Disclaimer: what I am proposing is dangerous, and I know that. I would discourage anyone, regardless of expertise from undertaking such a pointless risk to their health and home.
After my recent (mis)adventure with the dryer, I now have a physically intact, technically functional heating element. I've been looking for an excuse to repurpose it for a DIY project, and then realized I've wanted to try making my own 2 stage Cockroft-Walton voltage doubler for a while. Seeing as the element itself runs on 240 volts, and the current running to my house is 120, I thought, "Maybe I could run a voltage multiplier off one of these transformers I have lying about, hook a potentiometer up to it with the wiper running to the input side of the element, and then run it to ground."
This is, inherently, a bad idea. I know. But can it be done? I have drawn here a pretty common depiction of the circuit, with the addition of the voltage divider and element attached as a load.
Upon re-examining it, it occurred to me that I probably couldn't return the 240 volt DC output to the same ground connection the circuit used without something very very bad happening, so I am a bit stumped there. How would I properly terminate this, seeing as I need some sort of ground to reference from? Other concerns I have are what AC input source should I use -- transformer, or main?
What effect will arbitrarily changing the output voltage of the circuit have on the circuit itself?
Is using a pot even feasible here?