Quick-Fix Welding for a Broken BBQ Grill




Introduction: Quick-Fix Welding for a Broken BBQ Grill

About: Scott Kildall is an new media artist and researcher. He works at Autodesk, Pier 9 and is an artist-in-residence with the SETI Institute

A few weeks ago, the metal plate on the bottom of my barbecue grill broke. This piece distributes the heat from the burner. Without it, the grill was useless. The blue propane flame was only cooking portions of the veggies, fish or meat.

I like to fix things but I don't like having a list of things to fix. For this sort of problem, I'd normally order the $40 part and be done with it. But, a replacement part simply wasn't available.

This Instructable will detail how to fix this using basic metalworking techniques. The power tools I used were a sandblaster, horizontal band and a MIG welder.

This is a quick n' dirty approach to fixing this. It is, after all the bottom of my BBQ grill.

The repair took less than an hour.

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Step 1: Assess the Damage, Make a Plan

There are two pieces of steel that comprise the BBQ place: an inner round plate and an outer ring which fits into the barbecue shell. These were originally held by eight thin tabs as a single piece, which snapped off after just two years of moderate use.

What I decided to was to find some scrap steel and cut eight replacement tabs and tack-weld them onto the plate. Each tab was about 1/2" wide.

Step 2: Find Matching Thickness Steel

It's a lot easer to weld steel with the same gauge (thickness). Using calipers, I found that the BBQ plate was 1/8" steel. I found a piece of matching scrap for the tabs.

Step 3: Measure and Mark

I measured and marked several 1/2" intervals by hand.

There are far more accurate ways to do this job, such as using steel blue, a scribe and some sort of square. But this was a quick n' dirty fix, so I used a piece of metal as my straightedge and a sharpie.

Step 4: Make Cuts With the Horizontal Band Saw

A horizontal band saw is the best tool for this job. 1/2" pieces doesn't allow enough room for a fence with the vertical band saw.

I cut 10 pieces (2 extra just in case). I didn't spend much time making sure the cuts were just right, so some of the pieces were slightly off. Once again, there is a time for perfection. This is not one of them.

Step 5: Hand File the Burrs

These pieces are too small to safely use on a belt sander. I put them in a vise and hand-filed each one to remove the sharp burr.

Elapsed time: 5 minutes.

Step 6: Clean the Weld Area With the Sandblaster

All surfaces need to be clean before welding and there was a layer of sticky gunk covering the BBQ plate. Using a sandblasting tool, I cleaned off the areas where I'd be welding.

Step 7: Verify This Is Steel With a Magnet

Using a magnet, I verified that this was indeed steel and not some other type of metal.

I tried this before sandblasting, but all the BBQ gunk prevented the magnet from working properly.

Yep, it was steel. Phew.

Step 8: Set Up Your Workspace

I propped up the metal pieces on the welding table, using other scrap metal pieces.

Because of the curved shape of this BBQ plates, this was difficult to clamp. If I were going for perfection, I'd have made some sort of holding jig, but this would be fine.

Step 9: Put First Tab on and Weld

I tack-welded the first tab on this piece, using the settings on the welding chart for 1/8" steel. There wasn't not really a way for me to practice, other than running a bead on a piece of 1/8" steel (which I did).

How do you weld? Check out this popular Instructable.

Step 10: Add Second Tab

When welding, you usually want to weld on opposite sides, rather than go in a circular pattern.

This will make it more likely that your two pieces will be properly aligned.

Step 11: Finish Off the Job

More tacks, on each piece. There were a few gaps, but I was able to bridge them without any difficulty.

Step 12: Done!

Here's the finished piece.

It's not pretty, but the welds have proper penetration.

There's some extra metal bits on the top of the plate, from some arcing. I cleaned this off with a wire brush. Done.

I hope this was helpful!
Scott Kildall

For more on the my actual art projects, you can find me here:
@kildall or www.kildall.com/blog

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    10 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Wow, it was a really great idea to fix your broken grill part with a quick welding job. I wish I could do the same thing with some of the appliances around my house. However, I'm not so lucky as to own a welder or know how to use one. Looks like I;ll have to hire a metal repair specialist if I can't find the replacement parts.



    5 years ago on Step 5

    I normally hold small pieces with vice grips and take the burr off with either a bench grinder or bench sander... Nice work, BTW (-:


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice job on fix and instructable documentation. Great pics - well lit, in focus, good perspective. Question: What is the flame pattern? Through the outer holes? Seems like all the flame would be in the gap between the inner and outer circle. Maybe post a pic with grill in action.

    Bill Carlson
    Bill Carlson

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I did something similar with a metal plate over the burner which rusted away. The fix was to use a piece of stainless which is working well and will probably outlast the rest of the grill. A good source is a local metal salvage yard, which usually has a retail shop next to where they buy metal.. In San Jose it's Sim's metal on Monterey road across from Pick and Pull auto yard.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    i've noticed the burner cover plates on these various grills are always the first things to rot away. i guess they do that to make you buy a new one but still, you would think someone would sell one that would last!!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Thorough, useful, and facilitates the consumption of grilled meats and veggies. Most amateur grill-repairers will be using a hacksaw and elbow grease in lieu of the horizontal bandsaw, but it's nice to see how easily this fix can be performed.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Dremel and a few cut off wheels?


    5 years ago

    Tous ça pour ça..........


    5 years ago on Introduction

    What model of BBQ grill is that? I don't think I've seen a propane grill like that unless it is a high end model of some sort.