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theksmith

DIY propane campfire box

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i built my own propane powered campfire-in-a-box using an old toolbox @Number7 got from a yard-sale.

 

i've had this a while but didn't get to test it out for an extended period until the recent UT Annular Eclipse Trip. since it didn't explode or anything, i figured i could finally do a short write-up on it! ;)

 

DISCLAIMER: this is just something i did - i'm not suggesting anyone else try it. you might blow yourself up, i suppose!

 

the finished product:

 

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the box itself appears to be a SpeeCo 75015 "Tractor mounted toolbox". it was just barely wide enough to fit an 18x6 "H" shaped burner.

 

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on the end of the burner, i added a 1/2" air mix valve, then a 1/2" female to 3/8" male elbow, and finally a 3/8" propane quick connect fitting. the mix valve helps reduce soot by adding air in to make the burn leaner. i used teflon tape on all the joints.

 

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the burner was secured using one-hole EMT mounting straps and recessed about a third of the way down into the box. i had to make a hole of course on one end of the box for the fittings to stick out.

 

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i then cut a rectangle of expanded steel mesh to fit over the burner.

 

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i drilled several air holes around the box below the burner, and also cut a large hole in one end of the box so that i could store the hose inside.

 

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everything starting to come together:

 

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i purchased an 8ft steel braided hose with adjustable 20psi regulator and added the other half of the quick-connect fitting to it. a 10psi regulator would be more appropriate, but the 20psi was all i could find in that style/length hose.

 

here's the hose and a lighter sliding into the box for storage.

 

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i made a door out of aluminum to keep that stuff in the box. i used a little brass hinge i had laying around and pop-rivets.

 

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the door is held closed just with tension. i drilled a couple holes in the wrap-around edge to line up with 2 pop-rivets to provide a positive snap-in location.

 

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to help spread the flames out for a more natural/interesting appearance, i added these super light-weight ceramic fiber fire pebbles.

 

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i was going to add some small latches on top, but it turned out the fake pebbles sit high enough to put tension on the lid when closed so the existing hasp holds it shut nicely.

 

testing it out:

 

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note that the air holes all around the box below the burner turned out to be critical! before i drilled those, when i turned it off most of the flame would go out right away and so as the hose emptied, a small bit of propane would slowly fill the box up - then that would suddenly ignite from the last bit of dying flame and make a surprising little boom! 

 

it's easily adjustable with the regulator from a small "ambience" setting to full on "i'm cold, make some heat!".

 

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i made this specifically for a larger group to sit around when there is a wood fire ban. i think it came out fairly compact considering it's intended use. it fits nicely in my rear footwell and weighs next to nothing.

 

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the final step after the recent successful campout test was to cover it with some Rust-Oleum High Heat flat black spray paint.

 

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we used almost my entire 10lb tank of propane in one evening while in UT, so it's definitely best suited to campouts where i could bring along a full-size 20lb tank. we did have it up high enough to actually feel some heat though! on a very low setting i might could get 2 nights out of the little half-size tank.

 

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Edited by theksmith
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Damn dude, that’s awesome! Watch out Ignik!

 

Maybe consider pairing that up with a fold-flat heat reflector. Might allow the more efficient burn setting to give you some better heat.

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1 hour ago, 4x4tographer said:

Damn dude, that’s awesome! Watch out Ignik!

 

Maybe consider pairing that up with a fold-flat heat reflector. Might allow the more efficient burn setting to give you some better heat.

 

like one of those aluminum table looking things that sits over the fire?

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14 minutes ago, theksmith said:

 

like one of those aluminum table looking things that sits over the fire?


Something like this, just not grossly overpriced.

 

 

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This is awesome.  Better get a patent soon!

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54 minutes ago, Bradywgn71 said:

This is awesome.  Better get a patent soon!

 

Unfortunately the concept is not unique for the purposes of a patent. However, as one would expect of @theksmith the implementation is superb, and less expensive if you are a DYI type.

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On 11/1/2023 at 7:16 AM, theksmith said:

ADCreHfNtxkYToPCdhb4x6bmEXwDm1lDSmNlVeOe

 

note that the air holes all around the box below the burner turned out to be critical! before i drilled those, when i turned it off most of the flame would go out right away and so as the hose emptied, a small bit of propane would slowly fill the box up - then that would suddenly ignite from the last bit of dying flame and make a surprising little boom! 

 

 

I have experienced relatedly similar issues modifying fire tables. If you want to use fire glass in a fire table bowl that came with lava rocks, you need to leave the lava rocks below the glass and up to the propane fire ring to allow for adequate free airflow. (You also need to keep the ignition chamber and sensor completely surrounded with lava rocks and not covered with glass.)

 

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