Instructables
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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.
 
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Step 1: Materials

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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

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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

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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!

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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 and...baby, 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

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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
Link: http://youtu.be/jmQa2BAdMN0
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ltassel1 month ago
My drum came out of a Samsung front loader and didn't have four holes, but it did have a shaft mounted on the underside with one single hole in the center. Drove a single piece of 1" galvanized pipe about 18" into the ground and the other end fit up nicely into the shaft. Whole thing sits about 24" off the ground. It's a bit hot to sit around a fire this time of year, but I can imagine getting some good use out of it in the fall.
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sorshannon1 month ago
We just bought a drum for a couple of bucks from a used appliance shop. They had TONS of them. Next weekend we are starting the project! Thank you for the idea. Will send a pic of the final product.
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PaganRaven2 months ago

Have been wanting to try making a fire pit for ages now, and as soon as I saw this - my mind was made up.

All I did was post a wanted ad on Craigslist under "Wanted", and also attached a photo of a drum - I posted I was looking for a washing machine drum from a dismantled washer. I also stated I was willing to pay a couple of dollars for it as it would just end up being something hauled off if not sold to me. :D

I had 3 people email me within 24 hours with "just come pick it up and take it off my hands."

Haven't got to work on it yet but my plans are to use heat resistant paint - most likely black, and use bricks or tumbled pavers (stacked) instead of legs.

Thanks Mr. Hyde - for lighting a fire under me to get my fire pit made! ~.^

Mr.Hyde (author)  PaganRaven2 months ago
Nice to hear! Looking forward to see some pictures of the finished product!
Dnewton12 months ago
Be careful with galvanized metal when it's heated. It releases some nasty chemicals

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!

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.

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

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)  sailordoug2 months ago
Thanks for the tip! Haven't noticed the legs becoming very hot, but will check next time

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.

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.

HollyHarken2 months ago

I have an old washing machine tub on angle iron out in my back yard :). I've been using it for more than 15 years. The legs were welded on hence they are rusting out. The heat from many years of fires has caused the porcelain to crack and make the tub rust. I've been trying to figure out how to make one like yours for a while now. Low and behold you've solved my problem sort of.

I like your idea since it is stainless steel it won't rust like mine has. I have no idea where in the US a person can buy a stainless steel washing machine tub for so little money. Does any one have an idea? I'm up in New England in Connecticut so if someone does have an idea that is near by then let me know.

Wouldn't an simple pipe cutter cut the legs in half? I ask this because I've recently (this week) I had to buy a pipe cutter to repair a broken tub spout.

Hello HollyHarken,

You can go to most any big box hardware store and in the plumbing section purchase short stubs or extention pieces of pipe in many different lengths that are threaded on both ends. I suggest that you by end caps from the same store you buy the pipes from and use them as feet for the project. You could also screw them on the top inside the drum to act like a lock washer which will also help stabilize the legs. Your pipe cutter may cut the pipe but you need threading dies to thread the pipe. Cheaper to just buy the extensions. Good luck!!

You may want to check freecycle.org postings near your area. What you want to look for most of the time are front loading washing machines.

I had one that the tub was belt driven and was able to use the axle and pulley as a center leg and stand, it looked quite nice.

Thanks I'll try your suggestion. I appreciate all of the ideas everyone sent me.

Mr.Hyde (author)  HollyHarken2 months ago
you can find these things in old iron dumps. Or in places where they collect old electronics. In Europe you can find them near every city. There should be something similar in the US. Take some tools with you and only take the drum. Because you have to pay per kg

Our town dump is closed. I don't know where appliances go. Most companies take out the old one when you buy a new one.

If you have friends with trucks or trailers, have them keep an eye out for washing machines getting thrown away on the side of the road. My husband can easily find at least one every week in the Australian suburbs; he'd find one a day if he put his mind to it. Maybe even put an ad in Craigslist or Freecycle or the like - "Will take your broken washing machine for home project".

Thanks.

