Introduction: How to Weld a Barbecue.

Picture of How to Weld a Barbecue.


This Instructable is dedicated to the generosity of Steveastrouk, who taught us (Perryscope and I) the rudiments of welding, as well as lending us the equipment and materials to achieve this project.

He even brought the meat.

Step 1: When Welding, First Learn How to Weld.

Picture of When Welding, First Learn How to Weld.

Before we could put the barbecue together, we needed the skills and equipment to be able to do so.

Steveastrouk put together a nice TIG welding kit, along with masks and gloves, some lumps of scrap and a huge cast-iron bench to work at.

We learned:

  • Take it steady.
  • TIG welding gives you sun burn.
  • Make sure you have a good ground.
  • Keep the Amps as low as you can.
  • Moving the tip further from the work-piece increases the temperature.
  • Don't let the working end of the welding rod touch the welding tip while the far end is touching "ground".  The current earths through the rod and makes it very hot far too quickly to let go.

Step 2: Making the Frame for the Grill

Picture of Making the Frame for the Grill

We already had a spare grill out of an oven to work with so we used this to measure up a frame out of 1" box section. and welded the four sides together.

We "tacked" the corners, then welded across the joint on both sides of the frame.

Step 3: Making the Ash Catcher/ Heat Reflector

Picture of Making the Ash Catcher/ Heat Reflector

The benefits of working in a well tooled workshop really hit home when it came to making the ash catcher. This is made from a simple sheet of steel. We found some stock that was a little large but thanks to a large sheet cutter was quick to cut down to size. With projects like this its fine to just mark up the length on the frame and cut. I don’t think we measured anything accurately. Luckily, we has access to a large sheet metal cutter so this was a quick step. but If you don't have access you could use the angle grinder.

Once cut to the right length we found a large pipe and used that as a form to pull the steel into a highly accurate parabola shape best suited to maximise the heat reflection. OK truth be told that was a fluke, we just bent it until both sides would fit on either side of the frame.

This was then sat on top of the frame and welded in place. Starting with some tacks in the corners to try and minimise warp.

Welding in the right-angle was a lot harder to do than the butt-joints.  The arc of the welder seemed to wander from side to side, and it was hard to balance the heat going into the thicker square section and the thinner plate.  It was surprisingly easy to burn through the plate...


Step 4: Welding Some Square Mesh on Either End

Picture of Welding Some Square Mesh on Either End

Next we stood the frame on the side and placed a piece of 1" steel square mesh over the end, welding where the mesh overlapped the ash tray. The overlap was then cut off with a grinder and any sharp edges cleaned up.

(We decided, after the barbecue was already in use, that a piece of plate would have helped to retain the ashes.  Bit late then, of course...)

Step 5: Making the Legs

Picture of Making the Legs

To measured up how long to make the legs we held the grill at a comfortable height and with some spare welding rods measured the diagonal distance to the floor. As long as all four legs are the same length it should be fine. These were again cut on the metal band saw.

To fix the legs to the frame we found some very handy M8 pronged Tee nuts and bolts, the Nuts were perfect as they had large flanges attached and these fit perfectly in the ends of the 1" box section. Four tack welds later and we had a perfect countersunk nut to join the legs to.

For two of the legs we made some very simple 1" washers out of some spare  1" offcuts.  These were needed to allow the legs to cross.

We then fitted the legs and used a spirit level to get it level before marking the centre point for the bolts to hold the two legs where they cross.

These were drilled and more M8 bolts fitted through with washers.

Step 6: Fitting a Mesh Tray to Hold the Charcoal

Picture of Fitting a Mesh Tray to Hold the Charcoal

By using some more of the Mesh we just measured the length and used the angle grinder to cut off to the nearest strip leaving a spiked edge to interleave with the ends and hold the trap in position.

Step 7: Light Up and Enjoy

Picture of Light Up and Enjoy



It was a bit of a fluke but the shape of the ash tray really helped reflect heat back to the charcoal with the excellent air flow and the charcoal was burning white and the grill was very hot!

The grill we used had inconveniently-large gaps for the food to fall through - Lemonie solved that by weaving stainless-steel welding rods through the grid.

Comments

Mr_Liss (author)2014-02-01

A couple years ago I took a hobbyist's non-credit welding course at the local community college. Some of the safety equipment that they made us acquire before we could set foot in the welding lab included welding gloves and a welder's coat, both typically leather. Any leather jacket or coat will do, but it can be more comfortable to have a purpose-made unlined welder's coat, so that you don't overheat. These plus a welding helmet protect you from the UV radiation generated by welding. Skin cancer sucks.

taftncraft (author)2012-10-15

a steel drum cut in half. You can use a "sawzall" An old grate laid on top. An old metal shopping cart retrofitted to accept the drum. Instant bbq. Maybe the extra grate removed from the shopping cart can be used as the cooking grate. Burn it a few times to clear off any impurities before using it for food.

warning dont use a plastic shopping cart :)

Mig Welder (author)2010-07-26

Man! More than a "well equipped" workshop! Is that a lathe in the background?! And those humongous piles of stock?! I have shop envy ;D Anyway, good 'ible. Very detailed and in an easy to understand format.

Kiteman (author)Mig Welder2010-07-26

It's Steveastrouk's place of business - that's not just a lathe, it's a CNC lathe. He has "ordinary" lathes as well, and a laser-cutter.

abstracted (author)Kiteman2012-03-21

nice job...i made mine in february. ran outta propane and a well pump pressure tank to fire bowl upcycle project that was on the back burner becam nessessary. it was to be nut n bolted together, but after getting a sweet lil wire feed welder for xmass, the portable pyro was born. took 3 min to make.

