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nichrome element vs. propane burner...?
Hello fellow roasters..

I'm very new to this roasting thing, and after doing only a few roasts on a popper, I want to build my own 1-2lb. roaster. I'm very mechanically inclined, but when it comes to electrical stuff I know NADA. From reading the forums I've seen a few roasters made from heating elements(the nichrome stuff). I was dead set on using a propane type burner only because I know nothing of electrical work. So....

1. Are there advantages/disadvantages to using the wire vs. gas burner?

2. I would like the roaster to be able to roast AT LEAST 1lb., but 2lbs. would be nice.

3. Would anyone know what type of wattage(if going electrical) I would need for 1lb and 2lbs.? I could use 110v OR 220v.

4. If going the nichrome route, what parts exactly would I need. From reading I know I will need: nichrome wire, ceramic grommets of some sort to hold wire, and a variac.

5. If going with a gas burner, how far below the drum should the flame be, and should the flame be covered with ceramic heat retention tile?

6. I am thinking of insulating it somehow. I know someone posted a site of where to get this type of insulation but I cannot find the post. Anyone know?

7. If I missed anything, please advise..


Ron, I build an electric sample roaster and like it a lot. You can see a picture of it in the Members' Roaster section.

You can roast a pound in an insulated drum roaster using 1200W. I think a 2000W roaster could do a pound. But for that you'd need a 20A service. It is next to impossible to cram a 220V nichrome heater into a small space like a sample roaster. Stick with 110 if using coiled nichrome.

I got all my heater parts, including 1/4" ceramic felt (they call it paper) at:

Here is how I'd locate the burner. Take your burner's temperature. When at full throttle, you want to find where it's heat is about 550-600? F. That's where you put the bottom of the drum.

I would not use a Variac to control heat. What I did was use a solid state percentage timer. The one I bought has an integral SSR. Easy to install. An panel mounted potentiometer adjusts the percentage of time the heater is on, from 0 to 90%.



Just took a look at your roaster, I like that alot. Looks like you took your time as it looks very well built. Do you have any pics of the build process by chance? I would be curious to see.

Thanks for your quick reply. Some of what you said is pretty greek to me tho. I have no idea what a solid state percentage timer with and integral SSR is. Don't get the potentiometer thing either. As I mentioned I know nothing of electrical stuff(unless its about home wiring). I've also seen mention of PID's. Not sure what these do either. If I decide to go with an electrical type I would really need someone to tell me exactly what parts to get from that website you posted. I can take care of fabricating the drum and roaster housing and such, but as for electrical I draw a blank....

Thanks again for the quick reply...

My PGR is electric, pretty simple to build/use, and uses a < 1500W turbo oven for heat.
Last week I did 1 Kg in it for a client, and it worked fine. Grin
The test is that he loved it!GrinGrinGrin
The new one I am documenting on this forum just has a larger capactiy chamber and better stirring to loft larger amounts of beans.
Since the smaller one will do about 2.2 Lb with no problem, the new version will do at least as well. s:2
No speculation yet as to how much it will roast.. experimenting is part of the fun B)

PeterZ c:1
Nothing bad to say about gas burners, except that I would have to use a propane set up.:|
My experience with P is that it always runs out at the least convenient time:( (so I usually change the bottle before something important), and it is costly.
I hate going to the supplier and waiting in line, and spending the gas to get there and the time to do it.s:3
If I could plug into an outlet, like electricity, Grin I may have second thoughts about it.
However, 1500 watts or less has been working fine for meGrin

Edited by peterz on 01/28/2006 2:02 PM

I've checked out your bread machine/TO and like it. I am thinking of going this route also. I may make both as I have a buddy who I know would enjoy roasting his own and cannot afford to buy a roaster(well, he could buy a popper i guess). I found a bread machine very similar to yours at a thrift store. They want $20 for it. It looks exactly like your model but has different writing on it. I believe it was a brand called DAK, and the model was the Turbo Taker. I like to tinker, but as we all know its finding the time!

As for propane, for me it would be better than Natural Gas. I will be moving next year(building my home this year and next)and where I will live in the boondocks all that is available is propane. I know I will be running a line from propane tank to deck area for my grill, so having a propane fired roaster makes sense on my end.

Hi Ron,
I have not come across a DAK yet, but now that we figured out that the motor can be run by itself, directly from 110V, then the most important thing imho, is to make sure that the mounting bracket that connects the bread pan to the mixer is good and sturdy.
I have seen some that do not function very well:(
OTOH, maybe you can make your own mounting. ;)
My feeling is once it is assembled and insulated, you need never take it apart again......

oh my,, did I say that???s:8s:8s:8


rferoni wrote:
I've checked out your bread machine/TO and like it. ... I found a bread machine very similar to yours at a thrift store.

A DAK is fine.
The two keys for braed machines are:

1) Find out how to get the motor to run without the electronics if possible. Install a simple on/off switch. If you can't or don't know how, then just find the bread-making cycle that gives you about 15 minutes of stirring without pausing. It may be "Large Loaf" / Manual. This varies from model to model. The time limit forces a beans weight limit. 13-15 minutes is plenty of time, if you aren't doing pound-and-a-half or two-pound roasts. YMMV>

2) Do a good job of grating the stirring apparatus from the breadloaf pan to whatever pot/pan/bowl you choose to use under your convection oven. I use a heatgun, but the same principle applies. I grafted mine using a half-dozen poprivets, after drilling a hole in the bottom of the pan for the stirring spindle to come up through.
David attached the following image:
DeepDish M2 open[12].jpg
Here you can see the poprivets and the stirring spindle. The stirring "paddle" in this picture is a coathanger wire bent to a precision curve. B)

It wouldn't take the stress of 750 grams, howver, so I changed the paddle arrangement.
David attached the following image:
DeepDish M2Topless[13].jpg
Credit where credit is due: I made mine after seeing peterz's first breadmacine mod.


Thanks, guy!
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