Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Horizontal smokers with a side firebox and tuning plates.
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Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by SheffSmoker » June 29th, 2020, 12:14 pm

Hello everyone,

First of all, thanks goes to all here that have shown their builds - it's been great to see them and a good source of inspiration. Thanks also for the smoker calcs which have been a massive help.

Secondly - Please don't laugh! I'm restricted to working with what I have here - a 35 year old stick welder that's a bit temperamental, an angle grinder, a chipping hammer and a dremel. It's also been 30 years since I did any stick welding and I'm still crap at it. :D

Everything in the build is using what I can find lying around here, with the exception of the gas bottles I'm using to make the FB and CC - which cost me between £5 and £10 each (US$6 and 12)

First off, the two gas bottles.
IMG_20200623_144343.jpg
Second, a mock up of how it will look.
IMG-20200620-WA0010.jpg
FB opening, which took a bit of head scratching to join to the other cylinder...
IMG-20200620-WA0006.jpg
Still a bit of work to make it snug for welding but 90% there.
IMG-20200620-WA0012.jpg
Made a blanking plug for the old gas tap out of a hefty bit of 6mm U shaped channel hanging round the garden
IMG_20200623_173155.jpg
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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by SheffSmoker » June 29th, 2020, 12:23 pm

Also forgot to add - I have no nice fab shop of any description so all of this is done kneeling on the floor outside, praying to the UK rain gods to bugger off. :BDHorse:

Another blanking needed for the CC gas tap
IMG_20200625_135830.jpg
IMG_20200626_141048.jpg
Cut the FB door - just using a cut off disc in the grinder.
IMG_20200623_144413.jpg
Found this old log rack in an old log burner we don't use anymore, so modified it to fit.
IMG_20200623_144403.jpg
Added a few extra bits to it using some 6mm rod I have, will need more though as coals will just fall through.
IMG-20200623-WA0013.jpg
Cut the door seals out of another same size propane tank - I don't have any flat bar either! It's the same diameter so the rounds just needed a bit of persuasion with the vice grips to sit fiush.
IMG_20200626_201259.jpg
Door seals on (please excuse shoddy welds - they hold though!) The extra bits are going to be the FB vent and runners for it.
IMG_20200628_174553.jpg
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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by McBroom » June 29th, 2020, 12:30 pm

Great start. Is this gonna be a standard offset or a vertical (L shape)
Here's a pic of my L shape(vertical)Image

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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by SheffSmoker » June 29th, 2020, 12:34 pm

Hi McBroom,

You know what - I'd never even thought of doing it vertical! I had planned for it to be a horizontal offset like in the 2nd photo. Got me thinking now... :)



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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by McBroom » June 29th, 2020, 12:48 pm

It holds more food being vertical
If you decide to go this way move the firebox a little more under the cook chamber about 2"Image

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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by dacolson » June 29th, 2020, 1:19 pm

Looks great SheffSmoker. I love the ingenuity. Great idea cutting flanges from another tank w/ the same diameter.


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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by SheffSmoker » June 29th, 2020, 1:55 pm

Thanks dacolson! It does feel like I'm back in the 1940s with "make do and mend" but enjoying playing with metal again, plus all my family are desperate for some good smoked brisket! ;) I've worked out a packer cut in half will just fit. Just ;)



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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by jadstar » June 29th, 2020, 5:19 pm

Looks Like a great start ! I too lacked most of the fancy tools when building mine. Take your time and enjoy it .You will appreciate it when finished based on ingenuity making up for lack of proper tools. This thread has me thinking about a vertical now . Thanks for sharing!

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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by Dirtytires » June 29th, 2020, 5:53 pm

Did you at least run your numbers thru the calculator to see if you are close? That firebox is looking huge!

Love the “scrap yard” build tho....you are a true inspiration to us all.



