You did what? Hacked a filing cabinet to make a home DIY workshop oven?!
Yes, perhaps we are crazy, but this DIY oven really IS made from a standard office filing cabinet and it works like a dream!
It is great for curing electrostatic powder coating on CNC milled metal parts; melting plastics; bending acrylics; scorching wood, sealing natural bamboo wood wax and any number of other DIY projects where oven heating is required.
See more about how we made this DIY oven from a filing cabinet here.
Industrial, or even DIY hobby ovens are extremely useful in a home DIY workshop. Unfortunately, they are also usually unjustifiably costly for most small projects.
Cheap toaster ovens can be used for small scale applications as a ‘make-do’ alternative, but are often not physically large enough to fit many DIY projects. They also usually offer very poor thermal efficiency. A big downside when working over longer periods as the units tend to get hot inside as well as out.
We recently cut some large aluminium parts and components using our home built CNC machine. We wanted to coat the metal parts using an electrostatic powder coating system to give them a lasting professional finish. Powder coat curing however, requires parts to be heated to high temperatures for extended periods. (And strangely, the cooking department said the kitchen oven was considered off limits well before we mentioned curing powder coat paint or the carcinogenic gases they produce….)
We needed a large, cheap DIY solution. A robust, purpose built DIY oven capable of maintaining high, evenly dispersed temperatures for lengthy periods.
The end result of two days in the workshop? A completely viable and very effective DIY oven built for well under $50! Oh, and did we mention that it was made from a rusty, unwanted four drawer filing cabinet?!
Admittedly, it is a little rough to look at from the outside, but when considering its intended purpose, low build cost and performance, it is an absolute masterpiece!
The DIY oven can easily reach and maintain a temperature of at least 500°F (~260°C) for extended periods… And we assume well beyond that limit too.
Various temperature settings are available through the original dial switches of the old heaters used in the build (although we will eventually add a PID temperature controller for precise digital set point temperature control).
The cheap and simple insulation material used is thermally efficient and does not allow excessive heat to ‘leak’ from the oven.
Pre-heat is extremely quick! And even after an hour of sustained high temperature operation, the outer metal skin of the filing cabinet (oven) is still only warm to the touch, and never hot.
For our purposes in curing powder coating on CNC machined parts, operating temperatures are usually kept at 400°F (~200°C) for 20 minutes. This temperature can be achieved within less than five minutes of a cold start! Usually, one or two of the five bar heating elements can be switched off for the majority of the curing period following pre-heat.
Since converting this filing cabinet into an oven, we have realized there are a huge number of handy DIY projects waiting for its services. The oven really is a valuable new piece of home workshop equipment.
While we were initially only using the oven for curing the powder coating on the CNC parts we milled, we now also used it for heating acrylic sheets before bending (ie: bent with our home made DIY Acrylic Sheet Bender), softening plastics for vacuum forming and even for electronics and curing PCB boards. It is a very handy device to have around.
Want to know more? Check out the more in depth info and photos of our DIY oven made from a filing cabinet here.