Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tabletop & Ash Box.

My days in the shop are scarce since I'm no longer enrolled in a metalworking course. These pics are a week or two old. Here's where I'm at:

The makings for a folding table on the right-hand side of the grill: some square pipe and a hinge.

Here's the frame- welded using the same 45-degree angle technique covered earlier.

A piece of sheet metal to complete the job. I would have used Stainless steel, but we didn't have any at the shop. I don't want to paint the surface because it will be used for food preparation. I guess scrubbing the rust off now and then may be an unfortunate reality.

Four wide-mouth Vice Grips help me keep the sheet centered for welding.

Of course, the welding isn't as easy as I expect. Even though I am only putting small tack welds in a few places, the heat is warping the sheet metal and breaking the welds. You can see this (sloppy) weld has broken away from the sheet.

My instructor Bob advises me to put a cross brace in. He's right-- a sheet of 16 gauge steel might not hold up the big piles o' food I plan to cook on this thing. In addition, it will help anchor the sheet and keep it from warping as I finish the welding.

Here it is, finished and attached to the grill frame! The hinge swings beautifully; now I need to figure out a way to hold it up! I was hoping to find some kind of prefab hinge that will lock in place, but there's nothing of the sort at Olympia Supply Co. Looks like I'll be going with a car hood type system with movable rods. In retrospect it seems kind of silly to put a hinged table on such a big, heavy BBQ. Maybe I will be thankful later on when I'm trying to cram the thing into the back of a station wagon.

Onto the next step. You saw the ash box I finished in the last post. It will slide on and off these rails on the bottom of the grill body. My original design called for a tube from the grill to the ash box, but that would be unnecessarily complicated. The rails are measured precisely to hold it on with tension, but not so much that it's impossible to remove.

They actually work really well! Note that the wide-angle lens makes the ash box look much bigger than it actually is in this photo.

That's all for now, folks, but look out for a new post really soon. I've got all the parts to finally hinge the lid, and some lawnmower wheels so I can haul it around. After that, all I have to do is attach some handles to the lid, sandblast everything, and paint it!


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