A Different Fire Pit From a Washing Machine Drum

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Introduction: A Different Fire Pit From a Washing Machine Drum

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

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.

Parts:
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

Tools
Drill motor
Phillips tip driver
Snips
Single jack, or hammer
Pliers
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.

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    43 Comments

    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?

    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

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

    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.

    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.

    6 replies

    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.

    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!

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

    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 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
    rest of the night. BEWARE THEY WILL EXPLODE, AND IT SCARED THE CRAP OUT
    OF US ALL !!!!

    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.

    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"!

    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 !!!!

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

    2 replies

    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.

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

    I take it the smoke just goes everywhere ?

    1 reply

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

    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.

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

    Fire Pit 2.jpg

    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!