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How to Build a Long Lasting Homemade Fire Pit from Junk

Updated on April 4, 2014

Long Lasting Homemade Fire Pit from Junk

In a short tutorial I will show you how to build a long lasting fire pit (or grill if you decide to modify) from a discarded washing machine, three pieces of pipe and a few bolts. If constructed correctly, this inexpensive fire pit will last for years - and outlast many commercial models.

Never rust fire pit

Make a fire pit out of an old washing machine

All you need is any old washing machine barrel from the junk heap and some pipe. The reason you want to use the old washing machine barrel is for rust adn heat resistance.

These are simple to construct, yet quite functional.

You can use them in the backyard or at tailgate parties (not in the back of your truck). They replace the chimnia as well as popular camping company outdoor fireplaces. If properly constructed they are generally safe and will not damage the surface underneath where they are sitting.

You will need these tools:

1. Drill with Bit.

2. Screwdriver.

3. "Mini" Sledgehammer or vise (vise works better).

4. Sight and Hearing protection.

5. Hacksaw.

Fire Pit

Fire Pit
Fire Pit

You will need the following supplies:

1. Old tub from either a top loading or front loading washing machine. Use only a washing machine tub because the porcelain coat or stainless steel will stand up to being heated and re-heated without rusting out. The smooth speckled finish in most washing machine tubs is porcelain. If the washing machine tub shines then it's stainless steel. This is the main ingredient and is hardest to find.

2. Thin walled metal pipe.

3. Spray paint - any color.

4. Machine Screws small enough to go through the holes in your washing machine tub. Stainless is preferred.

5. Nuts for machine screws.

Fire Pit

Fire Pit
Fire Pit

Build your Fire Pit

Step one:

Cut your pipe in three equal lengths.

I used the type of pipe used for chain link fence posts. It has thin walls and is easy to cut with a hacksaw. The thin walls will be important during the next step.

Step two:

Flatten one end of your pipe for from the tip to about 5 or 6 inches down.

Step three:

Hold the flat ends of your pipe against the tub (outside) and spray paint through the holes in the tub from the inside. You trying to make marks so you know where to drill your holes through the flat portion of the legs. By completing this step you ensure the bolts in the legs line up exactly with the existing holes in your tub. You may be thinking "why not drill more holes in the tub". Drilling holes in the tub will cause it to rust where you break the porcelain. With a stainless tub this isn't a problem, but this produces a cleaner more professional product.

Step Four:

Drill two or three holes per leg for the bolts to go through.

Step Five:

Bolt your legs to your pit.

Step six:

Drink beverage, sit around fire.

View from Beneath the Fire Pit

View from Beneath the Fire Pit
View from Beneath the Fire Pit


Use common sense! Practice fire safety... never build a fire near a structure.

The name of the game is rust prevention. Do not use an oil drum or other only steel container. They will rust out in one season, and begin dropping fire out of the bottom.

These last for a long, long time, and won't ever rust out if you don't break the porcelain coating. On the stainless versions they never rust out.

Notes and Tips:

Stainless tubs are normally used in front loading machines.

Porcelain coated steel tubs are normally found in top loading machines.

Kids and fire don't mix.

If you buy a grate this can be used as a grill!

Don't drill holes in steel porcelain tubs or they will rust!

If there is a hole in the bottom of the tub you get don't sweat it. Just bolt a piece of metal over the hole.

The older the washing machine the better the tub is likely to be!

Images by New Sidons Photo

Feedback or experiences are appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to comment!!!

Suggestions, critiques etc.

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    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      This rates right up there with bbq grills from used water heaters. Excellent how-to. I'm filing it away for when I can use it.

    • DanielGlynn profile image

      DanielGlynn 5 years ago

      Cool lense! I plan on trying to build one this weekend to go with my new patio that I learned to build from another Squidoo lense.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @ElizabethSheppard: The agitator is removed....

    • profile image

      chimneypipe3 6 years ago

      I love it!!! Great lens. I must get me some of these.


      chimney pipe

    • profile image

      nicehoe2 6 years ago

      nice lens, thanks for sharing this chimney pipe information.

    • profile image

      Geeve 6 years ago

      A really original and useful lens. well done. Blessed :)

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 6 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      This looks like a really neat idea. I would worry about the agitator turning and emitting sparks though. I always like to read about unique recycling ideas like this. Thanks!