Well, let me preface this thread by saying I am completely impatient. I get these crazy thoughts that I can DIY anything and then quickly realize I'm in over my head. Building my Brutus so far has not been as challenging as I thought, but I suspect I'm at the point where I'm going to need some motivation and support to continue.
So far I've got the frame built. A couple of lessons for folks thinking about doing the same.
1) I've never welded before but it was not as tough as I thought it would be. Did I lay down some ugly welds? You betcha. Did I put good use to my angle grinder? Absolutely! I did get better over time. I borrowed SWMBO's boss's welder (a huge $$$ saver!) which was just powerful enough to get the job done, but it worked, or at least I can put my large 250lb frame on the Brutus and jump up and down like a monkey. Only time will tell.
2) I used an auto dimming Welding helmet. After I convinced myself it was actually dimming, I quickly realized that there's no way I could have welded with a regular helmet. My welds would have been all over the place
3) Building the gas beam did not work out so great. With my poor welding skills I still had lots of small holes I only discovered after using my son's bubble solution. After many attempts I just gave up and will go with the pipe on the outside route. I figure it would make the rig look more complicated anyway, just not as sexy.
4) I went with carbon steel (2"x2"x1/8" thick) purely for the price. I can see that SS would be the best way to go but I did not want to risk the $$ considering I wanted to weld the frame myself. Fortunately I've been able to hide many imperfections because I'm slathering on the primer. 1/8" steel is definitely heavy duty, I love how solid it feels but it moves around easily with quality casters from Castercity.com. I also had the steel shop make the cuts. They made nice, straight clean cuts for another $50. Well worth it to me.
5) Invest in some good ear plugs or protection. Holy moly I made a lot of noise.
6) I went with threaded caster inserts from McMasterCarr and they turned out to be a godsend. I spent a lot of time trying to keep things square yet the rig is ever so slightly out of square. The legs won't sit perfectly flush. Using the threaded casters helped me work that issue out quite easily.
7) I installed a grate on one of the sides so I can use my wok and make Thai food. Kitchen stove just doesn't put out enough BTUs. Can't wait to fire it up.
8) Flat sanding discs stink for sanding the entire frame. They are good for making straight edges, but I found that flap discs works much better for that final, long sanding session just prior to paint.
I'll be putting the final finish coat on next, just some high temp grill paint, and will attempt to mount the March pumps and try to work on the control panel. I'm kinda scratching my head on the control panel; not too sure about the wiring so I will probably go slow. Juggling two small kids, a SWMBO, a full time job and graduate school has made tackling this project a challenge. I usually like to go balls to the wall with these kinds of projects and knock them out, but I am trying to better myself and be more patient. So far I'm pleased and SWMBO has been tolerant and supportive. It has been a fun experience so far and this forum has been extremely helpful. I'll be more pleased when I'm done and if it's at least half as nice as what I've seen other members pull together.
A huge shout out to Lonnie Mac for drumming up this little project and everyone else who's shared their own efforts. I've learned a lot and there's a lot more to learn. I can't wait to brew on this. I have three keggles ready to roll.
These ratcheting tie downs were a huge help.
Polished, ready for primer.
Ready for light sanding and need to clean up the legs (too lazy to tape for the first coat).