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DIY Cerakote Oven

This is a discussion on DIY Cerakote Oven within the Projects forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I like to work with Cerakote on some of my gun projects - great product with nice results. I've been baking my parts in the ...


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Old September 10th, 2016, 03:40 PM   #1
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DIY Cerakote Oven

I like to work with Cerakote on some of my gun projects - great product with nice results. I've been baking my parts in the kitchen oven but it's not the easiest setup hanging parts from the upper rack when they're wet and not touching anything in the process. Plus it does put off a smell when curing which isn't real popular. Brownell's sells a nice looking oven for $2K but that's not gonna happen. I started poking around the ol interweb and saw quite a few home built ovens sometimes repurposing interesting items - file cabinets, smokers, etc. That got me thinking.....I have an old Stack-On gun cabinet that I don't use.....



So here's my old metal gun cabinet. I think I paid $100 for it when it was new some years back. First thing I did was go to Home Depot and buy some casters so I can roll it around - pull it out to use and roll it back in a corner when not in use. Casters and hardware was $20.

I took the lock and latch mechanism off the door so I could more easily insulate the door without the hardware in the way. I plan to put a simple handle on the door and install a mechanical latch on the outside.

Most Cerakote curing is done in a temperature range of 150 to 250 degrees. The hottest temp is the "gassing out" phase prior to application at 300 degrees so we're not talking about really high heat. I wanted to insulate the cabinet for efficiency and to keep the heat inside so I decided to use drywall. Back to Home Depot for 3 sheets of of 1/2" 4' X 8' drywall at a cost of $27. Two rolls of heavy duty aluminum foil (Wal Mart - $8) and a roll of foil tape (HD- $8) used for HVAC duct work.

Two layers of 1/2" drywall is the industry standard "2 Hour Fire Rating" so I installed two layers of drywall inside my cabinet. The second layer was covered in the heavy duty aluminum foil using a spray adhesive I had on hand. All seams and corners are taped with the foil tape.





Next step is to finish fitting out the drywall on the front interior and door followed by the handle and latch hardware. Updates to come as the project moves along.




Last edited by Waveform; September 10th, 2016 at 06:53 PM.
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Old September 10th, 2016, 05:10 PM   #2
 
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What will you use for heat source and how will you regulate the temp?
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Old September 10th, 2016, 06:47 PM   #3
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What will you use for heat source and how will you regulate the temp?
I plan to repurpose 2 1100 watt hot plate elements. They have a rheostat that I intend to relocate to an exterior control box so I can regulate them independently. I'll mount one element in the top of the cabinet and the other in the bottom. I have some fabricating to do to mount them and of course the wiring, etc. A couple of temperature probes will let me know what the temp is inside.

It's somewhat experimental so I won't really know what I have until it's finished and I can fire it up and see how it performs.
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Old September 10th, 2016, 07:28 PM   #4
 
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Looking forward to seeing it progress! I'd like to do something similar one day, the kitchen oven is a bit tight for a lot of parts hanging.
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Old September 13th, 2016, 02:00 AM   #5
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Finished putting the drywall insulation in the front of the cabinet and the door. Keeping it simple - a cabinet knob and barrel bolt for door hardware was $6 at Home Depot.





Gathering the electrical supplies and starting the fabrication of the heating element mounting brackets. I think I now have everything I need and the total investment in materials will come in under $200 (not counting the cabinet cost). If this works it should be a nice, practical oven that won't break the bank.
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Old September 13th, 2016, 03:39 AM   #6
 
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Looks and sounds good. Please keep the pics coming.
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Old September 13th, 2016, 06:19 AM   #7
 
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Yes, please keep us informed.

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Old September 13th, 2016, 07:47 AM   #8
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Interesting idea!

So this is an oven with no airflow? Just heat what's inside and let a thermostat and thermal fuse take care of it?
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Old September 13th, 2016, 08:09 AM   #9
 
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That's a much nicer set up than my Cerakote oven



Small parts go in the toaster oven
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Old September 13th, 2016, 03:01 PM   #10
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Interesting idea!

