Edited by Black - 10/16/13 at 6:33pm
I have been giving your endeavor some more thought and I think the size will work well for the market you are seeking to capture. I see this as an entry level smoker for the person who is just getting into smoking or a second smaller unit for the person who wants a smaller unit for the lake house or the patio. One thing that I think would help greatly is if the smoker could also be a traditional grill. Could the design include the ability to use the reverse flow plate as the bottom of a traditional charcoal grill for steaks, hamburgers, hotdogs, etc. Maybe the grate having the ability to be raised higher for traditional grilling. I thing it is an easier sell to a guy to have the combo of a smoker and a grill. He is probably currently having to replace a big box store grill every 2 or 3 years anyway and if the next time he replaces it he can also gain a smoker for a few hundred more bucks it becomes a no brainer for him.
Weedeater, that is exactly what I'm looking to build. I'm also going to include the ability to add rotisserie, Ive designed a simple charcoal starter that uses the camp stove size propane bottles, etc, all that can be added and bought separately. That's why Ive been building so many mini's to see how they work, I just didn't really want to show those details until I have them ready to sell, you know? That's what will really set these apart from all the other units out there. "..just pore your charcoal in and hit the push button starter and in ten minutes your ready to add your wood chunks and start smoking....."with no lighter fluid taste and no mess"......." even the big green egg does not do that.
And why its so important to standardize the size, ..so that everything will bolt on perfectly.
I have given it some thought overnight and I'm going to check today on possibly going with 3/16 wall instead of 1/4, I believe in this size that 3/16 would be sufficient. I am also going to price out having my supplier do more cut work, such as the pie vents , etc. and see how that calculates out.
I might need to adapt everything and shoot more towards the $499.00 price range,
I think at that price point, you're right on the money. It's only $100 difference but it's funny because $400 to upgrade to something a little bigger doesn't sound so bad. But add another $100 and people start thinking they don't want to pay twice as much. 3/16 is still plenty of metal to hold temps steady. Especially at that size. Now you're really competing with the big box stores rather than the Horizons, which I think is the better market to be in. Heck, I just dropped over $400 last year for a Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5" had I been able to grab one of yours for another $100 I'd have done it in a heart beat.
Ok, here what I come up with today.
I found a guy that says he can roll plate into a perfect circle. I ordered a 4' x 8' sheet of 3/16' and am having him shear two cooking chambers 32 inch long and two fireboxes 16 inch long. Now you cant get 16 inch diameter out of 48" width, so I told him to go with 15 inch. Reason is, one piece of plate may be 48 and 1/8 and the next could be 48 and 1/4 wide and I need them to be constant sizes.
The pricing should put me able to sell these two for $500.00 or maybe a little less. Im just going to do the two first to check the quality of the work of this supplier with out too much money invested. At the least, these two units should pay for my material list on the 14 inch models, or if they turn out good, may stay with this size.
I do have some networks that allow me to ship large items for free, but just with in Florida. Ive been meaning to tell Jabo if he needed anything from me, I could get it to Tallahasee, just not sure how far that is from him.
This is the first time I saw this thread. Funny thing is that what you want to build is something I started working on 3 years ago and put a bunch of research into.
I love your ideas and IMHO.....I think you've got a hit on your hands.
You know.......I thought the same thing. Then 3 of us were sitting around a table......tilting a few adult beverages......going over ideas for this little smoker......when it went from small to a trailer mounted rig. I doubt that the beverages had anything to do with it.......
Your not going to see to much progress right away, I have to rework my jigs to fit and make all the patterns for the CNC plasma machine and all. I am also building a die for my press that will allow me to press a "dish" into the reverse flow plate instead of having to fabricate it.
Looks good! If he can keep them coming like that your will be mass producing in no time. Set up with the jigs and fixtures on the front end will pay big dividends down the road in time savings and uniformity of product. Can't wait to see them rolling off the line.
Wishing you the best.
I am sure whatever you produce it will be better than this $1000 piece of scrap they just bought at work. Every time I look at the thin metal and poor craftsmanship I just want to send it the scrap yard and build one for out here.