‘Reverse engineering is the process of deducing how something works by taking it apart. Using the potentially misguided rationale that the cheaper the toaster the fewer parts it will contain, and thus the simpler it will be to reproduce, I dismantle the cheapest toaster I can find: the Argos Value Range 2-Slice White Toaster.’

Thwaites, Thomas. Toaster Project, edited by Thomas Thwaites, Princeton Architectural Press, 2011.



Making a Toaster -How far removed our everyday items are from the raw materials that go into them?

Field of Study

Key words: Toaster, Raw Material, Scratch, Extracting and processing

In this project, I plan to set myself the task of making one of the most commonplace consumer goods from scratch. Can I find the raw materials necessary to build an object from mass production and then use tools on hand to process it?


If any one step of the toaster-making process were destroyed or no longer present – as with the creation of most of our common technologies, we could no longer produce such a simple household item.We can easily look at a toaster and say it is a simple, no-brain device, when in fact, it is the result of hundreds if not a couple thousands of years of human development and is now something that may only be produced by the hands of hundreds if not thousands of people working together in a system that has evolved to become a global entity.We are complex enough that no single person really knows how all the pieces fit together.


It’s possible or desirable to be self-sufficient, but also to the view that having more stuff, more cheaply is better. Everyday items are dependent on sophisticated global supply chains that are invisible to consumers.


  1. Interview experts
  2. visit disused mines and other sites where can get materials
  3. go to different places for different materials
  4. try different devices
  5. experiments and iterates

Predicted Resolutions

A self-made toaster that can be used starting from scratch.


  1. Dismantling the cheapest toaster on sale in the shops
  2. Visiting disused mines, consulted experts
  3. Choose 5 materials
  4. Iron- visit disused mines, smelting iron ore in a microwave oven and a leaf-blower furnace
  5. Cooper- visit disused mines and get water which goes through mines
  6. Mica- as an insulator, go to Scotland and dig
  7. Plastic –  petroleum(BP) and from potato.