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My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

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Old December 5th, 2011 Dec 5, 2011 9:59:38 AM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

During some slow time at the shop and after seeing another member here post pictures of his conveyor dryer that he was building, it inspired me to attempt to build one to see if it could actually be done and have it operational. Although we never got to see the other members dryer completed and actually working, I have used some of his build designs to build mine and it is now finished and working. I have about a $175 in the entire project so if you are low on cash and do not have the means to purchase a manufactured professional dryer, you can build one to get you by. In the following photo's you will see the build in progress and then a video showing the operation of the dryer.


The first step was to build the conveyor frame and rollers. The frame of the conveyor was made with some steel that I bought at Home Depot in the electrical conduit section and the 4 of the 5 rollers were made from 1 1/4" electrical conduit pipe.. The legs of the conveyor I bought used at a Habittat for Humanity store for $15.







I used some 1 1/4" roller bearings that I purchased from Lumberjack that fit perfectly in to the conduit pipe and used a 2 inch bolt and nut through the center to attach the rollers to the frame.






I tried several different ways of motorizing the conveyor. My first attempt was using an electric motor and a 3 pulley chain drive system that I bought at the Habitat store for $10 but that failed as I could not get it to run slow enough to obtain the speed I needed for the belt. I purchased a router speed control unit to try and slow the motor down but the motor just did not have enough torque to keep running when it was slowed down.



I followed what the other member had done and bought a rotisserie motor and used a 2 pulley system which actually worked but the belt ran so slow that it took 16 1/2 minutes for a shirt to travel the length of the conveyor which only allowed to produce 4 shirts per hour which was so unproductive and we can't make any money working at that pace. So after looking at the rotisserie motor and shaft, I realized that the only way to accomplish the correct speed and drive roller system was to go with a direct drive setup. I was able to use the rotisserie motor and the rod that came with it to build the drive roller.




The drive roller itself was made from a 1 1/4 inch pvc plumbing pipe. I used a 1 1/4 inch expansion plug on each end and then placed the rod from the rotisserie through it for a true and straight running drive roller. The drive roller was than wrapped with a vinyl/rubber material with some spray adhesive to give the belt some friction to grab a hold of to make it rotate around the conveyor.



Next I had to fashion a belt. I purchased some household aluminum screen from Lowes, that came in a 25 ft by 36 inch roll. My belt is only 24 inch's wide so the screen was cut down and I ended up with enough screen for 2 belts as my conveyor is only 6 ft long, so the screen was cut down to 12 1/2 ft and then spliced together with some high temp silicon from Autozone



I attached 2 turn buckels, (one on each side) at one end of the conveyor to adjust the tension of the belt as well as aid in the tracking of the belt. The belt had to be seamed perfectly straight on the frame so I would not have to really worry about the tracking. The belt does not travel fast enough for the tracking to be a concern.

I then began constructing the oven itself. The oven was made with 1/4 inch mdf board bought at Home Depot. I wrapped the mdf with some reynolds wrap heavy duty aluminum foil and attached it to the mdf with some high heat aluminum foil tape used to seal heat ducts with.



I purchased a quartz heater from a Tractor Supply Store (TSC) to use as the heating element. This heater has 2 settings on it and can also be used as a flash dryer if someone is looking for a cheap alternative for a flash unit. It was $40. The blower motor was purchased from the Habitat store for $5 and it is a 2 speed blower with a low and high setting which I use the low setting.






After everything was built, I took some more 1/4 mdf board and enclosed the entire oven again to cover up the foil and to add an outer shell so to say to help keep the heat enclosed without making the outside of the oven hot. A fresh coat of some garage floor epoxy/acrylic paint I had setting around and "Whala" we now have a fully finished running DIY conveyor dryer.




The dryer heat runs between 220 to 230 degrees which is sufficient for the waterbased printing that I do. The belt speed is at 2 1/2 minutes per cycle which means the T-shirt is in the oven for 2 1/2 minutes which again is sufficient for waterbased inks. I can shut off the blower and get the oven temperature up to 320, 330 degrees if I decided to print plastisol inks but would be a little concerned with maintaining the proper heat and time curing process for plastisol inks.

The video shows the conveyor running with a T-shirt going through it.



If you shop around at flea markets, garage sales and second hand stores, you see plenty of items that can be bought and torn apart to build yourself a dryer. Remember, "another man's junk is another man's treasure" and you help the environment a little bit by recycling.

Hope you all enjoy the build and let me know if you have any questions or concerns and I will do my best to help out.

