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For all you metal DIY enthusiasts, building a barbeque grill from scrap metal could be the ultimate project. Just imagine the crackling fire, the fragrant woodsmoke, the sizzle of steaks, and that heavenly first bite!
But first, you need to think through a few issues before you start to build a DIY grill.
The ideas in this post are for a grill or open fire pit burning wood or charcoal. A gas-fired grill would require additional supplies and equipment.
You’ll need several types of metal for the grate, the grill body, the frame or legs and optionally, a lid with handle.
You might be lucky enough to find a ready-made wrought iron grate. Or, you can weld together a grate of stainless steel rods, to preserve food safety and prevent corrosion. If the metal has been electrocoated or powdercoated, for example if you’re using scrap stainless rods left over from commercial door security systems, that coating should be completely removed to prevent toxic fumes when you fire up the grill.
If you can’t find uncoated scrap, you can always purchase ½-in. diameter stainless steel rod from your local metal supply shop. The stainless rods can safely be welded between two mild steel ends cut from bar scrap.
Grill BodyYou might be able to find the perfect piece of scrap to use for a housing, such as an old tractor wheel rim. Otherwise you can build a tray out of stainless steel sheet, for a long-lasting, rust-free lifetime of grilling. Once completed, the grill can be painted with high-heat resistant BBQ finish spray paint.
Draw out your design for the grill tray. It should be large enough to fit the rack inside but flush with the top edge, with walls that are deep enough (say, 4 inches) to hold the wood or charcoal. You could add a dividing wall across the bottom of the tray if you want the option of building a smaller fire at times.
For an open pit fire bowl, you may choose to angle the walls outward. Otherwise, design your grill tray like a box with rectangular walls.
To make the three-dimensional tray you will need to draw your box pattern on the stainless sheet. Then, cut the four corner sections out of the sheet. Make shallow cuts along the inside bend lines to help you bend the walls up. Finally, you’ll need to tack the corners together, with the help of clamps and welding magnets, before making the final welds.
If you’re planning to build a box lid to help infuse your barbeque with hickory smoke flavor, you’ll need holes or slots drilled into the sides of the grill box for vents. You also need to weld in a few stops at the right height to support the grate above the fire and stops on the outside to support the lid.
Supporting Your GrillWhen designing your grill stand, you need to know where you’ll be using the grill. Will it be open to the earth like a true fire pit? Or will you set it on a wooden deck or concrete drive or patio that might blacken, crack or mar due to heat?
Options to consider might be welding together a support frame from scrap rebar that would allow you to set the firebowl down inside, while keeping it above ground. Or, you could weld on some legs made from 1-in. bar stock. You may also re-use a large metal tube as a support. Weld one end to the bottom of the grill tray and then weld three perpendicular supports on the bottom end. Make sure than any metal that will directly touch the patio is made of stainless steel.
A project like this can take a lot longer than you might expect. But take your time and don’t cut corners – the end result will be well worth it!
You can rely on Industrial Metal Supply for all your metal and metalworking needs, including welding equipment and supplies.