...
Congratulations on making funding. I am excited about this project. i plan on using it to make a special oven for drying and storing 3d filament that has absorbed too much moisture from the air.
Yes, that's the plan. We hope to be able to ship just one version of Reflowster which will work in any country (including the US). If you are already at the $120 level, the $2 extra is unnecessary. Feel free to drop back to $120.
Ok. I just changed my pledge from 100 to 122. The international version plus the 2 bucks for "not compatible plugs". So even though I have a US address I still want the international version. The international version will work for other countries AND the USA. Correct?
Thanks for the support! We're about to post a new update addressing this. If you've been reading our updates (which it sounds like you have) you know that we're definitely headed in an internationally-compatible direction and as things stand, it would take a pretty severe roadblock to have us abandon these new designs. For now, keep your pledge where you've left it, as soon as we have a working prototype of the international version, we will be sending an email out to you with more information on how to order a Reflowster.
I just discovered your project (Kickstarter suggested it after I backed another electronics project), and backed at the $2 'international supporter' level. If you used IEC plugs, I'd be all over it. They're used for absolutely everything here in Australia, from kettles to printers to audio speakers - the cables are literally throwaways around here. Combined with a 240-volt-capable power supply, it'd make connecting it a lot easier!
You know, I think you're right. We never even considered powder coating as a possible application, but I just did some quick reading and it sounds like something Reflowster could do.
We're going to have to look into ways for our community to share and discuss custom profiles and specific applications. A forum? A GitHub repo? Ideas welcome!
Everything you have here would also be great for using the toaster oven for powder coating. You should add a profile for that as well you would increase your target market. Just a suggestion.
Re: wire orientation. I actually noticed an issue on day-one but hadn't gotten around to writing it up. Given the original design it was much less important. But as you'll read below the sketch you drew actually -defeats- how some people might use the box.
The problem with the original proto pics (box sitting on end with the display facing forward) is that for the wire go from the box to the oven it exits the box going -forward-, and then makes a 180 deg turn to go -backwards- to the oven. That's a waste, intrusive into the rest of the bench area, and if the wires are pulled taut enough might cause the box to want to twist around.
Now -my- issue with the original design was -less- critical, because I wouldn't use the box in that orientation. I would use it in the orientation of the sketch you just posted, with the display facing up. I'd generally be standing at a bench to use it, and look down to see the box. With that the wire makes on a 90-degree turn to go 'up and back' to the oven. The only -potential- issue with that is that if the wire is too short and has to 'stretch' it would likely cover over the control and display functions of the front panel. But it's really less critical because the wire would most likely be able to turn a little to the side before it went back, and not cover the front panel.
Wow this hadn't occurred to me... In the original pic there's only one wire visible. There has to be a wire that goes from the control box to the outlet to 'fetch the electrons.' Did that wire exit from the -back- of the box? If yes then the box is usable *only* in that upright position. Was that orange 'shape' at the left side of the box is the wire to the outlet?
The problem with the sketched version is that it makes -standing- the box on end as in the orientation of the original pics absolutely -impossible-. The -only- orientation is that it lies o it's back with the display/controls facing up. Again, that doesn't bother -me-, but better to give the user the choice depending on what bench arrangement they have.
My first thought, and what I was going to write up, was that the wire should exit from the -side- of the box. With that the wire makes a 90 deg turn to go back, and that's it. It has no chance of covering the front panel, and it allows the user to orient the box lying on it's back or standing on end.
The -two- -wire- arrangement is an excellent idea to think about! +1! That hadn't even occurred to me!
Using the orientation of the -sketch- view for this description, box lying in it's back, the -four- sides of the box that the wires -shouldn't- exit are:
Top, the front panel, because as I already described the wires interfere with viewing/operating the display/controls as I already described.
Back, because if the user decides to stand the box on end it makes it totally unbalanced.
Bottom, obviously, because the box couldn't sit in the bench as shown.
Front, as I described in a previous paragraph, the '180-deg turn' thing.
So, that leaves the two sides for the wires to exit.
The two questiona are -either- 'which side,' *OR* possibly -both- sides (once wire out each side.)
The 'both sides' I tend to discard because it takes up a lot more space than would be used if both wires exited from the same side. That's a no-brainer.
The -two- questions then become 'which side, left or right?' and 'how long should the wires be?' I -think- the side the wires exit the box doesn't matter much. The user would probably place the box on the left or right of the oven, depending on which side of the oven its wire exits. The wires will exit the control box, and turn backwards towards the oven wire, and the wall outlet.
