I want to melt a bed of plastic powder so that the powder bed once melted and then cooled forms a solid sheet of plastic.

In order to melt the powder I'm thinking of passing a nichrome (Ni80/Cr20) wire over the bed without the wire touching the bed. With the direction of motion of the wire perpendicular to the length of the wire.

The heat from the wire should radiate from the wire and pass into the plastic powder in order to melt the powder. Is this possible? Is it possible to to melt plastic powders through heat radiation from a nichrome wire.


  • As an alternative to melt the bed with radiation, one could heat the bed's platform. But I can't do that because the bed's platform is made of plastic and might begin to melt if I heat it. So heating through radiation is the only viable option I've thought of.

  • Bed dimensions: 30 cm X 15 cm.

  • I can use a wire of any diameter. Single wire or multiple wire in parallel.

  • Melting temperature of plastic powder used is 270-300°C.

  • Any distance between the wire and the powder bed is possible. Close distance between the wire and powder is preferred.

  • If not nichrome any other material can do the job.


1 Answer 1


Any diameter wire, multiple parallel heated elements describes a toaster, an electric oven, any number of radiant heaters already in existence.

Your problem is not whether you can do it with such a system, but more of a question if you can avoid melting the plastic bed on which the powder sits.

It's unlikely that you can regulate the heat in such a precise manner as to have it cease to exist at the interface between the powder and the bed. If you are able to use a ceramic or metal bed, you should be able to make such a system work. If you are able to locate a plastic for the bed that exceeds the 270-300°C reference, you may be able to do it.

You could possibly create a liquid cooling system for the plastic bed, but it will also cool the powder via conduction negating the melting process. If you can tolerate a partial melt, with some powder remaining un-melted and insulating the bed, it should work.

The bed is the problem, not the heat.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.