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Thread: Fire pit

  1. #1
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    Default Fire pit

    Greetings all,

    Here is the beginning of my fire pit (aka) Franken-Smoker Companion.




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    This stuff cut like crap! I know my way around a plasma cutter and the machine I used to cut this should have no problem what-so-ever. I had new consumables and a good ground, but I'm here to tell ya I fought like hell to blow through this stuff! So what the hell is it? Some kind of steel of coarse, but it's like nothing I've cut before and I could barely move at 2" per min. I'm using a Thermal Dynamics 80 series plasma cutter which can do 1-1/4" severance and that's what it felt like I was cutting!



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    You can do this above if you move slow enough. But who want's to cut at 1" per min? Hell, you can see twice where I stopped and took a break over a 14" cut!



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    See, it's not even half of the capacity for this machine but I was still maxed out. So what the hell is this stuff?



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    Ehhh, something like that I guess. It's the last fire pit I'll ever have to build and that is what it's going to be, however, I still don't know what it is! I've never cut anything this hard so I can only wonder about how it welds. I'll use some 6011 rods and arc weld this, or at least I'll try!

    So now I'll just do my clean up work and get this thing together. But this is some old-school American steel that was sitting in my fathers driveway for about 20 years until I picked it up. It has surface rust at best, hell, we all used to drive on it when we were kids. But this stuff has been out in mother nature for so long, so many years, and this is all it has to show for rust?



    Thanks,
    t3t4

  2. #2
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    Did some clean up work and wound up with this below:




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    I have a template that I made for my fire pit, I drew the whole thing on aluminum foil because I knew I would be setting on and welding upon but I always need to see the lines and I do not want hot sparks to catch paper on fire. So, aluminum seemed like a good choice. Yeah, in theory maybe! Just so you know, that idea doesn't work when you have 8 plates and only 2 hands, one of which I need to hold a stinger/gun! The plates fell over so many times they tor threw the foil and wrinkled it to the point of inaccuracy. I was just about pissed off and ready to kick something when suddenly I realized I was going about this all wrong! I took a break, I drank some coffee and smoked some cigarettes, then went onto the worst part of this build, tac welds....

    Why are tac welds the worst part? Simple, because that's where you get straight true and plumb, everything else is just melting metal and filling groves. I have no good way to hold 8 plates parallel with only one hand, but I can hold 2 plates on a flat surface! And so that is what I did, 1 plate x 1 plate tac welds. Oh I had to push and stretch and pull some, but I can do that with tac welds. So it looks like this below:








    So now the hard part is done, I'm close enough to where I need to be and ready to lay some heavy beads. My focus is on the inside right now, when I have full length beads run there I'll move to the outside. Sorry for the blurry pic above, I didn't know until it was too late. But whatever, it's damn close to plumb and most of the plates are dead plumb, you'll see.

    But I had another issue before I can weld this. I planned to use my little mig welder for tac welds and my arc welder then to send it home. Well, I didn't realize at the time that I cannot power this thing below:









    I don't have 2 identical 220 vac outlets in this house, let alone a female receptacle for a 50 amp welder! Why the hell can't 220 be an industry standard? There must be 15 some odd possibilities for a 220 receptacle, no joke, I've looked! The problem is, I didn't look soon enough and when it came time to do what I had planned, well, I couldn't! Oh sure I could rig something to work, but this was supposed to plug and play according to my game plan. And you know what they say bout best laid plans,,,,,,screw it, there ain't nothing to but to do it! And so I did it with plan B:









    I made a recent modification which breathed some new life into this old machine. Note the quad receptacle on the side of this little mig welder, and too, note the dual pig tails hanging towards the caster wheels. That is my modification, and that is what it took for me to stop tripping 20 amp breakers! What I did was created a branch circuit by pairing two 20 amp circuits together via extension cords. Different breakers on the same side of the main panel but shared or tandem. All I can say is; since I made this modification 2 weeks ago, I have not tripped a breaker since and my little mig has full power again. But this Franken-Smoker Companion build would be the perfect test, so let's use plan B and put it to the test. This is/was a great little welder, but it's got issues and I try my best to apply band-aids. But I can tell you straight and true, this simple mod lets me run at max capacity as long as I am mindful of the duty cycle which is only 20%. I've never before tried to weld something this thick with my little mig.

    This welder is rated to do 1/4" in a single pass, so how am I doing 1/2" with it? Easy, bevel the edges and use lots of pre-heat and weld at the speed of smell. Oh yeah, it burns in! But will it hold and do I trust it?









    Yeah I trust it!