The length... ... ..... thinking about how these things sit on a bench.
The female connector that goes to the oven, I would make 2-3'. That wire needs to go towards back of the bench only as far as to reach the back of the oven, and the oven wire is 'responsible' to reach that socket.
The male connector that goes to the outlet I think I would make 2' longer. The reason is that wherever the outlet is that the oven wire -would- have reached, the control box wire may have to go -further- than that to reach that outlet. If that's not making sense I could draw up a sketch to explain it.
OK another issue. Regardless of which side any wire exits the box, I think the -power- wires should be on the -opposite- side of the box from the -thermocouple- wire. Yes, the power and thermo wire both go the the oven, that's a given. This is also regardless of the control box standing up with the display facing forward, or lying on it's back and the display facing up. That thermo wire is very thin and fragile. The power wire(s) are large, fat, heavy, and strong. When those wires go from the control box to the oven I don't want them crossing over each other. I don't want to give the power wire the opportunity to push, bend, prod, bump into, or in any way -damage- the thermo wire. In any competition the power wire will -always- defeat the thermo wire. :) So the answer is not give them -any- opportunity to be near each other. Will it be mildly annoying for the wires to take up more bench space? Maybe yes, but I'd rather waste a little space than risk damaging the thermo wire.
@David and @Everyonewhosinterested
Concerning the Solid State Relay: Yesterday we mentioned that we decided not to use one because of cost, which is sort of true, but there's actually a more technical explanation. Toaster ovens draw a lot of current, easily 9A when powered from 115VAC. All of the SSRs we've seen that come in within our price range have losses which are 10W or more at those current levels. With 10-15W of losses, we would need a large heatsink, holes in the case for ventilation, and maybe a fan or some over-temperature protection systems or something. It's possible to do, but it starts to get complex pretty quickly.
After a lot of thinking, we decided that a mechanical relay would suit Reflowster better. We're always looking for ways to improve our design though, so please keep these comments and questions coming so that we can deliver the best product possible.
We've been discussing shipping to Canada and we're mainly trying to pin down the details on the cost of shipping. I think we will do exactly as you suggest and add an additional tier for shipping to Canada. We're meeting today to discuss this and will hopefully have an update and a new backing option for shipping to Canada in a few hours!
Hey, I want to pledge for a Reflowster, so how about a pledge tier for Canada?
Canada uses the same electrical system as the US.
We did see the RefloLeo and while using an external relay is an interesting idea, one of our primary goals was to make a product that was completely enclosed with as few moving parts as possible. This is the reason that we chose to build our own power supply and relay into Reflowster. Requiring an additional external relay at the price of $25 didn't seem like a very friendly solution.
We are of course taking every precaution to make sure that Reflowster is safe for use at home and our prototype (despite cutting a few corners for the sake of prototyping) has been operating well within our safety guidelines. The final version of Reflowster will have those corners tightened up to make extra sure that risks have been minimized as much as possible.
You might want to consider the scheme that the RefloLeo folks used.
< https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1034145369/refloleo >
They used and external PowerSwitch Tail II device from
< http://www.powerswitchtail.com/ >
which seems to be based on
< http://www.azettler.com/pdfs/az21501.pdf >
The company makes a similar PowerSSR Tail device.
This approach allows you to move the expensive, difficult, and dangerous part of the project to an external certified device. The size of your case needed for your circuitry can then be made smaller, reducing your system-level costs somewhat.
We've been considering an Solid State Relay. The main reason we've avoided it so far is because of the cost. The significantly higher cost of the SSR would bump the price of Reflowster and because the current relay handles a typical reflow cycle without any trouble, it is hard to justify the additional cost.
That said, we are still considering a Solid State Relay, though perhaps not for this version of Reflowster. We'll be looking around for a solution that fits and will certainly focus on delivering a quality product.
If you are concerned about the service life of the mechanical relay used to turn the oven on and off, perhaps you could replace it with a SSR (solid state relay).
< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_relay >
Using a SSR might also allow a tighter measurement/enable heater cycle allowing more accurate temperature management.
> ... that LED. It can fade, blink, and display any color you want including white.
The *REAL* trick is to keep it as *SIMPLE* and intuitively obvious as possible. The user shouldn't need a reference guide to understand what solid/fade/colors/blink rates mean. Even the 5 steps that I listed is a *LOT*. It's more than absolutely necessary. A minimal set of colors might be:
White - power is on, ready to go, tell me what to do
Yellow - operating and warming up
Red - *HOT* - don't touch the oven to avoid shifting parts on the board.
Green - cycle done, safe to open oven and remove boards.
