...okay, not quite. But a few years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a sculpting class at Origins with Sandra Garrity - even if you haven't heard of Sandra, if you've accumulated any fantasy miniatures in the past 25 years, you probably own one of her sculpts. Sandra had these very cool homemade "ovens" that she would put the miniatures we were working on into, that basically "cooked" them with a light bulb to speed up the curing process - you can see just the top of one of these ovens at the bottom edge of this picture of her:
(Picture from Jason Azze's web page)
As I've been doing more conversion & sculpting lately, I decided to see if I could slap together my own version.
**WARNING** During this project, I'll be working with sharp tools, jagged metal, and building something that generates a lot of heat. BE CAREFUL. If you decide to build this and chop off your finger in the process or burn down your house with the finished product, I'm not responsible. Never leave the curing oven unattended, and have a fire extinguisher nearby while using it.**
From what I was able to see, there were two basic components to the curing oven: a large can (I would say "a five-pound coffee can", but I don't think anyone has sold coffee in tin cans for years now) and a clamp on work light. Since it was the end of gardening season, my wife was processing tomatoes into spaghetti & pizza sauce - she supplements the home-grown tomatoes with canned tomato sauce to make it go farther. When I saw her picking up a few small cans of tomato sauce at the store, I talked into buying the six-pound can, just so I'd have something to use:
I measured the diameter of the can - it was just over six inches. The next time I ran to Home Depot, I picked up an 8-1/2" clamp-on work light:
...some small hooks & eyes, some small hinges, and some self-tapping sheet metal screws. One more important ingredient:
JB Weld SteelStik - this is a two-part epoxy putty (similar to Green Stuff) but is specifically made to bond to metal, and to withstand higher temperatures.
I gathered some tools that would make this project easier:
A pop-rivet gun, rotary tool, and a pair of tin snips - of all the above, I would say only the tin snips are "required". You'll also need a knife (preferably one with a stout fixed or locking blade, that you don't mind possibly ruining), and a can opener (preferably a "fixed" style, like a P38 or the kind on a Swiss Army knife - not a rotary or electric style).
Okay, first step: open, empty, & wash out your can. Remove the label; you can clean off any glue from the label with some WD-40.
You'll probably have some jagged edges on the can: pull any large pieces off with pliers, then go all around the edge of the can & "smash" any sharp bits flat:
Next, we need to work on creating an opening for the "door". We want to start a cut on the horizontal surface of the can, so you'll probably need to poke a small hole with a knife along the bottom edge of the can to get started. Be careful - if you're using a folding knife (which I specifically told you not to do), it's going to want to try to close on your fingers. After you get an opening started, use your can opener to cut the bottom of the opening:
You want the opening to be, oh, five or six inches long - long enough that you can comfortable reach inside to change the bulb without scraping your wrists on jagged metal. After the first opening is cut, we need to start the vertical cut - you'll probably need to use your knife again to get it started:
Once you've gotten it started, you can get the tin snips in there to cut it the rest of the way:
(Don't worry too much about the warping, you can straighten it out later). Obviously if you had a strong rotary tool with a metal cut-off wheel or an oscillating tool with a metal-cutting blade, you could do this much more cleanly - my cheap battery-powered rotary tool wound up being mostly worthless, so this is what I had to work with.
Use the tin snips to finish cutting the rectangle out of the can:
After the "door" is completely cut from the can, use your pliers as before to clean up the edge, and re-shape the door to fit the contour of the can as best you can. (If you have a small tack hammer or ball-peen hammer, you can hammer along the edges while holding a small portion at a time on a hard surface, like a work bench).
Next, mark the location & drill pilot holes for the hinges:
I attached the hinges with pop rivets (you could also use machine screws):
After the door was on, I added a hook and eye to keep the door closed when it's in use:
Next, we can attach the light. (You can remove the clamp; it's not needed). I set the lamp on top of the can, then drilled pilot holes for a couple of sheet-metal screws:
I sunk a sheet-metal screw in each side, just to hold the lamp on while I worked. Next, I grabbed some of the SteelStik and mixed up a bit:
NOTE: The SteelStik putty dries WAAAY faster than Green Stuff - it's only workable for about five minutes. Work in small batches - the first time I mixed up way too much, and wound up throwing out a big wad of it.
I used the SteelStik putty to seal up all around the edge, where the lamp meets the can:
I also sealed up the vent holes at the top of the lamp (I figure there's plenty of gaps around the door), and put a wad on the back of the hook & eye screws to keep them from backing out later on.
After yet another re-shaping / de-burring of the door:
...and that's pretty much it - not terribly pretty, but workable for a first attempt. As I said, next time I'll use my oscillating tool or a spiral saw to get the opening cleaner. You'll have to experiment to find the best (and SAFEST) wattage bulb to use - keep in mind that a 100-watt incandescent bulb can reach over 200 degrees Fahrenheit and warp plastic, so I recommend starting with lower wattage. I think I had less than $20 in this whole project (the clamp light & epoxy putty are the most expensive parts of the project).