This is my first instructable, so be nice.
I recently came into possession of an upright barrel type smoker (Charbroil h2o). The charcoal basket with this unit was simply a stainless steel bowl and I couldn't get above 210 degrees. I wanted to make a new basket which would be able to hold more coals and allow airflow to the charcoal. Other designed exist, but require welding or leave you with a square basket. I was looking for a 14 inch round basket. If I went with a square, I could only fit 11 by 11 inch. Anyhow, I able to make a round basket that measures 14 inches in diameter and has 4.5 inch sides out of a single piece of expanded metal, and with NO welding. Sorry I don't have during construction photos, but I wasn't thinking of instructables when I created this contraption. Enjoy
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Step 1: Items and Tools Required
1) 1 sheet of expanded metal 24 inches by 24 inches. 3/4 inch diamond pattern. (purchased at Homedepot Canada for $27 --- probably $20 USD)
2) Heavy Duty Wire Cutters or Bolt cutters (I used bolt cutters)
3) Work Gloves
4) Bendable wire used for ties (I used the scrap from my expanded metal sheet)
Step 2: Draw You Design
First, find a 14 inch circle. I used a 14 inch round cooking grate.
Center the grate in the expanded metal and trace the circle with a permanent marker. I only have pictures to show you, but if you can imagine the post-it note is your 24 x 24 metal sheet, then you should have no troubles following.
Now, from the edges of the circle, draw lines extending from all sides of your circle (which are parallel to the sides of the sheet metal). It should work out that you have a 4.5 inch boarder around all sides of the square.
Step 3: Cut Out Your Basket's Sides
Now you are going to cut out your baskets sides.
Cut all the drawn on lines of the squares, EXCEPT for the lines where the square intersects the circle. This will leave the edges of the boarder (which will be your basket wall) attached to the circle base. The points that are not cut (where the square meets the circle) will be you folding points for the walls. The picture above shows the cut lines in RED.
Step 4: Fold Your Basket
Okay, now you are going to fold your sides up to a 90 degree angle from the bottom circle (see labelled picture). You will have 4 sides that you will fold on a 90 degree angle to the bottom base (1 & 3 are 24 inches long by 4.5 inches high and 2 & 4 are 15 inches long by 4.5 inches high). You may wish to place a flat edge (a level or scrap wood) on the bottom base, to give you an edge to fold against.
Step 5: Cut the Corners Off of You Circle.
Now you will notice that your bottom grate is not yet a circle. After your folds are made, you will have four corners that need to be cut off to round out your circle (I've shown these four corners in blue in the picture). You may have already found these and cut them off. If not, do that now. The ORANGE lines are the cuts you might not yet have made. The BLUE area shows the scrap metal that will be cut away. Or you could probably just bend them up with pliers or down to create feet (I cut mine off and used the scrap for binding wire in the next step).
Step 6: Round You Sides and Fasten the Ends
Now that you have a complete circle bottom and four sides, it's time to round the side of your basket.
Simply bend the sides so they wrap around the outside edge of your circular bottom. The sides will all overlap each other.
Now fasten the ends of the sides together with a binding wire or I used the pieces of scrap that I cut off the corners to form the circle.
Step 7: Complete
Once your sides are secure, you can manipulate the sides to make your circle cleaner and more shapely. That's it..... start cooking.
With my new basket (tons of air flow), I was able to surpass 350 degrees in a heat test. I couldn't get above 210 with the previous bowl.
Let me know if anything needs clarifying or editing. Thanks for reading.