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Stainless steel countertop becomes BBQ

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Picture of Stainless steel countertop becomes BBQ
This is how to make an awesome BBQ from a stainless steel countertop, which is something that can often be found free or for very little money. The material is pretty much perfect as it will withstand high temperatures well. It's a very cheap project, depending on whether you'll need to pay anything for the countertop and griddles. Try finding used oven grids, they're great.

There is some cutting, drilling and bending of metal involved, but no welding. It took me about an afternoon to finish.


(The picture shows the first BBQ I made, because the second one hasn't been used yet.)
 
 
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Step 1: Gather your raw materials

Picture of Gather your raw materials
bbq2.jpg
What you'll want to look for is a stainless steel countertop with one or two sinks. The older models are best, as the steel is thicker. The less wood there is on the back, the better suitable the countertop is.
You'll want the sink(s) to be more or less in the middle; a bit off center is acceptable, you can adjust for that.

This is a suitable countertop. It's on the thin side but it'll do. These are very easy and cheap to acquire in the Netherlands.

You will need:

Materials:
- steel countertop with two sinks
- two planks
- screws to attach the planks
- nuts and bolts (stainless steel is best)
- grid or mesh for below the coals, can be low-quality
- griddle for the food to be grilled on, needs to be foodsafe; stainless or chromed if you can get it

Tools:
- gloves (sharp edges!), ear and eye protection
- saw for metal, or an angle grinder
- pliers or wrenches for bending
- hammer
- wire cutters for the grid or mesh
- paint scraper
- drill
- screwdriver

Step 2: Remove everything that's not steel

Remove any wood, rubber and other materials from the bottom of the countertop by any means necessary. The cleaner you can get it, the better it is.
Cheers for this.
Easy enough for me to do. My better-half has a birthday coming up and this would be the perfect prezzy for him.
Already have all the materials and already have one of his mates on standby should I need a helping hand.
This is gonna so awesome to make & can't wait to see his face either :-)
Hack42Moem (author)  SnowfreezeSorbet2 years ago
Oh wow! I feel honoured. That is just great.

Please, please post a pic when you're done, and by any means, if you have questions feel free to ask!

Here's wishing the birthday boy an excellent day and many happy returns.
Txs. I'll try to remember the pics - think he'll be to eager to use it.
Txs for the best wishes too, will let him see the instructable after I'm done lol
Hack42Moem (author)  SnowfreezeSorbet2 years ago
Oh, any pic will do... a pic after or during use is fine.
Have fun!
chuckyd2 years ago
Very well done instructable!!

A word of caution: stainless steel transmits heat more rapidly and for a greater distance than does carbon steel. So watchout for hot surfaces once the coals get going.

I would add cross bracing in the front and back for stability, and feet at the four corners to allow for uneven ground surface.
Hack42Moem (author)  chuckyd2 years ago
Actually, stainless steel conducts heat a whole lot less than you'd expect. A lot slower than normal steel, that's for sure.

Yes, if you're worried about stability cross bracing is an excellent solution. I decided against it, as I felt it wasn't needed.

Thanks for the kind words and suggestions!
Have you ever tried holding stainless steel while it's being welded at the opposite end?
Hack42Moem (author)  chuckyd2 years ago
Yes.
And...???
What happened???

The suspense is killing me!

:-)
Hack42Moem (author)  billgeo2 years ago
I lived to tell the tale, the stainless steel motorcycle luggage cases turned out great, and they lasted all the way across Africa and until this very day! :-D

Srsly.... alloys tend to conduct heat a lot slower than pure metals do, and stainless steel is an alloy. There is a reason why good quality stainless cooking pots have a thick bottom with a layer of copper or aluminium inside.
Hey, say I'm thinking of building a kind of case for my motorcycle out of stainless steel (or aluminum maybe). Have you made an Instructable for them? Did you use TIG welding?
Hack42Moem (author)  billgeo2 years ago
Spot welding. And sorry, there's no Instructable, it's too long ago. But I can tell you a few things:

- I started by making a pair of dummy cases from cardboard to get the fit right, it helps a lot.
- I used 0.8 mm stainless steel (from a junk yard). Almost two square metres of steel for my two cases.

Here's a pic of my cases. This is when they were brand new. They look a lot more beat up now, but they still hold up great!
koffers.af.jpg
Hey, they look very nice! Almost factory-made!

Say, what kind of a spot welder did you use?
A mean does spod welding 0.8mm stainless take a lot of power to do?
Could you have ade them out of thiner, say 0.6mm steel?
Hack42Moem (author)  billgeo2 years ago
Thank you! I didn't make them all by myself, though. I had help.

