How to Build Your Own Hot Plate

An electric hot plate is safer than an open-flame hot plate.
An electric hot plate is safer than an open-flame hot plate. (Image: Close-up image of an electric range heating element image by Alexey Stiop from

Hot plates can be used for cooking, keeping food or drinks warm or heating chemicals in a lab. Hot plates can prove to be a very useful piece of equipment to keep around for various needs.

Things You'll Need

  • Ammunition box
  • 4 bolts and nuts
  • Non-fabric or wood pot rest
  • Electric lamp socket with wire and plug
  • 2 feet of asbestos-covered rod
  • 10 feet of No. 26 gauge heating wire
  • Electric drill with carbide tipped bit
  • Pliers

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Drill a hole in each of the 4 corners of the of the ammunition box, about 2 inches from the top.

Place a bolt into each of the holes and tighten with the nut.

Drill a hole in the bottom of one side of the ammunition box large enough for a plug to fit through.

Wrap the asbestos-covered rod tightly with the heating wire, leaving no more than 1 mm between each wrap. Be sure not to touch the heating wire to itself as you wrap. Reserve about 5 inches of heating wire at the end of the rod.

Place the electric lamp socket and wire inside the ammunition box and pull the plug through the hole drilled in the bottom of the box.

Coil the remaining 5 inches of wire inside the lamp socket and press securely in the base and sides of the lamp socket where a light bulb would typically go.

Use the pliers to coil the asbestos rod wrapped with heating wire in a circle or oval to fit inside the ammunition box, just over the bots on each corner.

Rest the coil on the bolts to create a floating heated stove coil inside the ammunition box.

Place the ammunition box on the pot rest, plug in the lamp wire to an outlet and your hot plate is ready to heat.


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