My idea of a great family vacation doesn't include fancy hotel rooms or fine dining.  Hubby and I are literally happy campers sleeping under a ceiling of stars and a quiet campfire to light the night.

Every Fall, we take a roadtrip south-of-the-border to sunny Baja California Sur.  The 3-4 day trek often involves overnight camping, and outdoor-grilling goes along with the territory... no matter where the territory is.

When I first saw a portable Tool Box Grill online, I loved everything about it.  I wasn't at all surprised to hear a familiar inner-voice say "You can make that!"... and the rest is history.  Well... my history, anyway. ;-)

Here's how I built my new/old, 100% recycled, portable $8 $19 Tool Box BBQ Grill with the improvements documented in Steps 9-12.

Special thanks to Jan Halvarson for featuring my Portable Toolbox Grill in the Summer DIY Projects article published at WIRED.COM.   I am honored! ;-)

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Here's the list of materials and tools I used to build this project, along with the price breakdown.

  • 1 old Steel Tool Box- local Thrift Store- $2
  • 2 Steel grates*- Recycled (Free)
  • 4 Stove bolts, 4 washers, 8 nuts-  Husband's stash
  • Aersol Paint Remover- Hardware Store- $5
  • Heat-resistant Stove Paint- leftover from previous project
  • Sugru- Prize from Instructables!
  • 2 Pot Holders- Dollar Store- $1
  • Magnets- craft stash
  • 4 Rubber stoppers- craft stash
  • Safety Glasses
  • Reciprocating Saw
  • Drill and bits
  • Right angle drill
  • Paint scraper/putty knife
  • Wire brush
  • Wrench
  • Ratchet and Socket
  • Elbow grease ;-)
*Safety Precaution: It's a good idea to thoroughly fire/burn a grill grate that's been repurposed from a freezer or refrigerator before grilling food on it.  Above all, stay upwind and don't inhale smoke from any burning substance.  It's just common sense, really. ;-)
This looks great. Good job! I have made a few ammo can grills from another users post. I gave them as gifts to some camping friends of mine. I will be making one of these for my mechanic at work.
Thanks so much, Matt! <br> <br>If you get a chance, check back on this project next weekend. I've got some great improvements in the works.
<p>i am going to make this</p>
<p>I love this Instructibe! Unfortunately, I do not have a regular sized toolbox laying around to do this with. I have been playing with the idea of doing a mini version of this with a smaller toolbox I have and use a few alcohol/penny burners. It would be perfect for cooking on camping trips. </p>
i made mine with an ammo can. Great to see a like minded people.cheers! :)
<p>Agreed! ;-)</p>
Does this last?... Like does the bottom eventually &quot;burn out&quot;?
Hey Haughy... my vintage toolbox is heavy-duty... it's still in great shape after dozens of fires!
Cant wait to go tool box hunting at the flea market this weekend!! love it!
That's half the fun! Good Luck! ;-)
This is soo cool.. Nice work!
Thanks, Slick! I am honored you approve!!! ;-)
Very clever design. I thought you did some amazing work adding that wooden handle. Thanks for the inspiration.
Yikes! Sorry for this tardy reply, stripedstarfish. I don't know how the heck I missed your comment... but in 2 words: Thank you! ;-) <br> <br>
Great Instructable, great idea, and nature loving tool when not using charcoal in it. I always use wood scaps and building lumber etc. I shall start using this plan from scratch. <br>Best regards.
Thank you for commenting, Mihsin. I had a lot of fun building this grill... I hope you do, too! I'd love to see a pic of your finished project! <br> <br>Mary
You need to stay upwind not downwind of any possibly dangerous smoke.
Of course you are right!!! Major fopah that I shall rectify now. Thanks so much for the heads up!!!!
Thanks for sharing this. It is small and very functional! <br>Sunshiine
It'll work as a portable campfire, too! <br> <br>Thanks sunshiine!
My son-in-law will appreciate that!
Lovely build!
Hey! Thank you so much James!!!!!!!!
this is a cool idea. thanks for sharing
Thank <u>you</u> for your nice comment, redknight! :-)
It really looks cool and you can really impress your friends with that :-)
Thank you Spago... I'll be improving it over the weekend, so stay tuned if you're so inclined. ;-)
How are these magnets holding up? <br>I always hear that magnets lose their magnetism permanently if they are heated up beyond a certain point. Some googling says that even 15 min in a 300F/150&deg;C oven can greatly reduce it. What's your experience?
Hi Einarjon,<br> <br> I've grilled in this toolbox twice. &nbsp;The insert-magnet is still holding strong.<br> <br> Since I don't have a thermometer on the tool box grill, it's hard to gauge the temperature/heat that's been generated. &nbsp;<br> <br> I decided to test an identical magnet (from the same blister-pak) in my oven, which <u>is</u> accurately gauged. :-)<br> <br> The magnets I used measure 3/4&quot; in diameter and are 3/16&quot; thick.<br> <br> I preheated the oven to 350&deg; F for 10 minutes. &nbsp;The magnet was attached to a stainless steel bowl and baked for 15 minutes.<br> <br> After cooling to room temperature, here's a picture of the results. The magnetic ability is still very much intact.
I love this kind of project. Making a grill portable using a tool box...genius!
You say the nicest things, MrH. &nbsp;<br> <br> I just wish I was the <em>original</em> genius! ;-)<br> <br> Thanks for commenting!
I like this very much.
Thanks so much dorado... I do, too! ;-) <br>
just a word of caution... Some refrigerator/ freezer racks contain chemicals that are poisonous when heated over open flames. I am not sure whether this is over the long term or short term, but I think that I would not chance it if it were me... a viable option is to get a replacement grill sold in the outdoor section of any walmart or home depot/ lowes <br> <br>Cadmium poisoning <br>http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1929634/
Thanks for your comment, Youngberg! I'll be sure to include your caveat in my edit later this week. <br> <br>I've grilled 2 meals and all is well... no dead bodies. ;-) <br> <br>I did some research and found that cadmium &quot;inhalation&quot; can cause toxicity. Obviously, it's never a good idea to inhale any fumes from any burning source. <br> <br>Did you know that cigarette paper contains cadmium, too? Another good reason for smokers to quit! <br> <br>I'm particular about breathing fresh air, so no worries here. ;-) <br> <br>
Clever! I love it... Its cute as heck. :-)
Hey... Thanks CG!!!! ;-)
Very nice job and your DH too, for assisting with the limb threatening power tools..<br> Does this mean you will no longer be listening to your toolbox while grilling ?&nbsp;&nbsp;<br> Or is that where you get your hot ideas ?<br> <br> A
Dang... I forgot to say &quot;Thank you&quot;, so here goes: <br> <br>Thank you, Iceng! ;-)
lol... my beloved Tool Box has gone into hiding. He must have been eavesdropping when I told DH I wanted to hack a tool box into a BBQ grill. <br> <br>Poor thing probably thought I was talking about him! ;-D <br> <br>I miss my DREMEL and screwdrivers. He'd better come back soon!
Supposedly the only way to destroy a magnet's magnetic properties is to heat it. I've never tried but let us know if the magnets hold up in the BBQ.
Hi Caitlinsdad, <br> <br>I considered that and researched it. Heating above 270 degrees F can affect the magnetic lifting power of a magnet by 22-25%. <br> <br>I figured since I wasn't using the magnet to &quot;lift&quot; anything, it was worth a shot. <br> <br>So far, so good! I just took a picture of the magnet insert... and it's still functional. <br> <br>I uploaded the pic four dang times, but unfortunately there's an annoying system bug that likes eating them. 8-/ <br> <br> <br> <br>

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