Introduction: Solar Powered Pig Roaster
So this year I turn thirty years old. For my 18th birthday I was in the Army and in basic training. So no big celebration instead I got rolled left and right in the mud all day. My next big birthday I turned 21 and i was in Iraq. This was during OIF 1 so I hadn't even had a shower in 4 months. So no trip to the bar to get my first beer. I was thinking a 30th birthday bash sounded good. What better way to throw a party than roasting a whole hog over some coals with some good friends and family.
Step 1: Metal
I started looking al over the internet and found many plans but nothing looked good. There were some nice rigs out there but they were several thousand dollars. I was told to just use some old jack stands but that not my style. So off to the metal store I went. Here is what I bought
24ft of 1 ¼ inch square tubing
24ft of 1½ inch square tubing
12ft 1” rod
4 cast iron stars
I knew I wanted something I could take apart and store easily. I wanted to use as many free or junk parts I could to build this project. I have a great friend Casey Henson who is incredibly bright and had several gearmotors and bearings left over from an old job. He brought me a big pile of parts that were going to be scraped. We talked for hours about this bouncing ideas off one another, and finally came up with a plan. I drew it out in windows paint, the only drawing system I have.
We took my drawings from paintbrush and started cutting some metal. A friend from work, Chet Brown was recruited to do the welding. He is a far better welder than I will ever be. I also had a friend of mine Zach Harrison grinding and de-burring the parts before welding. We used a metal chop saw and cut the parts. Then we took out the mig welder and carefully aligned all the parts for welding. The parts went together well. I really haven’t detailed the plans in this Instructables to well because thats not the way I work. I prefer to build things based on how they look good to me. Also I dont know what materials you may come across. almost every part other than the metal was recycled. I made a motor mount out of a old leaf spring bolt plate. It worked perfect and I used 4” hose clamps to hold the motor in place.
Step 3: Bearings and Sprocket
Bearings; again a gift from Casey. To mount them we welded a bolts to a peace of tubing and bolted them on, It works great.
The large sprocket is a 60T bought this from from northern tools and the small 9T was from Pervis Industries. Both cost about $15. on the large sprocket we welded on a 1" cuppling that would slip over the spit rod. This got me down to about 2.5 rpm which is a great speed to roast a hog. I built the entire mount system on the 1 1/2 square tubbing so i could slide it over the main stands that are 1 1/4 square tubbing. I drilled a hole in the mount and welded a nut to the tube. Then, using a bolt you could move the pig up or down to control the heat. On my motor mount I added a bottle opener for my beer.
Step 4: Fire Pit
It was time to build the fire pit. We cut some 6” C-Purlin connectors to 48 inch length and welded three of them together. We then boxed them in and cut some expanded metal for the coals to lay on. I have never worked with C-Purlin connectors before but will again. They are cheap and strong. I then welded two stars to the box and a Texas cutout I salvaged from an old trailer hitch. I’m from Texas and it what’s we do. We added two 1 ½ tubing to the side of the box and added a nut and bolt so we could have a second way to adjust the heat.
Step 5: Powering
The motor I got for turning the pig operated off of 12V. I started thinking of multiple crazy ways of powering it. I finally decided to go simple and hook it up to my truck battery. I wasn’t sure how long the motor would turn so I went to Harbor Freight and bought a $15 solar panel. This turned to work out great. The pig cooked for almost 7 hours and never even slowed down.
Step 6: Spit Rod
The spit rod was easy take a 1" rod and shove it through the pig. We made some forks that would hold the pig in place with a few cupplings and some metal of an old piece of furniture. They turned out perfect.
Step 7: The Pig
The pig we bought was natural, local and delicious. I will detail the cooking process in a future article. It took about 7 hours, 60lbs of mesquite lump charcoal and around 48 Shiner Bock, Ruby Redbird Beers. It was the perfect birthday and I am blessed to have great friends and family to spend it with. Thank you for taking time to read my article.
Participated in the
Green Tech Contest
Participated in the
Hurricane Lasers Contest
Participated in the
Fix & Improve It Contest