Introduction: A Different Fire Pit From a Washing Machine Drum

Thanks so much for the response since I posted this. Please vote for the contests I've entered.

I had seen and heard of making a fire pit out of a washing machine drum. Well lucky day! The washing machine died!

Please use all safety equipment and caution when working with power tools and sharp materials and fire.

You will need to determine what parts to save and may be different than what I have. However, I present to you an idea you can adapt to your situation if you desire to make your own creation using my idea. The usual W/M tub fire pit is vertical and I thought of going horizontal with complete inclosure.

Washing machine tub
Whatever usable washing machine you can use (I used the internal three legged support)
self tapping screws
1/4-20 nuts and bolts
metal sheet with 1/8 holes
metal dry wall strip

Drill motor
Phillips tip driver
Single jack, or hammer
Grinder with cut off wheel
Welder (optional)

Step 1: Get Your Stuff Together

 Gather your materials, parts, and tools. I did this is a few hours including stripping down the old Washing machine.

Step 2: Prep the Tub

The tub had a protrusion in the center that I removed for more space. I drilled four holes and used a cut off wheel to remove it. Then I cut a piece of the 1/8 screen to plug it by using self tapping screws driven in with the cordless drill motor. I created a half screen for the opening. Mark with felt pen, cut with snips, may make adjustments for good fit, created an edge out of the dry wall strip for the top edge, and finally attach with sheet metal screws and drill motor.

Step 3: Attach the Bottom Screen

Attach the bottom screen with metal screws. I didn't like the pointy tips around the tub lip, so I ground them off.

Step 4: Upper Removeable Screen Door

I wanted to have to fire completely enclosed so I designed an upper removable screen to fit over the tub lip. Begin by marking the screen to match the outside lip diameter and cut with the snips. Repeat previous method of attaching a strip made from the dry wall strip. For the frame around the arc I wanted it to drop onto the lip to hold it in place, so I only cut straight cuts to bend it to follow around the arc. I arbitrarily choose to cut every 5 inches and adjusted it to make it even. I attached the frame with metal screws and ground off the points. I added a handle for convenience. 

Step 5: Put Some Legs on It and Fire It Up

I had the support piece and a triangular piece. I attached the triangular piece to the tub and found that bolt holes lined up to attach to legs to the triangular piece on the tub. I nutted the bolts in place, Then I marked the center for accuracy on the bottom of the tub. Then positioned the triangular piece and screwed it on. I tried my stick welder, but was not appropriate, but made some nasty tacks. I wanted more stability, so I added a jack bolt and adjusted with a tape measure. I converted the leg piece into a true tripod by removing excess material with the cut off wheel and filed the sharp edges. I adjusted the size of the holes in the legs to ease mounting the legs to the tub and assembled it. I was pleased with the result when I presented it to my daughter-in-law who wanted one and promptly put it to use.


PseudoMarten (author)2016-05-16

Hey I'm in the process of taking apart the washer but I can't get the motor or main tub off of the main shaft, how do you do this?

btakacss (author)2015-11-19

just thinking "out loud" here

i read a couple of weeks ago about using a couple of tire rims for a fire pit/cook stove thing. i think you could easily combine the two ideas by using the tire rim as the base and just setting the washing machine tub in it at an angle

TravisM18 (author)2015-11-03

The only down side to this is not having an ash catch and a stove pipe to put it inside your house.

DIYfan (author)2015-04-26

What is a jack bolt??

onemoroni1 (author)DIYfan2015-04-27

It is a threaded rod or bolt that is fixed at one end and the other end has a nut that pushes or pulls against an adjustable piece to alter its position and fix it at that position. It's is a mechanical means of adjusting and securing things.

plasMad62 (author)2013-05-30

You may or may not know that these drums are loaded with shot in the rim for balance.

YOU MUST CUT the rim to allow gases to escape or pressure will build up and the shot will explode with devastating force. I've seen it and it ain't pretty.

onemoroni1 (author)plasMad622013-05-30

There was a separate plastic balance ring with the whatever I threw away, good point to mention, mine just had a rolled edge of the same material as the rest of the tub.

plasMad62 (author)onemoroni12013-05-31

Just putting it out there. My Dad had used one just for the fire pit not knowing the danger. We had just got up from sitting around the fire and had just walked away when it reached temperature and exploded.

It was like a shotgun blast in volume and effect. It destroyed the canopy over the trailer and inflicted injuries to our backs and legs. None fortunately serious. Had we been sitting in front of it I've know doubt one of us would have lost their eyesight!

dschmer (author)plasMad622015-03-21

Take This WARNING SERIOUSLY !!!!!!!!

wish I would have known this this morning. I had a neighbor who had an
old washer a year or two ago, so I removed the tub as I have seen many
RV'ers use these and they are awesome. We lit our first fire in it
tonight 3/20/15 and it was beautiful for about 30 minutes and Your right
it was not pretty, It exploded, came off the ground a foot and blew
metal shavings and glass particles 30' in every direction. Thank God no
one was hurt. Now that it is seasoned and broke in, it worked great the
OF US ALL !!!!

onemoroni1 (author)plasMad622013-05-31

Thanks for your information. I have never heard of this and seen many in use with no such reaction including this instructable. Has anyone else had a washing machine tub explode? It would be helpful to know what make of machine caused this unfortunate experience. All the ones in use I've seen have the rolled edge of the same thickness (approx. 1/8") as the rest of the tub and no indication of shot loading or trapped gasses. Very curious experience you mention.

