Introduction: Convert a Broken Microwave Into a Mailbox

Don't you wish you had a mailbox that was waterproof? One that would be large enough to hold small-to-medium sized packages? One with enough space to hold all your mail if you go out of town for a few days?

Do you have a dead microwave oven? Yes? Then your wish is about to come true!

Step 1: Remove Unneeded Parts.

Take apart the broken microwave and remove the electrical cord and all of the mechanical innards, except the parts that belong to the door latch mechanism. Reassemble. This will make the box a lot lighter and easier to support on the mailbox pole. If you don't want to do this you can probably get away with just cutting off the electrical cord.

[EDITED TO ADD:] Here is an instructable that will explain how to do this without risking electrocution:
https://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Take-Apart-A-Microwave

Step 2: Decoration (Optional).

Take measurements of your box and create a decorative design for it. We did ours in Adobe Illustrator and then printed it out at actual size.

Next we traced the outlines of the design directly onto the box and taped off the areas that were to remain white. We applied the first color of spray paint. We repeated this for each spray paint color - we recommend going from light to dark - in our case yellow, red, then black. Be sure to allow enough time between colors for the paint to dry completely. We admit to have jumped the gun a bit on this step ourselves, to some detriment.

When all coats are dry, remove all the tape to reveal the design. The quality of the art will vary depending on your art materials and your skill using them - our results were fair - it's a little rough up close but looks great from the street.

After decorating, we removed the flag from our old crappy mailbox and gorilla glued it onto the microwave.

Step 3: Create a Base.

Cut a piece of scrap wood the size of the bottom of the mailbox. Drill two holes in the bottom, and two corresponding holes in the bottom of the microwave.

Use these holes to mount bolts that will hold the box in place. The bolts do not permanently attach the microwave to the board. It simply sits on top and the bolts keep it from moving about. We ourselves are not overly concerned about microwave mailbox theft, but if you are we might suggest using some industrial glue or cement at the base of the bolts where the oven will be at rest.

For our box, one bolt is very long and the other short - the longer extends into the space where the machinery once was and the shorter is on in on the side where the inside of the box is. It was not necessary to drill the hole all the way through into the box space in order to have a bolt long enough to secure the box onto the scrap board.

Step 4: Attach Your Base to a Post.

We used L brackets for this. We already had a post from our old, crappy mailbox. If you need a post - well, we don't know anything about sinking posts - but we bet you can find a tutorial online without much trouble!

Step 5: Box Placement.

Place the box over the bolts and wait for the mail carrier to arrive, confused.

Comments

author
ADRIANT28 made it!(author)2017-04-17

Relating to this, one I had an old microwave that wasn't working properly so I put it outside for Sunday junk collection. Someone crashed her can in our mailbox and I the microwave. The microwave was snagged and the mailbox was broken. Thankfully she bought us a new mailbox and installed it for us.

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MokiJon made it!(author)2016-06-02

LOVE this, and love the happy comments, too. Isn't it great when internet commenters are nice to each other? Linda

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Yonatan24 made it!(author)2015-09-29

Awesome!

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Scott_Tx made it!(author)2010-05-31

Now you can use the door switch attached to a wireless door bell to know when its been opened.

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twisted made it!(author)2010-06-05

Twitter mail box anyone?

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garywpalmer made it!(author)2010-05-31

There you go!  An upgrade!

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Weissensteinburg made it!(author)2010-05-31

 That's a really smart idea.

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blodefood made it!(author)2010-05-31

Awesome idea!  The graphic you put on it says "hot mail!"  :-)

One caution, though.  If you're away, always have your mail picked up on a daily basis.  People will notice when you are away which could lead to break-ins.


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nickodemus made it!(author)2010-05-31

That is awesome. Nuff said.

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zomfibame made it!(author)2010-05-31

wow, that is pretty cool; I kinda' doubt the mail carriers in my section of the universe would go for it though.

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kcls made it!(author)2010-05-31

Nice job! Can you get a picture of the confused mailman?

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garywpalmer made it!(author)2010-05-31

Bravo!  This is awesome!!! I love instructables that make something useful out of something that would otherwise go to the landfill.  Just this morning I spent 2 hours in my garage dismantlng my old treadmill.  I broke down all of the steel parts and put them in my recycle trash.  I'm going to use the permenant magnet DC motor out of it to make a wind generator.  Even if I'm only able to power some garden lights with it, it will be worth it.

author
caitlinsdad made it!(author)2010-05-31

 That's the tradeoff from a rusty old mailbox, and if you happen to live in a snooty neighborhood, simple enameled steel will just not do.

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zack247 made it!(author)2010-05-30

cool. i'll pay you $250 for one.

(just kidding,i know its unique, and awesome too!)

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depotdevoid made it!(author)2010-05-30

Hey, that's MY microwave!

5 stars, awesome 'ible!

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caitlinsdad made it!(author)2010-05-30

Funny thing is that you can actually buy a .7 cubic foot new microwave oven for $45 bucks and mod it which is the same cost as a small dinky brass mailbox that always has your mail sticking out.

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l8nite made it!(author)2010-05-29

This is a really cool idea and as long as your getting your mail I suppose its ok but the USMAIL has all kinds of regulations about mailboxes. A different mail carrier may decide to be a stickler and not deliver your mail... best of luck

author
HenryBasenji made it!(author)2010-05-30

We have had no complaints registered from USPS. However, we live in an urban area where the mail carriers actually get out of their cars to deliver the mail.

It would appear that the most stringent regulations are reserved for people with curbside mailboxes: http://www.usps.com/receive/mailboxstandards.htm

Even in those cases I think it pretty likely they'd approve as long as it met all of the construction, measurement, installation and labeling criteria. A microwave is not very different from a regular mailbox from a structural standpoint.

Thanks!

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