Intro: How to Weld a Barbecue.
Step 1: When Welding, First Learn How to Weld.
Before we could put the barbecue together, we needed the skills and equipment to be able to do so.
Steveastrouk put together a nice TIG welding kit, along with masks and gloves, some lumps of scrap and a huge cast-iron bench to work at.
- Take it steady.
- TIG welding gives you sun burn.
- Make sure you have a good ground.
- Keep the Amps as low as you can.
- Moving the tip further from the work-piece increases the temperature.
- Don't let the working end of the welding rod touch the welding tip while the far end is touching "ground". The current earths through the rod and makes it very hot far too quickly to let go.
Step 2: Making the Frame for the Grill
We already had a spare grill out of an oven to work with so we used this to measure up a frame out of 1" box section. and welded the four sides together.
We "tacked" the corners, then welded across the joint on both sides of the frame.
Step 3: Making the Ash Catcher/ Heat Reflector
The benefits of working in a well tooled workshop really hit home when it came to making the ash catcher. This is made from a simple sheet of steel. We found some stock that was a little large but thanks to a large sheet cutter was quick to cut down to size. With projects like this its fine to just mark up the length on the frame and cut. I don’t think we measured anything accurately. Luckily, we has access to a large sheet metal cutter so this was a quick step. but If you don't have access you could use the angle grinder.
Once cut to the right length we found a large pipe and used that as a form to pull the steel into a highly accurate parabola shape best suited to maximise the heat reflection. OK truth be told that was a fluke, we just bent it until both sides would fit on either side of the frame.
This was then sat on top of the frame and welded in place. Starting with some tacks in the corners to try and minimise warp.
Welding in the right-angle was a lot harder to do than the butt-joints. The arc of the welder seemed to wander from side to side, and it was hard to balance the heat going into the thicker square section and the thinner plate. It was surprisingly easy to burn through the plate...
Step 4: Welding Some Square Mesh on Either End
Next we stood the frame on the side and placed a piece of 1" steel square mesh over the end, welding where the mesh overlapped the ash tray. The overlap was then cut off with a grinder and any sharp edges cleaned up.
(We decided, after the barbecue was already in use, that a piece of plate would have helped to retain the ashes. Bit late then, of course...)
Step 5: Making the Legs
To measured up how long to make the legs we held the grill at a comfortable height and with some spare welding rods measured the diagonal distance to the floor. As long as all four legs are the same length it should be fine. These were again cut on the metal band saw.
To fix the legs to the frame we found some very handy M8 pronged Tee nuts and bolts, the Nuts were perfect as they had large flanges attached and these fit perfectly in the ends of the 1" box section. Four tack welds later and we had a perfect countersunk nut to join the legs to.
For two of the legs we made some very simple 1" washers out of some spare 1" offcuts. These were needed to allow the legs to cross.
We then fitted the legs and used a spirit level to get it level before marking the centre point for the bolts to hold the two legs where they cross.
These were drilled and more M8 bolts fitted through with washers.
Step 6: Fitting a Mesh Tray to Hold the Charcoal
By using some more of the Mesh we just measured the length and used the angle grinder to cut off to the nearest strip leaving a spiked edge to interleave with the ends and hold the trap in position.
Step 7: Light Up and Enjoy
It was a bit of a fluke but the shape of the ash tray really helped reflect heat back to the charcoal with the excellent air flow and the charcoal was burning white and the grill was very hot!
The grill we used had inconveniently-large gaps for the food to fall through - Lemonie solved that by weaving stainless-steel welding rods through the grid.