or Connect
SmokingMeatForums.com › Forums › Smoking Supplies & Equipment › Smoker Builds › Fridge/Freezer Builds › My Done Enough to Work Fridge Build
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

My Done Enough to Work Fridge Build

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

It's a work in progress, but it does work.

side view smoking.jpg


It's an old Frigidaire that was pretty easy to convert.  The workings were very easy and straightforward to remove and left no big holes in the lining.  The only drawback was the plastic surround on the inner front and that held the inner door panel in place.  I had to build a new profile out of old aluminum roof sheeting.


I'm afraid I didn't take as many build pictures as I was planning and my computer is currently hiding some I did take from me.  I will get some more as built pictures up shortly.

post #2 of 29

Seems like a natural. A large insulated box with racks in it.

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

Ha ha, I've got half of it right then.  I've got the box.  The racks are part of the work in progress.  Right now I have only one rack and a sausage/fish hanging bar.  I have some plain carbon steel expanded metal that I'm going to try for some more shelving.  Unless I'm told otherwise here.

post #4 of 29

I'm no fabricator but I love to watch projects that the more imaginative and capable (then myself) folks do. I'll be watching your build.

post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 

Here is a little detail of the surrounds I built.

Inner box surround detail.jpg


This is the inside edge of the inner box surround.  I could have just put a flat piece in there, but I didn't want to be catching/cutting myself on a sharp edge so I shaped it to the original profile.  Then I used hi-temp silicone to complete the seal so smoke wouldn't leak into the insulation.


Inner box surround face detail.jpg


Face view of the same surround.

post #6 of 29

It looks great Tastetester! I love home builts... they have more character. biggrin.gif

post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  I was looking for a compromise between cheap and easy, with an emphasis on cheap.  That's working so far as I probably have around $50 into it, mostly in stove rope and silicone.  Speaking of which,

door inner surround and gasket detail.jpg


I tried to think of an easy and cheaper seal, but no luck.


inner door panel.jpg


It leaks a very minor amount of smoke at the top, haven't decided if I'll deal with it or live with it.  At the moment living with it is winning.

post #8 of 29

Gonna be a nice smoker... Looking Great...

post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 

For the heat source I used an old Farberware tabletop grill and it's 1500 W element.  Before I put the chimney in I could get it to 350 or better with that.  I haven't tested it since.

heater and lower door detail.jpg


I'm afraid it is getting dirty already.


burner getting dirty already.jpg


So far I've run two batches of sausage, 3 pastrami and a load of bass through it.  It was the bass that dirtied it up.

post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 

This 5/8 inch copper pipe is where the smoke comes in.


smoke inlet tube.jpg


And this is where it gets into the pipe at

smoke pipe smoke inlet vacuum part.jpg


You can't really make it out, but there is a 3/16 inch copper tube down the middle of the pipe that ends an inch or so after the opening on the fridge side.  Air is pumped through  the inner tube and it creates a vacuum that sucks smoke into the outer pipe.  It also creates the draw that keeps the sawdust/lathe turnings burning in the can.

post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 

I know a company or two makes a smoke generator that works on this principle.  Don't remember who, but I know I saw it.  I took some of my inspiration from a fellow in NZ that had a video up for building and using one.  This is my air pump.  I keep it in an old styrofoam lined plastic lunch bucket so if the rain pops up while I'm smoking it is protected.  I just bring it into the house when I'm done.

air pump.jpg


A combination of plastic tubing and copper tubing runs through my chip can and into the fridge box.  It all still needs some design and build work, but it is functional.  I found a place that sells 1/8" diameter de-dusted hickory chips.  I want to try them and see how they flow in the can.



smoke can.jpg


So that's the smoker part of the operation.

post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

That was the smoke inlet side, now for the smoke outlet side.

Chimney mount.jpg


I had access to a 4" hole saw so I used that to drill through the outer and inner steel.  Then I lined it with the same aluminum material I used for the surrounds.  I cut tabs in that and pop riveted the tabs down after bedding in silicone.  The red stuff was some hi temp gasket forming silicone.  I didn't like the the looks of that stuff so I switched back to the clear.  The red stuff had a different viscosity and tackiness that I feared wouldn't make a good attachment for a rain seal.  I still have one small leak up here I think.  After I had that installed I fitted a 4" to 3" aluminum reducer and then two 3" 90 degree adjustable elbows.  I think I'll try to add a damper of some sort eventually.  As you can see I've borrowed liberally from other builds on this site.


outer chimney surround detail.jpg

Outer detail


inner chimney surround detail.jpg

Inner detail

post #13 of 29

Lookin' really good. I'm impressed.

post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks, I've been trying to take my time and do it more or less what I think is right, but at the same time leave it in a relatively easily changed state too, so that if I find out I don't like something or it doesn't work right I can pretty easily tear it out and move on.  By the end of the summer I would like to have it done to the point where everything is tested and I'm happy with it and it will be ready to go for years.


