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Conversion of battery charger to wood burner

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Blog entry by jeffthewoodwacker posted 1628 days ago 3988 reads 4 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I make a lot of my own tools for wood turning and recently decided to add wood burning techniques to my turned pieces. There are several posts on various sites about to build a wood burner from a battery charger. The first step was to purchase a 6 amp manual battery charger from NAPA. I attached a four gang metal electrical box to the back of the charger. A standard light switch was wired into the electrical cord, followed by a 600 watt single pole light dimmer switch. I cut the alligator clips off of the charger cables and ran those cables through a wooden handle that I had turned. The cables are attached to a Euro-connector which I purchased at Radio Shack. The euro connector has to be stripped of all the plastic before it can be used. JB Weld was used to secure this assembly into the turned handle. Nichrome 16 and 18 gauge wire is used to make the burning tips. This wire can be bent and formed to make various designs that can be burnt into wood. A copper nail can also be filed or ground into various shapes and attached to the Nichrome wire. This little unit vaporizes wood and works great. Entire cost to build was $48.00 – fun factor off the chart. Caution – if you build one of these follow all safety precautions. Having some electrical knowledge is helpful. If you want detailed instructions send me a PM. There is a lot of information on how to build this on the web. I would like to thank all the folks on Wood Central for sharing their knowledge.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.



5 comments so far

View Jimthecarver's profile

Jimthecarver

1121 posts in 2419 days


#1 posted 1627 days ago

I thank you for this post. I have been thinking about building one of these from junk I have laying around. Using a charger makes the build so much easier.
The dimmer I suspect controls the burner temp.?
Good idea.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3034 days


#2 posted 1627 days ago

Thats an interesting tool Nice job Jeff.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View StevenAntonucci's profile

StevenAntonucci

355 posts in 2572 days


#3 posted 1627 days ago

Pretty cool. You might want to jumper the ends of the pen to get th heat away from the wood. I had an issue with it melting the terminal blocks until I did, and Graeme Priddle recommended that to me. If you look at Charlie Belden’s article, you see the section I wrote for how to do this.

-- Steven

View jockmike2's profile

jockmike2

10635 posts in 2880 days


#4 posted 1627 days ago

I’m kinda the guy who likes to blow things up in the garage. Don’t tell my insurance company. It’s fun to experiment though, you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t, right Karson, Well a finger once in a while but what the heck, we got ten.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile

jeffthewoodwacker

603 posts in 2438 days


#5 posted 1627 days ago

Jim – the dimmer switch controls the burner temp – get the Lutron switch from Lowes, it does a better job than the one that Home Depot sells. Steven, I saw Graeme Priddle’s write up and read Charlie Belden’s article before I built the unit and incorporated a heat sink attached to the terminal blocks inside the handle. Seems to work great. One other hint that I picked up was to bypass the internal circuit breaker built into the battery charger.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

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