Step 3: Safety (seriously)

Picture of safety (seriously)
Smelting in a microwave isn't a bad idea, but does require some precautions to be safe.

It should go without saying that molten metal, hot bricks, radiation and fire can cause harm you you and everything around you., Be aware of your surroundings and always use appropriate safety measures when dealing with hazardous methods and materials. 

Here's my setup:
  • Face shield
  • Eye protection
  • Oven mitt
  • Metal tongs/grips
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Bucket of water
  • Outside environment
The water bucket shown here was our emergency backup. As you can see from the video we ended up using it. Always unplug your microwave and other electrical equipment before introducing any water. Electrical equipment and water do not mix!
kelseymh2 years ago
You do not want to use water to douse the sort of fire you caused in your microwave!
Instead of the bucket of water, keep a bucket of dry sand on hand. A small 1-gallon bucket like you have will have enough sand to fill the microwave, and will be light enough (about two to three times as heavy as the water) to pick up and throw.

You don't want to have to remember to unplug the burning oven before using the water -- stop the flames FIRST! When you forget, you'll have bigger problems on your hands. Also, throwing water on molten metal is going to generate superheated steam and droplets of boiling water coming back into your face.

Once you have the flames suppressed, you can unplug the unit, or throw the breaker, or whatever you need to do to finish cleaning up the mess.
mikeasaurus (author)  kelseymh2 years ago
Good safety tips.
The video doesn't show the full dangerous hilarity of the unprepared attempt: The microwave was unplugged after the insulation caught fire and there was a good moment of panic when we couldn't decide to close the door to starve the fire, or open it to extinguish. We left it closed, and the fire started melting the microwave, opening the door made it worse and the fire extinguisher had no pressure (dial indicated it was full). The water was only meant to be used as a last resort, which quickly became our only resort. I had my doubts that the microwave would get hot enough to work, and didn't prepare adequately.

I think I covered safety well enough in written form, but people draw all kinds of conclusions from watching the video without reading the narrative.
Never forget the last words of many a Darwin Award winner, "Hey, guys! Watch this!"

mikeasaurus (author)  kelseymh2 years ago
With borderline projects like this, I'm sure my name will make that list someday. At least now I know what I'll say!
Either that or, "Hey bro, hold my beer..."