plasMad62 (author)onemoroni12013-05-31

Unfortunately I do not know where Dad acquired this drum. I only know it was either a washing machine or dryer drum he used. He has since passed so there is no way of knowing now. Just that it happened as I described and if people are on the look out for it, it may prevent an unfortunate accident. Now it was 20+ years ago and perhaps the engineering on the newer machines has changed as per your description of the separate plastic drum balance ring. But you never know who may still have an old machine out there and say " wow neat idea and boom"!

dschmer (author)plasMad622015-03-21

I wish I would have known this this morning. I had a neighbor who had an old washer a year or two ago, so I removed the tub as I have seen many RV'ers use these and they are awesome. We lit our first fire in it tonight 3/20/15 and it was beautiful for about 30 minates and Your right it was not pretty, It exploded, came off the ground a foot and blew metal shavings and glass particles 30' in every direction. Thank God no one was hurt. Now that it is seasoned and broke in, it worked great the rest of the night. BEWARE THEY WILL EXPLODE, AND IT SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF US ALL !!!!

Hazelip (author)2013-06-04

This is overly complicated. Just yank out the drum, and use it standing up all on its own. Looks great, and works great.

onemoroni1 (author)Hazelip2013-06-04

If I wanted just a plain one I would have done that, but if you will re-read my explaination I gave my reason for the end result. Thanks for the compliment.

okcowgirl (author)onemoroni12014-02-17

Yeah, nice I have to say I like YOUR idea and reasoning. Keep it up with your ORIGINAL ideas. Sheesh.

bermo (author)2013-07-02

I take it the smoke just goes everywhere ?

onemoroni1 (author)bermo2013-07-02

Which ever way the wind blows, or straight up in a calm, or depends of what you burn. Not as bad as a campfire.

misfitman (author)2013-06-04

Nice job. I have something like this, my father made. He made it more like a pot that you load wood from the top and with four 1x1x16 inch steel legs.

onemoroni1 (author)2013-06-02

I would like to show another view of the fire pit in action with the cover not in place.

Fire Pit 2.jpg
cody305 (author)2013-06-02

I thought of doing something like this for burning old mail that you would otherwise have to shred. But mail doesn't burn very well unless you stir it up, so I thought of putting a hand crank on it to turn the tub every few minutes to redistribute the mail. I also would want some type of chimney on it, since there is a lot of smoke around it when you are burning mail. I have an old dryer with a stainless steel drum that I hope to use for it someday. It was nice to see how you did yours, it looks great!

onemoroni1 (author)cody3052013-06-02

I guess it could be a trash burner. Because of the nature of the holes in the drum I don't think a chimney would have much effect of the release of smoke. Seeing it in action it is quite like a campfire following the wind, but more controlled, and depending on what fuel you use how much smoke.

Lec164 (author)2013-06-01

Yes it is common sense but i'm sure there's more than 1 or 2 that would build it, grab it, and get burned.. Just thought it should be put out there, wear a glove or use a longer handle...

Lec164 (author)2013-06-01

Doesn't that door handle get way too hot? Otherwise great build. I use one vertically tho. No doors

onemoroni1 (author)Lec1642013-06-01

It certainly does, but I gave an old welding glove to use, but my sons dog ate it. You could use a hot pad or oven glove, it's all common sense.

AndrewMol (author)2013-05-30
Great idea! I created my version of the grill
onemoroni1 (author)AndrewMol2013-05-30

Very nice, looks like a dryer tub.

8steve88 (author)2013-05-30

Brilliant. A tumble dryer tub would probably work as well.

mdeblasi1 (author)2013-05-30

I wonder, if you pack the outside with clay, if you can use it for a bread oven.

dcannell (author)mdeblasi12013-05-30

The whole reason for using a perforated drum is air circulation. Of course if you cover the holes with clay it won't breath very well 8-(

onemoroni1 (author)mdeblasi12013-05-30

Interesting thought, as I said, this is my idea and you can do with it what you want.

caruiters (author)2013-05-30

Well made! As a south african braaing (Afrikaans for 'BBQ-ing') that makes a neat setup! I think I'll be hunting for a dead washing machine to make one...preferable a modular one to put in the back of my car.Otherwise cool post and nice idea!

onemoroni1 (author)caruiters2013-05-30

Thanks, I thought of putting a rack in it and suggested it to my daughter in law whose property it is now and she liked it. The legs I adapted are removable and can nest over the opening for transportation.

brota (author)2013-05-30

Is that a stainless tub?

onemoroni1 (author)brota2013-05-30

No, just from an old school washing machine.

The Lightning Stalker (author)2013-05-30

Now that is nice. What a good idea.

keydogstony (author)2013-05-28

Man, you went to a lot of trouble. We just sit our tub on a tire rim and fill it with wood.


If he just sat the tub on a tire rim, I don't think that is what this site is all about! I love his work, and appreciate the time that it took him to do this project. I would be proud to sit next to this on a summer night and raise my glass to a job well done!

onemoroni1 (author)keydogstony2013-05-28

Thanks for your comment, It certainly is more trouble than what you describe.

rollincaswell (author)2013-05-28

Awesome Job!, I love it!

onemoroni1 (author)rollincaswell2013-05-28

Awesome thanks.

Mrdomodoshi (author)2013-05-28

This is what our Boy Scout troop uses, it's a great idea and works great

onemoroni1 (author)Mrdomodoshi2013-05-28

Thank you.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am liking the flexible schedule of retirement to do things and love this site for ideas to amuse myself.
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