The Pocket Grill





Introduction: The Pocket Grill

Imagine Bear Grylls eating the most disgusting maggot, ok, now imagine Bear Grylls eating the most disgusting maggot grill fried, isn't that better? Well I guess not, but anyways, behold: the pocket grill. Ideal for single or two person camping, backpacking or hiking.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Tools you will need:

  • 1. Hacksaw (or at least the blade)
  • 2. Cutting pliers
  • 3. Drill and bit
  • 4. Utility knife
  • 5. File (or sandpaper)
  • 6. Ruler

Of course these are not mandatory, you are welcomed to improvise, but please wear safety gear and respect work security guidelines (or suffer the consequences of your foolish actions, I don't care).


Basically you need 2 pieces of pipe, one must fit in the other, I used 18mm (3/4 Inch) and 15mm (5/8 Inch) copper tube; any metal should do, but I used copper because: its relatively lightweight, doesn't bend much when exposed to fire, it has thin walls and most importantly I had them lying around the house (leftovers from the heating system) so they were free.

2 copper tube caps that fit the larger diameter pipe (also lying around and also free).

Handful of approx. 2mm diameter bicycle spokes (1/16 inch), I can't give you an exact number, you'll see why in a bit. Make sure that you use stainless steel spokes, you're going to eat off of them.

Pro Tip: If you have a bicycle repair shop nearby, you should ask them for broken spokes, you may get them for free (I hacked my old bike tire to death for this).


This is pretty simple since you'll need to cut everything to the same size (you will get a rectangular grill).

Pro Tip: The bigger you make your grill the more spokes you'll need, make sure that the number of spokes you intend to use all fit inside the smaller diameter tube.

I made mine 20 cm wide (7.87401575 inches, just make it 8) since I found that about 25 2.2mm spokes fit inside the 15mm diameter tube.

Step 2: Cut Tubes to Length

Cut the two tubes to equal length and file the rough edges, as I previously mentioned I made them 20cm (approx. 8 inches).

Step 3: Measure, Mark and Drill Holes

Now that you've got your tubes cut to length, you need to mark and drill the holes for the spokes.

Step 4: Cut Spokes to Length

By now you have the exact number of spokes you'll need, just count the holes. The spokes need too be the same length (or smaller) as the tubes, since they need to fit inside.

Pro Tip: You will need 2 spokes with intact threads on one end and 90° bend on the other so cut them about 5 - 10mm (1/16 - 3/8 inch) longer than the rest, please keep this in mind.

Step 5: Assemble the Grill

I'm not going to lie to you, this is painstaking to do until you do it a few times and get used to it.

Step 6: Disassemble and Pack the Grill

This is a "piece of cake", just unscrew the nipples and it falls apart. Packing it up is also pretty easy.

Step 7: Final Thoughts

So, that's about it, have fun making an using it.

UPDATE: Some of you expressed concern that copper emits harmful gasses when heated, I can't scientifically refute this, but I couldn't find any source on the internet proving it, so: future "copper emits toxic fumes when heated" comments will be ignored unless they contain a link to a credible source.

UPDATE 2: or any source

UPDATE 3: The"Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" website, in the "NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards" section states about copper fumes that: "Exposure may occur in copper & brass plants and during the welding of copper alloys." Meaning that you'd have to melt copper or copper alloys to release the toxic fumes, we won't be doing that over the campfire, not even close.

This is my first instructable and English is not my native language (it's 3rd actually) so there may be some spelling errors, or parts that are not clearly enough explained, please feel free to notify/criticize me using the comment form, so I can update the text or upload more pictures.

Thank you for reading this, have a nice one!

Please link back to my blog ( or original article ( when you copy this article.

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327 Discussions

When copper and copper alloy surfaces contact acidic foods, copper may be leached into the food."

This is because acidic foods react with copper, causing it to dissolve into food.

Acidic foods coming in direct contact with copper can become toxic due to copper leeching into the food. Examples of acidic foods include tomatoes, fish, processed meats, grains and citrus fruits. Looking at the picture of mushrooms on the grill, what if that was Spam instead for example? It would probably be safer if stainless steel tubing was used instead. It may be harder to drill through, but safety should be the priority don't you think?

You are right. Copper is good. So is your English. I envy your linguistic skills. My second and third languages are Fortran and Lisp. I have a wonderful copper skillet that makes perfect large crepes. Every bootlegger uses a copper coil to condense his product. My house is plumbed with copper much of which I soldered myself. No one has ever raised the issue that plumbers should avoid soldering copper pipes. I have noticed that many contributors to "instructables" are week on the subject of chemistry. Perhaps there should be a DIY course....

4 replies

Another "yes" vote on the safety of copper heating: I have a long history of remodeling and I have done copper pipe "sweating" on both plumbing and HVAC systems in some of the strictest code states (Maryland, Florida, California etc.) and I've never run into any special hazard rules. That said, however, it might not be a bad idea to pre-heat your grill once to burn off any coatings or oils that may be there from manufacturing or handling before getting food near it. Just to be sure.

You are correct of course. It I always a good idea to clean materials to be used in preparing food. As you are aware there are no known hazards associated with copper and food contact though, rarely, some people have an allergy to the metal. I too have installed copper plumbing in Maryland and California. The only caution is that one should not use lead based solder. Of further note my Mexican relatives use large copper cauldrons to deep fry pork over open fires or propane burners. This is a cultural tradition for holiday family dinners. These cauldrons are available in Mexico in enormous sizes. I know of no U.S. sources.

Yep-yep on the lead solder, but I guess it doesn't apply here. Copper and brass are really clean metals (which is why copper is so popular for pipes and pans, anyway). Anyone reading these comments can rest assured.

Interesting thought on the chemistry/metallurgy vein, boatmaker. Hmmm...

Does all spokes have one 90º end or just the first and last ones ?

1 reply


How long do the spokes have to be before I cut them? Like what length? I see the length they have to be cut. But what should the original size be?please let me know thanks!

1 reply

It doesn't mater, they just have to be longer than the length you want to cut them to.

For anyone who has made this - can you post a weight for your grill?

2 replies

How does he spell 3 languages i cant spell 1 ?!

This is fantastic!

In India we have been using Copper utensils to cook, serve and eat food . It is also recommended by ancient health advisers to store water overnight and drink in morning to alleviate and cure general health related ailments.


1 year ago

Perfect! I would only add some 4 holes drilled from the bottom (at 90 degree to main holes row) on the edges and add some 4 additional spokes, so they'd serve as a stands being planted in ground.

1 reply

If you had a tap&die set that matched the treading on the spokes, you could extend the threading on those four spokes so that either small nuts(with washers) or just the spoke nipples could be used to 'lock' the 'stand' spokes into place. It would help to prevent the spokes from coming out of the copper tube and increase the stability of the entire thing.

How do you account for copper kettles and cookware? Those make some fantastic meals and hot drinks...