How to make a small BBQ grill from a Gas Cylinder

  • By: Monica Shulz

Many uses are available for old gas cylinders, so don’t throw out that cylinder just yet. Today, we’ll show you how you can turn an old gas cylinder into a modular, portable gas grill.

This small BBQ grill is perfect for those constantly on the go. It features a modular design that’s easy to clean and pack up when you’re done using it.

So, let’s get into the workshop to start building it.

What You’ll Need

To transform the cylinder into the BBQ grill, you will need to get a few items ready.  These items include;

  • An empty 5 or 3kg gas cylinder.
  • A 1” x 1” angle iron
  • M4 nuts and screws

Remove The Cylinder’s Valve

Before you start, make sure the gas cylinder is empty. Clamp the cylinder in your bench vise.

Depending on the type of valve the cylinder has, you can use two methods for the removal. First, you can remove the valve by simply using a socket wrench if it has a symmetric circular/hexagonal profile.

If the valve doesn’t have a symmetric profile, you have to remove it using an adjustable wrench. You can add a pipe to the wrench’s handle to give you extra leverage while removing the valve.

Purge The Cylinder

Purging the cylinder is necessary to remove any residual gases left inside the cylinder. Place the gas cylinder under a running tap and fill it with water.

Continue adding more water as long as the gas bubbles keep coming out of the cylinder. Once the cylinder is completely filled and you do not see any gas bubbles coming out, the purging is complete.

Drain the water from the gas cylinder.

Cut Off the Cylinder’s Top Collar and Bottom Ring

Place the cylinder on your workbench. Using an angle grinder, make a cut around the top collar to remove it from the cylinder.

After cutting the top collar off, turn the cylinder on its side. With the angle grinder, cut around the bottom ring and remove it.

Keep the top collar to one side; you’ll need it later. While cutting metal with the angle grinder, wear a mask and gloves to protect you from flying sparks.

Cut A Hole In The Gas Cylinder

Turn the gas cylinder upside down. Mark the circle where you cut the bottom ring from with a marker.

Using the angle grinder, cut out the circular section you just created with the marker. After cutting out the circular section, do not throw it away. You’re still going to use it later.

Divide The Gas Cylinder Into Two

While the cylinder is still upside down, place a ruler across the hole and mark its opposite sides with a marker. Turn the cylinder right side up.

Use a try square to trace a vertical line from the mark on the bottom all the way to the top on both sides. Keep tracing these lines until they meet at the middle of the cylinder in the valve hole.

Cut The Cylinder Into Two

Using the angle grinder, cut the cylinder into two along the outline you just drew. Start from the top and cut through the lines all the way to the bottom.

You can clamp the cylinder in a bench vise to make cutting the sides easier.

When you’re done cutting them, grind the edges of both halves of the cylinder to remove burrs and sharp edges.

Weld Some Bolts To The Cylinder’s Halves

Place both halves of the cylinder on the workbench. Make sure they are facing down and their ends are touching each other.

Take an M4 bolt and screw two M4 nuts on it. Do not screw the nuts all the way to the top. Just screw them in, so they cover the top of the bolt.

Place the bolt with the nuts in front of where both halves of the cylinder touch at the bottom. Weld the top nut to the left cylinder half and weld the bottom nut to the right cylinder half.

Remove the bolt from the nuts and do the same for the other side.

Join Both Halves Together

After welding the nuts to the bottom, you can grind the welds to make sure they’re flush with the surface. Assemble the cylinder together, end-to-end, and align the nut pairs together.

Secure the nuts on both sides together with a bolt and a washer.

Cut Angle Brackets for The BBQ’s Stand

Clamp a 1” by 1” angle iron in your bench vise. Measure and cut out two 2cm sections from it.

Take one of the angle iron sections and clamp it in the vise. Drill a hole right in the center of one of its sides.

Do the same for the second section.

Weld The Angle Brackets To The Stand

Remember the top collar you cut from the gas cylinder at the beginning? Well, it’s going to be the stand for the new BBQ.

Place the top collar on your workbench. Put each angle bracket under the top collar. Make sure they are placed directly opposite each other, and the sides with the holes are on the bottom.

Align the brackets with the collar and weld them in place.

Attach The Stand To The BBQ

Place the top collar on the connected halves of the cylinder. Make sure the collar is right in the middle of both halves.

Next, mark where the holes on the brackets coincide with the cylinder’s surface. Remove the top collar.

Drill both holes and tap them with an M4 thread. Put the top collar back on and secure it to both halves using an M4 bolt.

Drill A Hole For The Side Table’s Arm

The BBQ will have a side table supported by an arm extending out from the BBQ’s body. So, you need to drill a hole for the arm where it will stay when the grill is folded away.

Remove all the screws and disassemble the BBQ. Reassemble the cylinder in its original form and secure it with the screws.

Place the top collar back on top of the cylinder. Mark the position of one of the bracket’s holes on the cylinder.

Drill and tap the hole with an M4 thread.

Drill A Hole in The Side Table

Remember the piece we cut out of the cylinder’s bottom? That’s going to be the side table. Place it flat on the workbench and punch a pilot hole right through its middle.

Drill the pilot hole using the M4 bit.

Cut Out the Side Table’s Arm

Clamp the angle iron in the bench vise. Measure and cut a 10” section from the bar. Drill two holes 10mm apart at one end of the bar using the M4 bit.

Next, turn the bar 90 degrees and drill a single hole at the other end. This is where the side table will rest on the arm.

Drill Holes For In The Cylinder for The Side Tables Arm

Place the end of the arm with two holes on the side of the cylinder. Mark out the point where the two holes coincide with the surface.

Drill both holes. That’s where the arm will be attached when you set up the grill.

Attach The Side Table To Its Arm

Align the hole in the side table to the single hole on the side table’s arm. Next, secure them together using an M4 bolt and a washer.

Assemble All The Parts

Place the halves of the cylinder together, end-to-end, and secure them together with a bolt. Screw the top collar on top of the halves to form the stand and turn the BBQ over to rest on its stand.

Next, attach the side table arm to the body of the cylinder using two M4 bolts and nuts. Viola, your modular BBQ stand is complete.

Paint The BBQ

After assembling the BBQ, clean it with a wire brush and sand it down to remove any surface impurities. Next, paint it with a protective, heat-resistant brand of paint.

Final Product

With some hard work and a smidge of elbow grease, you finally have a portable BBQ grill. Now you have a low-cost grill that you can easily set up or fold away and take with you on the go.

If you loved this DIY project, check out the Home Workshop channel on YouTube for more delightful ideas. You can also connect with them on Facebook to get regular updates on new project ideas.