These are from 2002 during a very rainy camping weekend in May. That fire pit burned so hot that the rain couldn't put it out. The ground around the pit was dry for at least a foot away. We still had a good time, but it would have been much nicer without the rain. We are tent campers so our "house" got soaked!!

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niall mc2 months ago

What a fantastic Idea

And a really beautiful look.

strat69112 months ago

I like it. I was thinking of building a fire pit from firebrick, but this reuses and repurposes a discarded material. Great 'ible, Mr. Hyde. Thanks for sharing!

jacksonjljc2 months ago

Awesome idea!

I love this.

Reclaimed. Recycled. Reused.
And lovely.

And safer and easier to use than purchased fire pits with screen covers that need to be removed to adjust the fire or add wood.
Bravissimo.
The ingenuity and originality of the Instructables community is constantly both amazing and inspiring.

Thank you for taking the time to photograph, describe, and post it.

Please keep doing so.
I think of Instructables as the Wikipedia of DIY.
And I am sure that Wikipedia is the highest achievement of mankind.

Thank you again.

rich

Mr.Hyde (author)  Ricardo Furioso2 months ago

Thank you very much for this lovely comment. It was fun making it and now it's even more fun sharing it!

I stacked a washer drum on top of a dryer drum. The holes in the bottom of the dryer drum drop the ashes into the washer drum. I'm going to cut a door on the side and weld some hinges of the washer drum to make ash removal easier.

These look great - thanks for the inspiration to you Mr.Hyde and all of you that posted pics.

If I ever get round to making one of these I'll take it to the beach for its first use so if it does all go horribly wrong there's a water source and nothing to set fire to - plenty of wood too.

I used to fancy making one of the ones made out of an old gas bottle but they look awkward to get the wood in, light and clean out - this style looks way better.

@lightbender255 - I'm not sure what you're describing, would you post a pic of the two drums arrangement please? I take it they're fixed together or you'd just tip the ashes out the bottom one when it's cold - must be plenty of space in a drum so it wouldn't need doing as you use it for an evening?

You gonna? When? We need proof. We need a club. Knarpot builders and modifiers club. Okay relax.
gen814652 months ago

Here's a couple quick and easy suggestions: First, I like the idea of using bricks instead of legs, but try to use fireproof (refractory) bricks as they will withstand the heat a lot better. If the area is clear of flammable obstructions (as it should be for any fire pit), a single layer of 4 or so bricks should be sufficient. Also, an old discarded grate from a charcoal grill, laid on the top of this, and you have an excellent cooking surface. I would imagine you could also actually use charcoal instead of wood; if you were using this for cooking.

racoontnn2 months ago

Великолепная идея, и главное простая и красивая!

I think you are right there.
dspathaky2 months ago
oh yeah. how this work? More details on my adaptations in the comments....
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Okay I didn't make this, I'm a dog. It's not a flying saucer either, you think I'm an alien, what are you, crazy?
TigersFanMatt2 months ago

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!

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Mr.Hyde (author)  TigersFanMatt2 months ago
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 Mr.Hyde2 months ago
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.
dspathaky2 months ago
Thanks so much. Just the inspiration I needed and then a stroke of hyper inspiration hit me.

I had some legs hanging about waiting for a project. They came off an old aluminium office swivel chair.

The stub from the drive sat in the pipe of the chairbase tube and voila - style and grace. also a movable fire basket. (...and yes it is hyper stable, can't really get knocked over as it rolls away).

A cheap ss mixing bowl with a hole punched through for a wooden drawer handle makes a stylish rain lid...
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Mr.Hyde (author)  dspathaky2 months ago
Haha! I like the modifications :D You even added a lid to it. Just checking: You did take the gas spring from the office chair base?
dspathaky Mr.Hyde2 months ago
Too old for a gas spring, I think it was just a very basic swivel.

the drum shaft just sits in loose so I can lift it off and dump the ash as needed.

The next version will have a small flue I think. ...or even a cooking grill.

I used it to boil water yesterday with a pot on top of the old aluminium pulley belt. Worked good.

An old copper hot water cylinder provided another style lid and the mad copper latern top was also from my store of materials.
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