Saturday, September 15, 2007

Starting the Frame

I started this workday thinking about what I have left to do. Though I have accomplished a lot, I have plenty left to do. Here is the list:

  • Assemble the frame that will hold everything up from square tubes.
  • Attach wheels
  • Attach a handle
  • Make Flanges inside grill bowl to hold up grates, and flanges on frame to hold up grill bowl
  • Make a table that folds out
  • Build ash catcher system
  • Make a box for charcoal and a cabinet for tools (optional)
  • Figure out a functional vent (for smoking)
  • Hinge the lid to the bowl.
  • Paint everything.
...And I have SIX more days in the metal shop. Time to hustle...

So I was thinking about how to hold up the grate, and I realize that its handles angle out and make it too wide.

Not a big problem- I'll have to break those welds. I decide to heat them up with an oxy-acetylene torch, so I can bend it in instead of cutting and re-welding.

but to my surprise, it just came off!

No big deal, I just re-weld in the right place.

After I finished that small tweak, I decide to start constructing the frame. I have reserved a full 20 foot length of 1-1/4" square tube for this purpose.

that's a lot of metal!

Again, I set up a stop so I could cut multiple segments of the same length without measuring every time.

After cutting all the pieces, I need to put 45-degree ends on some of them to make perfect corners. I will make the top and bottom first, and then connect them with four vertical pieces.

The chop saw made decent cuts, but it isn't precise enough for my needs, so I use the grinder to get every angle perfect and fine-tune the length.

The pieces will go together like this.

I bevel the edges a little bit, to make a space for my weld to fill.

These German-made jigs are amazing. Tools like this make me happy. They are designed to do one specific thing well, and they get the job done flawlessly. Without them, this process would be a huge pain, but instead it is effortless.

And there you go- the top and bottom of my frame.

I grind off the welding slag so the verticals will attach on a level surface...

...and hold it in the vice so I can grind down the corners.

And allow me to wax poetic about one more tool. If you're in the market for a handheld grinder, get this one. It uses oversized discs and has a more powerful motor. With a fresh disc it works FAST. It is very heavy, so if your work is above waist level your arms will give out quickly. But it makes all the smaller grinders in the shop feel like toys.

A productive session, and over the next few days the parts will start coming together. I'm going to be working fast!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

James, Daddy (yours) is showing me how to access this chronicle of your Ultimate Cooking Machine. I find your project creative and constructive. Good work! When do we eat? with love, Joan aka Grammy.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice job- I too, am in the process of building my version of the ultimate pit(that's how I found this posting). Your project shows a great deal of creativity and skill. I hope that years from now, you will still feel the well earned sense of pride.

Best wishes for your future,
Ken (NJ)

10:10 AM  
Blogger Jerald said...

My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

Cooking Equipment

3:44 AM  

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