In this project, you'll learn step by step how to modify a microwave oven transformer into a high-current device that can pump out 800 amps of electrical current, which is enough amperage to melt metal.
If you liked the Metal Melter you saw in my previous project, here's how you can make your own!
Start by finding an old microwave for free. The bigger, the better.
You can find them in various places, like on free classified ads, or in your neighbors garbage can, like where I found this one. The transformer (MOT) is the piece that you'll need, and it looks like this.
CAUTION: Make sure you're familiar with the dangers of opening a microwave, because there are components inside that may still carry a charge and could hurt, or even kill you. Even if the microwave isn't plugged in.
The transformer core is only held together by two very thin welds, as seen on the side of this one.
A hacksaw, or angle grinder can be used to cut the weld, then a hammer and chisel used to break it open, giving you access to the primary and secondary coils.
Be very careful taking the primary coil out, because you'll need it again. Make sure not to bend, break, or scratch it in any way.
NOTE: The secondary coil is harder to get out, and may be damaged by the time you do, but that's okay, because we don't need it for this project. However, if you can salvage it intact, it may be a source of thin gauge enameled copper wire for future projects.
Okay, your transformer core should now be bare. These are the "E" and "I" sections of the core, and have been scraped with a chisel to remove glue and paper stuck to the insides.
The next step is to carefully replace the primary coil, an ensure it's snug at the bottom of the core. Then add a 5' length of 2 AWG insulated copper cable. This thicker cable will extend the amount of time a massive electrical current can flow before the cable overheats.
The secondary cable is only wrapped 1-3/4 times around the center.
If you don't have a way to weld the base back on, you can use some 2-part epoxy-glue and apply to all the surfaces that will be in contact.
Then clamp it together to let the glue set. I used my bench vise as a clamp and it worked perfectly!
When the glue is dry, your Metal Melter should look similar to this. None of the wires are actually touching each other, but what it can do is very impressive.
The output voltage on this is just barely over 2 volts, but the amps are closer to 800! That's enough current to melt iron nails and steel bolts on contact!
I found a practical use for The Metal Melter, in making a Spot Welder like this one.
The electrical current can be concentrated to a single point, to fuse thin sheets of metal together. This is known as a "spot weld".
You can see how I made this in a different project.
Now you know how to make The Metal Melter!
If you liked this project, perhaps you'll like some of my others. Check them out at thekingofrandom.com.