Beginner’s Welding Project: How to Weld a Charcoal Grill
If you’re looking for a simple and functional welding project that’s ideal for beginners, one of the most common places to start is by building your own welding cart. Once you’re done with a welding cart, welding your own charcoal grill is a natural next step. A grill has a similar structure as a welding cart and if you have any materials left over, you can use them for your grill. Best yet, a grill doesn’t require expensive materials, can be welded with a simple stick welder, and is extremely useful once you’re done with it.
The following plans have been adapted from an original project at Lincoln Electric’s Canada site. Keep in mind that it’s easy to adapt these plans according to your own project’s needs. These plans can serve as a general guideline for your own plans.
For starters, you’ll need to pick up the materials you need. The Lincoln website lists the following items:
- Strips of angle iron
- Lincoln Electric® Fleetweld® 35 (E6011) stick electrode
- A pair of 7” wheels with bolts (Lawn Mower Wheels)
- A liquid barrel – IMPORTANT! the barrel must be a liquid barrel that is sealed on both sides, but make sure it has not contained any FLAMMABLE SUBSTANCES. You can pick one up from a number of places and certain manufacturers may be willing to give you one for free.
- 1″ x 4″ cedar board for shelving.
- 3 3” butt hinges
- A handle – 1″ strip of steel and a 1” wood dowel
The grill should be about waist-high. It may be good to check out the heights of the grills at the hardware store when you pick up your materials. If you don’t have a cutting torch, you may want to pick up a torch kit or borrow one from a friend, as this will make cutting the barrel much easier for this project. A simple jig saw or chop saw will get the job done on the angle iron pieces when you measure them according to your plans.
While Lincoln doesn’t provide precise measurements for this project, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
- The frame for each of the long sides should be higher than the frame for the short sides. The barrel will rest on the top pieces of the short side frames.
- The legs for one of the short side frames will be longer than the other side, though if you’re using lawn mower wheels, the different won’t be too significant. One side will have wheels, while the other will rest on the ground.
- All of the measurements for the short sides will be determined by the size of your barrel and the height of your wheels.
Cutting the Barrel
Once you’ve measured, cut, and welded your frame together, you’re going to place the barrel in your frame to make sure it fits properly and to begin making your measurements to cut the barrel. In addition, if you have a spout on the side of your barrel, make sure it’s positioned to be higher. You don’t want charcoal to drop out! You can attach a simple L-shaped chimney to this spout to help guide the smoke away from you while you cook.
Using a cutting torch or heavy duty saw, you’re going to cut an “L-shaped” section out of the barrel so that it looks like Pac-Man from the side. Make sure it’s a clean cut, since you’re going to attach the cut away section with brackets so that it can serve as a cover. Lincoln recommends attaching the brackets after making your first cut. Don’t forget to file down the metal edges after you’re done cutting.
Finishing the Frame
Once you’ve got the barrel measured and set, finish up the frame by adding the wheels and building a cedar shelf. The wheels require only a pilot hole that the bolt from each wheel can go through. Be sure to make sure the grill will be level once you add the wheels.
When you create the wooden shelf, you can use angle iron to build a frame that the wood can rest in. When it’s time to attach the shelf frame to the main grill frame, you can use clamps and a piece of scrap angle iron to create a temporary ledge that the shelf frame can rest on.
Once the shelf is securely in place, predrill holes in the angle iron on the bottom and screw the wood into the angle iron. Though these plans from Lincoln show a shelf that goes around the front of the grill, you can also just create a simple side shelf.
Finishing the Grill
After you attach the grill to the frame, you’ll want to add a handle with a wooden piece you can grip without burning yourself. After that, place a piece of expanded stainless steel toward the bottom of the barrel for catching the charcoal. The cooking surface could be custom cut from stainless steel or you could pick up something from the local hardware store.
Lastly, grind down any rough welds and paint your grill. Once the paint dries, you’ll be able to call up your friends for a cook out!