How to Make an Electric Toaster from Scratch
“Are toasters worth the inhuman scale on which they’re produced?” That’s the question fueling Thomas Thwaites’ project to make a working electric toaster from scratch. Currently part of the BOOM work in progress show at the Royal College of Art in London, the Toaster Project addresses issues of sustainability, mass production, DIY culture, and shows the herculean process that goes into creating even a cheap piece of electronics.
Thwaites is literally doing everything himself in building a toaster from the ground up – from extracting oil for making plastic to mining and processing iron, copper and nickel. And he’s faced numerous obvious challenges trying to recreate massive industrial processes on a small scale. Melting mineral into iron proved near-impossible -first hairdryers were used, then a leaf blower and finally a microwave, which only produced a tiny amount of the finished product.