Step 1: Watch the Video!
Step 2: MOT (Microwave Oven Transformer)
The arc welder made sparks fly, but in the end, it wasn't enough power to make the metal stick, and the pieces of work would break apart with very little effort.
If I tried pumping more power into the welder, the wires would overheat and melt.
So to address this challenge, we'll be using 2 MOTs (Microwave Oven Transformers), because more transformers means more power!
Step 3: Transformers Transform
Step 4: A New Secondary
To make this jig, I used a piece of scrap wood and cut it so that it was as wide as the center of the transformer, and just a little shorter than the top. The length was cut so that it overhung about 1/2" from the ends.
I screwed wood panels on the top and bottom to guide the wires and keep them in place, then folded a piece of paper so that it fit in the groove.
Once mounted in a bench vice for leverage, the cable can be wound on.
For this project, try to round up around 50' of 8 AWG stranded copper cable from a local hardware store. You could probably save some money by scavenging for free wire, but I decided to look at the "end of coil" section at the hardware store, and was able to negotiate a deal for half price on the cable, so the 50' only cost me about $17.
These modified MOTs will need a new secondary that is 18 turns of the 8 AWG cable, and both MOTs will be tied together in series. I also found I needed to run the system on 240 volts AC to get the power output for good welding. My goal was 30+ volts AC with a variable amperage from 0-120+ Amps.
In practical terms, this means you need to wind the coil on the form so that you end up with 6 cable lengths high, and 3 cable lengths wide. Oh yeah, and it all needs to be able to fit back in the transformer, so wind it tight!
The first layer isn't too bad, but winding the second layer, and third get progressively more difficult, and may seem near impossible.
Once you get the 18 turns of wire to fit in the groove, you can fold the paper over, and tape it together to help the coil hold together.
Here's the tricky part .. get it off the jig without letting it unravel!
The top and bottom panels can be removed, and the block pushed out from the center of the coil.
I used electrical tape to make sure the coils stayed tight.
Step 5: Make the Transplant
I had the best success by using a set of clamps to squeeze the sides of the coil in, while I used a rubber hammer to gently tap the coil down.
When it's in, the coil had better fit below the top edge of the transformer, otherwise you won't be able to get the top back on.
Securing the top on is the same as in the Metal Melter project as well.
Basically, use 2 part epoxy glue to cover the entire top surface, then replace the iron lid and press it together tightly in clamps or a large vice.
It's extremely important to have a lot of pressure on the joint while the epoxy is setting. I let mine set for about 24 hours.
The modified transformer is complete! The secondary coil is so tight in there, that any vibrations from the 60Hz mains power will be kept to a minimum.
When both transformers are modified in the exact same way, we've basically got what we need for welding. All that's left is to clean it up a bit and make it more useful and presentable.
By the way, these two exposed wires from the secondaries will become our ground clip and stinger.
Step 6: On to Part 2
From this point, it isn't difficult to finish the system up into a nice little hobby welder. Watch how to do that in Part 2.
If you haven't see the video yet, it's not too late. Watch it here!
If you like this project perhaps you'll like some of my others. Check them out at www.thekingofrandom.com