Furthermore: *BAM* This is where you hit upon the limits of my knowledge. I have no idea what kind of a spot welder we used, it was at a technical school and they kindly let us use their equipment. So I couldn't tell you anything about the machine. I can tell you that I had fun.
I do know, though, that depending on the exact machine you have access to, 0.6 mm stainless is most likely possible. Many of these machines can handle pretty much anything up to 2 x 1mm.

Word to the wise: if you don't have a spot welder, find one you can use first, and then make your design. Because the shape of the arms limits the freedom the machine has to reach tight spots.
For example, it may be better to put a seam in the middle of one of the sides of your case, rather than in the corner, so it's easier to reach.
Thanks once more for your answers.

I guess I have to build myself a spot welder first and then move on to thinking the things I can fabricate with it!

Your "word to the wise" is a DAMN GOOD advice!
One that you have to fail first to know!

Thank you!!!
chuggins1432 years ago
Very slick idea!

Just looking at it, I'm seeing a mod or two that might make your bbq-ing easier...

You could put a pan under the drain holes so you could just sweep the ashes into the hole and be ready for the next round. Maybe some metal tube so the ashes slide down to a pan or ash bucket.

Leaving some counter to the side would probably make prep and cleanup considerably easier as well. I know I'm always looking for more counter top space when I'm outside using the smoker.

I'm already envisioning a double grill next to my smoker and gas grill... maybe actually incorporate a working sink so I can actually clean items outside.
Hack42Moem (author)  chuggins1432 years ago
Thanks for the suggestions! The ash bucket idea is so good that we've already been using it. No tubing needed: cleanup is very easy as it is.

When this thing is on it's generally too hot for any counter space to be usable. You will probably not want to de standing that close when doing any preparations.
The contruction is not rigid enough to be used as a counter either.

So that is why I choose not to leave any space to the side. But of course, preferences differ and variations are always an option.
Ericc8152 years ago
I found it easier to build an adjustable height BBQ into the sink and use the counterspace for it's original purpose, by drilling the sink walls and installing firebed rods near the bottom of the sink. You can cold smoke by making a cover for firebox sink and pipe smoke over to 2nd sink. Use the drains as is with tin can catchpans.
Hack42Moem (author)  Ericc8152 years ago
Now those are good suggestions, and I'm sure someone will find them useful. Thanks for posting!
Brilliant.
Useful.
Resourceful.
Recyled.
Hack42Moem (author)  Ricardo Furioso2 years ago
*bows*
dariansimms2 years ago
Very nice hack. Awesome idea and really makes me want to get away from gas BBQing and get onto charcoal cooking Thanks for this!
Hack42Moem (author)  dariansimms2 years ago
My work here is done ;-)
Thanks!
nlinventor2 years ago
An innovative and direct recycl-ible idea :)
Hack42Moem (author)  nlinventor2 years ago
Thank you!
thinkpadt302 years ago
Excellent instructable! Very concise and to the point, but easy to follow. The fact that you're a lady adds to the reality that females CAN be very handy, not just us males. (That was a compliment, not a slight.) You've got me on the lookout for a discarded sink to do the same. Here in the States, we usually don't have one-piece stainless sink-countertops, but a sink on a set of legs would work, too. Because it's stainless, it should last a lot longer. My grill has about burnt through, so this came at an opportune time. Thanks!
Hack42Moem (author)  thinkpadt302 years ago
I'm glad you like it. Hope you find some good materials to build something of your own!
billgeo2 years ago
Superb idea!
I will keep an eye out for them sinks from now on!
Hack42Moem (author)  billgeo2 years ago
Thank you and happy hunting!
domscard2 years ago
Brilliant idea! I have an old 'single drainer' kitchen sink in the shed. I think I'll try and keep the drainer side for putting stuff like utensils and ready-to-cook food on. It will mean inserting the sink into a holding unit - need to explore that avenue first. Thanks for the inspiration.
Hack42Moem (author)  domscard2 years ago
That sounds like it would work well. You'd just need a way to make a steel frame of some kind, with legs on it. Perhaps you could find an old steel office table of a good size, and remove the leaf?
boston75132 years ago
Awesome idea! thanks for posting.

I just thought if you had two ,,, you could put the other upside down, add some hinges and a handle to make a lid or a drum over one side to make a smoker / dehydrator.
Hack42Moem (author)  boston75132 years ago
That is a very cool idea!
AriedeB2 years ago
Dude,

If i would have had this ible a bit sooner, i would be the proud owner of this cool BBQ!
Awsome idea!
Hack42Moem (author)  AriedeB2 years ago
Aww! Threw your old countertop out?
You can always check Marktplaats... but yeah, it's more fun if you happen to have one standing around.
scoochmaroo2 years ago
This would be a great entry for the Picnic Challenge!
Hack42Moem (author)  scoochmaroo2 years ago
Ooo... thanks for the hint. I'll enter it for sure!
really cool!
Hack42Moem (author)  amandaghassaei2 years ago
Thank you! And rather hot, when in use ;-)