new smoker build.

Discussion in 'Fridge/Freezer Builds' started by meatsticks, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. Hi all, I am new to the forum, I picked up a commercial freezer and started hacking the guts out of it to make a hot/cold smoker. I'm going to strip the foam insulation out of it this weekend and replace with rock wool insulation and reline the inside with 20ga 304 ss and tig weld all the seams. This is the easy part for me, the hard part is all the little things to add and trying to make sure there is even heat throughout (no hot spots). Is there any thing you wish you had put in your smoker that you didn't or done different? is there a way too make even heat throughout? What size vent? (I have some 4" 304 tube that I can fabricate one out of) Does it matter where the vent exits? Do I need to have air inlets? The only thing I'm pretty sure of is the 220 heating element and the AMNPS smoke generator. I've been doing so much research that my brain is on smoker overload, sorry for all the questions. Thank you in advance for input.

    I will up date the progress as I go along!
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
  2. I got the insulation out and started laying the rock wool in. Hopefully I can start bending sheet metal tomorrow. Do you guys think it would be ok to use spray adhesive on the inside
    of the outside skin to keep the rock wool up until I get the sheet metal in and tacked in?
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
  3. I got the first section of inside skin put in tonight after work, it took a little persuading but fit pretty good, I was nervous of welding but seems to be working good.
  5. Thanks, I figured out how to get it in there and not fall down. Two sheets to cut for the sides and a lot of welding and the inside skin will be done. Was thinking on using stainless unistrut on the sides for rack supports that would be adjustable.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
  6. doctord1955

    doctord1955 Smoking Fanatic

    u will be fine with the spray adhesive!  it wont be in the inside box!  if u r worried drill a couple of holes on outside the diameter of a couple of SS screws so after your first couple of test runs you can put the screws in!  the adhesive will have gassed by then!
  7. What would be an ideal electric element or elements for this build. Interior is approximately 47 cubic feet. I'm starting my shopping list so I have dimensions for fabrication and mounting holes.
  8. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    I would avoid the brinkman element, 2 would heat it no problem, but you have to put a hole in the bottom of the house because of the design of them.

    I would look at 2 finned strip heaters, one on each side. If you can access the bottom area under the smoker then you can put a couple of 1.5" sink drain flanges under a finned strip heater, it acts as air intake directly below the heater and also as a drain. just keep a few pans under it for any drippings, roil it over a drain or outside to spray it out.

    I have great success with the finned strip heaters through Omega supply. The key is to use a really good digital controller. I recomedn the Auberins dual pid plug n play 1800w. This controller will allow you to decrease the power to the element so it doesn't run at full power and burn out.

    The strip heters can only be under 100% power with forced air, in an oven with no forced air they over heat and burn out if ran at 100%. That's an issue ive read about several guys having with them, but they were unable to control the power output to the heater so they burned out.
  9. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    the strip heater are really easy to mount too.
  10. Well I finished welding the in side skin last night. Time to start getting serious about controller and elements. I'm torn on what to use. I've looked at finned strip heaters and a 3650 watt oven element. I don't know a lot about the strip heaters. I'm going to use the auber smd100 controller.

    Another thing that I'm not sure about is the vent. I have 2" and 4" ss tube. I was thinking a 4" in the middle or a 2" in each top corner.any suggestions?
  11. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    ive had good success with finned strip heater in my last buil;d and using the same on again in a friends current build. Its a smaller house though, just a regular vintage fridge.

    The finned strip heaters cannot be used with full power to them unless they have forced air moving across them.

    You have to buy one rated for a still air oven that falls within the dimension and temps required for the space.

    The other, and easier option, is to buy a digital controller that will allow you to decrease the total power output to the element, like the dual controller from Auberins.

    The smd-100 is almost the same, but where it differs is that it is just a 12vdc power out that controls a solid state relay that switches the element on and off, it doesn't allow you to change the output power settings.

    The dual probe is only for 1800w elements, but you can still run a 220v element with it and with the required decrease in power needed for a still air smoker you likely will have to drop what ever finned strip heater you get to 1800w or lower anyways, ! large one or a couple of 16-17", one on each side, will be plenty to heat that bad boy up.

    The oven element will work at full power. use any controller to run it.

    I suggest the finned strip heaters because they are the easiest to mount in the most central locations for the most even upward air flow and heat distributions., they require a much smaller footprint and are easier to adjust your height off the bottom, easier to clean around and easier to install and wire. work very well, available in far more options to find the best one for application,

    but that's just my opinion. theres so many ways to build it. go with what works for ya.
  12. Thanks madman! I think I will be going with your recommendations. I don't know a whole lot about wireing and sizing for wattage. This is what has had me so confused on this build, I don't want to be underpowered and have to wait hours to come up to temp. So if I did 2 finned strips would they need to equal 1800 watts or could I run 2 1800 watt elements off that conttoller?

    Any input on the chimney locations one 2"in each top corner or a single 4 in the top some where?
  13. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    you should be able to run 2 x 110v 1800w elements off the controller if everything is wired correctly with the right power supply.

    ill talk with a friend of mine you is an electrician and makes sure I am wiring this kind of stuff right.
  14. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    a 3 - 4" stack should be more than enough. I like to put them out the back at the top. it helps prevent tar from dripping onto the food, it just runs down the back wall of the smoker if you vent out the back at the top.
  15. Thanks again. Testing my smoke box, I'm planning on running this up the bottom. I might have to rethink if the Temps get too hot for cold smoking. It's big enough for 2 amnps there's one in it for testing now.
  16. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Can't wait to see the finish on this.

    You have a great start!

    That thing should hold a ton of meat!

  17. nevrsummr

    nevrsummr Meat Mopper

    Looking good! What is your plan for that beast? I have one of those too, but don't have access to the stainless liner so I'm turning it into a game cooler for hanging elk and deer. My original plan for it was a smoker though. And with that plan I was going to make a removable insulated divider. One side would be for fish, the other for anything else. If I had a huge batch I could remove the divider. I was going to have a 4" hole through the divider so I could make smoke in whatever side of the smoker I was not using and duct it into the side I was using for cold smoke. If that makes sense.

    If you chose to go that route, I would separate your exhausts and definitely use 2 heaters of whatever style you want. It would also give you big advantage of not having to heat the whole box for a light load.

    With the auber smd 100 you can control as many watts as your power source will allow, just make sure you have a relay rated for more than what you need. If you go finned strip and want to keep from full heat put a oven rheostat on it.

    There's some info and pics on my traulsen build page.

    Good luck with the build
  18. nevrsummr

    nevrsummr Meat Mopper

  19. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic


    The difference is that the dual probe plug nhave a small dc output to control a  play is self contained and doesn't output a small DC charge to opn and close the SSR.

    The PID he is considering requires a separate SSR and because of the way it operates there is no way to decrease the power out put through the SSR. The dual Probe allows for this because it can control the current passing through the controller to the element.

    Its a fairly big difference between the two.
  20. nevrsummr

    nevrsummr Meat Mopper

    Mike, didn't quite get what you were trying to say, was a little jumbled. I read everything I could find on auber plug n play via the link you attached. The plug and play uses a SSR just like the smd 100. A SSR is just a switch, nothing to do with current or voltage limiting.

    I am not trying to argue, actually I would love to know if there is a difference because I would consider that for future builds. But from what I can read it's the same.

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