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When working in foam with soldering
irons or wood burning tools, you have very little control outside
of your reflexes for getting the results you seek. Here is a way
to get control of how slowly or fast your tool will melt the foam
you are texturing, epitathing, of applying effects to. Its nice
& simple, and most anyone with a modicum of experience with
tools can assemble this. So lets move on to making our new temperature
controller with spare outlet for an exhaust fan.
Here are all the parts you need, start with a 2 gang box,
a single 1/2" romex compression connector, a 2 gang cover with
openings for a duplex outlet and a switch, a duplex outlet, a dimmer
switch like you use for a ceiling fixture, some wire nuts, a power
cord (you can buy zip cord and add an outlet, or an extension cord
and strip the socket end off, I happen to have a box of cord sets
that I just pull one out of when I need it) and some spare 12 gauge
wire (about 8").
Insert the romex connector
into one of the center knockouts on the 2 gang box and snug the
nut up nicely, then pull the power cord thru the connector and snug
down the retainer plate, but not all the way yet, so you can adjust
for length if need be during construction.
Now take the duplex outlet and attach it to the faceplate, you
will need to remove the mickey mouse ears on the duplex outlet face
ends to allow the outlet to fit in the cover. Also, you need to
remove the terminal connectors on the side of the outlets to isolate
them. This will make it so you can dim one outlet, while having
full current to the other. If you look where the wires can be screw
onto the terminals on each side, you will see a tab sticking out
between the screw on the upper and lower outlet, the tab sticks
out at 90º to the terminal face. Snap it off each side with a needle
nose pliers or a diagonal cutter. Attach the dimmer to the faceplate
Yeah, I jumped the gun in the second photo and had to go back
time to wire all this together. From the power cord, connect the green
wire and the green wire from the dimmer (if equipped with one, not
all are) to the ground terminal at the end of the duplex outlet, which
is usually color coded green. Now connect the white wire to the silver
terminal on the side of the outlet closest to where the wire enters
the 2 gang box. take a piece of wire and make a jumper (strip both
ends as illustrated on the back side of the outlet, and insert the
ends into the round holes on the back of the outlets, on the same
side as the white wire has been connected. This is the "common"
connection. Next you need a wire nut, and a jumper. Take the jumper,
the black lead from the power cord and the black lead from the dimmer
and connect the 3 with the wire nut. Take the second black wire or
the only wire left coming from the dimmer, and insert it into one
of the 2 holes on the rear of the outlets opposite of the white wires,
the dimmer wire will be close to the gold colored terminals on the
side of the outlet. This is the "hot" connection. Flip over
the faceplate and with a sharpie, some nail polish or a little paint
outline the outlet that you just hooked the wire up to. If you look
at the second row, right hand photo below you will see the outline
on my version.
This is the dimmed outlet, that you plug your wood burner, et.
al. into. You still have one wire left from the wire nut. Insert this
one into the back of the outlet in the only wire hole left, on the
gold side. This socket is the one you plug a fan into when you use
your irons, burners, etc. to keep the fumes from trying to kill you
or give you brain damage. Now, remember how you snugged the power
cord but didn't tighten it all the way? Well, place the cover plate
on the 2 gang box, secure it with the screws provided, and then snug
the power cord in the romex connectors tensioner reliever. All that's
left is placing the dimmer knob on the shaft for the dimmer switch.
You can use this to your hearts content now, and your brain cells
will thank you. Plug a fan into the unmarked outlet, your soldering
gun, stick, iron, wood burner, or lead soldering candle into the other.
Plug the power cord for the controller in, press the dimmer so its
on, and adjust the heat with the dimmer to give you the results you