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Monday, December 19, 2011

Using a Micro Wave Oven as a Foundry Oven

microwave smelter

Community Manager at Instructables, here to help you make fun and inspiring projects! I like mixing old ideas with new and reusing things not for their intended purpose; the results are sometimes me...
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Remember how your parents used to say "don't put metal in the microwave"? Prepare to throw that cardinal nugget of advice straight out the window because we're going to do just that. We're going to use a domestic, unmodified microwave to melt metal! 

I happened upon an article in an old Popular Science magazine (c.2003) about microwave smelting and thought it was so awesome I had to try it for myself. So, just what happens when you try to smelt metal in the microwave? Turns out, it works!

Also, if you do it wrong you end up with a fiery microwave disaster:


Video - microwave smelting

Video Link...

Here's some Research done in 2005 on
Microwave Smelting

Microwave melting

A domestic microwave oven melting metal at 1000 degrees Celsius
    Research is nearing completion on a system that will allow the melting and casting of bronze, silver, gold, and even cast iron, using an unmodified domestic microwave oven as the energy source.
    A potential foundry in every kitchen !!


David Reid

The first part of this Foundry Note describes a technique for using a domestic microwave oven to melt and cast, to accurate shape, small quantities (up to a quarter of a kilo) of bronze, silver, white metal or iron. The technique has been used to cast pieces from ceramic shell molds up to about 18cm high, and is an accessible alternative to other small-scale melting set-ups, for example the flask casting of jewelery.

The second part of the note describes thoughts and tests which led to the procedure. It offers guidance and some warnings, to anyone making investigations into metal heating by microwave.

Some pictures of the process



The microwave oven has been put on it's side to provide extra height in the chamber. After 18 minutes firing, the door has just been opened.

More Pics...

Very interesting... I have been looking into "Home Built" Foundry's for a while. And this is the first I have seen, on using a Micro Wave Oven as a Foundry Oven. It would be very easy to do and I do have an old Microwave in the Garage. It's pretty old and I don't know what the Wattage is on it. And I want to Smelt Aluminum and Brass. Still, it might be worth a try... But, I do remember giving that Micro Wave to my Brother and it ending up back in the Garage. Hmmm... Well, I don't think that I would ever want anyone to use it for cooking, after melting metal in it!:O


Microwave Oven Foundry
microwave oven foundry - Hack a Day
Smelting metal in your microwave oven - Hack a Day
microwave smelter
microwave smelting - YouTube
microwave smelter - full instructable
Metals - Melting Temperatures
David Reid Teaches accessible foundry techniques at colleges around the world
Microwave melting of metals
Reid Technique, bronze, silver and gold casting
Microwave cast pictures

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