Regards.
Jimmy Lee
 
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Old December 5th, 2011 Dec 5, 2011 12:17:40 PM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

Very impressive.
 
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Old December 6th, 2011 Dec 6, 2011 2:34:06 AM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

wow that's a nice looking homemade unit, I appreciate all the directions but taking on a project like this requires some skills that I don't have. great job and nice video! thanks
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Old December 7th, 2011 Dec 7, 2011 4:05:51 AM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

Do not now what happened to the video but you can see at "Youtube" by searching for my username; Rasputin857
 
Old December 9th, 2011 Dec 9, 2011 3:02:21 AM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

Nice.

See if this link works.

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Old December 9th, 2011 Dec 9, 2011 3:13:44 AM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

WOW!! what a nice dryer!
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Old December 9th, 2011 Dec 9, 2011 6:56:42 PM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

how did you put the rottiserie rod into the plug? just drilled a slightly smaller hole into the plug and jammed it in?
 
Old December 9th, 2011 Dec 9, 2011 7:07:30 PM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

can you also post a link to some similar expansion plugs cause all the ones at home depot have some screw mechanism going through the middle and it doesnt look similar to the one you used.

thanks
 
Old December 10th, 2011 Dec 10, 2011 3:18:27 AM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sungfooo
can you also post a link to some similar expansion plugs cause all the ones at home depot have some screw mechanism going through the middle and it doesnt look similar to the one you used.

thanks

Engine Expansion Plug by Dorman - Autograde - part# 02603

Tractor Supply Company - Home

Also check your local swimming pool stores. When at lowes or home depot, make sure you are looking in the isle that has all the specialty screws and fastners in the drawers.

ACO hardware has them as well.
 
Old December 10th, 2011 Dec 10, 2011 3:22:07 AM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sungfooo
how did you put the rottiserie rod into the plug? just drilled a slightly smaller hole into the plug and jammed it in?

When you remove the nut,bolt and washer from the expansion plug, it will have a round hole on one side and a square hole on the other side. All I did was was tapped it through the square hole with a rubber mallet. You can actually push the rod through with your hands.
 
Old December 10th, 2011 Dec 10, 2011 3:25:07 AM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy Lee
Engine Expansion Plug by Dorman - Autograde - part# 02603

Tractor Supply Company - Home

Although I did not see any on TSC website but they have them in the plastic drawers in the nut and bolt section.

Also check your local swimming pool stores. When at lowes or home depot, make sure you are looking in the isle that has all the specialty screws and fastners in the drawers.

ACO hardware has them as well.

If you cannot find them then let me know and I will send you 2 of them.
 
Old December 10th, 2011 Dec 10, 2011 4:11:02 AM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

So far I have only noticed 2 minor things with the dryer.
1. I do not know if the rotisserie motor is designed this way but every time I turn the motor off and then turn it back on, the motor will reverse polarity and spin the opposite direction but I just turn it off again then turn it back on and it spins in the direction I need it to.

2. Were I seamed the belt together with the silicone, it has either shrunk from the heat or it has warped I guess you could say but I believe it is caused from not having the belt tension even on each side and the belt is about a inch narrower then it was when I put the belt on. It does not affect the operation at all

 
Old December 10th, 2011 Dec 10, 2011 6:45:11 AM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

That is cool looks really good
 
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Old December 10th, 2011 Dec 10, 2011 11:40:14 AM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

sorry a few more questions

is the heater 1500 watts , because thats all i'm finding?

how did you determine the heat in the oven (temp gun? regular thermometer )? is that the heat of the item passing through the oven , or just the air lingering in the oven?

do you have any idea how the conduit pipes are going to hold up against the heat? because the guy at home depot said they werent made for high heat, but he kinda seemed like he didnt know what he was talking about.

GREAT DRYER BY THE WAY , I was so busy interrogating I forgot to throw you a compliment.

I plan on building a mini version of your dryer

thanks in advance.
 
Old December 10th, 2011 Dec 10, 2011 7:42:04 PM -   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: My DIY forced air conveyor dryer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy Lee
So far I have only noticed 2 minor things with the dryer.
1. I do not know if the rotisserie motor is designed this way but every time I turn the motor off and then turn it back on, the motor will reverse polarity and spin the opposite direction but I just turn it off again then turn it back on and it spins in the direction I need it to.

2. Were I seamed the belt together with the silicone, it has either shrunk from the heat or it has warped I guess you could say but I believe it is caused from not having the belt tension even on each side and the belt is about a inch narrower then it was when I put the belt on. It does not affect the operation at all

Nice dryer/conveyor mod....
revitol likes this.
 
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