Please help me build my smoker in time for deer season

Discussion in 'Fridge/Freezer Builds' started by deerducksmoker, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. Hello!

    I've lurked here for the last year or so and have learned a lot from all of your discussions and efforts, so first of all thank you for that.  I need your help with making a few decisions on my build if possible.  Before my questions I want to show you pictures of my old fridge.  It's a General Electric, no idea what year.  I can tell you that the inside is all metal except for the door, which was some sort of early plastic or fiberglass.I removed it.  There's some slight rust.

    As you can see I've removed the guts from the back and the front door, but other than that it's a fresh start.  I want to have this ready for deer season so i need to start ordering parts right away.  I plan to make this an electric smoker with no external smoke generation, but rather the AMAZN pellet smoker.  Here's a parts list I'm considering and would appreciate your feedback on.  If you can think of a way for me to do this better or cheaper I would appreciate it!

    For the thermostat I considered building a PID,but it looks like I wouldn't save all that much money and I don't really want to spend the time wiring everything up.  I'm most unsure about the thermostat.  Do you have any alternative suggestions?  I want to be able to set it to a certain degree (between 100F to 350F) and walk away for 6 hours.  Will the one I linked above work with the element that I linked above that?

    Another question I have is on the replacement door material.  Can I just use sheet metal?  Can anyone estimate how much I should expect to pay and where I should go for the material?  I've seen some of you use silicone for the gasket material  Is there a good source for that material online?  I have more questions, but these are the big ones so far.  THANKS SO MUCH FOR LOOKING/READING!
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 9, 2013
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    DDS, afternoon and welcome to the forum....  You have a lot of work ahead of you....   Look in  and see what others have done....  If you get stuck, ask, ask ask questions....  Many experts on here willing to help.....   I deleted your off site links....   They are against policy here.....   The AMNPS pellet smoker you found on Amazon, the guy that designed it, patented it, built it..... is a member here and has sales on them if you are a member, which you are....   You can order direct from the man on this forum....  Please read the Terms of Service    also.....    

    Please take a moment and stop into " /Roll Call/   " and introduce yourself and get a proper welcome from our members.... Also, if you would note your location in your profile, it will help in the future when answering questions about smokin'...   elevation, humidity etc....    

    We're glad you stopped in and joined our group...    Enjoy the long smokey ride....     Dave
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    DDS, evening..... When you re-skin the inside of the door, use cold rolled sheet...  probably 24 ga or something like that....    Here's a tip so it fits like the original skin......  

    Lay the door on the floor.... tightly pull string from opposite corners and secure...  you can temp. put in sheet metal screws or something similar...  to hold the strings tight, use tapered shims, shingles or what ever, to shim the corners until the strings just touch in the center of the door....  Now you know the door is true, straight and in plane....   pre drill the holes in the skin after marking the outline of the door.... cut the skin, place on the door after any additional insulation has been added..... screw or pop rivet in place...  be darn sure the door hasn't moved from when you trued it...   re hang, check the gap.....  get wood stove gasket material and using high temp silicone, glue it in place....   If the gasket isn't thick enough, 2 layers or use lath to adjust the gap and stove gasket...   Dave
  4. Thanks for the tips Dave!  I am located in Northwestern Wisconsin.  The main reason I shared the offsite links was to specifically ask about the components I'm planning on using and if they would work.  Is there a way for me to articulate a specific part without linking offsite?  I think that the thermostat I was planning on buying is actually for low temp controls (homebrewers use it to convert chest freezers into lagering vessels, so that would have been a bad buy).  I mainly want to know what my options are for temp control other than building a PID.  All suggestions are welcome because I'm pretty much stuck.  I want to use one of those brinkman replacement elements and the A-MAZE-N pellet smoker (the large one that can do either pellets or dust).  Does that need much air intake to burn?  I've looked at lots of builds, I'm just trying to understand best practices before I proceed and dump a bunch of money into this thing.  I'm also looking for suggestions on castors for rolling this thing in and out of my garage on some rough terrain.
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I KNOW the problems NO off site links create for members asking questions...   The problem arises, if one member is allowed links, then the forum is covered with links and folks leave the forum looking at other stuff....  BELIEVE me when I say "We are here to help you"....  just doesn't seem like it at times....   

    any members that have built a successful smoker, like the smoker DDS is wanting to build, please PM him with parts that have worked for you in your build... If you know of another member that has had success, relay the info to them, if you would please do so...

    Then add your build pictures here for a reference...    I and DDS appreciate your help.....         Dave
  6. Looks like it will be a nice build. I look forward to seeing some smoke


    Happy smoken.

  7. Another specific question that I have is about the hole int he back from the freezer.  Can u just use the aluminum that was there originally to seal the hole?  You can see a picture of the aluminum sheet on the rack in my 3rd picture.  I could cut a 3" hole in it for the smoke stack with a damper that I plan to put out the back and up.  I'm going to try to rustle up that sheet metal this week and I need to know if I should get some extra for that hole.  I'm also still looking for suggestions on a temp control for the 1500W brinkman replacement element.  Thanks!
  8. The aluminum will be fine. You will need to strip the paint. As far as a controler. You can use a light dimmer switch. It will have to be rated high enough for your 1500 watt element. They start to get a little pricie when you get that big.