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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by SheffSmoker » June 30th, 2020, 6:31 am

Hi Dirtytyres,

Yes I did, the size differential is 220% between CC and FB, which is why I went for mounting it vertically - in my mind's eye with the fire raised up a few inches from the bottom dome and the cutout to the CC being in the FB it's reduced it's effective size somewhat. I know in real life it's not ideal but this first one is a proof of concept and big baptism of fire (pardon the pun).

Second one is already in the planning stages and will have a CC-FB differential of 105% I just need to find the cylinder more locally than a 3 hour drive at the moment. :)

Really enjoying it though, and the welds are getting a smidge better each try. I really need a MIG welder though - the wife has promised me one if I'm a good boy :lol:

Going to try and make some door hinges today out of the odd shaped U channel, hours of cutting and grinding for a few inches of metal!



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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by mp4 » June 30th, 2020, 7:48 am


SheffSmoker wrote: Going to try and make some door hinges today out of the odd shaped U channel, hours of cutting and grinding for a few inches of metal!
Been there, done that...doing my best to not do it again!




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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by dacolson » June 30th, 2020, 9:29 am

Making it work. Love it. I get your thought process on the FB. Curious to hear results. I imaging fire size will be critical to keeping the heat controlled.


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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by Dirtytires » June 30th, 2020, 10:42 am

At 220% I might recommend cutting it in half and welding a flat plate on the bottom. Could always fill it half full of sand but that seems silly.



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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by SheffSmoker » June 30th, 2020, 2:16 pm

Dirtytires wrote:
June 30th, 2020, 10:42 am
At 220% I might recommend cutting it in half and welding a flat plate on the bottom. Could always fill it half full of sand but that seems silly.
Appreciate your input, thank you. Unfortunately as I don't have access to any decent plate I'm just going to wing this first one and see what happens. It's more a "Can I do it?" build as a test rather than something I'll be using all the time once finished. Next one is already in the pipeline which will be bang on calcs wise. :)



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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by SheffSmoker » June 30th, 2020, 2:32 pm

Made some progress I was happy with today. Offered the door up to the FB and had an extreme "WTF?" moment - it was not sitting flush and rocking away like AC:DC. Then I realised my error. These tanks have a seam on them - I'd not ground the excess weld away round the door aperture! A few minutes with the flap disc and all was good in the world again. :)
IMG_20200630_141033.jpg
Onwards making hinges. This is the horrible channel I have to try and fab bits from. It's approx 8mm thick and as you can see only flat on the bottom plane, so if I want any flat bar I have to chop both sides off and grind it flat, takes bloody ages.
IMG_20200630_142821.jpg
Cut a few bits out and started having a quick measure up.
IMG_20200630_145614.jpg
Had a bit of an epiphany and remembered I'd got a few bit of old rifle barrel I'd cut down years ago.
IMG_20200630_151945.jpg
Sadly the 6mm bar I have rattles around inside too much to work effectively. Then I had another idea...
IMG_20200630_163112.jpg
Yeah I think that will work!
IMG_20200630_170847.jpg
Leap of faith time. I laid a tape line down parallel with the door seal then marked along it with a sharpie. Held the hinge (now cut in half) in place with a magnet along the sharpie line and tacked up. It only bloody works and fits like a glove! Was so happy I asked the missus to crack open a bottle of red. :ymparty:
IMG_20200630_195111.jpg
IMG_20200630_195133.jpg
IMG_20200630_195143.jpg
Again, not the prettiest welds and only tacked up for now but just over the moon it fits, opens and closes. Phew. :)
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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by dacolson » June 30th, 2020, 2:47 pm

:LG:
Great thinking


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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by Big T » June 30th, 2020, 8:25 pm

:yth: :kewl:


Measure Twice.....Cut Three Times.

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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by Dirtytires » June 30th, 2020, 9:30 pm

You have more ambition than I do....never in a million years would I cut channel down to make flat bar! Honestly, I’ve never even thought of that so hats off to you for teaching me something today.

While I’m at it, those hinge barrels are true genius!

Please keep sharing as I, for one, am enjoying your ideas and can definitely see myself using some of them on projects down the road.



