Cold Smoke Generator Build... Will This Work?

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by efaden, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. efaden

    efaden Newbie

    So now that I have most of my Electric UDS done I have moved on to the Cold Smoke Generator.  As it happens I have a 5 Gallon Corny Soda Keg that has a cracked weld and is thus no longer going to be a useful pressure vessel.  I was thinking about turning it into a Cold Smoker Generator and was trying to figure out if it would work well.... 

    They look like [​IMG]

    Basically it is a 5 gallon stainless steel pressure vessel.  It has a lid that comes off the top, and 2 "posts"... one gas in which has no "dip tube" and a liquid out which has a tube that goes to the bottom of the keg.

    Here is my plan...

    1) Seal off the gas inlet.

    2) Attach an aquarium pump to the liquid outlet (to push air in the bottom).

    3) Cut a hole in the lid and attach a 1/4 pipe for the smoke outlet.

    4) Mount some sort of grid/mesh/etc at the bottom as a support for the wood.



    My question is will this work?... The cylinder is huge in comparison to most other smoker generators.  Should I try to build up some structure or something in the middle so my wood chips aren't just floating around... any ideas?

  2. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ever though about getting a A-Maze-N-Pellet-Smoker? They sure do work great.
  3. efaden

    efaden Newbie

    Yeah... I have the keg though... and I'd like to use chunks.  But it was on my list.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  4. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Are you think about dropping in chips/chunks from the top and then throwing a few lit chunks in there as well and then close the lid and then turn on your pump to give it oxygen and then let  the air flow out of outlet into the smoker?
  5. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I can't see any reason it won't work.  You will control the amount of O2 going in so you control the rate of burn.  You may melt some of that black plastic on the top and bottom but if it isn't used for sealing the keg that shouldn't be a problem.   Sounds like a fun, low cost, high reward project.  Good luck, let me know how it works out.  

    I guess you are going to use metal for all tubing.
  6. efaden

    efaden Newbie

    That was the plan. I was thinking about putting a collender or something at the bottom to collect the chucks into a pile so they stay together. Basically use the dip tube which goes to the bottom as my air inlet and the top as my smoker outlet.

    Plastic is not structural. Thought about just ripping the top plastic off. The bottom supports it, so may have to build a new frame if I remove that. Not sure about tubing yet... Thinking high temp for inlet and black pipe for outlet. Is there a hose that would be safe to use for the outlet? Would I get enough flow through a hose? Looking at 1/4. A little concerned about lack of smoke flow/volume.

    See above re: chip "gathering" device... Aka a collender.

    I have. A fish tank pump on a dimmer for air flow. My concern is that I won't get enough smoke...

    Any other thoughts or suggestions? My only problem other than the above is that anything I do to the inside has to be able to be done through the little hole... Basically 1 arm diameter circle.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  7. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    "Quantity of Smoke" and "Quality of Smoke" are two very different things

    You can produce lots of smoke with this setup, but you'll also create lots of creosote to go with it

    It's just the nature of the beast with these types of smokers

    Clean out is another issue

    How do you plan on cleaning out the vessel?

    Remember, this method will produce gooey creosote

    A stainless collender for a screen will burn out.  The screen is too fine.

    If it does survive, it will plug up.

    The 1/4" outlet tube is too small and will plug with creosote very quickly

    I would use at least 1/2" pipe or tube

    Smoke will condense at this point, and this is where creosote collects

    You'll need a combination of chips, pellets and chunks to keep this thing going, and this volume of smoldering wood inside the 5 gallon vessel will create some serious heat

    It's gonna be hot to the touch, and all the plastic parts will melt

    I would try to remove all plastic and maybe weld on 3 short legs for support

    Is it worth a try?

    Sure, sounds like you already own most of the parts, so the build will be cheap

  8. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    As mentioned by Todd

    You don't need a lot of smoke.  So when you build your smoke generator start with a small amount of fuel and see what kind of results you get.
  9. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    It will look pretty cool hanging on the side of your UDS but to me thats about it...To each his own...
  10. efaden

    efaden Newbie

    Thanks for the advice.  What would you recommend then?  The amaze style?  Does the side chamber, cold smoker just generally have the creosote problem?   

  11. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I'm willing to bet that you could make a pretty good smoke generator out of that thing.  Maybe use a bit larger outgoing pipe to your UDS.  I don't see any reason it won't work.  I think the point is using to small a pipe on the way out it will clog with tar and creasote.   Nothing a torch won't burn out every once in a while. 

    What concerns do you have?   Worse case scenario you will have to go with a larger air pump to increase the volume of smoke going to your uds.   You know you could always build a small firebox off to one side and connect with a cheap piece of plenum from Home Depot   this will give you some nice cold smoke for bacon and sausage.

    Raise your UDS a couple of feet,  build a small firebox out of concrete, metal or fire brick,  connect with a piece of plenum and cold smoke away!
  12. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The small bottle to the right in the picture, may be a better option, just because of it's smaller volume

    Sure, I would like you to buy an A-MAZE-N-SMOKER, but let's try to work with what you have on hand

    You have to figure a way to get inside to clean it out after every use, and you have to light the fuel from the bottom.

    Most of the smokers similar to the one you want to build, are smaller in size, and have access to the top and bottom.

    Pumping more air is not an option.  You'll over smoke your food.

    How about making a small sidebox out of the 5 gallon tank, by laying it horizontal?

    You can use a grinder with a cutting wheel to cut out a door

    Is this an option for you?

  13. efaden

    efaden Newbie

    That may work.  If i cut a door though... won't it not seal very well?  Do you have a diagram for a design like that.  I think I get the idea, but seeing it would be good.
  14. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Not my bag, but someone like Joel(Solaryellow) can jump in and offer some help

    Do you have access to a Mig and/or Plasma Torch?

  15. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    I have a few thoughts about this that I am gonna sketch out in a bit. Are you thinking about having the entire bottom of the corny keg open to air or is that just a grate with the bottom still sealed?
  16. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Heck no that wont work.

    Give it to me and i will put beer in it.

    I buy you AMZNPS for it  [​IMG]    JK

    Ditto what Todd said
  17. efaden

    efaden Newbie

    No. Grinder, dremel, drill, etc... No real metal working stuff.

    Was going to leave it sealed... But opening it is an interesting idea.

    What exactly is different about the side smoker box and the generator? Temperature? Air flow? Smoke travel distance?

    Sent from my ADR6350 using Tapatalk
  18. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here's what I'm thinking......

    You could make a separate smoke chamber out of your 5 gallon can

    Kinda like Al suggested, with a separate intake on your UDS to allow it's connection.

    Hopefully others will jump in with some ideas

  19. This is just an observation from an old fart:

    We (and I'm among the worst) tend to over-think and over-engineer everything we  built.

    I remember my uncle's smoke house in GA - it was a dirt floored shed with cracks in the siding, a sloped rood with eve vents/screens, no chimney, no stove or burner. He hung the meat on string or hooks from the "rafters" and built a small fire in a hole in the dirt floor. Now that's simplicity!! No air pumps, pipes...nothing!!

    I love Todd's maze design. Simple, tested, no moving parts, etc. Great job!!

    Have fun on your build out - if it works you have a one of a kind smoker - if it doesn't, well you'll be in great company of folks like Edison who thought "failure" was the most effective part of learning!!
  20. X2

Share This Page