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Questions about my smoker design. - Page 2

post #21 of 46
I would also choose the one on the right. The one on the left is less efficient, will use more fuel, and could affect smoke chamber temps since you are routing the heat and smoke through the warming box. I also have some concerns about your temps being even across the entire smoker due to the center mounted firebox when the flow is going to the right.

Good luck and can't wait to see what you build!
post #22 of 46

The amount of heat loss your going to see using 50 gallon drums is whats bothering me, The cook chamber on the right, you said that your going to fabricate that yourself, out of what? How thick will that steel be ? and the firebox?


I still say, tell us more about where the unit is going ( some pics would help) what materials, tools and experience you have access to, and what it is your looking to get out of this smoker and let these experts come up with THE BEST design for you instead of trying to fine tune this one.


Just a suggestion.

post #23 of 46
Thread Starter 

Regarding the cook chamber on the right and the firebox; what gauge steel do you think I should use? The guy who's gonna be doing the welding will have to order the materials anyway, so I can probably have him get whatever I want. The barrels, however, are standard 55 gallon barrels.


The unit will be going under an (concrete) awning in front of a 2-story building, therefore I will have to direct the smoke past the second floor. It will be made by a welder who specializes in making industrial kitchen equipment from stainless steel. Though he doesn't usually make smokers, he has made a few in the past. I plan on doing some catering, so I'd like to be able to feed 50 - 70 people if necessary, but it would also be nice if the unit were adjustable so I could just use half of the smoker for smaller jobs or personal use.


Hope this helps. Looking forward to your replies.

post #24 of 46

Well, I recomend fabricating the firebox out of at least 1/4 inch plate.


As far as the cooking chamber, most go with 3/16 or 1/4 inch. Being in China, such a huge manufacturing country these days, you might be able to locate some kind of tank at a reasonable price that would be easier than fabricating it from scratch.


Too bad your so far away, I have right now a cooking chamber sitting in my garage thats 34" wide x 32" deep by 42" tall, 3/16 walls, with five racks, two 3" temp guages, side pie vents ready,ready  to go that I have no plan on using. $100.00 bucks would take it but you would have ten times that shipping it to china.

post #25 of 46

Have you thought about a set up more like this, instead of connecting the drums together? I think you would get more even heat through all

post #26 of 46

of the cooking chambers and have less heat loss,


by the way, what kind of wood you going to be smoking with in China?

post #27 of 46

I would go with the design that boykjo gave you- It's closer to a true reverse-flow and 1/4 inch steel plate would make a great fire box.

post #28 of 46

Instead of designing the smoker around the design of the building..... redesign the building to fit the smoker....    Dave

post #29 of 46
Thread Starter 

I think I will go with Boykyo's design. Thanks to everyone else for your input.


There are a few options for wood to use here in China. People have imported hickory chips from Korea, but I was thinking about going with a more local source such as apple, cherry, peach or pear. I may also try to find some oak or possible do a mix. I've also heard lychee wood is good for smoking and probably the most abundant here.

post #30 of 46
Thread Starter 

So here's the design I will be using.



I am trying to calculate the firebox to cooker openings for each cooking chamber based on the recommended volume of the firebox. Since this design will basically be running 2 separate cooking chambers from one firebox, I have calculated the firebox size based on the total volume of both chambers, as follows:


Horizontal Cooking Chamber: 31,200 in ³

Vertical Cooking Chamber: 36,864 in ³

Total Cooking Chamber Volume: 68,064 in ³


Based on the total cooking chamber volume, the fire box volume should be 22,688 in³.

The recommended fire box to cooker opening is then, 22,688 in ³ x .008 = 181.5 in²


Am I correct in assuming I need to calculate the size of each of the two fire box to cooker openings based on the relative size of each cooking chamber? Below I have calculated the Fire Box to Cooking Chamber Opening Area for each cooking chamber based on the following formula:


Individual Cooking Chamber Volume/Total Cooking Chamber Volume x 181.5 in²


Horizontal Cooking Chamber to Fire Box Opening: 31,200 in ³ / 68,064 in ³ x 181.5 in² = 83.2 in²

Vertical Cooking Chamber to Fire Box Opening: 36,864 in ³ / 68,064 in ³ x 181.5 in² = 98.3 in²


Does this look right to you guys?


Will I still be able to close off one of the cooking chambers completely and use just half of the unit for smaller jobs or is it possible that the fire box will be too big in this case?


How high should the baffle plate be from the bottom of the horizontal cooking chamber (2 55 gallon barrels)?


Would you go with one solid baffle plate or a few smaller plates?


Thanks a lot for all your help guys. With any luck I will start this build this week.

post #31 of 46
I just reread this thread and finally noticed you are using 55 gallon drums. Do you plan to insulate them?
post #32 of 46

i think it is a good plan i would make the baffle 1 piece. this is about the same plan i'm going to use on my next build.mine is going to be made of 22" pipe and trailer mounted. i'd like to see pics when your done.

post #33 of 46

all of the fruit woods work well. oak is also an exalent choice.

post #34 of 46
Thread Starter 

I wasn't planning on it. Is it absolutely necessary? If it makes any difference, the temperature never gets below 50 degrees F here. If it is necessary or beneficial, how would you go about insulating them?

post #35 of 46

Well, thats the whole reason I recommended the design I posted.


Two 55 gallon drums attached end to end into one large cooking chamber is the biggest problem I see in the build you have decided to go with. That thin metal ,...not only will you have a lot of heat loss , but the warpage you will get as it heats up.  Even welding them end to end with out warping them will be difficult. As it heats up, the length involved will present many problems that you will have to deal with........ I would be a different story if you were using a more solid tank.


If you are stuck on the ideal of using those drums, I recomend giving my design a second look. I would be structurally more sound, and I think it would have more even heat.


Just trying to help, thats all.

post #36 of 46
Can't wait to see what you build. Good luck!
post #37 of 46
Thread Starter 

I might try to find a company that makes these paper money burners and get something made to use instead of the barrels. It would all be one piece and it could be a bit shorter and have a larger diameter.



post #38 of 46

Do they have any scrap yards over there you could visit?  Have you thought about using a used propane tank ?

post #39 of 46
Thread Starter 

There must be some scrap yards around, but I've never seen a big propane tank like back in the States. People generally use smaller tanks which are delivered by motorbike. Around here there are no gas heaters, only rarely used little electric space heaters, so you only need gas to cook with. I have seen some big, possibly stainless steel, water storage containers. Do you think that would work?

post #40 of 46
Originally Posted by jasonddd1975 View Post

I might try to find a company that makes these paper money burners and get something made to use instead of the barrels. It would all be one piece and it could be a bit shorter and have a larger diameter.




If your looking for paper money burners, just try the US government, seems like their doing a fine job at this.....couldn't resist...now off the politics and back to smoker designing...

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