How to Build a Welder

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Building a welder can be completed with regular household goods. The prime benefit of building a welder from scratch is the low cost. While many low-end welders cost hundreds of dollars, a welder designed for basic home use is very cost-effective. Anyone attempting to build this device should have a basic knowledge of electricity for safety reasons. In addition, it's important to know the limitations of a home-built welder. The device can be used for a variety of small welding jobs, such as reattaching metal pieces to household items, but should not be used for large-scale projects.

Things You'll Need

  • Microwave oven transformer Hacksaw blade 4-foot 4-gauge copper wire 7-inch-by-3-feet wood board 3 small pieces of wood Screws Drill 2-foot 3/8-inch copper tubing 2-foot 1/2-inch copper pipe 2 copper bolts 2-foot 8-gauge copper wire
  • Use a hacksaw blade to cut the secondary coil from the primary on a microwave oven transformer. Carefully separate the secondary from the core so you don't damage the coils. You can identify the difference in the two transformers by the number of turns and the gauge of the wiring. The secondary should have very thin wire and many thousands of turns, while the primary has approximately 18-gauge wire. After the two are separated, remove any remaining parts inside the core, leaving only the shunt and the primary.

  • Bend a 4-foot piece of grounding wire into a "U" shape. The grounding wire should be of approximately 4-gauge thickness. Bend and curl the free ends through the transformer core and then wrap them around the opposite side and repeat. Get at least three windings of the grounding wire as this will produce 3 to 6 volts. The lower the voltage, the higher the amperage; this is the reason for thicker wiring. Plug in the transformer to ensure it is producing output.

  • Place the board on a flat surface. Mount two pieces of wood near the edges of the board at the rear. Drill screws from the bottom into these two pieces.

  • Place a 3/8-inch soft copper tub inside a 1/2-inch hard copper pipe. Repeat on a second one. Drill holes into one end of the piping. Affix the first pipe in a horizontal position a few inches above the flat board. Attach with a screw. Place the second pipe a few inches above the other one, placing a small spring underneath its base, and secure it with screws. This will allow the upper piping to be adjustable, making the welder function at different sizes.

  • Drill a hole near the tips of the piping and insert two copper bolts. Make sure they are entirely vertical from each other, as this will enable the welder to function.

  • Attach a second piece of narrow plywood to the base of the welder. Attach the transformer to the plywood using screws. Run an 8-gauge wire from the transformer into each copper tube. Make sure the wiring reaches the tips of the copper tubing. Use a pair of vice grips to crimp the ends of the tubes for safety.

  • Mark the power switch on the transformer with a red dot for "on" and a black dot for "off." Ensure the transformer is fully enclosed so no wires are exposed. Wrap electrical tape around the 8-gauge wiring leading from the transformer to the copper tubes. Switch the power on and proceed to weld.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear gloves and welding goggles when welding, as the bright light can damage corneas. Make sure the transformer is not plugged in during assembly.

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  • Photo Credit Saperaud
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