Square vs Round

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by jabbo, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. I'm going to build a smaller smoker and have been tossing around the idea of a box rather than a cylinder.  I can't find any disadvantages to it, other than the cosmetics.  Lex, (my fabricator) and I, both seem to think that the box shape would simplify the building process and it will certainly make the math easier.  We were thinking of trying to market a few of them, but are concerned the shape may turn people off.  What is the opinions on the cosmetic factor?  Would a box shaped, Reverse Flow smoker be marketable or should we go with a more traditional cylinder?  Keep in mind that they will both be fully insulated and the CC dimensions will be 20" wide by 30" long.  Let the debate begin!!!
  2. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    I think an upright cabinet with an offset firebox would do well.  Would take up less space, but still be traditional BBQ style with the offset.  Are you thinking like a Backwoods or Pitmaker style CC with an offset firebox?  Or am I off...I'm thinking 24" wide x 20" deep x 36" tall, with a SFB.  4 or 5 racks internally, could cook 10 briskets, 16 to 20 racks of ribs, 6 whole chickens or 40 halves....here is the New Braunfels style upright I'm picturing...

    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  3. bkleinsmid

    bkleinsmid Smoking Fanatic

    Jabbo........I don't see any problem with a square CC. My only guess is that it will take more time to weld up.....ie...labor cost. It took me more time to build my firebox than it did to cut the door in my tank for the CC.

  4. Thanks for the response, guys.  Let me clarify a bit.  This is not going to be an upright.  It is going to be a horizontal RF.  If we decide to go with a round CC, it will not be a pre made tank.  We use rolled sheets of steel when we build.  We also do not cut anything by hand.  We have a laser cutter for that.  So the build will actually be easier with a square CC and less labor intensive.  The only question is one of cosmetics.  How visually appealing will it be to people?
  5. Jabbo, you got to draw it out for us Man.

    Square horizontal cooking chamber? Ok, how are you planning on mounting the door?  From the front? From the Top? From both and then try to seal it with a angle in the middle?

    No buddy, either do a verticle square cabinet or horizontal round pipe. Too many problems to deal with changing the shape of either one, trust me.
  6. I like the idea, Seems like the temp would be more uniform across the width of the cooking shelf. The door could hing at the top with an over center brace on each side. Or 2 doors that open out one with a lip for the other to seal aginst.
  7. Slider, you seem to have the idea.  I was thinking the door could be mounted on the front hinged just short of the top and flip up or have two doors that open out to the sides.  

    Rib, you know I respect your opinions, but I really don't see the flaws in the build itself.  Mounting the door on the front side would be easy do and sealing is as simple as 2 toggle clamps.  I can't draw worth a flip, but picture a traditional round offset smoker, RF of course, wrapped in rock wool insulation, with a second layer of steel on the outside.  Now change that round tank to a rectangle and presto, my idea.  It should function in the same manner as a cylinder in every way.  With a door that flips and racks that slide out, I think it would actually be better.  More food for the same footprint, every rack the same size, and perfectly even cooking.  The door could even flip down instead of up or to the side.  Kind of like an oven door that swing down to vertical.  The only downside, that I can see, is it is a box rather than a cylinder.  That might put people off a bit.  Help me see the flaws in my thinking.  We are going to draw it up next week in Solid Works.  I will try to post a pic of it then.  
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Jabbo, Go for it......  Hey...... they got folks in China building smokers getting paid $0.35 per day..... I know you can out-do them....  I have an idea for a "front vertical" door hinge...  Full width door top to bottom to clean under the RF plate....  Put coals on the RF plate to Grill stuff also...   Time for another Miller High Life....

    That's what I'd do.......

    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  9. smokejumper

    smokejumper Smoking Fanatic


    A square cook chamber will not ensure perfectly even cooking; many variables are at play there. Many round offset cookers cook very evenly, and many do not. The same will be true for various square offset cookers.

    Why do you think anyone would be put off by a square cook chamber? Most people are not put off by square fireboxes or warming chambers (which can dominate a cooker). People buy and love those silly square cars I see on the road all the time. There are too many tastes to be able to please everyone, but having so many tastes means you will find plenty of people who will like the look of a square cook chamber. You will also have plenty of flat "canvas" to customize the paintjob as well. It's all good IMO.
  10. Jabbo, DaveOmak posted a rough drawing, I like it, Years ago I used to work in a Heat Treating Facility and did the maint and requal uniformity surveys. The more uniform you can make something the better the uniformity of the heat zone. It was amazing to see what little change in air flow would do, If a piece of brick would drop into the air path you wouldn't be able to feel it running your hand across the opening but I could see it in the temps. I would have a cold spot. Seems like a cylinder reverse flow would be cooler to the front and back with a sweet center.
    I like the front raising, But I would still put over center rails on each end just incase, (Gust of wind). And I think I would try to make the Stack intake with a rectangular opening with the same area as the pipe you are using. This will have a tendency to pull evenly. I figure if your gonna reinvent the wheel go all the way.. Good Luck
  11. Dave, since we will have an extra inch or 2 of height, due to the insulation, I was planning on putting the hinges on the front upper edge.  The door for the initial unit will be less than 50lbs.  I like your idea, but it would make the door a little heavier.  I haven't calculated how much, but I don't think it would be a lot.  

