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SS Commercial Refrigerator Build

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I bought tonight a SS Commercial Refrigerator. The guy still said that it still worked. Craigslist $150! It measures outside 80" tall, 25" wide and 33" deep. I going to convert this into a electric smoker with some type of temp control. It does have plastic insides for I am going to do sheet metal. what gauge metal shout I do and what kind of metal? What size of heating element and where to get both element and temp control thats a good one? Hope you guys follow my build. its my first smoker build so wish me luck!






post #2 of 24

Congrats on the find as well as being the first build. 


I will follow the build for sure. 


On the gauge, I would say that if you splurge and go stainless then 22 ga would be fine. But if you are going with mild steel then maybe 18 ga would work better. 

Not sure where you are located but you should be able to round up a 4x8 sheet of 22 ga stainless for under 300 bucks. 

Mild should go for at or about 100 bucks. 


Stainless is ultimate cool tho. LOL 


If you are planning for more heat then cold smoking, I think you will need to check and see what insulation you have inside the walls and door.

If its the foam, you may need to replace it. That nasty stuff melts.


Good luck and please keep us posted. 

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

Yes it looks like it is the yellow foam with a thin cardboard paper on the outside. Is that the stuff that melts? If I need to replace it what do I use?


post #4 of 24

Rock wool is fire resents. BUT WEAR LONG SLEEVES or you'll pay for it.When you pull compressor and coils make sure you don't get refrigerant or oil hot it will make phosgene gas.Really bad stuff it was called green cross and muster gas was yellow cross when they used it in the war .When you pull the coils take them to scrapyard they will pay dollarsign.gif for them and you can check for metal availability and prices.

post #5 of 24

Nice find. Thats going to be one good looking smoker...

post #6 of 24

You certainly have the beginnings of one great smoker there! Good luck! Anxious to see how this turns out.

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

1. So should I replace the insulation? Its yellow foam stuff. If so where do I get new insulation from?

2. What about a heating element? Use a oven with temp controls or buy a heating element and controller?

3. What to use for the door seal.?

post #8 of 24

Looks-Great.gifKeep the pix coming

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 

right now im cutting the plastic out then going to remove the foam. This tool made the cutting easy!







post #10 of 24

For parts go to auberins.com .You can get a pid ,probes ,elements.goodluck.gif Keep posting progess.

post #11 of 24

i used kiln ceramic fiber insulation for my build, 2" thick.  it holds heat so well my element hardly ever kicks on when the box come to temp.  I used a brinkman replacment 1500 watt element.  My smoker is 18" deep x 42" tall x 36" wide, it comes to 210 degrees in about 10 minutes tops and hold the temp very good.  For the thermostat controller i got a ranco etc-111000-000 on sale for $45.  Works awesome, i set my temp and differential and walk away.  Hassle free!!!  GOOD LUCK!! 


post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 

Im done trying to remove the foam today. Got alot off but still alot there lol. Any tips on the foam removal?

post #13 of 24

Sorry I couldn't respond to the insulation post, but I had to work late the last couple nights. 


Good call on removing the nasty yellow foam. I can't really help much on how to get it out since when I found out my double door had foam. I ditched the smoker idea and made it into a dry storage unit for my trailer.


Sounds like you got all the info on the electronics stuff, thats all greek to me. 


The door gasket can go a couple ways, high temp RTV sealant and wood stove rope gasket works good.

Green egg felt works good to, I hear.


I try pretty hard to respond to all the build thread question, if I miss one and you aren't getting an answer, just shoot me a pm.

I can browse and post from my phone, the PMs show up without hassle. And I can try and get you an answer.


But just checking new post is a giant pain in my back side. ( I sure wish they could add a new post feature like ALL the other forums us on mobile sites.)

For the admin,,,,,, if hudler could figure this one out, we could get several more members. Tons of folks only surf and post from there phones. One look at this forum on tapatalk and they run away fast, its in the dark ages.


Forgive me for the off topic rant but I felt that if the add on worked correct, the insulation question could have been answered the same day.

post #14 of 24

Can you scrape the insulation out? At the local farm store here in Iowa, I've seen these scrapper blades that go in you recip saw. I would think they would work well for that.

post #15 of 24

Good call on the scrapper idea. 


I have seen those and they just may work. 

post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 

I was using a flat garden shovel lol. I will have to go buy a scrapper

post #17 of 24

I wonder if blasting the inside with walnut shells or other soft media might work.

post #18 of 24

Heat and a gas mask??

post #19 of 24


I have started on a fridge very similar to yours. Mine had a stainless inner lining so cutting it out wasn't an option. It took me several days to chip away and cut enough foam to get them separated, but that's where they are now. I still have to start the scraping process. I just wondered how your build was going, and if you had any advice? Anything you've done or would do differently?


post #20 of 24

I have two of the commercial frig/freezers. on 1 the freezer (on top) still works, I think I will convert it into a drying compartment for fermenting type sausages etc. Both units are stainless outside with aluminum inside. I would like to make a smoker out of the one where both compressors are shot. It also has the sprayed in insulation, so I am looking to see how everyone else takes care of their insulation.

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