Over Engineering the Barbecue

Our trusty old barbecue is getting old.  I think it’s about five or six years old now and it’s lived all that time outside in the garden, summer and winter, sun and (usually) rain.  It might make financial sense to blow £50 on a new one, but I really like ours.  Much better to refurbish it using scrap bits and bobs and the tools in the garage.

The lid and bowl are fine, but most of the ironwork is made of poor quality pressed steel, less than a millimetre thick.  I have already replaced the hinges with some rock-solid 3mm steel ones, born of a sheet of scrap and my own blood sweat and tears.  This weekend I decided to replace the vent jobbie in the lid.

2013-08-11 21.55.19

I used some aluminium salvaged from an old computer case and the rotary table on the mill. The vast majority of the time was spent setting things up. After that I got the job done in an hour or so. The hardest job was to centre the rotary table on the mill. In the end I made a tool to do it. I turned a steel rod down to 16mm on one end to fit into the hole in the middle of the rotary table and 19mm at the other end to fit the largest collet I have.

2013-08-10 21.56.14

I slackened the bolts holding the rotary to the mill table, bunged my new tool in the mill and into the rotary table, got it all centred and tightened the bolts. After that the rest was easy!

2013-08-10 21.54.38

For next time, the formula for making these things is as follows, using a 3mm end mill:

From centre, with rotary set at 0 degrees
Wind X out to 15mm
Tool down
X out to 40mm
Rotate 20 degrees clockwise
X in to 15mm
Rotate 20 degrees anticlockwise
Tool up (and clean off all the crap!)
Rotate 60 degrees clockwise
Start again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *