The goal here was to create a sous vide machine that was similar to a panini maker. There was something currently on the market that was basically a George Forman with a PID controller that was supposed to be as accurate as a traditional sous vide machine. It didn't seem likely since the metal plates couldn't conform to the sides of the food, especially in a thick cut of meat. I tried converting a panini maker to a clamshell sous vide machine by adding water filled bladders to the top and bottom. A PID controller was embedded in the top of the machine, immersed in the water inside.
It was extremely difficult to control the water temperature, especially between the top and bottom. The top was a different temperature than the bottom (by design? due to poor manufacturing?), and since they use two separate heating elements, I would have needed two PIDs and to wire the elements separately. Even if the temperature difference could be controlled, it was difficult to bleed the air out of the system since you couldn't see inside of the bladders. I tried to source clear siicone sheets, but even if the inside was visible, it was difficult to bleed the air. This caused the bladder to expand drastically when heated. There was also the issue of leakage, which might have been another way for air to get inside the system.
Created a lofted structure for the bottom plate.
Sponges provided too much resistance so created a bowl-like shape to help keep food and juices contained.
Trapped air in bladder expands when heated.
Swapped out fill plug with a bleed valve, but still difficult to fully remove air.