I decided to try my hand at making an Altoids tin grill after reading about the eBq. This one is powered by a standard-sized charcoal briquette and is capable of cooking a full-size hot dog (cut down to size) or smaller hamburger patties with ease. It gets mighty hot after it's fired up so use plenty of caution and keep a large glass of water handy.
If you decide to make one of your own please post a picture in the comments! I'd love to see what you guys are coming up with. The propane version is coming soon! :D
Step 1: Materials
1 Altoids sours tin
4x 1.5" sheet metal screws with wide heads (or 4x washers to match)
8x nuts to thread on screws
70mm metal computer fan guard (similar style to the one shown)
92mm metal computer fan guard (similar style to the one shown)
* I scavenged my fan guards from an old computer power supply. They just happened to be the correct size
** I think these are the same fan guards that I'm using: 70mm and 92mm
Dremel tool with cutting wheel
Drill with bit slightly bigger than screws
Pliers/Needle nose pliers
Safety goggles and gloves
Step 2: Remove Bottom of Tin
Using the small 70mm fan guard as a template, drill 4 holes in the tin slightly inside the screw holes. They don't need to be perfect, but they should be close.
After you have the holes use a Dremel tool and cutting wheel to remove the center of the tin, leaving 2-3mm of metal around the holes you just drilled. Remove enough metal so that the "tabs" with the 4 holes can easily bend outwards without altering the shape of the tin or breaking off. When the metal is removed bend these tabs out slightly (~15 degrees)
Be careful of the sharp edges when you are cutting and bending, and always wear appropriate safety gear!
Step 3: Upper Grill Notches
Using the snips and the large fan grill as a template, cut 4 small slots in the rim of the tin. These should be thin so that they will grip the upper grill but not so much that the grill can't be removed. Needle nose pliers come in handy for removing the metal after you snip the edges.
When you are done test fit the large grill and make sure it snaps in and out nicely.
Step 4: Legs and Lower Grill (briquette Rack)
The small grill will hold the briquette. It needs to sit about a quarter inch or so below the bottom of the grill due to the thickness of typical charcoal briquettes.
First you need to connect the legs. Put all 4 screws through the holes and secure them with a nut, but only thread one completely through. Do not tighten this nut either just yet, it should be loose.
Next put the grill on the leg and loosely thread another nut on it about halfway down.
For the remaining legs you'll need to screw the nuts in about halfway, align them with the holes in the grill, and then push them all the way through securing them with a second nut on the end. You will probably need to bend your tabs a little more at this point to get the alignment just right.
At the end of this step tighten the top nut on all of the screws to secure the legs to the tin.
Step 5: Alignment
The second nut on each leg serves to align the bottom rack. Tighten each one until the lower grill is level and about a quarter inch from the bottom of the tin. All 4 legs should be pointing out about the same amount from the center, and your grill should stand without wobbling when you flip it over.
Step 6: Lid
Using the tin snips and needle nose pliers cut 4 notches in the lid so that it can fit over the tin when the upper grill is installed. In practice you can also use the lid as a tray to keep the ashes off of the table.
Step 7: All Done!
Your grill is now complete!
To use simply remove the top rack, set a briquette on the lower rack, reinstall the top rack and light the briquette from the bottom. In no time it should be fired up and ready to go!
Don't forget to post pictures of your grill in the comments! =)