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Fractal Burning

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Forum topic by Tim Dahn posted 02-15-2019 06:01 PM 835 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tim Dahn

1583 posts in 3865 days


02-15-2019 06:01 PM

I know this has been posted previously but stories of people dying from this continue to be reported.

Three deaths reported in January 2019 in this article.

If you are going to try this or know of someone who is check out this: https://www.woodturner.org/page/FractalBurning

Be aware and be safe in the wood shop.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.


21 replies so far

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HokieKen

8689 posts in 1438 days


#1 posted 02-15-2019 06:15 PM

Very good advice. Electricity is a dangerous beast. Even for those who fully understand it. Be safe boys and girls. Thanks for posting Tim.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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ibewjon

242 posts in 3093 days


#2 posted 02-16-2019 01:21 AM

Definition of electricity:. Something you can not see, but can, will, and does KILL!!!! Just ONE TENTH of an AMP for 2 SECONDS CAN KILL. The burning issue above is not the only hazzard. ALL 120 volt receptacles in the shop should have ground fault protection! Mine do. Only the first receptacle in a circut needs to be a gfi, others fed from the first gfi will be protected. It is really cheap safety. The proper personal protective equipment needed to work with high voltage electricity is a long list. Forget the wood burning. It is not worth the risk to anyone’s life.

View MSquared's profile

MSquared

265 posts in 214 days


#3 posted 02-16-2019 02:07 AM

People!! Please, Please, heed the words of IBEWJON!!! Electricity is nothing to be taken lightly. I’ve seen bad, very bad results. As a Cameraman, I’ve done work for power companies in the field, working with Linemen at Power Plants, Sub Stations, at the poles, etc.. Heard the stories directly from the victims. It’s crazy-volatile stuff (that you can’t see or smell, if ever, until it’s too late). In my business, ‘Electrics’ are hired. Certified Electricians. They are given the parameters, shown the power source, and left to decide the safest way ( In our case, ‘Tie-In’) to distribute power. As a rule, they are never to be disturbed or distracted until we get the OK. Period. Don’t mess with it!

-- Marty, Long Island, NY

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MSquared

265 posts in 214 days


#4 posted 02-16-2019 02:51 AM

Whew! Tim, Ken, Jon, sorry if I went on a rant there! You guys nailed it on the head. Be safe, don’t take it for granted. Be safe!

-- Marty, Long Island, NY

View stefang's profile

stefang

16578 posts in 3634 days


#5 posted 02-16-2019 03:38 PM

Good of you to warn folks Tim. Personally I never fool around with electric stuff beyond installing a light fixture, repairing a cord or changing a light bulb! I know and observe my limitations. Sharp edges not so much.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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ibewjon

242 posts in 3093 days


#6 posted 02-16-2019 03:47 PM

MSquared::. Thanks for the backup on this. Woodworkers will spend $100 on a square or saw blade, but not want to spend $10 on a gfi receptacle. Sadly, after over 40 years as an electrician, I have had several friends, very experienced electricians, badly hurt on the job. Usually by trying to hurry, and not using proper work methods and not wearing the proper clothing and protective equipment. I see alot about dust being a danger, but dust is a slow killer. You won’t die from one time without a dust mask. Electricity is a FAST killer, one mistake can be fatal. Use gfi receptacles, and if you don’t know how to do the work, don’t guess. Call a professional.

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Lazyman

3114 posts in 1687 days


#7 posted 02-16-2019 04:36 PM

The demos I’ve seen look pretty scary, especially the DIY units. I’ve always wondered just how dangerous this but I also wondered about the dangers of arc and MIG welders which seem to have few reported deaths, even though they usually aren’t necessarily operated by people who would understand the dangers of electricity. I saw a guy on Youtube just this morning welding something while holding the electrode rather than the handle to get finer control with a long welding rod. That doesn’t sound like a good idea but I’ve never really understood how it really works. Anyone know the difference between the fractal burners and welding machines? My ignorance has actually contributed to the reasons I haven’t bought a welding machine.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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ibewjon

242 posts in 3093 days


#8 posted 02-16-2019 05:58 PM

Most stick welders run between 30 to 60 volts on the rod, some are higher. The current / amps melts the rod. The leather gloves help protect from shock. Welders can also kill if the current passes through the heart. I have not seen any details of fractal burning, but it sounds like a high voltage operation. I will look further when I have time.

