Building a Stainless Steel BBQ Grill

All, I need a little help.
My old grill has given up on me and it's time for a new one. I want this one to last forever (just change the burners out every couple of
years).
I have a 32" griddle top and a 32" cast iron slot top for the cooking areas. The rest (minus maybe a little angle iron to frame up the burns and cooking top) I want to be stainless.
That being said, I've never worked with stainless before.
I have a big 8' break and 48" shear, cutting torch, mig (access to a plasma cutter).
What do I need to know to get started? How thick do I need to go on the SS sheets? I was hearing it running around $5 an lbs (maybe more now) around here. I would like to keep this thing under $1,000 in total.
Any insight would be VERY welcome!
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I was going to do the same thing, although you have access to some bigger equipment than I did. Ended up at Lowes one fine fall morning and bought a stainless grill with a lifetime burner, cast brass or bronze or something like that, for less than I could have bought the stainless for the body. I know we like to build things because we can, but the box stores don't like to sit on that kinda stuff all winter and have good deals.
Mines all stainless and sitting covered or uncovered in the Pac NW winter it has stayed looking like new. I pressure washed it this spring to get the grease off the sides, and it looked brandy new....
YMMV
Rod KoF wrote:

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I understand your point of view, but I'm going to build anyway. There is a certian way that I want it, so what can I do?
Most of the things I build I could find for less if I tried hard enough, but that takes out all of the fun and learning, etc..
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I fab stainless all the time, and have built one barby from scratch from stainless, and done the old 6 million dollar man treatment on another, replacing most everything with stainless. One reason I like stainless is, living a half mile from Puget Sound, I grill a lot of Oysters- and the salt water destroys mild steel and cast iron. And those oysters each have a bit of salt water in em, and when you grill em, you cook em till they open up and drip water out- thats when they are done.
Anyway- stainless is running a bit less than 5 bucks these days- more like $2.85 to 3.50, depending on alloy and profile. For the outside of the barbecue, you should get stainless sheet that is prefinished- stainless mill scale is very hard, and you would go thru a lot of expensive abrasives trying to do it yourself- the presanded stuff, or brushed finish, is run thru a big 4 foot wide belt sander, and it looks like the stuff you see on the commercial barbecues. You DONT want mill finish. I buy mine from Alaskan Copper and Brass- warehouses in Seattle and Portland. But wherever you are, you ought to be able to order in stainless that is prefinished, in a variety of finishes- obviously, the shinier, the more expensive, with mirror finish being pretty pricy. It comes with plastic cover sheet on it, you have to peel it back from weld zones before welding. For my charcoal grill, I just used 1/8" sheet, as I had some around. So it was self supporting. But from a cost standpoint, you can get much cheaper by building a frame of stainless angle, and then using 16ga. 16ga stainless is still plenty stiff and tough stuff. You can shear and bend it like mild- just remember to downgrade your tools by 2 gages. If you have a 12 ga brake, it will only bend 14 ga stainless, and so on. We tig weld it, works quite well. Plasma cutting works, but unless you use nitrogen for a shield gas, you get ugly oxides on the cuts- hard, black, and crystalline. No fun to grind. So if you can, shear it. I use stainless burners, and stainless grilles, because of the salt water. Barbecues Galore, and australian company, with a branch here, will sell you stainless burners, but they aint cheap.
I need a little help.

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Awesome. Just what I am looking for!
I am more then happy with a really dull finish (would ever prefer it.)
I am looking to go 60" by 24" total cooking area (I have a 24" x 24" griddle and 36" x 24" cast iron grate that I LOVE cooking on).
You're right on with the SS burners. I never want to touch them again. Only thing I need to find is some for natural guess (hard line to the house supply).
Ries wrote:

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As I understand it, the burners are the same for natural gas or propane- all you change is the regulator. I used to have a stock Barbecues Galore barbecue plumbed into my house natural gas when I lived in LA, and it worked fine. They sell the stainless burners, mail order- http://www.bbqgalore.com/store/item.bbq?invkyc44720
ries
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The burners are identical. The only difference is the orfice in the gas jet. Natural gas requires a larger gas/air mixture than propane, so the orfice size is different. To convert, drill out the hole to convert a propane jet to natural gas. If you have a natural gas jet, you'll have to weld the orfice and re-drill it. Your friendly gas dealer does it all the time...
Jerry
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You could build the whole thing from stainless or you could just fab the top out of stainless and make the base out of aluminum.
Another idea is to insulate the box.
Something else to think about is making interior panels that could be removed for easy cleaning, or perhaps built so you could wrap them in foil and toss the spattered yuck.
For the grill you might want to make that in sections that would fit in the dishwasher or perhaps toss them in the self cleaning oven and clean fire the grates.
The less time you spend scrubbing, the more time you have for drinking beer!
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Roger Shoaf

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I don't grill very much anymore but used to almost every night. Mostly steak and chicken Some fish and veggies. I never had a grill rust out but i guess I just got lucky. Heres a suggestion. I assume that it is mostly the lower parts of the unit that corrode thru. Weld up the parts that need to stay pretty but make the lower shell kinda modular. Either have a secondary liner in there or rivet the sheets to the frame. If it fially rusts out just drill out the rivets and snap in a new piece. You could even make up a spare set with the same drilled holes to match.
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