How To Build a Sous Vide Machine

Sous vide machines cook meals to a precise temperature and time. And this makes sous vide cooking a technique that yields professional-style cooking results.

But you will need a sous vide machine to do sous vide cooking. The only problem is sous vide machines could cost up to $500 when you intend to do sous vide cooking on a budget.

But you can build a sous vide machine to keep the cooking costs to a minimum. And what’s even more impressive is you can easily find the sous vide machine components.

You can then use these parts to make a DIY sous vide machine.

If you’re looking to make a sous vide machine with readily available parts, you should read on for more information. We will look at the steps for making a sous vide machine.

Also, we will delve into the parts you will require to make sous vide machine build a success.

The Materials You Will Need

Since you’re looking to make a sous vide machine for cooking your meals, you will need some materials.

And most probably, you will buy and connect these materials properly in a sous vide setup. So, these materials include the following:

  • Plastic Container with Removable Lid
  • Immersion Water Heater
  • An aquarium pump
  • PID controller
  • DC Input, AC Output
  • PT100 Thermocouple Probe
  • Heavy-Duty Rocker Switch
  • ¼-inch acrylic measuring 5cm x 20cm
  • Acrylic-cutting machine
  • ¼-inch x 2-inch eye bolt and nut
  • 2 feet of 18-gauge wire
  • 3 wire nuts
  • Solder and soldering iron
  • Electrical tape
  • Multimeter
  • Hobby knife
  • Hot glue gun
  • Tub & Tile Silicone 1® Sealant
  • Krazy Glue

Steps To Follow to Build Sous Vide Machine

Once you’ve sourced these materials, you want to start building a sous vide machine. And you will follow the steps below:

Cut Out the Mounting Holes on The Plastic Container Enclosure

You will most likely use a high-speed rotary tool to cut the mounting holes. Dremel could be the rotary tool of choice, even though a laser cutter does a more precise job.

Of course, you will need a cutout template for a guide, and it’s good we’ve included a template to help you cut the mounting holes. You will cut out three holes in the plastic container enclosure.

Then you will cut out a hole for the PID controller, pump cord, and immersion heater. 

That means you will cut three holes for heating elements, and two for the thermocouple and pump’s power cord.

You will then fit the components into the cut holes. Check the template for a guide.

Make A Pump Holder and Mounting Bracket

You will use acrylic material to make the mounting bracket. You will use this bracket to attach your machine to a pot or container.

You will cut a rectangle shape from acrylic and drill a hole in it. Check the third page of the cutout template for more information. 

Mount The Immersion Heater

The immersion heater is an essential component of any sous vide machine. And you will want to mount them onto your build. Specifically, they will hang down the enclosure of the plastic container.

You will cut the cords of your heaters using the hobby knife. You want to cut the power cord such that you only leave 4 inches of cord on the heating ends.

And you will keep the cut power cord for later use. Since you will have to seal the opening between the heating ends and the cut container, you will use the Tub & Tile Silicone 1® Sealant for the job.

Connect The Wires

You want to connect wires to the heaters since it is the heaters that will keep the water bath within sous vide temperatures.

This task is simpler if you have basic knowledge of circuitry and wiring. But you can do it since basic knowledge isn’t hard to acquire.

You want to connect the wires you saved from the immersion heaters to the power switch. So, you will strip 4 inches of wire shielding off the wires.

Then separate these two wires about 6 inches apart. And you will use one of these wires to connect the power switch.

Connecting Power Switch

Your power switch has multiple posts. The multimeter you sourced will be useful to find the ideal posts for connecting the wire to the switch.

You will cut an 8-inch-long wire from one of the wires you cut from the heating ends. Then you will solder one end of the wire to the second post on the switch.

You will tuck the rest of the wire in the enclosure and put the switch in its hole. 

Connect The Heater Leads

Since you’re using three heating elements, you want to wire the heater leads together. With each heater having two leads, you want to form two lead bundles of three leads each.

Then solder a 6-inch-long wire to each lead bundle.

You will cap the wires with a wire nut and use the electrical tape to cover the soldered ends.

You will connect the wire soldered to one lead bundle to incoming electrical power. And connect the other end to the power switch.

Connect The PID Controller

You will need a diagram to connect your PID controller to the circuit. The hot glue gun will come in handy to insulate the connection points within the circuit. Once you’ve connected the PID controller, your setup is ready for final assembly.

Assembly of Component of The Sous Vide Machine

You will use the Krazy Glue to stick the J-shaped clamp to the enclosure. Specifically, you want to put this clamp to the bottom-front. Then wait for the glue to dry.

Take the nut your eye bolt came with and stick it inside the hole you made on the J clamp.

You will use the Tub & Tile Silicone 1® Sealant again to seal the opening through which the pump’s power cord passes. That’s when you can put the back cover for the closure back and seal openings with the electrical tape.

The pump is an essential part, and you want to add it to the assembly. And to do this, you want to stick it to the J clamp using its suction feet.

You also want to ensure the water outlet of the pump emits water to the middle of the heating coils. 

Programming the PID Controller

If you’re a home cook using your newly-built sous vide machine, you know how essential it is to do sous vide cooking at a precise temperature.

And that’s where the PID controller comes in. you will use it to control your sous vide machine and set the target temperature.

You will press the SET button on the PID controller to enter code 0089. Then you will press the SET button again.

You can then set the Inty value to Pt 10.0 (this is the temperature display to one decimal point). You can end the programming process and exit the menu.

Cooking With the Built Sous Vide Machine

If you’re looking to cook your steak using the sous vide cooking method, you want to season your steak first. Then you have it vacuum sealed with sous vide plastic bags.

You might even need a vacuum sealer to seal the steak excellently.

You can then place the vacuum sealed steak in the temperature controlled water bath. Then you will leave the steak to cook for 4 hours for medium rare doneness.

Your built sous vide machine will cook sous vide steak excellently if you’ve built it following the correct steps.

Final Thoughts

You can build your own sous vide machine with readily available parts. At least, you will buy most of these components.

Your sous vide machine allows you to cook meals to a precise temperature and time. And with a thermocouple as your temperature sensor, you will bring the water bath to a precise temperature. 

You can then precisely cook your steak or any vacuum sealed meal and lock all the flavors and juices in the sous vide plastic bag.

A rice cooker could also allow you to do sous vide cooking, but you will require additional components for the setup. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to do sous vide cooking.

You can just buy a few components and build your own sous vide machine at a fraction of the cost!

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