If pushed to choose two things we particularly love out of all the world's possibilities, we'd probably go with laser cutters and home-made tools. When we can combine that into home-made laser-cut tools we're happy indeed, which is why Jack Davies' most recent project has us grinning from ear to ear: a homebrew spot welder encased in laser-cut wooden chassis.
Created to weld tabs onto 18650 power cells, Jack's welder is designed to be as cheap as possible. The bulk of its innards come courtesy an old microwave, from which the transformer, limit switches, cables and power switch were salvaged. The chassis and welding arm, as previously mentioned, are built from laser-cut MDF with clever lattice hinges for the wonderful curved corners.
Naturally, Jack's creation isn't what we'd describe as a beginner-friendly project. The re-wound transformer, required to change its output from high voltage to high amperage, is easily capable of ruining someone's day if not carefully handled, as is the likely still-charged capacitor found within the microwave body. Even when properly assembled, a welder poses potential risks from electrocution through to vision damage from the sparks.
For those who know what they're doing, though, or for anyone who simply wants to marvel at someone who does know what they're doing, Jack's Instructable on the project is well worth a visit. If you're new to laser-cut structures and do-it-yourself tools, perhaps start with something a little less hairy: try WENT, our laser-cut table, or our own lattice-hinged ADBB Arduino project box. For something a little more eye-catching, there's always the excellent MicroSlice laser cutter, too.
This project is an outline of how to build a resistance spot welder using salvaged parts from an old microwave. Im using it to weld nickel tabs onto 18650 battery cells but depending on how you position the arms it can be used to weld sheet metal and other metals objects. Lets get welding!