First smoker build and some questions

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Shadowxwsx
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First smoker build and some questions

Post by Shadowxwsx » February 18th, 2018, 12:22 am

Hello everyone :)

Last week I bought a 30 gallon air tank to use as the cooking chamber for my smoker build and today I found the firebox which is a 30lb propane tank (I already know I need to fill it with soapy water to clean it before cutting, so I do not blow myself up).. Where I work we have a metal shop and I picked up some scraps of sheet metal for the cooking chamber door flanges and some 3/16 stainless plates for tuning plates (got really lucky on that). Still need some sheet metal for the firebox flanges and a stand for the entire thing (not sure if I will make one or find something premade that will work).

One thing I am having an issue finding is the smoke stack, as I would like to use either 3 inch or 4 inch pipe. Does that matter if it is round or square?

Also on the firebox, does it need to be horizontal or would vertical work? As vertical I have an idea to put my charcoal and smoking medium in and it would reduce the stress compared to horizontal on the welds without the need for a big brace. If I do either way I do plan on adding a baffle over the opening between the two to force the heat and smoke under the tuning plates.



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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by ajfoxy » February 18th, 2018, 1:27 am

Welcome to the crew.


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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Shadowxwsx » February 18th, 2018, 3:14 am

ajfoxy wrote:Welcome to the crew.
Thanks... I just want something good to smoke on, rather than my entry level that leaks heat and smoke like a sieve (as adding seals and etc is useless as thin as the metal is). I also am not looking to do anything bigger than a brisket at max. as I do not feed crowds but a a few at most. So this size will be good for me.... Many have told me "get an electric and forget it", but I like the challenge of producing good food and managing the fire.



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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Pete Mazz » February 18th, 2018, 5:10 am

Welcome. 3" square is equal to 3" round so use that to get your length . Horizontal or vertical as long as your fuel fits. A baffle isn't necessary , the tuning plates will suffice


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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Rodcrafter » February 18th, 2018, 8:05 am

Welcome to the crew !


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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Shadowxwsx » February 18th, 2018, 10:41 am

Pete Mazz wrote:Welcome. 3" square is equal to 3" round so use that to get your length . Horizontal or vertical as long as your fuel fits. A baffle isn't necessary , the tuning plates will suffice

Thanks :)

I did not think the shape on the stack would matter, but better safe than having to redo something.

The baffle I will need though as I plan on leaving the end a dome and the tuning plates I am making will be rectangles and barely big enough for the size of the tank. The guy who runs the metal shop told me that it was an engineering mistake and that it was custom ordered for a prototype build.



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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Big T » February 18th, 2018, 11:39 am

Welcome aboard!!


Measure Twice.....Cut Three Times.

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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Shadowxwsx » February 18th, 2018, 12:45 pm

Thanks for the warm welcome :)

Glad I joined here, a lot friendlier than other groups and getting some answers. The other forums were no where as friendly as here and did not get a single answer, just rude people.

Was going to start on the build yesterday, but instead of rain like they predicted. We got about 4 inches of snow and 20 degrees lower temps, so just a bit cool and slick (my tank is in storage so would have to go get it).

These are the 2 main components I have, so far

Image

Image



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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Big T » February 18th, 2018, 1:55 pm

What configuration are you wanting to build, offset, center feed, wood burner or charcoal ? We may be able to help you a little better with this info. I agree with you on the forum review, you won't find a nicer, more helpful group on the web.


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Re: RE: Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by AndrewPalmer71 » February 18th, 2018, 2:25 pm

Big T wrote:What configuration are you wanting to build, offset, center feed, wood burner or charcoal ? We may be able to help you a little better with this info. I agree with you on the forum review, you won't find a nicer, more helpful group on the web.
I agree. Great bunch of guys.

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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Shadowxwsx » February 18th, 2018, 3:17 pm

Big T wrote:What configuration are you wanting to build, offset, center feed, wood burner or charcoal ? We may be able to help you a little better with this info. I agree with you on the forum review, you won't find a nicer, more helpful group on the web.
Doing an offset, pretty much have the design layout, now if it would warm up some I can get started. Supposed to be almost 70 tomorrow and the rest of the week. Still cold today, the weather here has been crazy. One day record highs and the next freezing rain and snow



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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Dirtytires » February 18th, 2018, 5:00 pm

Since nobody answered your vertical/horozontal firebox question I’ll take a stab at it.

If you are burning just charcoal, I’d say the only concern is your door is going to be really close to the ground.

Horozontal is better if you plan to use wood as it will accept splits easier. I would not worry too much about the “stress” or bracing as both require a good weld to hold in place.

Either way, you need to make a door on a round (unless you square it off) and that can be an obstacle for some. Doing a square box from sheet metal allows you to get whatever size you want.
I would run your numbers to see what volume you need and go from there.



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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Pete Mazz » February 19th, 2018, 5:40 am

I have a calculator that may help. Click on the link in my sig and look for Rectangular vs Round Stack Volume calc.


