DIY Bicycle Wheel Firepit

Increase the amount of time you spend outdoors during cold winter months after you make this DIY firepit from a few old bicycle wheels and mesh.

article image
by AdobeStock/adogslifephoto

In Upcycling Outdoors: 20 Creative Garden Projects Made from Reclaimed Materials, Max McMurdo provides 20 inventive projects to get readers upcycling and recycling. The book includes valuable information on the tools, techniques, and materials to help you create unique designs and go on an outdoor creative adventure. The following excerpt is from Chapter 2, “Outdoor Structures.”


The great outdoors is something that has been very close to my heart since I was a small child. I was a cub scout, and every year we went caravanning as a family. To maximize the time you can spend outside in the colder months, and even to extend chillier summer evenings, a fire is essential.

What I love about this design is that it is lightweight and therefore extremely portable; it repurposes something that has already travelled around outdoors; and it also combines beautiful aesthetics with clever engineering — my perfect combination!

man walking up to u shaped fire pit with wood lining the inside and a fire in the middle

It can be very frustrating when you get distracted or leave a fire and it goes out. This design allows you to preload the pit with round logs that simply roll into the centre as the previous log burns away, removing the need for you to keep loading the fire.

Produced with only threaded bars and some mesh, this design is lightweight, simple and satisfying to make and reuses a pair of old dented bicycle wheels that would otherwise be thrown away.

two bicycle tires, an angle grinder, a saw, and wires and bolts laying on a concrete floor

Items to Source:

  • 2 old bicycle wheels
  • Threaded bars, washers and nuts
  • Wire mesh
man using a screwdriver and a chisel between a bicycle tire and the spokes

Instructions:

1. Remove Tyres: Using a flat-head screwdriver or a chisel, work around the tyre, loosening it until the metal wheel structure will pop free. Repeat for the other tyre.

man pulling apart wheel rim and tire of a bicycle wheel at a wooden work bench

2. Remove Spokes: Use the first wheel for the base supports – you are going to remove one third of the wheel for each one. Mark your wheel on the rim then remove using a slitting disc on a grinder or hacksaw. Cut the rim into sections.

man leaning on bicycle rim and making a mark with a permanent marker

3. Cut Second Wheel in Half: Remove the spokes from the second wheel and then cut the wheel in half. These will form the main section of the fire base.

man using angle grinder to cut in to a bicycle rim clamped on to a wooden work table

4. Neaten Ends: Sand the sharp edges smooth with a metal file.

man holding a metal file up against the cut edge of half a bicycle rim

5. Line up Base: Position your smaller bases against the semicircular pieces, as shown in the sketch, and mark up.

man placing two pieces of cut bicycle rim against each other on a wooden work bench with the curved ends placed against each other

6. Drill through Rims: Drill holes in the wheel rims on the marks, then de-burr using a larger drill or countersunk bit.

overhead view of a man drilling a hole in to a partial piece of a bicycle rim clamped down on to a wood board

side view of a man drilling a hole in to a part of a bicycle rim clamped down on to a wood board

7. Cut Threaded Rod: Cut the threaded rod to the right length using a junior hacksaw. File the ends smooth.

man holding a threaded rod at the edge of a wooden work bench and sawing the part hanging off the table with a hacksaw

8. Bolt Together: Bolt through the wheels to form the two halves and join them together using washers and nuts.

man threading a nut on to the end of a threaded rod pushed through a drilled hole in two pieces of bicycle rims

man using wrench to tighten nut down on threaded rod through two pieces of bicycle rim

9. Attach Mesh Base: Cut the wire mesh to size using wire cutters. It doesn’t need to extend all the way up the wheel rims as the stacked logs will stay in place. Wrap the edges of the mesh neatly around the wheel rims to secure it in place.

Tip: You can spray the entire construction with heat-resistant stove paint if required.

man placing wire mesh on the inside of the bolted bicycle rims and wrapping it around the edges

10. Load Logs: Fill the pit with round logs cut neatly to fit, then sit back in wonder as the fire self-fills as it burns!

man with his foot up on the saw table holding down a branch with one hand and sawing it with a saw with the other hand
man kneeling down placing cut branches inside of the u shaped bicycle tire fire pit

More from Upcycling Outdoors:

Excerpted with permission from Upcycling Outdoors, by Max McMurdo. Photography by Brent Darby. Published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group, © 2018.

book cover with a small shed with potted plants in it made of doors