Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Custom manufactured BBQ Pits, Do-it-Yourself projects, parts and ideas.

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tuftbb
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Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Postby tuftbb » Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:51 pm

Howdy all, new here but been reading the threads for a few years now. Have been an amateur smoker for about 8 years. Nothing fancy, but exposing the city folks to what is the closest thing they'll ever get to real smoked and bbq'd food short of going to Texas.

I started with a good upright/water smoker (round) and moved to a square one which I liked much better. After a few years it was still cramped quarters and cumbersome to work with, so I purchased a low-end, name-brand off-set. With a few modifications and some good advice from this and various other sites, it works wonderfully. I love it, holds a lot, easy to control, and churns out some good BBQ for family, Scouts, and friends.

Looking for a project for my boy (19) and me to work on. We're thinking of building a good and creative off-set that will last and be a bit of a show-piece, without costing a fortune (no gold plating).

I like a square look and our objective in this project is to improve our welding skills so we don't want to go the barrel route.

I enclosed the plans below and hoping to get some feedback from the experts. And advice, input, or telling me I'm nuts is welcome. Thanks all:


smoker1.jpg

Main overview of from the front. With heights and storage.

smoker2.jpg

Firebox top and bottom. I'm putting a ash dump door on the bottom. A nice big fire door. My grills are interchangeable so the grill-tops are all the same size. Plus it gives me a good grilling area for small jobs. The lid has a cutout that allows heat/smoke to go into the main cook chamber. There is a slide that lets me adjust or cut-off the opening size so I can control heat from the box itself.

smoker4.jpg

Main cook/smoke box with all the trays. 3 grill trays (all stackable), 1 rib tray (also stacks), and I can use the tray from the fire box and have 2 full levels. I also have a full-length, 1/4 depth tray that stacks in the back. All the trays can be stored under the cook chamber stacked. This also shows the damper from the fire box to the main box.
Another idea I had was an adjustable heat plate. Still a reverse-flow, but you can play with it a bit. I also left a little room on the side to allow for the heat to creep up the sides and create a bit of convention. Adjustable plates allow you to fine tune the smoke and heat. That part I admit is complex so I may scrap it, but we'll see. I'm up for the challenge.

smoker3.jpg

Cook top lid, easy enough.

smoker5.jpg

The frame to hold it all up.
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Txdragon
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Re: Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Postby Txdragon » Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:32 pm

Welcome! For a pit this size, I'd rethink intake and exhaust sizes but that's me. Can't wait to see this project underway!
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Re: Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Postby Papa Tom » Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:34 pm

Well welcome to the forum.......'bout time. 8)
I'll let the builders talk on the functionality but I'm impressed with the CAD work....
tarde venientibus ossa....
tuftbb
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Re: Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Postby tuftbb » Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:25 pm

Thanks for the happy welcomes. What are your suggestions on the intake/exhaust? bigger? I was worried it wouldn't breathe well.
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Re: Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Postby Txdragon » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:35 pm

tuftbb wrote:Thanks for the happy welcomes. What are your suggestions on the intake/exhaust? bigger? I was worried it wouldn't breathe well.


Yessir. I'd definitely go larger. I'd go with at least a 4 to 6" intake and exhaust min. Exhaust probably wouldn't need to be larger than 5".
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Re: Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Postby k.a.m. » Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:16 am

Welcome to the forum tuftbb. :D
Did you use the pit calculator for sizing your cooker? If not I would plug in your dimensions and go from there.
http://www.feldoncentral.com/bbqcalculator.html

If I am reading all the plans correctly your'e using sheet metal instead of plate if so the distortion rate on the plate being welded will be pretty high. Your heat loss is going to be enormous and the firebox will not last long.
Just my thoughts I look forward to following your progress.
Always remember slow and steady wins the race.

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My Hybrid cooker.
Competition trailer #2.
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Re: Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Postby Finatic » Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:03 am

Welcome to the forum! Looks like you've put some thought and planning into this. Very nice drawing. This will be a fun project and make a lot of good memories!

