Introduction: "Knalpot" Fire Pit

Picture of "Knalpot" Fire Pit

The summer is here! ...But where I live, it's still chilly in the evenings. So what better way to scare away the chill of the night than with your very own fire pit? It only took me half an hour to build and already gave me many hours of enjoying myself with a beer and watching the flames.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

You don't need much for this instructable. For the body I used an old drum of a washing machine. You can find these at your old iron shop. Price: 1 Euro.

For the support legs I used a normal galvanised steel plumbing pipe that fits nicely into the holes that were already in the drum (some sort of connecting holes that connect the drum to the motor shaft...)

Step 2: Cut Legs

Picture of Cut Legs

Cut the galvanised steel pipes in half with an angle grinder (or hacksaw, I just don't have the necessary patience).

Step 3: Add Legs to Drum

Picture of Add Legs to Drum

Use a round file to enlarge the holes of the drum. Keep on grinding till you can screw in the legs, but don't remove to much! By screwing the legs in, you create much more stable legs.

Step 4: Finito!

Picture of Finito!

Turn the drum the right way round and put it in the garden (away from plants, inflamable stuff, or pets). Get a beer from the fridge, add wood to the drum, light that fire!

As a bonus: due to all those holes in the side of the drum and the general geometry if the thing, the airflow through it is fantastic. This makes it very easy to light the fire in it.

Step 5: Afterburn

Picture of Afterburn

After using it for some time the metal started to oxidize a bit. I like it, but considering I'm a bit biased, I'd love to know what you think. Does it add to the design or is it something to be avoided? I look forward to hearing your opinions and maybe ways on how to prevent it.

As a bonus I uploaded a video of the firepit in action. Nice! :D


Cambenora (author)2017-05-20

The oxidization shouldn't be a problem. The drum is probably stainless steel.

gollumses (author)2017-02-02

In California we can't just make campfires. In many places we have to use these (Anza-Borrego Desert State Park E.G.). Also have to keep it covered with a fine mesh screen, so embers don't blow out).

....and SirCooksalot is just a "Grammar Nazi" who feels the need to educate everybody. When I read the "ible", I understood exactly what you meant.

arsenalpete81 made it! (author)2016-12-21

I experimented with an old tumble dryer drum. I drilled a silhouette of R2-D2 with loads of holes . It turned out brilliantly and looks the nuts when it's glowing

zacker (author)2015-10-26

wow, very cool. I wish I could find a SS drum like that. was it from a regular top load washer or from a front loading type?

wonderkid64 (author)zacker2016-11-08

Many of the newer front loaders have these drums. Unfortunately I just recycled one just like this before seeing this Instructable. (bummer!) it was a GE machine. Try a metal recycler or some appliance repair places. :)

zacker (author)wonderkid642016-11-09

thanks! Ill have to keep my eyes and ears open for someone dumping one of those Machines!

Dnewton1 (author)2014-06-30

Be careful with galvanized metal when it's heated. It releases some nasty chemicals

riverquick (author)Dnewton12014-06-30

Could you suggest an alternative to the galvanized. I am very new to the diy.

bcavaciuti (author)riverquick2014-07-01

You can use anything too be honest, I doubt the legs get hot enough to cause any problems but if you are worried go for either stainless or normal steel, If you are lucky (look in skips,charity shops ect) you might find some old cast iron legs (will last for ages like drain covers) either bath ones (looks fancy) or sowing machine for e.g, the list is endless.

You can even use wood if you use a long bolt to separate it from the drum the heat conducted shouldn't be enough to burn the wood enough to reduce its strength.

I would go with a stable stack of bricks if I had nothing else just three or four around the edge then you can add more to your hearts content. Though I would go max two bricks tall without cement to maintain stability.

A good place to look for materials free is your local dump or refuse centre. Ask the guys working there if they mind if you take a couple of bits. If you think its appropriate offer them money for it (but not too much) and half the time they'll let you take it for free.