    Slider, I agree with you.  The stack will be rectangular, as well, because I think it will look more in place, but also, I can make it any size I want.  With pipe, you are limited to certain diameters and thickness.  I like racks that slide out.  This makes cleanup easier and eliminates some of the hot and cold areas because they do not run end to end.  I also cook with water in the RF plate, which evens out the heat across the cooker.

    Smoke, I was not implying that the shape would even out the cooking.  That would come from the combination of the uniformity, the insulation and the water.  The point of this thread was to get opinions on the cosmetics of a rectangular smoker.  We kind of got sidetracked a bit.  I tend to agree with you that, as long as it is built well, some people will overlook the shape.  My concern was the size of that population.  After doing more research on other forums and just asking around, I believe most people care more about the performance of the cooker than the shape.  And the fact that I can put virtually any paint job on it, or even wrap it in a vinyl print out, makes it even more desirable.  
  12. xyvyx

    xyvyx Newbie

    Good luck with your build Jabbo, I'm about to start on a very similar box myself!

    Once I get welding, I'll post more detail in another thread.  It's gonna be a rectangular offset reverse-flow insulated pellet machine!  I'm also going with a rectangular shape because of the availability of the raw materials.  I'm shooting for a cook chamber 36" wide, 24" deep and 32" tall.  The cooking area will only be 24" tall with plenty of clearance between the bottom cooking grate & the RF plate.  I'm building the inner layer with 11ga (1/8" cold-roll steel) & angle iron.  The outer skin will be 16ga.  I've got a 4x3" rectangular exhaust tube and about half of the sheet steel & angle iron already... just waiting on a few other pieces to ship.  

    As a pellet burner, my firebox will be smaller... just 12x24x12.  For insulation, check out Pyrogel.  Rock-wool would probably work fine, but I wanted to try something different... Pyrogel is a much better & thinner insulator and it's hydrophobic!  

    DaveOmak, I like your idea for a door.. I'm trying to decide on how best to do something similar... I just like the idea of a single large door that opens vertically.  I've seen some "flip & slide" mechanisms, similar to what some office cabinets have, but they wouldn't handle the weather & weight.

  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Kind of like this from Peoria Cookers. This is their Meat Monster w/Offset Firebox. They can build them RF as well. All 1/4" Steel with 2" Ceramic insulation. They use a Brake to bend the steel into a U shape with plate steel welded on to form the Box, only 2 welds needed. This one has some bells and whistles. The lid opens like a coffin assisted by adjustable Torsion Springs and the Crank lifts a pair of cooking grates for access to the meat. My jaw hit the floor when they emailed me the $11,000 price tag with just a few extra goodies. It's still worth a look at how it's made, pretty nice workmanship and a bunch of engineering...JJ

  14. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I like the idea. It makes since on the cooking area. However as stated does not garantee even cooking. After built you will need to play with it a bit. I have used a rectangular shaped smoker before that had a rotisserie of five shelves in side. To get more even temps they added a fan to the inside, similar to a convection oven. Being able to paint any color and be able to vinal wrap the smoker will help sell in the private market and comercial market.......... Tailgaiters and companies will eat it up!!!!!!

    For the door. Why not a piza oven style where it opens with half on top and half on bottom? That way if you worked the hinge system out with it so it actually would counter balance itself. Then a couple latches to keep it closed and sealed.
  15. Jabbo, like I said, you need to draw out your ideal so we truly understand your design thoughts...

    And to explain my remark a little more, its not based on air flow or cooking qualities as much as aesthetics and ease of use ( functionality). The best thing to do is draw out your design and walk yourself through the build requirements, working out all the little details, then visit the department stores and stand in front of the different shaped smokers and grills that have similar characteristics of your design and picture yourself cooking on it. I'll sometimes use cardboard boxes and mock it up.

    But, .......there is just something about horizontal smokers that make the cylinder shape just feel better, from the way the door sits, your line of sight across the grill surface, etc, etc.   and the same is true for a vertical smoker working best when square, the way the racks fit, drip pan placement, etc etc...but that may just be me...

    I really like the ideal and have checked out the builds using sheet metal and rock wool, and have played around with a few designs of my own ( in my head)  using that kind of construction, but if I did, I would lean towards more of a vertical build,   ....or just a plain even cube....but Id like to see your ideal, maybe I'm not picturing it right.
  16. We built a square smoker last year, turned out nice. It took us a long time after we got started, my son got busy and didn't have much spare time.  We built a vertical, insulated, reverse flow.

  17. Very nice square verticle smoker.  Very nice detail work.    Can you share how you made the drip pan or divider from the firebox, and how its working out for you?
  18. Nice Job
  19. That is an EXCELLENT job!
  20. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    That is a work of art right there , brother. Thumbs Up

Share This Page