Kiteman (author)abstracted2012-03-21

Nice.

abstracted (author)Kiteman2012-03-21

shoulda read 30 minutes...even i`m not that good lol

Kiteman (author)abstracted2012-03-22

You know, you shouldn't have changed it, because I believed you!

kibukun (author)Kiteman2010-08-18

especially the laser. everybody loves lasers right?

Rokko8652 (author)Kiteman2010-08-10

I am extremely envious of that.

EmmettO (author)2010-07-24

Sheet metal is hard to weld without blowing holes in it. The thinner the metal the harder it is. As a rule of thumb your arc length should be at MOST the thickness of the metal you are welding. This keeps the heat down and reduces the number of times you melt through the sheet.

abstracted (author)EmmettO2012-03-21

hold or clamp a heatsink behind where u weld...a block of brass or copper works great when welding thin sheet to thicker stock and provides gr8 penetration on both parts without blowing holes in the sheet stock.

EmmettO (author)abstracted2012-03-21

Interesting, I'll have to try that. Maybe I'll melt down some copper into a block and make my own sink.

amnos (author)2011-04-02

You should always try to set the amps as high as possible and increase your welding speed. But it is of course the speed of which you weld which set the amp-range you can work with, so you'll really need to work that out for yourself.

Keeping the arc as small as possible will reduce the area where heat is applied, however keeping it longer will result in a slightly lower working temprature, if spread over a larger area. What method to use kind of depends on what you are welding. But like previously said, when welding sheetmetal you should try for a shorter arc rather than a long one.

co2wms7whcc (author)2010-07-26

Why on earth would you use bolts to attach the legs if you had a TIG unit at your disposal? And on page 2, you suggested keeping the amperage low, you will have terrible penetration.

Kiteman (author)co2wms7whcc2010-07-27

As novice welders, we were having great trouble with our corners, and needed something easy to weld.

In addition, having the legs bolted on, it meant that they could be removed for storage or transport.

As for penetration, we needed to reduce it because we kept burning right through the sheet metal.

Dr_Stupid (author)2010-07-25

Not the smartest of designs. 1. Highly inefficient - No way to control the burn rate or the temprature 2. DANGEROUS - A gust of wind and you've got flames or sparks shooting out the other side. 3. Possible poisoning hazard. - Face it, some yutz is going to get ahold of galvanized metal and try to use it, and end up poisoning or killing themselves. . It's a nice proof of concept, but it really needs to be refined.

steveastrouk (author)Dr_Stupid2010-07-26

...and you have entirely missed the point of the build..... The temperature seemed to be remarkably stable actually, which given the design we found very odd. I think that's because it was basically burning flat out, which of course minimises CO production.

koecke (author)Dr_Stupid2010-07-25

Not to mention attaching metal to metal with fire is dangerous. As is cooking meat with fire. Fire bad. Face it, some yutz is gonna grill his face on a design like this of weld the whole project to a moving car. It's a nice proof of concept, but it really needs to be snap together and cook over a lightbulb (fluorescent naturally for the environment and the safety of no heat) and have a bunch of disclaimer stickers attached. The people who read this site are pretty stupid and can't be trusted to use their heads.

steveastrouk (author)koecke2010-07-26

Fluorescent ? Think of the mercury !

biffula (author)2010-07-26

While this might be a fun project, it's definitely not going to save you any money. That and, (sorry, time for some constructive criticism) it's not the best design in the world.

lizzyastro (author)biffula2010-07-26

It easily coped with cooking salmon burgers, beef burgers, sausages, prawns and chicken thighs for 15 of us using 3 small bags of "self lighting" charcoal, and would have done more, if we hadn't all been stuffed after that lot! It gave good heat where we needed it, everything was properly cooked, not charred on the outside and raw on the inside.

It wasn't about saving money, it was about learning while also building something functional, besides cheap barbeques barely last a season and expensive ones are not worth the investment in the UK climate.

Kiteman (author)biffula2010-07-26

It was free.

It worked perfectly.

It survived.

What more could you want?

EmmettO (author)2010-07-24

He "put together" a tig welding kit? That's some nice kit! All I can hope for is my 300 amp hobart stick and my hybrid stick wire feed. Be VERY thankful to Steveastrouk!

Kiteman (author)EmmettO2010-07-25

Not from scratch, but from a collection of parts.

gmjhowe (author)2010-07-24

And boy, was that a good BBQ, it was aigret burner, and the food was excellent!

Kiteman (author)gmjhowe2010-07-24

Good food + good beer + good company = great night.

NutandBolt (author)2010-07-24

Great instructable, you did great job on it. I love welding stuff and welding projects and I always wanted to weld my own BBQ but eventually bought a cheap one. The only small thing I would change is weld close both bbq sides and drill vent holes with sliding door. Great job :-)

Kiteman (author)NutandBolt2010-07-24

We were kind of making it up as we went along, helping ourselves to Steve's material stocks.

lemonie (author)2010-07-24

Ah super, I've been waiting for this. You neglected to mention the use of welding rods on the food-rack though - an image note would do it (e.g. DSCF9030)

L

Kiteman (author)lemonie2010-07-24

Oops, sorry!

SinAmos (author)2010-07-23

Welding has been on my list for a long time. Thanks for sharing.

Devrimm (author)2010-07-23

Ooohhh!! Veeery nice and delicious instructable!! It is very teachfull about how to welding. For some years, I am welding too. But, I was welding with high Amps. Tomorrow, I make a box under the light of this instructable!! Thank you!!!

rachel (author)2010-07-23

Mmmmmm barbecue!

caitlinsdad (author)2010-07-23

Hmm, at first it looked like the tool-hanging attachment was some sort of trouser-zipper hook or something.

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