How I Built My Own Sous Vide Machine

For those of you who have never heard of sous vide, a sous vide machine is a kitchen appliance that creates a circulating water bath that can hold extremely stable at a certain temperature (much like the water baths used in biology labs). The water bath allows anyone to cook a food (usually cuts of meat) to the perfect internal temperature and has found a lot of success in both professional and home kitchens. For a while though, these machines could be $1000+, making them inaccessible to most people. Luckily for me, Scott Heimendinger found a way to make a cheap sous vide machine and posted all of the plans online. You can find them here:

DIY Sous Vide Plans

After reading about sous vide, I’ve always wanted to try it. I love both the eating part and also exploring how science can be used to better food. So I decided to give this sous vide machine a shot.

DIY Sous Vide in action!
DIY Sous Vide in action!

To anyone that’s worried about if they can actually build it or not, I would say it’s not quite as hard as it seems. Everything fits together pretty easily and the wiring, while intimidating at first,feels kind of like an adult version of connect the dots. At the same time, building this machine is a pretty large time commitment (maybe 8 hours or so for me).

The hardest part was definitely cutting the holes out of the plastic enclosure. I don’t work yet, but even if I did I doubt I would have a laser cutter at work that I could use (lucky Scott!). Instead, I had to pre-mark the box and then drill holes in the center of the marked areas; I later enlarged those holes to fit the specifications. If I were to do it again, I would rather take however long to find myself a laser cutter to use than spend another couple of hours with an acrylic box and needle files.

After finishing it, I got a good 6 months of use out of it. I made steaks, perfect poached eggs, you name it! Unfortunately, the pump has stopped working; the heating elements are also slipping out because of the badly filed holes. I can still kind of use it, but it requires taping/gluing before each go and doesn’t circulate the water. So for now, my sous vide machine is dead–but I promise it will be back, and with some improvements. I’m thinking a custom laser cut enclosure? and maybe a more compact size?

One thought on “How I Built My Own Sous Vide Machine

  1. I’m glad that you were inspired to build your own machine! Sorry to hear that it’s having some issues… Silicone glues are really good for this scenario.

    But, if you’re ever looking to take the next leap forward in sous vide devices, the Sansaire (Sansaire.com) is the ultimate evolution of the DIY build. At $199, it’s not quite as cheap as DIY, but we hope still within reach!

    Like

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