I'd strongly recommend a few of things. One- Use the calculator in the link k.a.m. posted. You can't go wrong using the calculator. Second- I recommend going with 1/4" plate steel for the firebox (on all sides), adding an extra 1/4" plate on the inside top of the firebox and going with 10 or 11 gauge steel for the rest of the cooker. If you use 16 gauge it's not going to hold heat well at all. The metal will also bend and bow A LOT when it get's hot. It's going to increase the cost of the project but the cooker will perform like it should. If you have limitations with welding, cutting, etc. there are ways to get around that with the thicker plate steel. And finally, looks like you are going with perforated steel for the grates. What size perforations were you planning on using? Have you thought about using expanded metal instead? It's a lot cheaper and will give you a more consistent result with your cooks.

Here are a couple of photos of my recent smoker addition to my trailer pit. I do not have a firebox (it's a charcoal cooker) so I used 10 gauge plate steel throught. I've had it pretty hot (500+ degrees) and there is no warping, bowing or bending at all.

Looking forward to your build. Keep us posted on your progress.
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Smoker-05.jpg
Smoker-07.jpg
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Re: Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Postby OldUsedParts » Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:37 am

Welcome, :salut: anxious to see your build progress and Good Luck :tup:
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Re: Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Postby tuftbb » Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:07 pm

Thanks all.

Exactly the info I was looking for. Ran the numbers and a little confusion but I think I can make it all work:

My firebox is almost 250% of recommended; however my theory is if anything I can control the heat a bit more and I get a decent grill to use at the same time. May take a little experimenting but should be able to get it down.

The chimney pipe calculations are what worried me. Says a 6" pipe should be 24". Smaller pipe would be considerably longer.

Air inlet calc says I would require 2, 5" intakes. I think the more/bigger the better as they can be damped down, but wow! Okay.

I'll have to make my firebox-cook chamber opening much bigger, but no worries there.

Spot on with the metal. I haven't decided on actual thickness, gauge, or type. Need to go to the metal shop and take a look at options. My MIG welder can do up to 3/16" plate.

Will let you all know progress. I'll tweak the design specs and have the metal shop price out materials.

:D
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Re: Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Postby k.a.m. » Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:08 pm

tuftbb wrote:Spot on with the metal. I haven't decided on actual thickness, gauge, or type. Need to go to the metal shop and take a look at options. My MIG welder can do up to 3/16" plate.

Your'e gonna need a bigger welder.
Always remember slow and steady wins the race.

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My Hybrid cooker.
Competition trailer #2.
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Re: Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Postby Finatic » Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:18 pm

If you have a torch you can preheat 1/4" steel then weld in 3-4" long passes. Another option (if you don't have a torch) would be to leave a 3/8" wide gap between your corner joints and make 3 passes. One pass in the center of the joint then another pass on each side of the joint. This process is very slow though. The torch method works a lot better.
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Re: Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Postby tuftbb » Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:11 pm

I'm using 1" square pipe as the frame. How about using 3/16 on the outside shell and 3/16 inside the frame? Will the air pocket between the two create an issue or warp the metal? I could spot weld them across a bit, every few inches.

Otherwise I suppose we're learning to torch. This got a bit more complex.
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Re: Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Postby Finatic » Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:44 am

To me if you use 3/16" plate steel (which is 7 gauge) for the outside shell you won't need the 1" square tube frame. I think 3/16" would be fine. On the smoker pics I posted above I used 10 gauge plate steel and there is no interior frame. It's solid! No warping, bowing or bending at all. For me if I was going to use 3/16" on the firebox I would add in a sacrificial 3/16" plate on the underside top of the firebox (as this is where it gets the hottest) to help prolong the life of the firebox.
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Re: Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Postby k.a.m. » Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:21 am

Were you building a double walled cooker from the start or just wanting to weld the 12 gauge together? I am a bit confused on what your'e wanting.
The reason I said your'e gonna need a bigger welder is most welders that boast "Can weld up to 3/16 metal" have a very low duty cycle and will test your patience on a project like this. What welder do you have?
Always remember slow and steady wins the race.

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My Hybrid cooker.
Competition trailer #2.
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Re: Build it from scratch. Hi all!

Postby tuftbb » Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:21 pm

A 120v Mig with gas. A Lincoln knock-off from Century - Century 135. Removing the frame would save some money and get me closer to the thicker steel. I can have the bottom of the fire box @ 1/4" and the rest 3/16". It won't be too much 1/4" work. Thanks all!

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