Electrocution is real

I have a friend who has a dead microwave and he wanted to know if needed any of the parts.
For some time I have been thinking of building a Lichtenberg wood burner so I told him I wanted the HV transformer.

I am rethinking building one …

I went back to the web to see how people were building these machines. Once again I was amazed at the number of videos of people that clearly had no idea what they were doing advising other ignorant people how to build death traps.

HV is a silent killer. It sits quietly alive waiting for some unsuspecting victim to make a mistake.

I saw woodburning where people were holding two high voltage leads one in each hand …

In the process of researching, I stumbled across an article on a Lichtenberg death by electrocution and it made me think of the HV in laser systems. That is why I put this post here …

… a microwave transformer capable of outputting +2,000- 6,000V @30ma, has a record of killing people instantly or as a minimum doing serious damage.

Consider what chances you have of living through a shock from the HV in a K40 is: capable of +12,000V-15000V @ 30ma


I am somewhat encouraged that I did not find any posts about being electrocuted from a K40.
Since the microwave power supply serves as a woodburning device that is manually operated by a human (with both hands) it isn’t surprising that it is more prone to accidents than a K40. However, that is no excuse to ignore safety interlocks on our laser machines!


Here are a few references but there is a shocking # of these posted.
I knew that electrocution could do damage and stop your heart. I had not considered that if you survive the heart attack you will likely burn your lungs and live the rest of your life breathing challenged.

Milton man's death raises awareness of dangers of fractal burning

https://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/news/woodworking-industry-news/fractal-burning-kills-another-and-severely-injures-three-more

Utahn Hospitalized After Being Electrocuted While Wood Burning?


An interesting video on safely building one of these devices: https://youtu.be/Iz2D5GVTGZs.
Even this video which is the most responsible one I have seen does not include interlocks or deadman switches :frowning:.
A device like this should have a set of switches (left and right) that the operator has to push and hold to keep the device energized. These switches should be remote to the device and the enclosure should have covers with interlocks.

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I have thought about building one myself but I would never think of actually holding the leads to the wood or acrylic. I would most definitely clamp it and stand back!

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