Charlotte, NC - Eight years ago, Dean Mandrapilias took over his father’s auto-repair shop.
“I love coming to work,” he said. “I don't consider it a job.”
It wasn’t until last year that dean turned his trade into art. He took an ordinary oil drum and cut out patterns to create a custom burn barrel.
“I did one for a friend of mine's birthday but she really likes bats we cover the whole thing in bats and put her name on it.”
When the NFC playoffs began a few weeks ago, it sparked an idea, and Dean decided to give his second burn barrel a go, this time showing his panther pride.
“Being a little bit colder this year during the playoffs we made it all the way. I thought, ‘You know, how cool would be to have a little bit heater on the place?’ So I took one of our old barrels, cut it up, threw some logos on there,” said Mandrapilias. “It took a couple hours, and when I showed up it was an instant hit, as well as some heat.”
It’s not just sports logos. Dean’s latest project is one for a K-9 unit. He takes the design off a computer and using chalk, draws a pattern on scrap metal, used for the top of the barrel.
From there, a 220-volt plasma gun, hot enough to burn your retina, is used to cut out the design.
Using a similar technique, dean then cuts into the barrel’s side.
After posting pictures to social media, his idea for custom burn barrels took off.
“I just never thought that a burn barrel for sports team would be highly desired sought after item so it was kind of funny when I saw it get reposted & reposted.”
He says these tailor-made oil drums are great for BBQs and tailgates.
“You're probably going to only use it a couple of times a year but I'd say for the sports enthusiast for whatever team I’d be making them for,” said Mandrapilias. “It’s a pretty sweet item to add to your collection.”
Dean says he’ll make a barrel with whatever logo you’d like. It costs at least $175. He says you can contact him at H&H Automotive in Charlotte or message him on Facebook to request one.