Microwave Oven Foundry

microwave oven foundry

microwave oven + metal = fun

our pal barb dybwad from the unofficial apple weblog sent us this link.   (Editor from the far future: try the Wayback Machine).  david reid discusses a cheap and easy method for melting and casting metals in a common microwave.  apparently, this method requires only very minor modifications to the oven and is able to reach temperatures of around 1000 degrees celcius, thereby melting small amounts of cast iron.  i find this amazing since i still can’t figure out how to thaw the center of a frozen burrito of similar external temperature.  it looks like there is still some hacking to be done to find a process capable of melting steel, so i’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

when you are done making pewter army men, you may also want to check out the detailed photos of barb’s new mac mini.  lucky!

26 thoughts on “Microwave Oven Foundry

  1. I want to try this; but outdoors and on the end of a 100′ extension cord. “Distance is you your friend when it comes to radiation,” said Dr. Tim (a radiologist). Not to mention the possibility of (really) hot shrapnel…

  2. I’ve read an article on this before – it was a couple years ago, perhaps in Popular Science (or some such mag). There’s an obvious safety concern, but from what I’ve seen it may not be as bad as you might think. Regardless… be careful.

  3. If you notice, you have to get some powerful ceramic insulators and insulate the cast from the microwave.
    If you’re scared of radiation from a microwave, don’t even attempt this…

  4. Many people exagerate the dangers of Microwave. It is not like the typical “radiation” you hear of (meaning nuclear radiation.) Microwave is different. Number one, microwave is sent directionally from the microwave gun. As in, it will only affect where you’re pointing it.
    Two, microwave can be stopped with a metal grid (such as chicken wire), otherwise known as a Faraday shield.
    Third, microwave does not leave any radioactivity behind. The only damage from microwave is internal burning, you can’t get radiation poisoning from it or anything like that.
    Now don’t all go and do this, but you could probably remove the safety feature on your home microwave, open the door while it is running, and not be in danger.
    So really, you can easily make room for an “oops” or “doh”. Test it with a cheap piece of chicken wire leaning against the microwave facing you. That would protect you from any of that. As for burning, just don’t be stupid, don’t put flammable things in this device.

    It’s really not that bad.

    P.S., to the editor: this no-caps bullshit has got to go.

  5. 10th comment who ho
    anyway we man had a page on fun micro wave hacks
    it is okay very 93 esc i have treid some of them but the cd one makes the whole damned building smell like ass anyway you need more “hacks” involving things that are functional melting metal umm, well i don’t really ever do that and those who do usualy have other means of conveying….all in all still a cool hack

  6. As someone with years of blacksmithing experience, I can tell you that it must get hotter than 1000 degrees, although I think copper would be doable at that temperature. Iron (mild steel really, wrought iron is hard to find these days) isn’t even workable until you get to near 2000 degrees, and it won’t melt until above 2500.
    And if you’re wondering how I ever hit this site, I play with things from the coal forge as well as sourceforge. After all, blacksmiths might just be the original hackers.

  7. Wouldn’t Scientists/Philosophizers be the orginal hackers, hacking the truth into the ignorant? Or chemists/alchemists be the orginal hackers, hacking chemical states and compositions, like lead into gold? Or Steve Jobs (Phreaker) and the MITer’s (Like Limor and her Minty Mp3 <3) who coined the word be the original hackers?

    If anything, blacksmiths are just a bunch of script kiddies who make even more scripts for the true Hackers, Guys who like to hack and slash....

    Anyways, on with the alchemistic formulas:
    Aluminum: Melting point [/K]: 933.47 [or 660.32

  8. script kiddies use whatever they scavenge to cobble things together . .If a blacksmith doesn’t have a tool for something, he makes the tool from the raw material.that’s assembly.
    Oh and the first bicycle (arguably, there were “velocipeds” made before, but this one had pedals) was made by a blacksmith.
    With no arc welder. And no oxyacetylene torch.
    That’s a hacker.

  9. I wonder if this is hot enough to melt NaCl, sodium chloride (table salt)? If it is, the NaCl could be melted, and the resulting liquid could be electrolysized to create sodium and chlorine, and sodium, when in contact for water, is super explosive. Cool.

  10. Interesting. Direct resistance heating of the crucible might be more practical. A carbon stucko liner with wires connected on opposite sides connected to an AC plug. Check resistance before plugging in.

  11. whats to prevent someone from creating a weapon from the parts of a microwave? Shouldn’t you be able to use the magnetron and some basic sheetmetal skills and create a directional microwave beam? Given the power of some microwave ovens, this should create a weapon that is effective to several meters.


  12. Why are there so many doubters and nay-sayers here? Burn down the house? 100′ extension cord? No room for “ooops” or “d’oh”? Why are there so many Luddites here?

    You guys didn’t even read the actual article, or you would know there is nothing remotely dangerous about this, unless you pour hot metal in your lap.

    Better run and drain the dangerous gasoline from the car, quick.

  13. Wow. That webpage is looking a bit dated. First wrote it in HTML back in about 1995. The first microwave melted casting ( in silver) was made in 1993. Demonstrated the technique at a microwave conference at St Johns College, Cambridge in 1995. Ancient history.

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