Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Smoker Clones are your own version of a commercially available Smoker. Examples are Stumps, Jambo, Backwoods, or any other you want to try to copy.
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Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 15th, 2015, 9:06 pm

I'm still shopping for steel to build the Mini Gravity-Fed smoker from Frank's plans...initial quotes are higher than I like, but I had some half inch plate already so I thought I'd cut it up to make the firebox today.

First, two hours of cleaning up the shop. My son has been using it and wasn't around to clean it up (gotta nip that in the bud). I had to put a new blade on my bandsaw, and the blade tracking mechanism wasn't working right, so I had to futz with that to get it right. Then I made a start.

I bandsawed the four pieces for the firebox out of 1/2" x 6" CR flat bar that I had in the scrap pile left over from something else. I got all the edges nice and square, and the saw cut through it like butter. I need to grind a couple of pieces a little to get them all exactly the same height, and grind a chamfer for welding, then I'll tack them up. I'll do that tomorrow, and see if I have stuff to build anything else. I don't have enough 1/4" plate to do anything, maybe cut out a part or two.

(if I didn't already have the 1/2" steel, I would probably buy a wider piece and make the fire box and ash box all out of one piece instead of grafting on 1/4" plate for the ash box. Just think it would be a little neater that way.)

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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by NM_Wanderer » August 15th, 2015, 9:20 pm

Subscribed! Will be watching. Also I am going to call for a quote on steel Monday. I will share what my prices are compared to yours. Your initial quote seems quite high.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Puff » August 15th, 2015, 10:25 pm

I just had this light bulb go off in my head...is that band saw a special metal saw? I have a 14" standard looking band saw...is it useable for this kind of metal cutting? What kind of blade are you using? I've only ever used it for wood...NEVER thinking it could do steel....looking forward to this answer.

Your cuts look cleaner than the supplier's I had gotten my other 1/2" gf firebox material from.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 16th, 2015, 8:22 am

Puff wrote:is that band saw a special metal saw?
Hi Puff, yes it's a WWII era DoAll metal cutting saw. It's kind of a beast. But before this I had a 14" wood/metal saw. For you saw you need to slow the blade WAY down with either a gear reduction box or an intermediate shaft with different sized pulleys on it. A good metal cutting blade and you'll be set. The blade I just put on is a Lennox Die Master 1/2" blade with a 14-16 variable tooth pattern. Mostly because that was what the local saw blade shop had in stock for blade material.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Puff » August 16th, 2015, 11:21 am

Thanks.... See, you learn something new everyday..


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Pete Mazz » August 16th, 2015, 1:25 pm

Puff, I get my blades from here:

http://www.bandsawbladesdirect.com/


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Frank_Cox » August 16th, 2015, 2:15 pm

Nice!!! a quick tip, you might consider shorting the dimensions a little (if you can do it in your head easily) on the corners of the chute plates to give yourself a notch to weld in. makes an easier joint. if that makes sense....
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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 16th, 2015, 3:24 pm

Hi Frank -- yep, copy that. I was going to short them 1/4", but decided to make them the full lengths and grind a bevel instead.

I ground a 45 degree bevel 1/4" back on the front and back plates.
Image

Clamped up to tack the first joint, the bevel is pretty obvious. I'm going to TIG this, so I think this is plenty of V to get a solid joint.
Image

Firebox tacked up. I'm not going to weld it solid until I make the other parts of the assembly (charcoal chute and ash box). My tacks were a little too hot, but I'll dial it in before I weld it solid.
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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 16th, 2015, 3:50 pm

(I probably won't get much more done this weekend, it's 90 degrees outside, and I'm watching a brisket that's *almost* done)


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Frank_Cox » August 16th, 2015, 5:43 pm

Awesome!!!
I can't wait to see it!!!
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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Puff » August 16th, 2015, 6:14 pm

Frank, I hate to be the one to raise my hand in class but you lost me on shorting the corner ...


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 16th, 2015, 6:29 pm

Puff wrote:Frank, I hate to be the one to raise my hand in class but you lost me on shorting the corner ...
Puff, if you cut two of the sides 1/2" short in length, but mock it up to the correct dimensions, you will have a "V" at the corners formed by the ends of the adjacent parts. That gives you a nice trough to fill with weld instead of having weld sitting on the surface with not enough penetration.

