How to convert scavenged microwave parts into a useful arc welding machine. This is part 2 of 2, and focuses on the electrical system and finishing touches.
Here’s Part 1 if you haven’t see that yet: https://goo.gl/H0FWxE
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Stick Welder: https://goo.gl/ZmccT9Microwave Hack: https://goo.gl/SQKzn5Spot Welder: https://goo.gl/3eEfLxElectric Arcs: https://goo.gl/SgLxgi
Jason Shaw (RP-5CentsBack)
Project Inspired By:
The electrical system was experimental and proved by trial and error using ideas from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformer and http://www.youtube.com/user/MatsAwesomeStuff – specifically his video: http://youtu.be/-NLy-LL_TGQ
I run the system on 240 VAC, which is metered by a power controller I built called the “Scariac”. It’s similar to the idea of a Variac (variable auto-controller), with a few more hazards to be aware of. The Micro-Welder itself does not have an on-off switch, and can pose a fire hazard if plugged directly into a mains power socket. I made this to be used exclusively with the Scariac. (Look for how to build that in another project.) Stick welding, and/or the modification of a Microwave Oven Transformer (M.O.T), can be very dangerous and presents risk of UV radiation, shock hazards, burns, fires, fumes and a multitude of other risks. This project should not be attempted without adult supervision and adequate training. Misuse, or careless use, of tools or projects may result in serious injury. Use of this video content is at your own risk.
Project History & More Info:
In this video I tried making my own copper lugs from pieces of 1/2″ copper tubing. When crimped onto a length of wire, this gives the option of being able to switch around, or replace the electrode wires.
The board I used for the transformer platform is 7″ x 10″
I used a plastic container as a casing for the welder, and a platform for the transformers that was small enough to keep the entire assembly compact.
The idea of the Microwave Welder isn’t new, but to date, I personally haven’t come across a video or project where anyone actually welded anything with one. The most that’s been shown is to lay a bead on a piece of metal, which I didn’t feel was very credible because this doesn’t prove it can weld. My earlier experiments with 1 MOT could also lay a bead, but it didn’t have enough heat or penetration to make anything stick. A welder also needs a way to reliably control the amperage (which no other project does). I saw one project where dimmer switches were used on the primary coils, however dimmer switches are only able to handle around 600 watts, and these stick welders require upwards of 2,000-3,000 watts. In my experience, the dimmer switches fail very quickly and within a couple minutes of trying to weld.
I’m happy to say that the welder in my project does work for me. It welds 1/16″ AC rods very well, and I believe the transformer temperatures are very reasonable and sustainable for the amount of welding I plan to do as a simple hobbiest welder.