November 30, 2020

DIY Heavy Duty Portable Fire Pit Using Scrap Steel

With Summer was coming to an end, my buddy was interested in a DIY fire pit for his backyard. We had a few ideas of how we wanted to build one but the price was a major factor to the design. A quick google search shows various ideas that can be a simple weekend project for any welder.

We visited the local steel yard to get an estimate of our cost. Steel plates can be rather expensive if you want perfect stamped cuts. As we browsed the steel inventory for 1/4" and 3/8" steel plates, we noticed that this project would have a very hefty price tag if we went with the perfect plates. I knew these places have scrap piles that should have sufficient pieces for our build. As it turned out, we found a bunch of 1/4" diamond plate steel measuring roughly 1'x3' that were cheap. We took home three sheets that were similar in dimensions for around $40. This determined our final design of a long triangular fire pit.

The Build

First thing was to cut down two plates to the same size. This would serve as the sidewalls of the firepit. Using an angle grinder, we cut down the last plate to make the stands and the outer wall. We took the mill scale off on the flat side using a grinding wheel and cleaned up the plated side using a wire wheel. The sharp edges were cleaned up with a grinding wheel. It was a tedious task that required several blades and wheels.

After laying it out to get a feel for the fire pit, I welded the stand and of the sides together. Both sidewalls were mildly warped and were not meeting in the middle. My idea was to weld the other stand piece to mate the firepit together. Then using ratchet straps, I would squeeze the two sidewalls together and lay down a bead of weld. This worked out perfectly and the entire fire pit held into place without any bowing. We cut out 1x3" pieces of steel to use as moving handles and 3/4x7" pieces for center support and wood stacking.

Once everything was welded into place, we hit the entire thing with three coats of high temperature black paint.

Overall, it was a fairly simple project that took about 2 days due to the multiple coats of paint. The thick steel should retain heat very well and should last for decades. The total cost of the project was around $50. In my opinion, this is an overbuilt DIY fire pit that is a fraction of the cost of what you can get in stores.

Check out my other builds here.

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