Do you want a grill that doesn’t require liquid petroleum or charcoal to fire it?
This rocket grill only uses twigs, wood scraps and chips, and is designed for maximum combustion! It is mostly made out of scrap metal, which makes it a low-cost project.
Yes, you can definitely DIY this rocket grill even if it’s your first welding project. The build is straightforward, so it makes a good first project for learning or practicing some welding skills!
Again, this is made from scrap material so you can definitely use different but similar metal parts depending on what’s available to you! :)
This rocket grill can also boil, bake, braise and roast! It provides really good heat without any smoke coming out of the top of the grill.
And while it does look heavy, it is actually light enough for one adult to carry it into the back of a pickup truck when going tailgating or camping. The side tables are also removable for easy storage.
Do you want to have an awesome, environment-friendly grill in your backyard? Then follow the step-by-step tutorial below to make one for yourself!
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Parts for the Grill:
- 3 ft long Base (something for the grill to stand on; must be heat-proof)
- Steel Pipe (diameter of your choice, but will effect cooking size and fuel rate)
- Steel Water Tank (this becomes the “bowl” top of the grill and cooking surface area)
- 4 pcs small diameter, 6″ long Steel Pipe
- 2 pcs 90 degree Pipe Elbows (same diameter as small Steel Pipe)
- 2 pcs Pipe Flanges (same diameter as small Steel Pipe)
- 2 pcs Flat Material of choice (for side counter top surfaces)
- Small Scraps of Steel Plate
Parts for the Lid:
- A piece of Wood (for handle)
- 2 pcs 5″ long Stainless Steel Carriage Bolts (with matching nuts and washers)
- 2 pcs of Copper or Steel Tube or Pipe (slightly larger diameter and shorter length than the carriage bolts; as spacers)
- Top End of Water Tank
- 6″ x 12″ Perforated/Slotted Steel Plate
- JB Weld
- Angle Grinder
- Grinding Disc
- Cut-off Disc
- Power Drill
- Spirit Level
- Appropriate Safety Gear (safety glasses, work gloves, welding gloves, welding helmet, hearing protection)
The base needs to be large enough to keep the whole grill from tipping over. It also forms the very end bottom of the grill, where hot coal and ashes fall into. Any sort of steel plate would work fine. I found a piece of old farm machinery that fit the bill – a domed disc about 16″ in diameter.
The large diameter pipe needs to be cut into two sections. Make one about 1 foot, and the other about 20″ long. The 20″ section will be the “vertical tube” and the 1 ft. section will be the “feeder tube”.
That water tank that I chose was 16″ in diameter. It was already cut apart from a solar water experiment I worked on. The bottom section of the tank is cut to about 1 foot tall. This becomes the cooking area “bowl” top to the grill. The water tank was also chosen because it’s a large enough diameter to fit my camping cast iron Dutch Oven, and stock pot that I use for boiling corn.
Stacked up, the base, vertical tube and water tank section should come to a comfortable standing height for you. The top of the water tank section is the height where grilling will take place.
To cut the steel, I found that an angle-grinder with a cut-off disc works best. It cuts quickly without removing too much metal, and it makes a nice, straight line. You could also use a reciprocating saw with metal cutting blade, or a plasma-cutter if you have access to one.
To mark a line on a cylindrical object like the pipe or water tank, wrap a straight section of sheet metal around it, and secure with masking or duct tape. Mark this line with a permanent marking pen, then remove the sheet metal.
Cut the pipes and water tank to length, using common-sense safety precautions. (Wear work gloves, eye and hearing protection, etc.)
Cut the top off the water tank, and save to make the lid.
Stack up the base, vertical pipe, and water tank section to get a feel for how your grill will look. If you were working on a level surface, like a concrete garage floor, you can use a bubble level to make sure your vertical pipe is perfectly straight up and down. (Plumb!)
The special cut: The most distinct feature of the Rocket Grill is how the feeder pipe and vertical pipe come together.
While the exact angle that they connect at isn’t super important, it should be somewhere between a 90-degree and 45-degree angle. Having this connection at some angle makes it easier to feed fuel, and not bend over too far. Too steep of an angle will not allow for proper air flow and can prevent the grill from drafting properly.
Cutting the two pipes to fit together can be geometrically challenging. An angle grinder makes straight cuts, but both pipes are rounded. Still, they have to meet together tight enough to get a good weld between them.
What you need to do is imagine how two straight cuts would look projected onto two curved surfaces. One easy way to do this is to use a laser level that has the ability to project a straight line. Several inches up from the end, point the laser at the vertical pipe, at the angle you want the feeder pipe to meet it. Then mark the laser line with your permanent marker. Rotate the laser 90 degrees, and mark the line again.
On the feeder pipe, mark two lines at 90-degrees from each other the same way.
Another way to mark the same cuts is to use sheet metal, which you can wrap around the pipes. It is possible to make a projection of what the cuts should look like, and cut that out of the sheet metal. Then wrap the sheet metal around the pipe and mark it. A friend of mine already had made a sheet metal template, so that’s the technique I used.
When you are done, you will have a notch in the vertical pipe, and a “bird’s-beak” cut in the feeder pipe.
Fit the two pipes together, and see how close they match up. It’s more that likely that you will need to use a grinder to get the parts to fit together well.
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