    So far so good, it holds my arrogant 180 lbs. But I'm just saying, if you want to weld big with a little machine then be ready to pre-heat and watch it meld. My tac's were done cold, no pre-heat which shows in the pic below:










    Hmmm, I needed 8 hands and only had 1 available, I call it good enough for a fire pit! It's not finished yet, I have a lot more welding to do and then grinding because I want the outside corners rounded. Yes, apparently I like pain. It was fun in the beginning, I thought I knew it all (plan wise) and could just make it happen, but situations taught me otherwise. At least old school still works! But now I'm getting tired of it and I need the darn thing already! Just want it done so I can us it, I've decided to hard wire my arc welder so I don't waste so much time to preheat. @ 125 amps with my arc welder using 3/32 rods, I'll melt the electrode quicker than I can melt the steel, so I can power the welder from this location, but I hate what I have to do to make that happen!

    Anyway, that's all I have for now but the finished product is coming soon because I really need it right about now! So far, I'm 30" on the number, but wait till the outside is welded, lets see if it moves.....


    Thanks,
    t3t4
    Last edited by t3t4; 12-15-2013 at 07:33 PM. Reason: trying to figure out pics

  3. #3
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    Happy day, happy happy joy joy, I finished up my fire pit.

    This was a fun project all in all and I both learned and re-learned a thing or two along the way. I got a chance to use my arc welder for the first time in about 20 years, I thoroughly tested my mig welder modification and I re-learned some anger management skills along the way. And too, I probably inhaled all of my iron needs for the next year or so. Oh, but what I learned is that a 6010 rod works just fine on A/C. I used both 6010 and 6011 rods to weld the pit. I didn't need more than 100 amps on my welder to send it home, I forgot how damn powerful this thing is!

    Show and tell:




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    Don't try this at home boys and girls, even though I did. But this is how I powered my arc welder above. Where I tied in is only a 30 amp circuit and not worth my time to install a 50 receptacle, I have a different circuit elsewhere that I'll spend some money on later. This worked well enough for the little bit of power that I needed.






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    The pic above shows how I started after my aluminum foil incident. It's just a 30" diameter circle on a sheet of cement board.




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    From corner to corner I came out to 30" almost dead perfect everywhere!




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    I came in just 15 shy of my 200 Lb guesstimate, so I'll call 185 close enough.....




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    I carved in some water drains/air bleeds on each of the bottom corners.




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    It was painful to do, but I rounded all my outside corners. I just like the look of it this way, but man did that take some time!




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    It's all done and ready for some heat! I might want to think about having some kids since this pit will out live me! Anyway, this was fun but I'm glad it's finished because I really need it right freekin now!

    Next up, a beer/soda can crusher......

    Thanks,
    t3t4

  4. #4
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    End result, and now you can see why I call it the Franken-Smoker companion, they look like two rusty peas in a pod, ain't they adorable, lol......




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    So this works out pretty darn well, I light a fire in my fire pit then shovel pre-burnt coals/logs into the fire box on my smoker. You can see where it got hot already and it's holdin! So that's about it for this year, I'm going to finish smoking some pork chops and keep indoors because it's only 22 degrees out there and it hurts to be outside right now.


    t3t4

  5. #5

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    Where in Pennsylvania are you. The place looks like where I want to be. But I do have to say it is warm here. That a weekend spot or main residence. Nice pit by the way. Heavy I'm sure.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by everlastsupport View Post
    Where in Pennsylvania are you. The place looks like where I want to be. But I do have to say it is warm here. That a weekend spot or main residence. Nice pit by the way. Heavy I'm sure.
    Oh yeah, it's a 185 Lbs of heavy metal. That should last for a while huh.!? At least nobody will steal it :-).... It's living in my back yard here in the Oley Valley, but I want to be up on that mountain in the background. Maybe someday I'll get there but I'm happy where I am, so maybe never.

    Thanks,
    t3t4

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by t3t4 View Post
    Don't try this at home boys and girls, even though I did. But this is how I powered my arc welder above. Where I tied in is only a 30 amp circuit and not worth my time to install a 50 receptacle, I have a different circuit elsewhere that I'll spend some money on later. This worked well enough for the little bit of power that I needed.
    You could make a jumper with a 30 amp plug on one end and a 50 amp receptacle on the other. You've already got the concept, it just removes the "don't try this at home" part.

    Looks good, I like the rounded corners even though they were some work. Gonna finish the bare steel, or let it "patina" to match the rest? :-)
    DaveO
    Oxweld oxy acet gear
    IMIG 200
    PowerTIG 210 EXT... Amazing!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveO View Post
    You could make a jumper with a 30 amp plug on one end and a 50 amp receptacle on the other. You've already got the concept, it just removes the "don't try this at home" part.

