Saturday, September 5, 2009

Collector Fins from Tom's Super Press

Sometime back Tom built this super press for making the grooved fins for our homemade solar water heating collectors. Tom has indicated that time and material permitting, he is willing to make plates for others -- details here...

Tom is a long time friend of Build-It-Solar and has contributed plans for several very well done projects.


These appear to me be to be very well formed plates, and very likely will perform better than commercially made heat spreader plates.

If you are wondering what in the world this is all about, see this entry on construction the solar water heating collectors that use these plates...



  1. Gary,
    Just a couple updates on the absorbers. I've shipped them out to several builders and we could post a few FAQ's. I can press them out to 5/8" (for 1/2" copper or PEX) and 3/4" (for 5/8" PEX). I'm not seeing any demand for the 3/4" though. My initial order for the material was supposed to be for 500 lbs, but they ran 610 lbs on me and I had to take it. That equates to 3570' of which I only needed about 1,000', since the local builders that pooled with me backed out. Obviously, I am happy to supply anyone with material. I'm getting $.65 a foot for the material, which covers my material cost and a small fee to press them out. I can provide 24" to 36" lengths. On large orders, the longer the better (lot of press time). So far every order has run under $20 in freight. A last point, I use a PPG product to clean and prep before paint. The aluminum cleaner is PPG "DX 533" ( 3:1 water to cleaner), which I wipe on with a soaked rag and follow before drying with a dry rag. The second process it to treat with the aluminum condition "DX 503" by wiping with a wipe rag (100% strong) the area to be painted and then follow with a dry towel before it dries. The paint really sticks nicely once the aluminum is properly prepped. In addition, I'm priming the groove on absorbers that are in direct contact with copper to protect from dissimular metal corrosion.

  2. Elsewhere, Gary has made an efficient collector using these fins and PEX pipe.

    In the meantime, NREL has proven that PEX is freeze tolerant.

    Therefore, if your DIY panel is pretty close to the house you can save a lot of money on heat exchangers and custom drainback tanks with a direct freeze tolerant system design.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

/* Start Analytics ---------------- */ /* End Analytics ---------------- */