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Published on 28 Mar 2013 | over 5 years ago

Did you know you can make an AC arc welder using parts from your microwave? I just finished mine, so join me in this video as we put its welding capabilities to the test!

Endcard Links:

Arc Welder PT. 1: goo.gl/H0FWxE
Arc Welder PT. 2: goo.gl/jz0fn7
The Scariac: bit.ly/Scariac
The Metal Melter: goo.gl/jolsPz

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Welding galvanized metals can release toxic zinc-oxide fumes. Proper eye protection and ventilation are recommended. 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.

Music By: Jason Shaw (TU-FeelsGood2B) www.audionautix.com

Project Inspired By:

thepaashaas www.youtube.com/watch

Project History & More Info:

This video is the end result of 3 other project videos which will be edited and uploaded over the next couple of months. Those videos will show how I modified the transformers, and how to control the current, but they aren't available at the moment, hence the "Coming Soon" on the annotations.

This project video comes after quite a bit of thinking and experimenting with different ways to modify the microwave stick welder into something that actually works, and would actually be a useful tool to have around the shop.

There are a few videos on the internet that show various people who have tried making a stick welder from a Microwave Oven Transformer. There are even a couple of tutorials suggesting how to do it. However, in my experience of trying to duplicate these projects, my MOT welder either got so hot that the insulation on the wires melted and shorted it out, and/or it didn't provide enough power to strike and maintain an arc.

To date, I haven't seen a video or project where anyone actually welded anything with one of these "so-called" microwave welders. The most that's been shown is to lay a bead on a piece of metal. But this doesn't prove it can weld. My earlier attempts could also lay a bead, but they 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.

To see exactly how I built this welder, look for Part 1 and Part 2 on how to make the Microwave Stick Welder.
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