People Who REALLY Build Things! Message Board › New project idea - Outdoor fire pit

New project idea - Outdoor fire pit

Bill
Imagineer_23
Antelope, CA
Post #: 10
Fire Pit

This outdoor fire pit is constructed to allow you to have added safety when enjoying a campfire. It also features space on top to allow cooking. It is made from metal washing machine baskets... there are certain models that work best. They are fairly rare now, most baskets are made from plastic these days. Unfortunately I have forgotten which washing machines have these particular baskets... it has been a few years since I've messed with these. The good news is I have a few of the good metal baskets in storage if any of you want to build a firepit. I paid $5 for them several years ago, if you want one I will let you have it for that. They are in storage in Marysville so are really not convenient to get at, so let me know ahead of time if you want one.

One of the outstanding things that happen when you use this Fire pit is the way it draws in the oxygen. It comes in through the holes in the side, flowing like water. It looks like liquid fire coming from the outside of the fire pit. It has an amazing, magical visual effect.
If you have room in your yard and the inclination, firing up this fire pit is a great reason to have your friends over for a campfire party.





Marsh
MarshWildman
Group Organizer
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 174
Looks pretty cool to me.
Speed Queens have stainless steel tubs. You can find abandoned washers along Western Ave. all the time. It is the next major street to the East running parallel to Northgate Blvd.
Art
ArtSacramento
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 20
I have a large (15 gallon?) metal pot with integrated loop handles. If anyone is interested in using it for anything, make me an offer. I've seen other pots used for hanging "camp fires" -- with hot coals in it, the pot radiates a lot of heat.
WildZBill
WildZBill
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 40
I have seen a very interesting fire pit designed for a wealthy friend of mine...
It was about 5' across, filled with sand, and a propane manifold of some sort buried in the sand with the outets pointed down.
The interesting thing was to turn down the propane so that it was barely on. The fire turned to blue flames that were tipped with orange. By raking a pattern into the sand, you could create a mesmerizing display, with swirling orange firestorms raging across a blue flickering background.
Anybody want to experiment on something like this? It would be a good product if it could be done with a 3' pan, something like a BBQ pit, with a small propane tank.
For entertainment value, it should be about a foot off the ground so that people can look down at it.
We would have to determine the best manifold available for the job and the depth of sand needed to distribute the gas evenly. Pretty simple work, the limiting factor is the cost of the manifolds. I imagine that we could design our own using conduit and drilling holes in it.
It could be a good bootstrap business, build them for friends at first to raise the capital to go commercial.
Bill
Imagineer_23
Antelope, CA
Post #: 23

That sounds like fun... I would love to build one of them. It should work with natural gas also.
WildZBill
WildZBill
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 21
I suspect that it would work with any flammable gas. The actual colors might be different, but we could find out by trying.
I would prefer propane because I already have a tank on my BBQ, and it would be easy to switch it back and forth.

Our first step would be to find parts. Like a metal pit (with an outlet hole in the side or bottom), a control valve, a coupler to the gas source.
I will try to google existing maniflolds and examine them to determine commonalities that might reveal functional restrictions.
Bill
Imagineer_23
Antelope, CA
Post #: 24

Wonder if you could use an oldtime big satellite dish somehow for the pit? I don't remember what they are made of. If the material is not right for using it directly, it might work as a mold.
OK, I thought about that for a minute.... it probably should be a little smaller than that, most folks don't have enough room for mammoth fire pit dimensions in their backyard.

How big should this thing be?
WildZBill
WildZBill
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 43
Well, for experimentation, we should build one out of whatever we can find. I think that an obvious short path would be to find a used BBQ, plug all the air vents in the bottom, fill it with sand and start playing with it.
It would be intelligent to wear protective clothing and use a fireplace starter to light it, as a mistake could cause an explosion of flalmes and sand.
Bill
Imagineer_23
Antelope, CA
Post #: 27

Something else that should be taken into consideration is how you light the fire... in a bbq you just light one area of the gas and it spreads throughout the orifices... here the sand will be blocking the areas between the gas outlets.
WildZBill
WildZBill
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 23
Well, it seemed to work at the one that I saw. Now I am wondering if natural gas is heavier than air and pools on top of the sand, while propane might rise swiftly, making it prone to explosions and such.
I remember now that he had it plumbed to his house, so it was natural gas...
Another aspect is the mixture of air with the gas. As I understand it, the blue color indicates that there is not enough oxygen mixing with the gas for a full burn. So we would have to play with the air mixture.

The fire I played with was very interesting. We raked patterns in the sand, and with the gas turned almost off it was just seeping out of the sand and pooling in the troughs. So there would be blue flame patterns seperated by the darkness of the sand peaks. On the edges, the flames would flicker out to the rim and back.
You could create a pattern that had meaning, like a letter or symbol, and meditate about it for a while.

Perhaps we should let this idea drop, just because we don't want to contribute to global warming? Partial burning probably polutes the air quite a bit. I would hate to become wealth by selling a million poluting devices.
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