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ibewjon

242 posts in 3093 days


#9 posted 02-16-2019 06:08 PM

I looked up fractal burning, and the hand demonstrating was bare, no high voltage rubber gloves, not even heavy leather. A gfi receptacle trips at 5 milliamps, and the burner shown produced 12,000 volts and 35 milliamps. Does not sound safe to me. Building your own from a old microwave would be foolish.

View Grumpy's profile

Grumpy

24975 posts in 4151 days


#10 posted 02-16-2019 08:48 PM

My son is an electrical engineer. He says don’t even attempt it!!!.

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

View Fresch's profile

Fresch

407 posts in 2220 days


#11 posted 02-16-2019 09:20 PM

Just to add, electricity can kill you slowly, when you get electrocuted cells in your body change and or die, your body chemistry can change and a couple of days later you die.

We do have a burner member here and we talked about safety; if I recall he was being very careful and has some nice looking projects.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

7246 posts in 2499 days


#12 posted 02-16-2019 09:39 PM

I just gave away a microwave to someone who was going to make it into a fractal burner… I was thinking about trying, but just don’t have the time to fuss with it. A few years ago I did use the transformer out of one to make a DIY spot welder, which worked great… basically the same as described in this article:

Turn a Microwave Oven Transformer into a High Amperage Metal Melter!

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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panzer

6 posts in 659 days


#13 posted 02-25-2019 06:01 PM



The demos I ve seen look pretty scary, especially the DIY units. I ve always wondered just how dangerous this but I also wondered about the dangers of arc and MIG welders which seem to have few reported deaths, even though they usually aren t necessarily operated by people who would understand the dangers of electricity. I saw a guy on Youtube just this morning welding something while holding the electrode rather than the handle to get finer control with a long welding rod. That doesn t sound like a good idea but I ve never really understood how it really works. Anyone know the difference between the fractal burners and welding machines? My ignorance has actually contributed to the reasons I haven t bought a welding machine.

- Lazyman

Welders operate at low voltage, normally in the 12-50 volt range and high amperage. The amperage is many times what can kill you but voltage that low usually cannot break over the skin’s natural resistance. This is the same reason you can work on a 12v system in a car without an issue and NFPA 70e (the electrical safety standard) allows you to work on energized circuits under 50v without protection.

I’ve never tried fractal burning, but my limited understanding is you use a high voltage transformer in the 2000-15000v @35-500 milliamp range. This voltage is in the range of overhead power distribution lines and these amperage levels are more than enough to interrupt your heart rhythm. And that is assuming it was put together by someone that knows what they are doing.

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becikeja

973 posts in 3113 days


#14 posted 02-27-2019 01:17 AM

I did build a unit. I have worked in the electrical industry for 31 years and 15 years spent working with High Current UL test labs capable of generating 200KA for testing industrial circuit breakers at 480V. I’m scared to death to turn on a light switch. As others have said electricity kills, and kills quick. But when handled properly can be safely controlled. I built my unit with double redundancy electrical interlocks. For the current to be on 3 things must happen. 1) the unit must be plugged in. Whenever I move the probes the unit is unplugged. 2) the main switch to the unit must be thrown in the on position. This switch sits 3 feet from the probes resting on the wood. When this switch is on a Blue Pilot light shines indicating the unit is powered. Still no current to the probes. 3) I have 2 palm operated momentary push buttons 12 inches apart. These buttons are 3 feet away from the probes. Both buttons must be pressed at the same time, if my hand moves from either button the circuit shuts off. When both are pressed the pilot lights change from blue to red.

Ok some of you are saying, thats a little much. But I have caught myself twice so far watching the burn and then start to reach to move the probe. Luckily each time when my hand came off the button the circuit shut down the light turned from red to blue and before I could move 3 feet to the probes I realized what was happening. My point is, if you’re going to do this. Make sure you build in precautions. It’s really fun to watch the burn, and looks so harmless…..you will momentarily forget how dangerous it is and want to re-position the probes to make your art. Be safe, you cant be too cautious with this.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

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ibewjon

242 posts in 3093 days


#15 posted 02-27-2019 02:19 AM

It is great you are trained and experienced with this type of electricaly powered equipment. I have also worked in high voltage substations and done energized high voltage electrical work. Others that are not trained and experienced SHOULD NOT TRY THIS!!! It really is not worth dying for.

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