This Backyard Arc Furnace Can Liquify Copper, Steel And Rocks In Minutes

Arts and crafts don't involve that much melting — plastic beads and glue perhaps — but when you upgrade to metal, it's hard to get anywhere without a bit of heat. Not one for half measures, self-proclaimed "King of Random" Grant Thompson built his own arc furnace to transform hard materials into their gooey counterparts to create copper ingots and... carbonite Han Solos?

The furnace part consists of two carbon rods taken from a heavy duty battery and a stick welder built from bits of microwave. Put the rods together inside the proper protective container and moments later, you're playing with temperatures well into the 1600°C range.

Thompson uses his jury-rigged furnace to destroy copper and steel pipes as well as a couple of rocks he found in his backyard. His crowning achievement? A tiny replica Han Solo inside his cosy carbonite prison. It looks really cool, actually.

Despite the do-it-yourself vibe, it's hard to recommend this project as one you can try at home. As Thompson points out in the video's description, not only do you have to contend with dangerous levels of heat and electricity, but the potential for toxic fumes depending on the materials you're using.

Thompson's rig tops out at four minutes of continuous running, after which the electrodes are too hot to hold and run the risk of melting his gloves.

[YouTube, via The Awesomer]


Comments

    And in next week's follow up post, Grant Thompson receives a visit from the friendly chaps at the AFP ...

    Last edited 16/02/15 9:20 am

      Why? He's not doing anything even remotely illegal

        "Dangerous levels of heat and electricity, not to mention the potential for toxic fumes"

        I'm not saying he will necessarily end up being charged with anything, but you can bet he will at least get a visit from Plodd for a 'please explain' chat. You know we live in a perennial 'nanny state' - anything even REMOTELY 'dangerous' and / or innovative (i.e anything cool) is invariably subject to 'official' scrutiny and suspicion. Heaven forbid people try to do anything remotely fun or interesting in the privacy of their own homes.

        Last edited 17/02/15 9:43 am

          I could be doing all sorts of dangerous things with a welder or really any power tool in my garage. I could be using heaps of household chemicals that produce dangerous fumes.

          Unless I'm buying high quantities of fertilizer, none of that warrants a visit from any law enforcement let alone the AFP.

          Example:
          A friend of a friend is doing a PHD in some sort of rocket engine modeling. He's spent 6 months buying chemicals for jet fuel and rocket fuel on ebay. He got a "please explain" email from the authorities. Nothing more.
          And even then, it was from unusual online purchasing activity and not playing with dangerous things in the garage.

            He got a "please explain" email from the authorities. Nothing more.

            There you go - your mate DID get a 'please explain' email. OK so maybe Grant will just get one of those and not an actual visit - but I'm saying some 'higher power' will definitely ask him a few leading questions one way or another.

            I'm not saying ANY of this stuff 'warrants' a visit - hell, my entire point is our authorities are WAAAY too uptight - if I had MY way we could blow shit up, fly drones all over over the place, and have BB guns, Airsoft and replica weapons all to our hearts content - unfortunately none of it flys with our Australian utterly humour-less and fun-loathing 'guardians of society'.

            I'm saying unfortunately the powers-that-be in their infinite wisdom are very likely to look at the line 'dangerous levels of heat and electricity, and potential for toxic fumes' and ask Grant some questions, if they don't go for the all-too-predictable 'overkill' button.

            Last edited 18/02/15 4:23 pm

              I remember when I was a lad, and everyone was a lot less up-tight. I had an archery set with fibreglass arrows that my grandpa sent from overseas (with no issue) that could easily have taken a few eyes out at the very least (if not causing serious injury if aimed right / hunting arrowheads attached). The kids in my street (Western suburbs of Sydney) had full BB rifles. I few years later ('93 - 94 ?) I had an accurate Airsoft replica I brought in from overseas (again with no issue) that fired plastic BBs ... it left a nice little welt on my mate's forehead when I shot him in the face while we all out of our gourds at a high school party we had at my place while the folks were away :)

              Second Airsoft I owned I think. Good times !

              Alas, like all Airsofts the spring broke after a year or two and it died ... and now owning something like that here in Oz would get me jail time on ACTUAL firearms offences. Ridiculous :(

              Last edited 18/02/15 4:36 pm

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