SirCooksalot (author)bcavaciuti2015-12-30

I had to point out the misuse of e.g. here, I know it's old but some unsuspecting person may see it and absorb the misinformation. 'E.g.' means 'for example', so one would NEVER say 'for e.g.' as it is redundant. Also,while not to my knowledge a hard rule, I have never heard it used AFTER the example but always before... "Find iron legs, e.g. those on a sewing machine..." I have never used a sowing machine, but it's almost certainly a piece of mobile farm equipment and would likely lack legs.

wonderkid64 (author)SirCooksalot2016-11-08

SirCooksalot: For someone who is picking at another persons grammar you have constructed a very "unique" paragraph to do so. I must say that the author's statements were clear and easy to understand, while yours, I had to read several times to make sense of. While your point is taken that the conventional use of "for eg" is to do so preceding the example sited, the authors statement was still clear and their helpful offering easily understood. So lets stay on point shall we? This is an Instructable (and a pretty good one by all accounts) and not Grammar 101.

zacker (author)wonderkid642016-11-09

When I read the original post, I didn't even notice the "For EG" or "Sowing Machine" I just read it and it said exactly what it said... "For Example" and "Sowing machine" ( said, sewing machine) I didn't even notice the grammar and spelling mistakes. What I am saying was I understood completely what the OP was So, is there really a "Sowing machine" as well as a "Sewing Machine"?

SirCooksalot (author)wonderkid642016-11-08

Oh no, I wasn't picking anyone's anything apart... I stated at the outset that I didn't want someone ELSE to read that and go forward misinformed, e.g. "Oh, so that's how you use e.g." I agree that this is a pretty good Ible, very good really. There's a difference between sharing info and 'picking apart'. Instructables is about sharing info, and I often find that the comments section makes a great place to do that- sometimes off-topic but always informative and many times humorous. I'm always open to new information, so I suppose I dish it out pretty freely as well. And by the by, the point was that there is no 'conventional use' of the (nonexistent) phrase "for e.g." - we don't say for e.g., we just say e.g. If the poster felt I was being critical, he has my sincerest apology.

wonderkid64 (author)SirCooksalot2016-11-08

Oh, ok. Thanks for clearing that up. I obviously misunderstood your intent. I totally agree that the comment sections can often be as valuable as the content section at times. Lots of minds and experiences working to create the builder community. It is a wonderful time to be alive! Cheers all and happy building.

zacker (author)riverquick2015-10-26

Just use regular Black Steel pipe, you can paint them High Heat Engine paint that they sell at car parts stores.

bobwojo (author)riverquick2015-10-25

sailordoug (author)riverquick2014-07-03

I don't know of a galvanized washer drum. I think they are either porcelain or stainless. the galvanized pipe legs would be the only zinc in this project. and you can easily substitute black iron pipe available at most hardware/home center stores. Just ask around.

Mr.Hyde (author)sailordoug2014-07-03

Thanks for the tip! Haven't noticed the legs becoming very hot, but will check next time

caarntedd (author)riverquick2014-06-30

The drum is stainless steel. For the legs use stainless tube, or ordinary unfinished steel and let it rust. I made one of these with an enameled drum and bare legs. It lasted years.

GaryS64 (author)Dnewton12015-10-26

Some are porcelain or baked enamel and have the same toxic fumes.. a good hot burn will usually clean them, just be careful not to breath the smoke and fumes.

R2-D2P (author)Dnewton12015-10-25

thanks for saying was just going to make one

pbates123 (author)Dnewton12014-07-13

What you say is true, although heat travels up and very little will be transmitted into and down the legs. Notice his wood deck is not even burned around the legs. Also pedrobedro has a point, there would be very few fumes and only for a short time. Besides your not going to play like Mongo (ref to Blazing Saddles) and stick your face in the fire..... I hope!

pedrobedro (author)Dnewton12014-07-05

How much galv is on there ? You only get galv flu from prolonged exposure to fumes at welding temperature, don't sweat the trivial stuff and enjoy the fire.

zacker (author)2016-11-09

you can buy Stainless Steel pipe nipples and then buff them to a nice shine and use those for the legs too.

Creak (author)2016-02-01

My only concern is the longevity of using such materials. The oxidation looks okay but after repeated use and potentially rain wouldn't that rust through quickly?

SirCooksalot (author)2015-12-30

I think it would be cool to put 3 capped pipe nipples in the top 3 holes, so it looks as if the bottom pipes 'continue' if you will. If you live in the city and sparks etc. are a concern you could even attach a rigid screen at one of the caps, so it could swivel out of the way for fueling and then swivel back over when lit. This is an awesome 'ible, one of the best in terms of value- very little time, very little money, great result. Win,win,win.

practice balance (author)2015-11-05

oooh shiny!!! how long did that shine last? must a had it chrome plated!

