atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#4824: For once, it paid off!

Keeping something apparently useless, for once, paid off. Yahoo!

Back in 2008 when Mom decided to re-do the kitchen, the guy doing the work took down the backsplash for the stove, and I grabbed it and kept it. It's sheetmetal, I reasoned, and I had a welder; someday I'd need it for something.

This evening, then, with Mrs. Fungus at work and me at loose ends, I decided I'd take a gander at the strip of galvanized steel and see if it could be fashioned into a drip shield for the gas grill. I'm tired of not being able to grill, damn it, and an appropriately large piece of sheet steel appears otherwise unavailable to me, at least not without paying a premium.

Knowing, as I do, that burning zinc is bad for you (temporarily, as it makes you sicker than an entire litter of sick dogs) I was thinking I'd sit upwind of the formed piece of metal and play a propane torch over it until the zinc had burned off.

...that plan lasted until I got to the garage, because I found the old backsplash before I found the galvanized.

The backsplash is painted--or possibly powder-coated--with something very tough, but it was almost exactly the right width. I measured it; it was, in fact, exactly 1/4" too wide.

I made some measurements and broke out the tools. I clamped it to the welding table and first tried using the air-powered cutoff tool, but that was taking far too long, so instead I grabbed the sawzall Og loaned me. That sliced through the sheetmetal like butter, but I couldn't see where the blade was in relation to the line I'd scribed across the metal; until I figured out how to aim the thing the kerf...wandered a bit. WTF it's not a piano or a show car, and it's off by about 1/8" in one direction or the other. The last half of the cut was nice and straight, anyway. I did a little trimming with the tin snips. Shaped one end to match the sample, then measured the resulting piece and tried it in the grill. I trimmed 1/4" off the end of the piece and checked it again, and it was perfect. Shaped the other end.

Found the piece of angle iron I'd always intended to use as a sheetmetal brake for this project, clamped the metal down under it, and started banging on it with a hammer, pausing from time to time to compare it to the fragment of original drip shield. Once it was bent to the right angle, I unclamped it and tried it in the grill; the new piece fits like the original piece did. Can't complain.

The only remaining matter, then, was the paint. I put the piece on a cinder block on the driveway and played a propane torch over it; that made some smoke, so I got a fan to blow the smoke away from me and did it some more. After perhaps fifteen minutes of this I'd cleared exactly 1/6th of the surface area. *sigh*

...realized that I could probably pay someone to media blast this thing clean for not a lot of money, and that would take less time and cost less than the equivalent amount of propane. Next week is payday, and there's a place nearby which does that kind of stuff, so I'll take it over then and get an idea what it'll cost.

Still: I'm a lot closer to being able to grill again than I was when I got up this morning, and I wasn't even expecting to be. That's pretty damned cool.

More cool is the fact that given the damned materials I was able to make the new drip shield in about an hour, all told. It would have been less if I'd gone right to the sawzall. And so far I'm into the project for no money expended, which is even better!

Go, me!
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