Fractal Burning Transformer Box

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Project by Jim Jakosh posted 08-21-2016 02:48 AM 3669 views 7 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have to put on a demo of this fractal burning at the guild meeting and I thought I should have all the wires and the transformer covered up for safety. Along with building the box for it, I made some electrodes like I just saw in a video yesterday. One is weighted to stay down on the part and the other is a wand made of PVC so I can easily start a pattern anywhere without stopping to unplug and relocate the clips . The last shots show it working on a scrap piece of maple burl that was cracked. Now I’m ready to go!!

The second shot is the top of the box with a little burn pattern in it. There are lots of holes in the box to keep the transformer cool.
The box is made from any scrap plywood the was the right dimension for the parts needed. It is painted black and the top and rocking electrode are coated with clear lacquer.

Cheers, Jim

I just reworked my old transformer box for fractal burning on 10-21-18.
I used a different transformer and made new safer electrodes and put in a variable rheostat for low voltage burning and a switch and pilot light. it also has a swing down handle to get out of the way of the switches on top. This box is going to Arizona.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

38 comments so far

View John's profile


2107 posts in 2519 days

#1 posted 08-21-2016 02:59 AM

Nice set up Jim. Good luck with the demo.

-- John, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada.

View lew's profile


13431 posts in 5005 days

#2 posted 08-21-2016 03:37 AM

I’ve got to try this!

Did you use anything to help make the wood conductive? I’ve read that Baking soda/water sprayed on the surface aids in creating the conductivity.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5301 days

#3 posted 08-21-2016 03:39 AM

CRAZY… Just plain CRAZY!


You’ve GOT IT!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View UncleStumpy's profile


745 posts in 3562 days

#4 posted 08-21-2016 03:53 AM

My sisters’ husband was a welder for Com ED for 30+ years and I asked him if he could make one for me and he sure he could, but he wouldn’t because he was afraid I might kill myself.
That makes two of us. So I am glad you know what you are doing!

-- "They don't want it perfect - they want it SPECIAL"

View joegard's profile


16 posts in 2996 days

#5 posted 08-21-2016 04:25 AM

I’ve been thinking about doing this for awhile. I like the idea of putting everything in a box to help keep from accidentally touching the transformer. Gotta be REAL careful but the results are worth it.

View luv2learn's profile


3145 posts in 3552 days

#6 posted 08-21-2016 05:12 AM

What an awesome art form Jim. Good luck with your demo.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View peteg's profile


4438 posts in 4072 days

#7 posted 08-21-2016 05:54 AM

Good luck with the demo Jim, just make sure there are no fire detectors armed ::)))
you don’t want a bill for a false call out
cheers bud

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5100 days

#8 posted 08-21-2016 06:31 AM

Amazing result, nicely done Jim

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Mrkixx's profile


71 posts in 3229 days

#9 posted 08-21-2016 06:39 AM

Hi Jim I like what I se, believe it or not I have been looking at this process in the last few weeks and it’s som that I want to do as well’ do have anymore info as to how you made yours.

View robscastle's profile


8282 posts in 3453 days

#10 posted 08-21-2016 07:09 AM

Thats scary looking kit Jim, but have to agree with th other LJs , it produces some very interesting results.

-- Regards Rob

View Tooch's profile


2016 posts in 3125 days

#11 posted 08-21-2016 10:24 AM

Jim that’s really cool. I’d love to see a video of that process… Will definitely be looking this up later

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2847 posts in 4933 days

#12 posted 08-21-2016 12:07 PM

Your on another path now Jim, your set up looks tops but how many elves were sacrificed in the process? Joke.
Not being a electrician I have asked three different tradesmen if they could make me a burner, all rejected the
offer on safety reasons. I’ll have to find something new to play with. Look forward to seeing your art work.

-- RIP Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26819 posts in 4355 days

#13 posted 08-21-2016 12:22 PM

Thanks for the nice comments and the interest.

Hi Lew, to make this work, you have to coat the area to be burned with water with baking soda dissolved in it. I tried lots of other liquids but that works the best.

Hi Ray, it is dangerous so you don’t drink beer and use this! I made that long PVC wand to keep me away from the tip for that reason. I did not put a switch on it because I wanted it always to be unplugged before I pick up the ground connector.

Hi Pete. Good point. I should do this one outdoors. The smoke might just set off a fire detector. I’ll do it on the hood of Joe’s truck!! He’ll like that!

Hi Mrkixx. To do the burning, you need a high voltage transformer from a microwave or a neon sign. You connect one wire to the ground of the transformer and the other to high voltage side and then make the ends of the wires contact the wood with clips, nails or weights. Keep the contact 2” or more apart or the voltage will jump from contact to contact if you get them too close and it will pop the breaker where you have it plugged in. Coat the wood with the water with baking soda and plug it in. Keep your hands far away from the wires.

Hi Tooch. Here is a video that shows it working ( not mine though)

Hi Bob. I had to take the elves off the table I’m building to get this done and tried out. Here is a bowl I burned before I made the new want and ground rocker:

I would not make one for someone else or let them use mine either. Too much risk involved if they make a mistake ( and maybe a fatal one).

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View MShort's profile


1798 posts in 4667 days

#14 posted 08-21-2016 12:40 PM

Really cool Jim. Thanks !!!!

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View BobboT's profile


19 posts in 1917 days

#15 posted 08-21-2016 12:40 PM

Nicely done! I’ve incorporated an outlet on mine that the wand plugs into on the front along with an on/off switch. I like the idea of the weighted piece…make it a bit more safe. I may borrow that idea. I’ve also found another transformer that I may wire into it as well…you know, so I can smoke out my shop more efficiently!

Great work Jim and thanks for the ideas.

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