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How I Built a Tiny Electric Metal Melting Furnace

Updated: Mar 3, 2023

Have you ever wanted to melt a small amount of metal like aluminum to make some DIY jewelry? Maybe you don't want to spend money or build a bulky propain or charcoal burning rig, well this little tin can furnace might do the trick.

This little tiny electric tin can melting furnace can really melt metal! It runs on 24v DC and it only uses little amps to power. This micro furnace can turn a small graphite crucible red hot in about 10 minuets, just cut up a few pieces of aluminum from a pop can, place in the crucible and voilà make all the charms you want, but be careful tho. Now of course I don't recommend building this and it's only for educational purposes, but it was really easy to make and probably better than using a torch. Of course you could buy one of those cheap ZVS high frequency induction heating boards for like $30, but you'll find out how sensitive and frustrating they are.

Now I'm not sure how I came up with this idea, It was one of those projects that just popped in my head one day probably after playing around with a ZVS induction board and small graphite crucible I bought on Ali for shits and giggles. Unfortunately my ZVS board kept burning out and I was sick of replacing Mosfets and diodes.

ZVS Board

Materials used for this project: Tin can... okay theirs more things needed than that, first off we need a heating coil, I figured a kiln coil would work for this project. Kiln coils are made of a mix of metals like chromium, aluminum, and iron to list a few, and they need to be resistant to high temperatures or they would just sag and lose there shape very quickly. So the searching began for elements, I found some cheap coils on Ali, the coils I used were are Alchrome, 800 watts. I only ordered three of them, but they were pretty reasonable in cost because they multiply in size when stretched and I didn't even use one full coil.

Second I will need to connect the two sets of coils together, I already had a roll of nichrome wire and figured that's perfect because nichrome wire is used for heating elements for foam cutters and other applications, it can handle high temps around 2500 F degrees. Why I didn't I just use one long coil you may ask, well because I wanted to make this a low voltage furnace for safety reasons, I needed the coils fairly short about 4 iches or they wouldn't get hot enough at 24v.

Next thing were going to need something to insulate the can and to keep the heat concentrated in the can, usually you would use foundry cement or bricks but I wanted to make this simple, light, tiny and portable. With a little research I found ceramic wool, this type of insulation can handle temps up to 2600 degrees F and 1425C now that's pretty good most metals melt under 2600 degrees, now you could use carbon felt, it can handle even more temps around 3000C but it's more expensive and not necessary.

After cutting out a tin can I started putting together the furnace, just a heads up if you ever work with ceramic wool always wear a mask. In the video below it shows the complete build of this tiny furnace, what I'm covering in this blog is all the things I left out.

Conclusions: I cut up a few pieces of a pop can and placed inside of tiny graphite crucible that I bought on Ali, to power the heater I connected two car batteries together in series and had my 24v. I just used two wires with alligator clips to hookup and placed the unit on ground, now a high temp cord with crimps, a light switch and the can mounted to a piece of sheet metal, would be better, maybe next time.

When I first turned on the micro tin can melting furnace It got hot fast, you defiantly want to do this outside, things will be burning off the coils, crucible and the metal you're trying to melt, so stay safe and wear gloves. After a few minuets when the crucible was red the aluminum was melted way before that so I should have taken the lid off sooner, to get the crucible out I wrapped the crucible with some some nichrome wire so I could pull it out with some pliers, if not I would need some small tongs which I don't have.

All in all it works, I only tried it once but I might use it again if I want to melt just a small amount of metal for a project, now I need to do more testing to see what other metals will melt in the can furnace, I will post the results soon.

Thanks for reading, Please check out my YT channel ✌

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