DIY Portable and Upcycled Fire Pit

April 15, 2013 by


I spotted this today on Instructables (from member pienkc) and just had to share. I’m not suggesting we all go out and steal a shopping cart, but if you happen to come across a rejected or trashed one, this is a cool way to reuse it as a fire pit–and it has its own built-in log storage rack to boot.

The price is right: the cost of extra materials for this project is less $15.00.  The author of this idea found his shopping cart close to the loading dock area of a local grocery store beside a trash compactor, then asked the manager if he could purchase it and it was offered to him gratis.

Make sure your cart has a chrome finish. Apparently, newer carts have a powder coat finish so the old style chrome carts, such as the one in the photo, above are no longer used and the reason for which this one was put out with the trash. Powder coated carts are not recommended for use as fire pits because the heat generated by burning wood will destroy the finish, and frankly the melted coating is probably toxic.

Chrome shopping Cart
27″ x 8′ steel lath
galvanized steel drip edge flashing
galvanized steel  corner bead
3 cookie sheets
1 pr galvanized steel hurricane ties
nuts and bolts

Note: After reading one of the comments below about possible toxicity arising from the metal , I went back to the Instructables post to see the comments there about. Here is what the project’s author says: 

“When the idea first came to me, I had the same concern about chrome and fire so did some Google research. What I found is that shopping carts are plated with nickel/chrome. I also found several companies (weber, chef master, firemagic, shinerich) that manufacture nickel/chrome cooking grids where the food is cooked directly on the plated grid. With that information I thought it safe to proceed with my idea. Maybe I am missing something. Perhaps I need to trap some squirrels, put them in a cage and place it in proximity of the fire pit during some test burns and see if they are affected. (kidding… don’t need PETA on my case.)  

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