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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Shadowxwsx » February 19th, 2018, 5:32 pm

Cutting the opening and doors should not pose an issue as I have a plan for both tanks.

The door on the cooking chamber is simple as I plan to go one inch from the end caps and center line welds then measure from the center line mark for the bottom.

The throat I will incrementally open a hole in the cooking chamber until the LP tank fits correctly (correct dimensions) and mark the LP tank from inside the cooking chamber. Of course I also need that to know how much clearance for the door to the cooking chamber end, plus that will give me a line I can follow or measure from for the door.

After looking at building a new stand for this one, I may just cannibalize my old smoker for parts. Just need to reinforce the stand a little and change out the wheels ( I want to use the tires from the tank instead of the plastic ones on there now). Plus my old smoker is very close in diameter to this new one and I should even be able to use the grates, and have more than enough sheet metal for anything I need. Don't worry it is just a cheap charbroiler from rural king lol

I do plan on getting some lavalock seal for the cooking chamber and some of the firebox seal also.

Now the main thing that is wracking my brain is how to do the hinges, as I will have 3/4 inch overhang on the flanges and I do not want them catching.
The ones on my old firebox are just tubes with a 90 degree bent rod welded to the door and and tubes to the chamber and the flanges are about 3/4 and do not catch, so may just go with something similar.

I also decided to go horizontal on the firebox, as I have some extra heavy duty steel shelf mounts that will be perfect for braces.



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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Rodcrafter » February 20th, 2018, 8:51 am

You can fell comfort in knowing that the hinges can attach right to the flange and still support the door just fine so just about any hinge will work.


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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Shadowxwsx » February 20th, 2018, 3:58 pm

Rodcrafter wrote:You can fell comfort in knowing that the hinges can attach right to the flange and still support the door just fine so just about any hinge will work.
Thanks.

Just may be a little research overload, as there are as many hinge designs for smoker doors as there are smokers out there.



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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Dirtytires » February 20th, 2018, 5:57 pm

I used barrel hinges on mine. Easy to use and not as bulky as flat flanged hinges.



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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Shadowxwsx » February 21st, 2018, 8:26 pm

Ok one last question....

As I have been looking at "in the door" thermometers and all I have really found are the kind of cheap ones similar to the one in my current (it is a chargriller not charbroiler). Pretty much all I have found are 50 degree increment ones. I would like some that are in 25 degrees, as "optimal" smoking temps from everything I have seen for what I have and plan on cooking are 225.. And I plan on placing 1 on each side of the door at near the cooking surface, not up top like the one I have

Any suggestions?



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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by temurf » February 21st, 2018, 8:44 pm

I used Tel Tru therms. A bit pricey but I think they are worth it.

Check out this link:

https://www.teltru.com/s-43-barbecue.aspx


Yer gonna like what we've been smokin'.

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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Cole » February 22nd, 2018, 6:00 am

I have also read that some members use River Country - I am goign to use them on my Mini



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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Dirtytires » February 22nd, 2018, 10:41 am

I went tel tru as well. They come in different probe lengths and dial colors but are pricy. However, you’ll never need to replace them.

You might also consider a probe type monitor. Mine has 2probes, I can put on in the meat and one on the rack next to it so I know exactly what both are doing. Love mine so much I bought a second so I can run any combination of meat/chamber heats and also throw the read outs to my tablet/phone.



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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Shadowxwsx » February 23rd, 2018, 5:21 pm

Thanks for the advice. Yes they are pricey and I will hold off getting them until I see how well this thing works. Will use my probe thermometer and the other internal one I have to check it out, then if it is working well I will get a pair. If not I will sell it and just buy something that does work lol.

One other thing, as I dig deeper into building it and finalizing the plans... There seems to be two sides saying their stack placement is best, as one says at top like most and others at grate level is better... Any opinions on this argument as I have plenty of stack material (about 4 feet of brushed stainless 3.5 inch 1/16th thick pipe that I also got from work and I plan on not painting it)..



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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Big T » February 23rd, 2018, 6:45 pm

I mount mine as high as possible on the CC and I've never had any issues.


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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Dirtytires » February 23rd, 2018, 6:56 pm

I’ve had a smoker with a high exhaust and one that was down to the grate level.

Much better results and easier to control temps with mounted high center.



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Re: First smoker build and some questions

Post by Shadowxwsx » February 24th, 2018, 6:33 am

Thanks again, with that the design is finalized (going up top). Once it warms up some today, going to start cutting and working on getting this LP tank ready to cut into.

Some of what both sides were saying made sense, but I have never seen a smoker in person with the stack at grate level. So I was kind of wary of doing it that way, but curious enough to wonder if I should do it.

Once I get the measurements I need for the tuning plates, I think I will have to talk to one of our CNC programmers and have him make a program for a template to mark the hole positions ( I am a CNC operator btw ;) ). Do not think we have anything that will drill my metal though in the mill, they should back in the metal shop

This is my machine Image



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