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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016

    Default Fractal wood burning.

    I'm not sure if this has been discussed before but people should be warned not to do this practice. At least not to do it in the life threatening way various YouTube channels promote.
    Fractal wood burning is the process of using high voltage electricity to burn a pattern on to wood.

    I saved the transformer out of our old microwave to give this a go at some stage. I just haven't had time to look into it. As an electrical engineer I just assumed that there is a bunch of other components and precautions I'd need to look into first and I've been busy with other things.

    Anyway.... it turns out no. It turns out people are simply pluging a microwave transformer in the mains and sticking two electrodes on the high voltage end of the transformer into some timber and turning it on.

    Don't do that!

    I don't care if someone on YouTube has been doing it for years and by some fluke is still alive.

    Just don't.

    Where do I begin?
    Here's two.

    First of all the high voltage circuit you made with the timber has zero safety features. If you use your hand to give that high voltage a path through your heart to ground it will not stop pumping electricity into you. It won't stop. There's nothing to make it stop. It's isolated from the 240v system so the safety features of the 240V system will not detect any problems and it will keep running.

    Second the 2 high voltage electrodes need special considerations. How you can watch that high voltage find a path through a good insulator and fail to realise the same high voltage will search for a path through a weak insulator to your body, I'm not sure. But the evidence is right in front of your eyes.

    I did a quick google search. A 17 year old in Upper Caboolture, Brisbane killed himself doing this within the last few years. That's not too far from where I live. I bet there have been several others if we searched the records.

    Don't do this. Not the way it is shown on social media. If I haven't convinced you, at least do some research of your own before attempting it. Your life depends on it.

    Sent from my SM-S906E using Tapatalk
    My YouTube channel:

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    South Australia


    34 people in the USA have killed themselves attempting this and 30 in the UK and so far 2 AUS.

  4. #3
    Mobyturns's Avatar
    Mobyturns is offline In An Instant Your Life Can Change Forever
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    "Brownsville" Nth QLD


    Simple facts are,

    1. High Voltage (HV) is very hazardous,
    2. Minimal HV current can be lethal
    3. HV is used to create the "patterns" because of the very specific ability to overcome resistance.
    4. Solutions are sprayed onto the "canvas" to over come resistance & to promote conductivity.
    5. Users typically have no HV training, in hazards, hazard managment, safety ... safe operating practices, or observe total isolation from the device, work piece, support structures and components whilst the FB device is energized.
    6. Users typically have no understanding of the potential hazards & risks or in managing the potentially lethal hazards, or of how debilitating a "survivable shock" may be.
    7. Designers / constructors of the DIY devices have no formal HV training or qualifications
    8. Devices typically do not have adequate HV insulation, shielding, isolation devices such as "deadman" switches, or other engineered protection devices.
    9. Procedures used are often "very high risk!"
    10. Devices are constructed illegally!
    11. Importing "commercial" devices without standards authority certification is illegal!
    12. There are no known devices that have standards authority certification as "fractal burners."
    13. Do not be deceived by statements that specific components are "certified." That certification only applies in the context of the application for certification ie. a shielded microwave oven or a neon sign installation.
    14. Most DIY units have no "protection circuitry" and will remain fully energized until isolated - an unacceptable hazard.
    15. Using DIY or un-certified & non-standards compliant devices is also illegal in most (All?) Australian states.
    16. All competent authorities have warned against the use of "fractal burners" because any contact with an energized component of the device has a very high probability of being lethal / fatal, or at best causing severe life changing injuries.
    17. Pose a very significant risk to first responders - family, neighbours, Ambo's, Fire and rescue etc
    18. A significant number of the reported fatalities have involved more than one victim.
    19. We do not know the numbers of victims who have survived a non-lethal shock, or the injuries they have suffered.
    20. Many of the deceased have been discovered in a fire, or their bodies on fire!

    Not much in favour of the typical user.

    If you wish to experiment please do not potentially put others lives at risk! or destroy the future prospects for others.

    In closing - Fractal Burning can be performed "safely" by very well trained, highly disciplined and methodical users, however they are a very rare exception to the "typical user giving it a go."

    Here hold my beer while I ......................

    In An Instant Your Life CanChange Forever

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    Apart from the safety issues I reckon it significantly detracts from the natural beauty of timber, same reason I also dont like timber flooded with excessive amounts of epoxy or overly thick glossy finishes etc.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    McBride BC Canada


    Right from the start, I have always considered HV burning to be a novelty and not very trendy at that.
    The user has no practical control over the design, the outcome, so I refuse to call it the least bit creative.

    Darwin Awards to them all as took themselves out of the gene pool.

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