    Happy smoken.

  9. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Use the original piece is fine...  Hold it in place with high temp silicone....   That would also be a good place for the exhaust....  Run the exhaust straight out... do not run upward....  condensate will drip inside the smoker....    You can use some rigid aluminum dryer vent for the exhaust...  You can also move the exhaust closer to the center of the smoker, using the vent, for a uniform heat/smoke/air flow through the smoker..   It ain't rocket science but a few considerations are in order to get stuff to work as well as possible...

    Above are two smokers that are similar to what you are looking for as far as controls, elements etc......  

  10. Thanks for the tips Dave, I really appreciate it.  Well, I got impatient and ordered a bunch of stuff from amazon for my smoker.  I hope my wife understands the $167 I just spent!  I'm going to try to build a PID as the instructions here were so clear:


    I wonder if I should use angle iron for supports for my racks?  What type of racks should I buy?  Where should I position the thermocouple?  Do I need vent holes on the bottom for the A-MAZE-N smoker? I read here that I can't use the factory racks that are in the fridge because the coatings they used on the metal aren't meant to be heated and food safe.  Correct?  Gah, so many questions!
  11. for racks. See if you can find stainless or chrome oven racks the right size. if not you can buld racks out of expanded metal

    Happy smoken.

  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can build custom fitting racks from expanded steel or stainless expanded and stainless angle.... and coat them with flax oil for an almost permanent coating... Or, check e-bay in the commercial section... bakery supplies etc...   they have stainless racks...  new and used...  find some that will fit your smoker....  The brackets can be made from aluminum angle...  they won't rust then....   

    Cool on building your own PID....   The members that built their PID's will be a great help to you...    start a thread for the build...    

    I'm staying out of the "explaining stuff" to your wife...   [​IMG]...

  13. Haha, my wife handled it okay.  I had originally told her I would be spending under $100, but I think in total I will end up closer to $250, depending on the cost of the steel and racks and everything.  I'm still not exactly sure where I'm going to go to get the steel and aluminum angle material. I don't knwo what kind of store carries that stuff.  I have a question about what you meant about where to mount the exhaust pipe.  Do you mean that I should position the actual intake of the pipe near the middle of the smoker (thinking 3D here) so it would be extended into the middle, or did you just mean to try and have the output hole near the middle of the back?  I wonder about that because I would think that I would want the smoke exiting near the top so the meat that's on the upper racks wouldn't get as much smoke?  I'm also still wondering about intake ports on the bottom.  Are they necessary for the AMZNPS to breath and continue to burn?  I'm very new to all of this so please forgive my clueless nature.  Thanks again for all of your help!
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sometimes my thoughts come out as clear as MUD.....   Run the alum. dryer pipe through the piece of alum. you are going to plug the BIG hole with...  When running through that piece, try to get it as near the center of the back of the refer as practical, and as near the top of the BIG hole as practical.....   Then, extend the pipe inside the smoker so it is near the center of the top, lid, ceiling or whatever you want to call it...  then heat/smoke/air will be drawn out of the smoker, more or less evenly through the food racks....  ((As if you put the exh. stack, smack dab in the center of the ceiling).....   (BUT don't do that.....  condensate will drip from it, if you do, and drip on your perfectly smoked and cooked stuff))....

    Did I get it that time ???

    Yes, the AMNPS needs air intake ports to burn and properly smoked food needs a fair amount of air circulation...
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  15. Yes Dave you got it! Thanks for you help as always.

    Happy smoken.

  16. Yes, I totally understand now, thanks for taking the time to explain it!  This will take up some cooking space though.  A few more questions:

    What diameter pipe should I use, can I just use PVC? 

    How do you recommend I go about the intake?   I've seen people drill three holes in the side with a hole saw and then put a sliding damper over them so they can adjust the draw.  Is this the best practice?  I would think it would distribute the smoke more evenly if the intake drew fresh air from right underneath the AMNPS, or maybe in front of it?

    Thanks again!
  17. I'm still looking for answers to the above questions.  I bought a short run of 3" PVC for my smoke stack, I hope it will work.  I got my castors on.  The are 5" hard rubber, I bought them on amazon for around $45 for the set of 4.  I bolted them into the bottom frame of the fridge using self tapping screws on treated lumber. In the second pic you can see that I've test fit my element.  Today I'm working on my PID box.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

  18. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    How much heat can PVC pipe take?

    Most folks use some kind of metal.
  19. timleo

    timleo Smoke Blower

    Not enough.  It melts around 140*F
  20. The guy at the hardware store said over 350F as I cited that as what would be required (erring on the side of caution).  Perhaps the stuff he gave me is rated for higher temp because he said it's used for outdoor wood fired furnace exhausts.  I'll have to dig into this a bit more.  I got a good start on my PID today and think I'll have it done tomorrow.  I used the cheaper Mypin brand, so I hope that doesn't bite me in the end.  I'm learning a lot about electronics in the process.

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