We are working on a project requiring a temperature-controlled oven for melting lead, tin and other low-temperature metals. The inner cylinder is aluminum. The heat comes from Kanthal wire, for which we needed an electrical insulator capable of withstanding the heat. The problem is, something must hold the fiberglass in place. We just tried to melt the stuff end-to-end (does not hold) and with an overlap (gets blackened, shrinks, but does hold a tiny bit). We have thought of a couple of alternative ideas:
- Add glass powder, sand, or broken glass to the area of the joint and have more glass available to melt
- Get some kind of glass fiber and "sew" the layers together somehow
- Some kind of chemical adhesive that can handle the same extremes of temperature
The plan is to wrap a thin layer of fiberglass around the inner aluminum, then wrap with Kanthal wire. Then wrap more fiberglass around that and cover with aluminum, and do enough layers that the outside is not hot to the touch. An Arduino will control the circuit, and slowly bring the inside up to exactly the temperature we want using a thermocouple.
How can we hold the fiberglass insulation in place without interfering with or shorting out the Kanthal wires that will go around the fiberglass?