Monday, 8 June 2015

Washing machine drum fire

If you are involved it Scouting you will probably have camped at places that don't allow ground fires and use of an alter fire is needed...Well a washing machine drum fire is a useful piece of kit, especially for sitting round of an evening.

You may have seen one of these if you've been at a show that the Ilford East Activity Team (I EAT Scouts) have attended you may have seen one in action (they have one in the background of one of their old Facebook cover pictures here) and indeed IEAT's Terry Longhurst was kind enough to give me a spare drum to make one.

I was recently asked how one is knocked up and I can't find many pictures from the time I made mine so I'm mixing and matching old and new to do this. Even so they aren't hard.  First of all you'll need a washing machine drum and three sturdy metal legs.


Flip it over and decide where to make three holes for the legs to go through. The drums all seem to have three equal sections marked out on them so working it out is fairly easy. If you don't have a big drill simply stitch drill a circle and bash it out. Check the legs fit after all that. 


Arguably the fiddliest bit is fastening a fixing for the poles. These are fixed in the rim around the top and need to be in line with where the poles come through the bottom holes that you have just made. It was suggested that the fixings that wardrobe poles are held up with should be used (as in the above picture) but despite the purchase of good quality ones these have melted! I fixed them by placing the fixing over each leg, got someone to say when the leg looked level and then gently bashed upwards from the insidethrough the fixing holes on the fixings with an awl to mark where the bolts needed to go. It is still usable without the fixings however because it is possible to locate the poles (which are hollow) onto the remaining bolts, it is a little wobbly but secure and personally I'd use large bolts if I was to ever make another. 

This is now a mk I washing machine drum fire but I have added a small modification. It is possible to get a tripod to fit snugly over it to suspend a kettle or Dutch oven because neither will fit in the top of your average drum. You'll notice a couple of gaps have been cut out of the rim in the above picture and there are corresponding gaps cut on the opposite side with two drilled holes too. I then bent some metal that I got off an old retail delivery cage into an L shape and these locate in the drilled holes and lay through the cut gaps. The makes a useful pot support.

Just a note of caution, you may want to wear ear defenders if you ever make one with this modicfication as the sound is amplified by the drum and makes a fearful screech. 

The above picture clearly shows how the cooking vessel modification slots into the two drill holes and through the two sets of gaps cut in the drum's rim. If you look closely on the right hand side you can just about make out two bolt heads which are the ones that survived where the fixing didn't.

And a final shot of it in action, again the bolt heads can be seen on the right hand side. The only extra modification I'd make is to cut a small section out of the side to feed wood in when there's a Dutch oven plonked on top. There are easy to cut areas on the sides but sadly that's where the legs are located and I don't have the tools to cut the 'perforations'. Not a deal breaker however.

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