It's harder to describe than it should be. A picture would help.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 16th, 2015, 6:48 pm

Just pulled a brisket off the smoker (3 speed Traeger). A bit over 17 hours to get it done. I'm excited because I haven't made a brisket that was right yet, I think this one is going to be good. I checked it by probing with a toothpick along the flat until it was tender. It rode 2.5 hours at 205 internal before it was done. Crazy. It's having a little nap in the cooler right now.

This started at a 15 pound untrimmed choice packer. I trimmed it, injected it with Mixon's beef broth recipe and used the rub from the same source (mostly black pepper). Mopped occasionally, no wrap, fingers crossed.

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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by forty_creek » August 16th, 2015, 7:05 pm

Strong Work!


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by NM_Wanderer » August 16th, 2015, 7:06 pm

Image

That Brisket looks great!! 205 is perfect. I just pulled a couple of Tri-Tips off my Traeger which I modified a while back with a PID controller. Cooked the tips at 220 to an internal of 145. Can't wait to start my mini build.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Rodcrafter » August 16th, 2015, 7:21 pm

Nice


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Big T » August 16th, 2015, 8:17 pm

:LG:


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Puff » August 16th, 2015, 8:22 pm

Thank you for that explanation....got it.

Looks like there will be several mini - GF build happening.... Can't wait to see them all going together


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 17th, 2015, 11:23 am

Looking ahead I have two questions on the build. For now.

1. The cap for the smokestack. Is it expected to need to throttle the temperature using the smokestack cap, or is that just to keep rain out? If it's just a rain guard I might replace it with a rain cap instead.

2. The gasket material that is specified, is it at all compressible? I'm guessing not, and thinking I might be better off with a more compressible gasket to account for any little variations in fit.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Puff » August 17th, 2015, 11:48 am

From my own experience: yes, I only use my stack cap as a rain cover and the gasket is compressable to a point.i actually prefer this gasket material because under compression, it absorbs little irregularities and makes a great seal.

On my big gf, I laid the door frame on top of the cabinet while on its side to be sure of the flatness of the entire perimeter. While under construction, it had lost a little of its perfectness and bowed up in one corner. I took the chop saw and sliced the the two welds just enough to bend the frame back to perfect. Then I had clamped it in place an welded it back ...
It's great and the compressable gasket fills in where needed once you strap the doors down and weld the hinges under a little squeeze pressure.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 17th, 2015, 1:10 pm

Great suggestion on fitting the doors to the case. Steel moves an amazing amount when you weld it (at least when *I* weld it :oopssign:)

If you're watching for it, you can use the next weld to help correct the pull from the last one.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 17th, 2015, 6:45 pm

I got another steel quote today. Holy Shit, this is the highest so far. The sawing/shearing charges are more than I would have guessed, but even if you remove them it's still more money than I want to spend on steel. The only bit that seems pricy in particular is the 1/4" plate. Note that since I have 1/2" plate already it's not on here, and I dropped the channel (figuring I'd make it from the plate) and dropped the exhaust pipe (figuring I'd get it at the scrapyard).

I have $500 worth of junk in my mcmaster.com cart (the casters called out in the plans, rivnuts, toggle latches, the giant ball valves, mineral wool insulation). I could probably get some cheaper casters (that's almost $200), and I don't think you really need a 1.5" valve for the grease drain, a 3/4" one from the HW store would be plenty.

There has to be a cheaper place to buy steel around here...

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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Puff » August 17th, 2015, 6:54 pm

Almost $250 in cutting fees. I'm going to my supply place on Wednesday to compare this... You have high sales tax ...not that ours is much better


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by SmokinDTown » August 17th, 2015, 8:43 pm

Looks like the 1/4" plate is costing you over 350 dollars for the materials plus the shear cut. If my math is correct, (many times it's not!) the 48x96 sheet is a 12" wide by 32' long strip equivalent. Buying a 10" wide 20 footer should save you a ton of money on this order. A 10" wide by 20' flat stock is just about enough material to build 2 FBA's. I think. Keep us posted.



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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » August 17th, 2015, 9:21 pm

Actually the price for the 16ga cold rolled sheet is OK. The 1/4" plate is outrageous. Good suggestion on buying 10" wide HR flat stock. That would be a lot easier to handle anyway.


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