That could be further reduced to just:
White - ready
Red - working
Green - done
The Visionaire flight controller / stabiliser is a -perfect- example of a *horrible* blinkie-LED 'user interface.' It has 3 LEDs. Current rate settings are gauged by the -relative- difference in on/off blink -time- of two LEDs. It's absolutely ridiculous. I had actual engineers unable to decipher the instructions about how to operate the thing and asking me to figure it out. Turns out it's pretty much unnecessary because user consensus are that the default settings are -perfect-, but you know how some people can't leave any default alone. :) I know that has little to do with this application but it's an example of how -easy- it is to build a -bad- user interface.
@Jim, Those are good comments, we'll keep those in mind. Reflowster shouldn't make your toaster oven any more dangerous than it already is, but I suppose some amount of caution is always advisable.
Yeah we've been thinking about how to use that LED. It can fade, blink, and display any color you want including white. On 100% brightness it's blinding, but luckily that's also adjustable via software. We haven't settled on the functionality for the stock firmware, but rest assured that whatever we decide you'll be able to modify it to suit your needs.
IANAL!!! DO NOT TAKE THIS AS GOSPEL! See, there's -my- disclaimer. LOL!! Actually I think you -do- need a technical writer with -legal- experience to write the instructions in a correct manner.
With liability issues in mind, yes, this -timer- thingie which happens to be controlling a toaster oven creates objects which can seriously to severely hurt/damage the user.
Yeah, it's the age of litigation *and* the dumbest most foolish users in history. Recall the typical instruction manual for any electronic or electromechanical device, with 14 pages if disclaimers and *Warnings* and *Cautions*, followed by 2 pages of actual instruction on how to use the device. You -need- to inform the user of -every- possible thing they -might- do wrong to hurt themselves. "THIS CUP CONTAINS HOT COFFEE - DO NOT POUR IT ON YOUR LAP." LOL!!! In this case there's potential molten solder bouncing around: 'After you start the timer, do *NOT* touch the oven until AFTER the LED turns GREEN.'
I don't have any direct experience with oven reflow only wave solder, so the best feedback would really come from someone with direct practical experience.
I'm looking at the soldering profile graph.
Most of this isn't -really-really- necessary. All that's -absolutely- necessary are a Red LED while the oven is 'working - don't touch anything,' and a Green LED that means 'done - you may remove the boards from the oven.'
But for entertainment and monitoring it would be very nice to inform the user about what's happening inside the oven.
There are (simplified) 5 states. I suggest these colors for these states:
Yellow - Initial heat up ramp, and soak. This means 'it's hot - don't open the oven and/or try to pick up a board.'
Red - The Spike region. The oven is Really Really Hot (RRH (TM)). Don't touch ANYTHING.
White - Above he Flow line. This is the hottest state. *DON'T* *TOUCH* *ANYTHING*. Moving or shifting the oven could cause parts to shift.
Yellow - Cooldown. It's hot, but the solder has solidified.
Green - End of cooldown. Green means 'Go.' It's safe to open the oven and handle boards with gloves. Or wait till it's cooled down to 120F before displaying Green to handle without gloves.
@Kevin, Yeah, we've done some long tests and so far everything seems good. The new version we're designing has at least 2x the PCB trace width as the present version also, just in case.
The thermocouple chip actually has the capability to measure it's own temperature, so I suppose you could use that to estimate the internal temperature of the Reflowster. But we're not going to need to use that for safety. We're going to design it to handle 15A continuous so you don't have to worry. We'll post some data on this subject when we get a chance to collect it properly.
@Creator, From the picture I don't see any ventilation holes in the Reflowster - have you tested it with multiple back to back solderings and does the device get very warm at all? Do you have anything inside Reflowster to prevent it from accidentally over heating with the wattage going through it that the toaster will be drawing?
When doing our research on reflow soldering, many of the results were how to hack your toaster into a reflow oven and our first reflow job was done with a thermometer and a hand on the toaster oven's knob.
Reflowster is certainly limited by all of the same things as the toaster oven that you are using with it, but our findings thus far have been that even a relatively cheap toaster oven is more than sufficient to perform hobby reflow soldering.
Currently the rampdown/cooling is simply done by opening the oven. We've found that our reflows are not particularly sensitive to small variations in the cooling process. Ultimately it doesn't really matter if you open the oven immediately after the reflow is complete or if you wait until a few minutes thereafter.
How do you plan to do the rampdown rate?
Will the oven you are recommending keep up with solder profile rampup rate? Most cannot, which is why people build their own ovens.