Modder’s Tools: A+ for the IR Thermometer

The infrared thermometer is an affordable and immensely useful tool that belongs in every modder’s toolbox. This handy little temperature gun gives instant temperature readings of anything you aim it at, whether it is the outside of a house or the inside of an engine bay. Mechanics, scientists, artists, chefs, modders, and more can all take advantage of this simple but effective device.

The IR Thermometer gun itself works by shining an infrared beam at a surface, which then bounces back into an IR sensor. The calculated temperatures is then displayed on the rear-facing LCD screen. Infrared beams are invisible, so a visible red laser is also shined at the point of measurement, to show the user exactly where the sample is being taken. The tool works on most surfaces, but struggles with high reflectivity or mirror-finish surfaces.

In my personal life, I have found an IR thermometer especially useful when working with spray paint. I make sure to compare the manufacturer’s recommended temps to that of the can and surrounding environment, to ensure nothing is too hot or too cold. I also periodically check the interior of my main work PC to make sure there are no hot spots developing, as well as any new systems I build to make sure there’s enough airflow to all components. I also  use it during maintenance of my 3D printer, to make sure the steppers aren’t overheating and my hotend and heated build plate are the same temperature as what is being read by the onboard thermistors.

Personally, I would recommend buying a Etekcity Lasergrip 774 IR Thermometer as in introductory model. It is well reviewed on Amazon and quite accurate, and can be purchased for under $20. It reads between -58 and 716 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a generous range from approximately the temperature of gasoline’s freezing point up to the working temperature of a soldering iron.

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