TomC57 (author)2015-10-27

Never tried a washer drum but it looks great! We used an old tire rim and still do.

bof2b (author)2015-10-26

Had one of these back in the 60s which my dad made - He bolted 3 peices of 2 inch angle iron onto the side and an old mess tin lid as a damper for the top. Great burner

Razor 911 (author)2015-10-26

cool great idea

chromoscratch (author)2015-10-25

An outstanding 're-purposing' of what I never considered to be suitable to such an application. Upon seeing the raw/finished product, however, I'm stunned to see how perfect such an application truly is, and as it's made of stainless steel, should provide decades of trouble-free service. Only thing I can think of, is emptying out the old ashes may be problematic, with an exit flap at the bottom a possible addition. Small matter, Kudos!

JohnW57 (author)2015-10-25

I am always pottering around making things in steel and word and can support you in that it works perfectly as my neighbour came to me with a stainless steel drum and asked me to make the same, almost identical. As the fire burns so the colours come into the stainless steel. There is the added advantage of stainless steel standing up to the heat longer than ordinary steel sheet. I have been making or forging roses that I started out as curiosity to see how they would turn out. Worked so well I have requests fro many so am expanding it to include poppies, irises and other flowers.

JohnW57 (author)JohnW572015-10-25

grhh wood not word:) Ancient fingers not working well

MalM3 (author)2015-10-25

This is great idea, gonna ask my Husband to make us 1

So simple to make .

Thank you for sharing.

spiritwalker6153 (author)2015-10-25

Very nice. Is that a stainless steel drum? It really looks good and I imagine that with the heat and discoloration it would only get better looking with age.

Jagged007 (author)2015-10-25 easy is this thing to make...I bought a portable fire pit about a year ago and it's already looking like it won't last too much longer...last one I'll ever buy...great job..I don't think there's much you can do about the discoloration...doesn't bother me at all.

VendicarD (author)Jagged0072015-10-25

You mean it looks like it went through a ringer.

Washing machine drum fire pit has no ringer to go through.

VendicarD (author)2015-10-25

Washing machine drum idea..... Ace!

Well done.

Pa1963 (author)2015-10-25

Go to the electrical dept. and you will find locknuts and washers that will fit the water pipe threads.

ClintW7 (author)2015-10-25

Dryer drums work real well for this as well, I made one a few years back and even put a stack and makeshift door so it would breathe

Pa1963 (author)ClintW72015-10-25

Most dryer drums don't have the holes necessary for air flow.

grimdaddy (author)2015-10-25

I have two of these drums and a stainless steel washing machine drum I modified. Best fire pits ever.

Thorsword (author)2015-10-25

The drum is stainless steel, the legs he added are galvanized. Most of the heat the legs pick up will go straight to the coldest part of ground around before any heat will have any kind of buildup happens. I have one like this no worries at all.

TigersFanMatt (author)2014-07-03

I've done this, got a broken washing machine off ebay for £0.01, did need an angle grinder to get the drum out but fortunatly the drive shaft and wheel make a fantastic stand!

Mr.Hyde (author)TigersFanMatt2014-07-03

Haven't thought about eBay before and was thinking where I could find some more drums. You know, it makes for a fantastic gift

dspathaky (author)Mr.Hyde2014-07-04

My local waste / recycle centre lets 'special' customers take bits off old appliances.

I get much treasure and the place me to get washer drums.

I also get the (much prized) heavy round glass 'windows' from clothes washing machine doors too. They make great salad bowls, almost indestructible.

Phil_S (author)dspathaky2015-10-25


Too much good stuff in washing machines to chuck out - solenoid valves, motor - I use the drum for growing potatoes (too nice a finish to burn stuff in it), and yes, the glass window, does make a nice bowl, goes well with the jam jar fruit juice glasses - my experience is that buy the posh ones and breakage is inevitable, but the jam jars last for ever.

AndrewS29 (author)2015-04-03

Samsung front loader. Wow. I have my feet resting on that actual part right here in my basement right now as I'm reading this and am splitting my sides laughing. Samsung front loader. Never again. Now I have a $400 CDN foot rest, or -OR- a $400 CDN hillbilly redneck fire pit.

jexxen made it! (author)2015-04-01

Great idea! I had a drum waiting for something to do with it. After reading this instructable I knew what to do with it :) In the pic the drum is drying after I painted it with heat resistant paint.

xanda2260 made it! (author)2015-01-25

Love it! Doesn't stay shiny for long though!

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