Saturday, December 18, 2010

Barbecue Pit Project

 This was one of my first welding projects.  A friend of mine had an old barbecue pit that the body of was still in good shape but the legs had all but rotted off.  He asked that we create a frame/rack to hold more of his cooking "stuff" and could be rolled across the lawn without much hassle.  We had a good time working together to build it out and learned a heck of a lot in the process.  Here's what the finished product looked like....

Here's what we started out with or at least here's what we started out with after we amputated the legs, racks and other junk stamped metal that had all but rotted through. The pit was made of good thick gauge metal so I don't know why the manufacturer didn't carry the same quality to the legs.  In the background you can see Liffey the welding Chihuahua looking on.  She's quick with the grinder as well.

Here's all the unneeded junk.  I'm amazed that these flimsy legs supported the pit. It was harder than expected to remove this stuff or at least to remove it without totally destroying the body of the pit.  What we thought would take 10 minutes ended up taking more like an hour using, a grinder, ratchet set, hammer and bolt cutters.

Here we are laying out the framework.  In true beginner fashion we worked off more mental than written plans.  This came back to bite us a couple times.  That's me in the Blue.  It's a touch hot to be welding... typical Texas afternoon at 94 degrees.

After a couple of hours we had most of the pieces for the frame measured, cut and had started to tack them together.  We made the frame from 1.5" 14 gauge square tubing.  This shot shows the base of the frame laying on top my welding table.  The green objects are angle vises.

Things are starting to shape up. The basic frame is built out, the angle iron supports for an expanded metal top are in place and the pit has been set in place.  We ended up cutting the wood rack off to make room for the improved expanded metal one.  At this point we had roughly eight hours, spread over two days, in the project.  Included in these were plenty of learn as you go experiences and "do overs".

Expanded metal tray finished and wheels attached.  Yes we did put the wheels on the wrong side.  They eventually had to moved so that the weight of the pit would be balanced and allow one person to easily roll it across the lawn.  With the exception of welding the wheels on the wrong side this part of the project went smoothly.  I surprised myself with the ease the which the angle iron and expanded metal tray came together.  It was kind of a eureka learning to weld moment.

Twenty hard fought hours in.  Wheels on correct side, bottom rack in place and skids to level things out.

Different angle at the same stage.

The final product. After a couple coats of paint along with several thermometers.

 Brad in his backyard with his "new" grill. Works great!

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