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  • Thermal Imaging (paging Evan, Evan please report to the Internet...)

    I figure if anyone know it'll be him. And notice I said please. Also, this thread is of course open to ANYONE else with experience in this field.


    I have a thermoset mold, six cavities. One cavity is not curing properly despite swapping out the heaters. A material change and a series of process changes did nothing to solve the problem.

    Looking at the mold very closely, and a bit of percussive observation... I think the offending cavity block is either made of of a different metal or it has been worked in such a way that it doesn't transfer heat properly.

    I'm taking the mold apart Monday to make sure there isn't a shim or something upsetting heat transfer... But then I got thinking.


    Some sort of infrared camera/heat-imagery system would really help in checking molds for proper heat balance. Who out there makes a decent "easy" to use system with software... or failing that maybe there is an alternative?

    Ideally I would like to snap an image, put it up on my screen and see where the hot and cold is.
    Last edited by Liger Zero; 08-28-2010, 12:36 PM.
    This product has been determined by the state of California to cause permanent irreversible death. This statement may or may not be recognized as valid by all states.
    Heirs of an old war/that's what we've become Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
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  • #2
    What temperature is "hot"?
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Evan
      What temperature is "hot"?
      Maximum of 475F degrees. Minimum of room temp, which I strive to keep between 75 and 85.

      Molds are made of various types of steel, and the surface can range from mirror-shiny to "very old and pitted" depending on how the mold was treated before it got here.

      Size ranges from 4" by 6" all the way up to (eventually) 36" x 36"
      This product has been determined by the state of California to cause permanent irreversible death. This statement may or may not be recognized as valid by all states.
      Heirs of an old war/that's what we've become Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
      Plastic Operators Dot Com

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      • #4
        You can go spend 5 to 10 grand on a nice FLIR unit. Or, you can wait for me to do some testing today when I get a chance. I have an idea or two. It's something I have been meaning to work on anyway.

        You can buy hand held IR thermometers that go to 600F. The one I have does that and is pretty accurate.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Evan
          You can go spend 5 to 10 grand on a nice FLIR unit. Or, you can wait for me to do some testing today when I get a chance. I have an idea or two. It's something I have been meaning to work on anyway.

          You can buy hand held IR thermometers that go to 600F. The one I have does that and is pretty accurate.
          I have the IR guns... but I want an image on a screen, a map if you will.
          This product has been determined by the state of California to cause permanent irreversible death. This statement may or may not be recognized as valid by all states.
          Heirs of an old war/that's what we've become Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
          Plastic Operators Dot Com

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          • #6
            FLIR, Fluke and Extech all make thermal imaging cameras that are very easy to use, but starting prices are around $4-5,000 so they are not really cheap. They offer rental units as well. http://www.flir.com/thermography/ame...tent/?id=18978

            I use a FLIR Infracam (same as the FLIR i series) at work for checking piping, motors and our incinerator, it should work well for your application, but the higher end units will give you better resolution for spotting small problem zones.

            You can hire a thermographer to do this for you, this company is local to you.

            http://www.arnprior-rmsi.com/Product...0/Default.aspx

            EDIT: Extech has some cheaper cameras, you can find them here: http://www.reliabilitydirectstore.co...raphy-s/64.htm
            Last edited by mbensema; 08-28-2010, 12:55 PM.

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            • #7
              Portable battery powered thermal imaging in the range you want with live video for under $50.

              Pics in a few minutes.
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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              • #8
                Here ya go. DX camera for $14 with the IR LEDs taped over.
                Just about any CMOS NTSC video camera with IR capability will work. You may even have one already.

                DX LCD screen, pick one of several or use your own NTSC monitor.







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                • #9
                  Evan, do you just power the screen and the camera and plug the two together?
                  Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

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                  • #10
                    Why isn't it showing the tip of the soldering iron to be hot?

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                    • #11
                      Evan, do you just power the screen and the camera and plug the two together?
                      Yes.


                      As for the tip of the iron I think that the thermal flux is not enough. In other words although the temperature is high enough the amount of energy radiated isn't.
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                      • #12
                        Exactly what I was hoping for Evan. I'll cobble one together and see what I can do with it.

                        Also: mbensema thank you for your input, rental is an option that didn't even cross my mind.
                        This product has been determined by the state of California to cause permanent irreversible death. This statement may or may not be recognized as valid by all states.
                        Heirs of an old war/that's what we've become Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
                        Plastic Operators Dot Com

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Evan

                          As for the tip of the iron I think that the thermal flux is not enough. In other words although the temperature is high enough the amount of energy radiated isn't.
                          The camera should be seeing some kind of radiation per unit area (defined as either flux or flux density) so it shouldn't matter if the tip is smaller. Also, why is your camera not seeing the other end of the thick section of the soldering iron? It looks to me like it stops imaging above a certain temperature.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by beanbag
                            The camera should be seeing some kind of radiation per unit area (defined as either flux or flux density) so it shouldn't matter if the tip is smaller. Also, why is your camera not seeing the other end of the thick section of the soldering iron? It looks to me like it stops imaging above a certain temperature.


                            If that's the case it's no big deal. I can determine what temps are registered and use the system to help pinpoint trouble areas.

                            Say it cuts off at 375. I have the mold set to 400... Most of the mold is invisible except for the cool spot where heat isn't transferring.

                            Even if it doesn't work, it'll be fun to play with. Part of the reason I asked.
                            This product has been determined by the state of California to cause permanent irreversible death. This statement may or may not be recognized as valid by all states.
                            Heirs of an old war/that's what we've become Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
                            Plastic Operators Dot Com

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                            • #15
                              The cheap little camers are only good to a little past 1000nm. Thats about where the FLIR type camers start and go up. Most companies camera will record 1550nm on up but some dont start till 2000nm. You are probably not going to get anything useful out of a cheap camera.

                              There are thermal imagers out now around the $1300 from Extech.

                              Here is a pic I did take with my IR modified camera. I think this was 850nm filter. Piece of steel strapping heated with a torch. Not visibly luminous with the naked eye. Probably 700-800 degrees.



                              DSC04096 by macona, on Flickr

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