Introduction: Brake Rotor Fire Pit

About: I like to dabble in a bit of everything: woodworking, metalworking, sewing, electronics.

This was a bit of an experiment, trying to find a good use for old brake rotors.

The brake rotor is obviously the main material, but I also used this metal screen, some 1/2” steel rod, and some 1/4” rod.

Step 1: Lining the Rotor With Steel Mesh

I believe this screen is stainless, but it might just have some sort of galvanized coating. Either way my tin snips make quick work of it. I cut out a circle to go in the bottom of the rotor and keep ashes and whatnot from falling through the holes. I didn’t want to cover the holes though, because having plenty of airflow underneath the fire is very helpful.

Step 2: Cutting the Legs

Next I made the legs. I wanted them to be about 6” long, so I cut three 12” lengths of the 1/2” rod.

Step 3: Bending the Legs

Even though I cut a notch in the center and used heat, they still snapped when I tried to bend them. That’s okay, that’s what welders are for!

I used this welding magnet to hold the two halves at a 45° angle and weld them.

Step 4: Attaching the Legs

Next I welded the legs to the bottom of the rotor. I eyeballed the spacing, but they were about equal-distant. The triangle shape of the legs meant that they all flared out at the same angle.

I was surprised how well the rotor welded. I was expecting it to put up more of a fight.

Finally I used a flap disc on my angle grinder to round over the points of the legs.

Step 5: Cage Vertical Pieces

Next was the cage on top to hold the majority of the fire. I originally wanted to use more of the steel mesh, but it just melted away when I tried to tack weld it.

I cut six pieces of the 1/2” rod at 3.5” each. This just seemed like a good height. I arranged the six rods in a hexagon shape. Placing one above the center of each leg and one directly in between each pair.

I used the same welding magnet to hold them as vertical as possible.

Step 6: Cage Horizontal Pieces

Last were the horizontal pieces. There were 18 in total and I cut them from 1/4” rod. I originally cut them to 5.5” long, but ended up having to go back and custom trim each one to fit. I cut this spacer block to hold them at the same height while I welded them in. Unfortunately my block was a bit too tall and I didn’t get all three rows equally spaced. At least with the top two being closer it almost looks intentional!

Step 7: Complete

The last thing was to put the screen circle back in and give it a test! It fit nice and snug with just a pressure fit.

Step 8: Test

It worked well! It can’t hold that large of a fire, but should be plenty for a couple people to sit around and burn some small scraps.

This project was completed July 14, 2020

View this project on Instagram.

Prior to this I had made a larger but less stylish fire pit that is a tad more practical.