hacking a metal drum, (literal and figurative )

Hello yall.

I was wondering if anyone knew how to cut open and weld up a steel drum. I’m trying to make a mini oven for a project but my welding skills suck and I have never worked with a steel drum before. to give a bit more detail, a coworker of mine and I are doing public coffee roasting outside, and before we were using a grill but wanted to try and make something. we have a gas line and a burner and a hacked drill and coffee cage that spins the coffee. if you’re interested in helping, or learning and possibly getting free coffee to let me know.


I cut up and welded together a few 55gal steel drums for a smoker. They’re very thin metal and quite unforgiving. Are you working with standard steel 55gal drums or do you have fancier materials (i.e. some of the stainless ones you can acquire) ? What exactly do you want to mod / do? I had excellent luck with an angle grinder with a cut disc for cutting, drilled holes for corners. I welded angle iron on to make a clamshell, welded hinges and used the lava stuff to help it seal. worked well enough. (we had smoked meats @hive once)

you mean like an old 55 gallon drum? Cutting it open is easy, angle grinder with a cutting wheel will make quick work of it. They tend to be a bit tough to weld because the metal is thin, but it’s manageable with patience. There are several of us who could help you out with it. Can you bring some sketches of what you want to do in to the meeting tonight?



Because the drum is steel and thin, you may want to consider brazing it. It would depend on what exactly you are attempting to attach and for what reasons.

One thing first.
What used to be in that drum? Lots of nasty stuff delivered in 55Gal barrels and they get recycled often. The barrels usually have a plastic liner that will burn and be an even worse residue.
All of that could give your coffee some undesired additives. (one plant I ran recycled nearly a truckload of chemical barrels a day. None of the chems would you want anywhere near your food.)

Yea im coming to the meeting tonight i need to finish up some membership stuff. but yea ill bring my notebook and brainstorm thanks for the help, I figured torch or angle grinder but because i have never worked with it i didnt know.

Its for a coffee roaster it has a motor to move the coffee a gas line on the bottom to heat the drum, ( or used a weed burner whatever is easier). what i need is to also cut the drum to a smaller size so it travels easier put in a door or some way to removed the basket that holds the coffee. and make holes to put in bearings for a smoother spin. i have attached a poorly drawn idea.

we are also open to new ideas, this is just the one i came up with.


Hey Dave

It had a type of yeast in it. I have a friend who is a brewery who is giving me the drum. 100 percent steel I would wash it up first before using it for coffee.

A food safe carbon steel drum is good. Especially of the yeast came in a plastic liner bag.
The sketch concerned me.
No temp control, not easy to load or unload. Can’t tell when it’s done.
Seemed like a way to ruin a lot of coffee. Saw this on youtube.

You’ve covered the “toxic contents” part of his concerns perfectly. The plastic liner… not so much. I would burn the living shit out of it before roasting coffee. Speaking from experience, here.

This would likely be an easier way to do that. You’d be able to have a longer roaster tumbler, which would give you an increased surface area for roasting.

In either case, you don’t need to weld anything. punch your holes all the way across, run a rod all the way across and use a large washer and a cotter pin on each end to prevent it from sliding in an out.


Burned Plastic Liner = toxic crap to scrape out