Buiding insulated Vert. smoker from scratch! how are my plans?

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by davinci, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. davinci

    davinci Newbie

    Hello.  I cannot afford a really nice smoker so I am trying to build one with a very small budget.   My plan is to build a vertical smoker dimensions (haven't nailed this down yet) but am thinking, inside dimensions will be 22 x 18 x 36" tall.   I think i'm going with gas...but might change my mind.   Inside will be carbonized steel sheet metal, then 1/2" hardibacker, then....then i'd like to use just cheap galvanized sheet metal.  

    In your opinions, the outside should NOT be that hot so is it ok to use the galvanized (zinc) metal for the outside jacket?

    That is my biggest worry or concern now.  

    Also, what is the cheapest thing to use in place of a replacement grill-something easy to customize.  I found some replacement ceramic grills for 100's of dollars!!!!!!  I DON'T WANT THAT...even the cheapest grill seems to be at least 50 for my size.   I need at least 3 of them.   Any ideas?

    Thank you very much.  I will be listening to advise very carefully and posting pics once i start the build.
  2. morkdach

    morkdach Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    as far as racks go find some old oven racks usally they are free then build to fit.

    I am a watt burner so you can make it out of wood if ya like.

    galv on the outside is ok but not on the inside.

    good luck with the build.

    and welcome to smf.
  3. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    If you are on a limited budget and can cook w/ charcoal  ,I'd build a UDS.

     The replacement grills that fit it are available at wal mart.

     If you can get the drum for cheap / free you can make a nice one for less than $ 75
  4. turn4fun

    turn4fun Fire Starter

    Expanded metal sheet makes a good rack and is cheap to build if you stay away from the box stores.  I just bought a 24" x 48" piece of 11 ga. 3/4" expanded sheet at Metal by the foot for $18.  Home Depot wants the same amount for 12" x 18". 
  5. davinci

    davinci Newbie

    expanded sheet is a GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!! idea!   I think i only saw galvanized expanded in HD...but i'm sure i can buy it from the same place i'm buying my 4x10 sheet.  

    More details (the 2yr old is in bed now)...and i DO NOT mind criticism-just explain why i'm stupid.

    22 gauge carbonized steel inside (do i have to paint it and what is a easy cheap way to paint it-cans of spray flat?)

    1/2 hardibaker all around

    outside i'm going to pound out the ribs on a roofing tin :) or if it is close to the same price buy a roll of galvanized sheet at HD-or find some other cheap way at the metal supply store when i go there.

    I was thinking gas because i think it will be the easiest to build around (no vents)...i really want charcoal, but not sure of the placement of the vents - top and bottom.  I have an old grill i was going to get the propane hardware off.

    I will frame it up etc...but I forget the technical names for the L shaped frame I'll be using.  

    I've NEVER barbecued before but really want to get started and want something that is better than a 40 dollar walmart special.   I also have NO equipment to bend or weld the sheet metal.  I will have to use my head in place of $ tools.   I will overlap all seams, rivet and bolt.  I was thinking about using a solder or brazing the seams for added fit and finish but that entails buying a torch. 

    The barrel idea is great...however, my wife refused to have that in our back yard.  My plans have been met with some questions, but the idea of a 'shiny box' that smokes seems to be ok.
  6. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Glad to have ya join the fun davinci.

    My suggestions would probably have to start by telling you to have a look at your local craigslist. I picked this up for 20 bucks complete with all grates and pans. Yes its electric but it can run with charcoal just as well.


    Now there is nothing wrong with a smoker like this, they work great with a few mods. I suggest this since you say you are new to smokin, don't have many tools, and are on a budget.

    No way in the world would I try to Pound out the ripples from corrugated steel panels. WOW what a job.

    Now you say she would have no part of a drum smoker in the back yard. [​IMG]  Take a few minutes and do a search for UDS paint jobs. You may be surprised what you find. The ugly's are the Cadillac of cheep smokers in my opinion.

    We probably don't want to get me going on the, (the wife says I can't thing) uh huuuuu theres a reason I got a divorce. We shall leave the first wife out of this, but the current wife and I meet in the middle. Sure there is things we both do that the other don't care for, but we compromise. She really dont like the fact that my trailer rig is in the driveway along with my material for several more smokers, and I really dont like it when she picks her nose!!!!  Just kidding about the nose thing. But you get my point. 

    The cement board is really not an insulator but more of a heat sink (hope I spelled that right). I'm thinkin maybe if I was to have to go the route you have described that I may,  look for an old dorm frig and line it with the sheet metal. You mentioned brazing, you could always silver solder the sheet joints on the inside and work from there.

    Good luck and if you have any questions about the drums there are several of us that run them.
  7. davinci

    davinci Newbie

    thanks for the replies.   I've been checking craigs list recently specifically looking for a right angle vertical smoker...which i would like to insulate and then line with galvanized sheet.   I really want to build something and have it unique....and have it work really good.  I'm attracted to propane because the lack of vent holes and hopefully steady heat.   I think the brinkman at HD is 70 new and every once and a while i see them for sale for around 50.   I really wanted something a little bigger or at least wider than 19" but it is tempting that the brinkman comes with all the hardware.   I would be retrofitting a carbon burner into a gas burner.   I think the retro fit and remodeling is what i look forward most to.  
  8. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No doubt, the custom tricks are where the fun and satisfaction are at, well right along with producing good Q. I wasn't trying to discourage your ideas, but rather give an option to get ya going on good Q, along with giving you a little time to find just the right rig to customize. There are some pretty great deals out there on craigs list, some just take a while to pop up.

    I am thinking about making up a removable gas burner that I can light and slip into the firebox, thru the vent hole on my new RF. I think I can get several hours of good TBS from one basket of coal and 1 or 2 logs then slid the burner in and set it and forget it. I sure wish I could think of stuff rather then building and smoking LOL.
  9. davinci

    davinci Newbie

    i'm still alive and still dreaming about my smoker...however work has taken me on the road for some extended periods and i'm hoping to pull the trigger on this starting at the end of sept. 

    I read some interesting posts of guys building entire smokers from hardibacker.   I'm checking craigslist every day for used cheap vert. smoker and then plan to just build from that.   I think it will be cheaper and easier than building a smoker from scratch.  Problem is, when one pops up...it's gone the same day.   Timing i guess.

    My adjusted plan is to get the cheap vert smoker, then line the outside of it with hardibacker, then line that with galvanized sheet, silver solder all joints and refab the legs too. 

    Any recommendations on a GOOD budget (oxymoron?) temp gauges?

    I've seen someone on the net doing this, however they didn't do a complete wrap which I will be doing.

    I welcome any feedback.
  10. lugnutz

    lugnutz Smoking Fanatic

    try  www.kck.com    if not cheap at least you can do some window shopping

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