Build Your Own Star Wars TIE Advanced-Inspired Grill
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Do you need a unique and interesting BBQ-come-fire-pit for your garden? Then this fantastic build is something you really need to see.
But wait, there is more. This particular burner/BBQ just happens to also be in the shape of Darth Vader's Tie Advanced from Star Wars! What is not to love?
Before we get stuck in we will need some things first.
Tools and equipment needed
- Scrap metal
- Old water heater
- Old car brake discs
- Scrap cogs and gears
- Scrap steel bars and rods
- Scrap I-beams
- Old shock absorbers (about 5)
- High temperature proof black paint
- Angle grinder
- Stepper drill bit
- Magnetic metal welding clamps
- Welding gear and safety equipment
- Various nuts and bolts
Step 1: Prepare your old water heater
The first step is to grab your old water heater. This will form the main body of the TIE Advanced BBQ/burner. Use some basic tools, like a screwdriver and hammer, to remove any fixtures and fittings like the heating elements until the steel shell remains.
Next, use an angle grinder to remove the out shell, and strip off the insulation using whatever tools you have to hand. You want to expose the central main cylinder.
With the cylinder exposed, cut off any exposed pieces, like pipework, using your angle grinder once again. Remove any remnants of insulation using your angle grinder too.
Step 2: Prepare some steel sheet
Next, either take your bought steel sheet, or salvaged sheet, and cut it into sections. These will be used to create the wings, and wing mounting arms of the TIE Advanced burner/BBQ.
No measurements are given, so proportion accordingly to the size of the cylinder you have to hand. In this case, the creators have access to some very specialized industrial equipment that you are unlikely to get your hands on.
You will, therefore, need to bend, shape, and cut, the steel as best you can. You could always cut smaller sections and weld them into shape, as needed.
For this build, you will need two curved wings, several strips of steel for the arms, and a ring of steel, as shown above. Recreate as best you can.
Step 3: Begin welding the pieces together
With your steel bits in hand, you can now begin with the main construction. Magnetically clamp the pieces, to begin to weld them together, as needed.
Continue until the steel frame for the top of the TIE burner has been completed. Place the frame on top of your cylinder and mark out where you want the frame to sit on the cylinder.
Then cut the shape out using your angle grinder.
Place your steel frame into the hole, and then weld into place, as needed. Ensure it is perfectly level before doing so.
Next, cut some small sections of angled steel (or make your own), to form four grill holders around the inside face of the frame. Weld into place.
Next, take your steel ring and cut it into two equally sized thinner rings. Then place them onto the "front" of the cylinder and mark where it will sit. Cut out the hole, as needed using your angle grinder.
Replace one of the steel rings and weld it into place, as needed.
Step 4: Create the cockpit
Next, grabs your old shock absorbers and partially dismantle them. You want to isolate the main absorber rods. You will need about 5 of them.
Then grab an attractive looking, and large enough, cog and clean off any rust. Next, begin to weld the rods around the perimeter of the cog to make the main cockpit of the TIE Advanced. The final design will depend on the parts you have to hand.
From time to time, place the second steel ring over the cog and rod set up so that the cog is in the very center. Mark the excess and cut off using your angle grinder.
Drill matching holes using a Forstner bit into the ring large enough to fit the rods. Then insert the rods and weld tight.
Rinse and repeat for other spokes of the cockpit. You can reuse excess from the shock absorber rods, if possible.
Next, cut a hole in the other intact end of the burner, roughly circular. Then place the cockpit assembly on top, and mark out its perimeter.
Cut to size, and then spot weld the cockpit into place. Once secure, complete the weld around the join.
Step 5: Build the rear hatch
Next, grab your scrap brake disc and ensure it is large enough for the hole at the rear of the TIE's body. Polish and buff it up using your angle grinder.
Take one of the previously cut ends of the hot water cylinder and mark out the extent of the brake disk's hub using a pair of compasses. Cut out the hole using your angle grinder.
From another piece of scrap metal, cut out a circle of the same diameter as the inside of the hub. This will form a closer plate.
Next, take a piece of scrap metal rod, cut, and bend to fit the inside perimeter of the rear burner ring. Weld into place.
Next, take your brake disk and weld the cut domed piece from the water cylinder. Rest on top of the hub, and weld it into place -- it should look like an old-school flying saucer once complete.
You can now weld the closer plate to the inside of the hub too.
With that complete, you can now place the old brake disk into the rear of the burner. Take some paper, and mock up the shape of the hinge you would like to make.
Transfer the shape to another piece of scrap metal, and cut out using your angle grinder.
Weld it into place. Then cut to size and weld into place two short steel rods to form the hinge arms.
Replace the hatch on the burner, and then take four more short lengths of steel rod or bar and line up with the arms on the hatch. Weld them into place too on the main body of the burner.
Drill a hole through the point where all steel bars/rods meet and bolt together. This should now form a strong hinge.
Next, create another small plate for the other side of the hatch and weld it into place. Also, create a simple locking mechanism, and weld that into place as needed.
Step 7: Begin to build the wings
With that, the main body of the TIE Advanced burner is basically complete. We can now turn our attention to the wing struts and wings.
Grabs you length of scrap I-beam and cut two equal lengths using your angle grinder. Machine off any rust, as needed.
Next, grab some more scrap steel plates, and make two flat and two curved pieces. These will form mounting plates for the struts to the body of the cylinder and the wings. Drill a series of holes along the outer edge of the places for mounting.
Next, place your lengths of I-beak to the flat plates, and weld into the exact center.
Next, cut a groove to match the curve of the curved plate (and therefore the main body of the TIE burner. Match up and weld the curved plates to the ends of the I-beams (again in the center).
Your struts should now look something like this.
Now, grab some more old shock absorbers. Once again, isolate the main rods and piston housings.
Place into the front center void of the I-beams and, if needed, trim down to size. You can add a bolt to one end and drill through the endplates to secure them into place too.
Weld as needed.
Either add more shock absorbers in the same fashion to the rear of the I-beams or recycle other things you might have to hand like old piping, etc.
Step 8: Weld the struts to the wings
Next, take your complete struts and align them to the center of the wings. Take your time to ensure they are in exactly the right place before welding.
Once happy, mark out the bolt holes along the edge of the plate. Drill out as needed. Bolt the wings to the strut assembly.
Next, cut out lengths of small tubular steel, and weld around the outside perimeter of each wing.
Add cross supports to the wing as well to mimic the design of the TIE's solar panels.
Step 9: Add the wings to the main burner
Next, take the wing struts and align the curved endplates to the mounting points on the main burner. Mark out the positions of the holes and drill as needed.
Bolt the wing struts to the main body.
Once complete, you can reattach the wings too.
Next, mock up some wedge shapes to give the struts the characteristic shape of the TIE Advanced wing supports. Transfer the shape to some steel sheet, and cut out accordingly. You'll want eight in total of the same size and shape.
Then, place and weld into place on the tops and bottoms of the wing struts.
Next, either make or recycle a suitably sized BBQ grill to match the top opening of the burner.
Step 10: Paint the burner
Next, grab your high-temperature-proof paint and paint the entire TIE Advanced inside and out. Use a combination of rollers and paintbrushes to get the job done.
Paint other parts in different colors, like the cockpit and rear hatch, if desired. Alternatively, you could try to make it look as realistic as possible.
Or, of course, leave it as bare metal. The choice is completely up to you.
Leave the parts to dry and then reassemble the burner for the last time. Now all you need to do is find somewhere to put your wonderfully crafted Star Wars-themed burner-come-BBQ.
It's burning time!
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