Thursday, February 18, 2016

It's The Pits

I was approached,  by my church, and asked if I could build a barbecue grill. They liked the one that I built, several years ago, for another church. We decided that it didn't need to be as large as that one. I settled on one that has a 60X30 cooking surface. The frame was welded up, using 1 inch, 13 gauge square tubing. The fire box is 10 gauge black iron. I bough a 4X 8 foot sheet. I had the metal supply cut it to 30 inches and the remnant cut in half which gave me two 9 inch strips. This was money well spent. A full sheet weighs too much for me to handle. The 30 inch by 8 foot piece was about as much as I could deal with. I made the short cuts with a torch. I then had one 30X60, two 9X60 and two 9X30 pieces which I welded up into the box. It was then welded to the frame. Time for the grill. This is the third BBQ that I've built. The first two had grills made from 1/4 inch rod. It was tedious and expensive. I opted for expanded mesh this time. I made a frame from 1 inch angle iron and welded the mesh to it. I also used some of the mesh, on each end, to serve as places for  all of the stuff, like utensils, condiments, gloves and so on. The lift mechanism just evolved, no real plan. I used more of the 1 inch square tube to make the mount for the crank and all the attendant stuff that goes with it. The roller is a piece off EMT capped off on each end with large, flat washers with captive nuts welded to the inside. The crank is welded to a bolt that threads into the end of the roller into the captive nut. I cut a disc from some of the 10 gauge. It is about 6 inches in diameter. I drilled four 3/8 inch holes in it at 90 degrees. With a hacksaw, I cut slots so it will act as a ratchet. The pawl engages the slots as the crank is turned. Each notch raises the grill about 1 inch. To lower it, you lift the weight on the end of the pawl and crank it down. It works pretty well. I used 3/32 steel cable, which should be plenty strong. Initially, I planned on wheels at one end and just lifting the other end to move it about. This thing weighs a ton, so I dug some heavy duty casters out of my stash, cut some mounting plates and welded them to the legs after cutting them down to allow for the height of the casters. Much better. A good coat of high heat paint and another project is done. The members were very pleased with it. I know it will get put to good use. We're an eatin' church

Monday, February 1, 2016

You Can't Be Too Thin, Too Rich...........

......or have too many clamps. I watched a video on making your own clamps. One person commented that, as nice as they are, you can go to Harbor Freight and buy them for about five or six bucks each. I disregarded this as the rantings of someone who would rather take out his debit card than build something he would be proud of. I opted to build my own. After about 8 hours, I tend to agree with the skeptic. Here is what I have, so far. I need to buy some more all thread in order to finish the last two clamps. They work well, though they are slow and a little awkward. Commercial clamps have screws that are half left threads and half right threads. This allows them to open and close twice as fast. Also, you can spin them by holding both handles. These require spinning each handle separately. However, they do work and they work well, so they are a success, with some reservations. Will I build more? No way. I'll get the ChiCom Harbor Freight cheepies.

Just a brief overview of their construction. The jaws are two thicknesses of 1/2 plywood, faced with maple.
I cut 5/8 steel rod into 2 inch lengths. They were drilled. half of them to 3/8 and the other half to 5/16. Those were tapped to 3/8 NC. The handles are walnut with 3/8 coupling nuts epoxied into holes bored in the ends. They are double nutted onto the all thread. There were a few more minor steps that I won't bother entering since if you do decide to build your own I don't want to be held responsible for your frustration. At least I can say that I built them myself. If anyone asks, I'll tell them it was a piece of cake