So this is an oven with no airflow? Just heat what's inside and let a thermostat and thermal fuse take care of it?
Sorta. No airflow and no thermostat either. The perfect Cerakote oven would have a thermostat and be so precise you could set an exact temperature, a 2 hour timer and walk away from it until the timer went off. That's not what I'm trying to make here. This is a much more low tech approach that will require constant temperature monitoring and manual adjustment of the heating elements. I'll probably have to crack open the door if the temp gets too hot. Kinda like baking in an old wood fired stove versus a modern oven.

What I found using Mrs. Waveform's kitchen oven (when she wasn't home) was that the oven didn't do a very good job regulating the low temps that Cerakote calls out for, especially curing a polymer item like a pistol frame. When I did my LC9S I was trying to cure at 170 - 180 degrees and the lowest temp setting on the oven knob was 200. I was somewhere in the "Warm" area and had to keep adjust the setting and cracking the oven door to find a sweet spot. I had a hunch this was gonna be tricky so I had my temp probe hooked up to my Fluke multimeter and monitored the oven temp constantly. I pretty much had to keep my eye on the meter for an hour and a half and fiddle with the oven to keep the temp between 170 and 180.

Even curing metal parts the temp is only 250, which is good - hot plates and other simple 110VAC heating sources can do the job. But it will be a closely monitored, fiddle with the dials, constantly check the temp and even crack open the door if things get too hot kind of thing. Thankfully the product is pretty tolerable to less than perfectly controlled oven curing.
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Old September 13th, 2016, 03:09 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=johnsxj;2331490]That's a much nicer set up than my Cerakote oven



I've always thought your setup was pretty ingenious! Seeing your hot plate I think I'm using two of the very same ones for my oven. I'm just removing the element and "guts" and repurposing them in my own set up so I can move the rheostats to a box mounted on the outside of the cabinet.

The hardest part about using a toaster oven or even a regular kitchen oven is racking the wet parts so you don't touch them, have them touch each other or touch the oven walls or rack. I'm hoping the tall open space in this cabinet will finally let me hang up a barrel or hand guard without the stress of smudging something.
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Old September 13th, 2016, 03:19 PM   #12
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Here's an example of how crowded the kitchen oven gets. The challenge is racking all those parts while they're still wet and not screw up something. It doesn't help the oven is low so you're stooped down or on your knees.

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Old September 14th, 2016, 03:05 PM   #13
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At the risk of turning this thread into a boring monologue about a homemade oven here are a few more progress photos.

This is the hot plate I'm using for heating. I bought two of them off Amazon for the princely sum of $11.99 each. They are 1100 watts and have a control feature (rheostat).



I gutted the hot elements and control out of the housing and threw the rest away. Then I fabricated my own mounting setup using some cheap 22 ga sheet metal and aluminum angle.



I scrounged up stuff in the electrical supply section of Home Depot and made up a control box with piping top and bottom for each element wire run. The line voltage coming in goes through a circuit breaker and you can see both rheostats mounted in the bottom of the box. Getting close......



Here's the bottom heating element in place.



Need to source some high temp appliance/oven wire to finish it up. Standard wire insulation is only rated to 105 C and I will be going above that threshold by a bit. But otherwise it's coming along nicely. Should be up and running soon.

Last edited by Waveform; September 14th, 2016 at 03:14 PM.
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Old September 15th, 2016, 04:50 AM   #14
 
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At the risk of turning this thread into a boring monologue about a homemade oven . . .
Hey, it's interesting. Keep it up!

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Old September 17th, 2016, 04:14 AM   #15
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Hey, it's interesting. Keep it up!

Thanks for your support! I know these project threads can get pretty dry.

While I'm waiting for my high temp wire to arrive I poked around the web and found a cheap thermocouple, digital temperature readout unit that I ordered along with a small 12VDC power supply. I'm planning to add the display to the control box and place the thermocouple inside the cabinet at the midpoint side wall. The parts for that were around $20 so it's not a big investment and will be convenient versus setting up my Fluke meter.

I'm a bit anxious to get this thing finished and ready for service. I have all the parts and pieces for an AR9 project and my Cerakote color arrived yesterday....
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