    Looks good, I like the rounded corners even though they were some work. Gonna finish the bare steel, or let it "patina" to match the rest? :-)

    Thanks man, yeah the corners were no fun to grind but worth it in the end. I thought it would look better this way and it only took 2-1/2 grinding wheels to make it happen lol.... I don't usually work with material this heavy, 3/8" on down is my typical playground. But when I decided to use this material for the pit, arc welding was my 'only' thought. My old buzz box is all I have with enough power to do 1/2" and it will do far beyond that. Hell, I started @ 130 amps using a 1/8" 6010 electrode and almost blew a hole! Actually, I did make a hole but I filled it. 100 amps was all I needed to burn in deep. I haven't used this buzz box in at least 20 years, no joke! I didn't realize until I tried to plug it in somewhere that I can't power this thing.


    I like my current location, but I hate my lack of a proper shop and electrical power. I only have a 100 amp service here, so I have to beg/steal/borrow sometimes to get er done. I thought about making a 30a to 50a adapter plug, but then I looked at the numbers and it just didn't make economical sense for me. So what I have planned is to get one of these below:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/8-3-50-220-V...item565ec23e7b


    Then I will replace the receptacle for my kitchen stove because it's the only 50 amp circuit I have in this house. And yes, my wife loves me........ But 50' will get me anywhere I need to weld and it seems cost effective to me. So that's my game plan.

    Thanks,
    t3t4

  9. #9

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    All of our single phase machine will run on that 50 amp breaker.

    I like the view you have. It was 42 years ago I started on that same machine One day I might own it too. My Dad will not part with that thing.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveO View Post
    Gonna finish the bare steel, or let it "patina" to match the rest? :-)
    This mess pictured below is why I built my own fire pit:









    Above is one of those Chinese made store bought fire rings, it comes in a flat box and you bolt the thing together. I made enough repairs to the thing over the 5 years that it held together and it got to the point where I refused to build even one more fire in the piece of crap. So I crushed what was left of it and built my own version. But I liked the cooking grate that came with and the rotisserie attachment that I made for the thing, so this coming summer I'll add those features to my version of a fire pit. It's too cold to be doing this stuff now, but I already have the rotisserie so I just have to mount it. The cooking grate I have to build and I'll do that out of stainless, but not until it warms up a bit.

    I doubt that I will paint the thing all said and done, grill paint doesn't last and jet-hot coating is too expensive. So I used 1/2" material to compensate. Let it sit and rust is what I'm thinkin. My smoker will need some attention this coming summer and I'll spend a few bucks on that, but my fire pit, neah, probably not aside from the 3/8" stainless rod for the cooking grate. I'll give an update when I build the grate and get the rotisserie installed, but for right now it's exactly what I need and good enough.

    Thanks,
    t3t4

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by everlastsupport View Post
    All of our single phase machine will run on that 50 amp breaker.

    I like the view you have. It was 42 years ago I started on that same machine One day I might own it too. My Dad will not part with that thing.
    Thanks bud, I have the Everlast PowerTig 250ex in mind but savin my pennies in the meant-time. However, you cannot beat these old-school buzz box welders, A/C or D/C they kick butt! Mine is the old A/C version, but either way if you can get your hands on one of these, grab it! It's got the power when you need it, sometimes it just takes brute force to get er done and the buzz box definitely has that power! And too, it's just fun......

    I started on this very welder when I was 7 years old, this was my fathers welder and he taught me to weld on this very machine. School of hard knocks I guess, but I learned quick what a puddle should look like. It's been too long since I've used this machine and I've forgotten how much I like to arc weld. My fire pit was a welcomed reminder, I'll be doing a lot more arc welding in the near future.

    Anyway, burn a rod or two for me if ya don't mind.....


    t3t4

  12. #12
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    Whoever likes my background now is more than welcome to come on over and help me shovel:











    That fire pit stands 14" tall and this storm is not finished yet, the winds are picking up right about now with more snow in the forcast. But I've got food beer and shelter, so come on over.......



    t3t4

  13. #13
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    Just came across the right conditions at the right time, I thought it looked neat so I took a long exposure shot. Early morning/late night smokin some pork/beef/chicken. Not really my fire pit per se, but the smoker being the rusty turd as it is; looked pretty neat under the pale foggy moon light. just sayin......







  14. #14

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    At least the snow is gone, for now. Too bad you are so far North, some smoked ribs sounds good anything.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

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