I am trying to create a cheap and small heating element capable of reaching temperatures of at least 260 degrees C. I am considering using a resistor. Is there such thing as a cheap resistor capable of reaching these temperatures for extremely long periods of time without degrading. If so, how many volts/amps would I need to supply it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Nichrome wire . \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 2:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ The watts required will depend a lot on whether you're heating a small sample of herbs or a battleship. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 2:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am heating a small nozzle for a 3d printer. If I where to use the nichrome wire stuff, is there a voltage and gauge of the wire necessary to achieve these temperatures? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 3:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you sure that doing this on your own is worth the money you can (possibly) save without buying something commercial? You will need a precise temperature control achievable only with a PID that monitors the nozzle temperature, that's not something "easy as pie"... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 7:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ you may be interested in this solution makezine.com/projects/guide-to-3d-printing-2014/… using a glow plug \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 10:38

1 Answer 1


Probably not the most robust way to go. A single 1/4 W resistor has a thermal resistance to ambient of the order of 200°C/W. So at 1/4W you get about 50°C.

Nichrome wire is much more practical and easier to control. A 22 AWG piece of wire needs about 2.8A to reach 200°C. You can size the current, heat needed, and space required to the necessary gauge of wire. To heat the printer head you'll need to look at your losses in transferring heat vs time because you might need 350°C to get things started then back down to 260°C once everything is saturated.


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