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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by SheffSmoker » July 1st, 2020, 5:16 am

Dirtytires wrote:
June 30th, 2020, 9:30 pm
You have more ambition than I do....never in a million years would I cut channel down to make flat bar! Honestly, I’ve never even thought of that so hats off to you for teaching me something today.

While I’m at it, those hinge barrels are true genius!

Please keep sharing as I, for one, am enjoying your ideas and can definitely see myself using some of them on projects down the road.
Kind words - thank you! Believe me I would rather have a nice shop full of fresh metal stock than having to make do with some of this rubbish, everything is taking ten times as long as it should - but I'm enjoying doing it. :)

I ought to get a shot of my entire metalworking tools selection to make you laugh - it's like a Fisher Price (or what's the US equivalent?) "My first tools" set. :D

A good few years ago I crashed my motorbike on a racetrack and needed a new exhaust end can. The replacement ID was a good few mm wider than the header pipe OD so needed some kind of sleeve to make it snug. The old destroyed titanium inlet flange offered it's services but was 2mm too thick to slide inside the end can. Not having a lathe to turn it down I MacGuyvered one using a drill, metal holesaw and a vice. Drill in vice, holesaw in, gaffer tape round the holesaw until the titanium piece was snug then I pared material off using a hand held grinding disc. It's still on my bike to this day!



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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by dacolson » July 1st, 2020, 8:36 am

:points: Lol. That’s fantastic.


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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by SheffSmoker » July 1st, 2020, 1:43 pm

Not much progress today thanks to the good old UK weather.

Worked out a FB latch. Drilled a hole in the door just above the seam, then ground one flat down on an M6 bolt so it won't rotate when I tighten the front. I ended up putting a small tack on it later anyway so dunno why I bothered. :)
IMG_20200701_153328.jpg
Washer and nut out front, tightened to FT.
IMG_20200701_153340.jpg
Spent an hour making a nice looking latch out of that crusty horrible channel I have, checking for fit regularly.
IMG_20200701_173309.jpg
Chopped another strip of the sacrificial gas bottle to make the lever, washer each side of it then two nuts locked tight on top. Ground the excess bolt down then stuck a blob of weld in to secure it. Bent a piece of the 6mm bar by hand and vice grips to make a handle. I started out trying to make a hoop shape but struggling to bend this short a piece meant it ended up that shape, which I actually prefer. :)
IMG_20200701_182601.jpg
Latch welded on, and it closes lovely and tight. Happy with that.
IMG_20200701_182610.jpg
My lovely wife ordered me a surprise which arrived today, a box of seasoned dry oak chunks.
IMG_20200701_193803.jpg
Just the FB vent left and then on to the CC. Getting there!
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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by dacolson » July 1st, 2020, 1:45 pm

:LG:


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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by Dirtytires » July 1st, 2020, 6:15 pm

Keep at it!



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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by Big T » July 1st, 2020, 9:57 pm

Nice work!


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Re: Sheffsmoker's extreme budget mini smoker

Post by SheffSmoker » July 2nd, 2020, 2:52 pm

Hoofed it down with rain all morning and early afternoon, so only got a few hours playtime today.

Got the vent hole cut, vent rails welded on, made some vent guides out of 6mm rod and welded an M8 bolt to the vent, then tapped a bit of old gun barrel and threaded it on.
IMG_20200702_191624.jpg
One of the rails went on slightly wonky, but a bit of adjustment on the vent and it slides ok, bit stiff towards wide open but we'll live with it for this one.
IMG_20200702_191637.jpg
Open
IMG_20200702_191656.jpg
Couldn't resist a cheeky test / clean out fire.
IMG_20200702_193817.jpg
Wide open, flames were shooting out of the CC opening.
IMG_20200702_201416.jpg
Once established, an opening of just an inch gives a nice calm fire.
IMG_20200702_202532.jpg
Fire calmed down, it's took on a nice blued colour. I kinda like it.
IMG_20200702_204800.jpg
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