I will post more pics of the UDS and the heat shield and how its attached. I used the same blots I'm using to hold the grates only 3" long so I can have about 1 3/4" between the drum and the shield that allows for the heat to defuse and not transfer to the shield ( made from 1/2" expanded metal 16 ga.) I wasn't even sure it was gonna work the theory was sound but not to sure about the science, but it works really well it never even gets warm. Will post pics soon as it stops raining don't want to ruin my camera. When I was younger we had a summer home on a lake and I bumped into a barrel full of burning leaves I just nicked the side of it with my calf and it literally burned my leg to the bone I still have the scar 6" long down the side of my right calf. That was what I thought of when I was doing the burn out of the drum. I saw that thing getting red hot and thought to myself I need to figure out away to keep my little guy from getting hurt. I know the temps don't get bonfire hot in a smoker but still 250-325 gets that drum to hot to touch. So ended my cheap UDS build and started my semi costly but safe UDS build. I'm glad I did it. I love having my lil guy outside with me when I'm grilling and he is so curious he probably thinks its the space shuttle. I feel so much better knowing if by chance he ran into it he would just have a few scrapes but not be burned.
P.S. Please don't misunderstand my caution its not that I don't watch my kid, I'm always looking after my lil guy and his safety he's 15 months and still a little shaky on the walking and running but just one stumble into the drum and it would have been game over. All it takes is once, and it could be a neighbors kid or anyone else for that matter the point of doing a UDS is because their designed to set and forget that's the beauty of a UDS don't have to keep a constant vigil just sit back and enjoy the awesome Q.