Right now shelves are on the agenda.  I only have one now and it is installed like this.

shelf hanger detail.jpg


That's a 5/4 oak piece that is held onto the side with a couple of those folding clippy thingies that are anchor bolts.  Don't remember off the top of my head what they are called.  I'm not at all sure this is the best way, but no nice pieces of free angle iron have come my way, so that's what I'm doing.  That's one of the original fridge shelves and I fear it might be or at least have been zinc coated, though it was quite rusty before I polished it up.  I'm going to replace that with some 1/2" 10 gauge expanded steel as soon as I decide the best way to cut the expanded steel.  I'm not exactly sure of what the shelf spacing should be or how many I should plan for.  Any suggestions?


I also have a setup at the top to hang sausages or fish from.  I think I might have put it too high, but haven't decided yet.  I either slide dowels onto it or hang S hooks from it.


sausage hanger detai 1l.jpg


sausage hanger detail 2.jpg


sausage hanging detail.jpg


That's about it so far, except for the thermostat.

post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 

A funny thing happened on the way to figuring out how to cut my expanded steel for shelves.  I decided to strip the zinc and rust off my existing shelves with a little hydrochloric acid bath.  That seemed to work nicely and after they had stopped fizzing I rinsed them off and gave them a little polish with a wire wheel.  Oiled them up with vegetable oil and I'm baking them out now.  Those and the expanded should give me enough material for 6 shelves.  Think that is enough?  They are about 16" x 17".  That's about 1.9 sq ft per shelf or 11 sq ft for 6.

post #16 of 29

I think you are very well on top of this job. I'm not the guy to ask about this kind of thing but I would think that as far as racks go, the more the merrier. You could add or omit them to fit what you are smoking. 


I like the top hanging rack system that you have but it doesn't look like the wall studs are sticking out far enough to grab the thing solidly. Maybe I'm not seeing it right?


I love the idea of a high capacity smoker like you are creating.


If it was possible and within budget I would prefer all racking to be constructed out of stainless steel. I've gone that way with the guns I buy these days. Stainless is just so hassle free.

post #17 of 29

   Looks great and gives me some more ideas on a smoke Gen. Thanks

post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 

I was thinking more racks is good too, or at least more places to put them so they could be given different heights for different needs.  I only have enough material for 6 at the moment.  I would love SS, but I looked at the price for expanded metal and premade shelving and unfortunately it is not in the budget.  I am keeping my eyes open for scrap though, as always.  Ha ha.


The studs that go from the wall to the hanging rack are welded to it.  They don't go quite as far into the wall as I would like, but I tested it by hanging on it and jerking it around a bit and it seems pretty tough.  I wouldn't mind improving it though and as I mentioned, I may have put it in too close to the ceiling.  Time will tell on that I guess.


Right now I'm baking the shelves and seeing what the top temperature I can achieve is.  I'm past the range of my digital thermometer so I have to rely on a not very accurate oven thermometer.  I just want some idea.  Last time I checked it was a bit over 350.

post #19 of 29

Your heat range up in the 350* area sounds wonderful as long as you can control lower temps as well consistently.


I didn't understand how the top rack system was connected to the walls. It seems as though all is well there. I can't see why they might be too high. It would seem to me that higher is better. You can suspend your product at any level from the rack above. 

post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 

I thought that with the thermostat from a toaster oven controlling the temperature if I set it on high the element would be running flat out all the time.  I put my test light into the circuit though and it shows that the thermostat is turning the heater off so it's running a bit over a 50% duty cycle.  I guess that's fine with me for now.  I do want to put a real controller on this, but that is waiting in line with a lot of other things.  I have a nice simple PID controller, but I loaned it to a friend a couple of years ago and it is now lost in his massive pile of stuff.  Ha ha.  I would like to get one that can do ramps and holds, but I may settle for the simple Ranco model that can be had for about $50 including the temperature sensor.  The thermostat does a pretty good job of keeping the temperature steady.  It's drawback is that for some reason a certain setting on the dial will be 200 one day and 180 or 220 the next.  Once I see what it is that day moving the knob a set distance pretty much gives the same temperature rise everyday and it holds it nicely.  I'm stumped, but figure for now it's not a big deal.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Fridge/Freezer Builds
SmokingMeatForums.com › Forums › Smoking Supplies & Equipment › Smoker Builds › Fridge/Freezer Builds › My Done Enough to Work Fridge Build