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Cheap Tuning plates

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi All Now that the basket problem is solved,next is the tuning plates.Im having a hard time finding anyone in my area that would cut my plates. One guy quoted me $50.00 for 5 PCs of 1/8 x 6"x 15". I told him that was way too expensive, he came Back and said it was the set up time.
In my younger days I used to work in a sheet metal place in New York City, doesn't take much to set up. Just cut the length then cut the width.
Is there a cheaper way to go about making/using tuning plates.
Just bought a Brinkmann Smoke N Pit off of Craigs list, that has very thin metal 22/20 Ga. tuning plates. I only used it once so far and it rained part way thru the smoke.. So I have no idea if the thin metal works.Would like to use the heavy stuff, but I can get them online but shipping is fortune.

Thanks Dan
Edited by DanBono - 6/18/13 at 11:12am
post #2 of 14

Many places now use plasma burners that are controlled by computer.  Takes longer to program the darn puter that to just cut the plate.  See if you can find an old school one man show who still uses a hand torch or a sheer.  I do have to say that the price of metal has gone up quite a bit since we were young'uns.  About all I can offer.  Maybe someone else has a suggestion.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!

Danny

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi All I read some where on this forum about using the charcoal plate as a tuning plate. Just turn it upside down and run it from the opening of firebox where it enters the cooking chamber, to the end of the cooking chamber.. Will take a pic and give it a try later, when I use the firebox grill, for dinner. Might have to drill some holes in it to disperse the heat evenly. Will post back with the results...
Checked my thermo's 1 on each side of the pit top, and my Maverick 732 all were only off maybe 2*. Should be interesting test..

Thanks Dan
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi All Here is what I used for tuning Plates. Read about it somewhere in this forum .I took the charcoal tray that runs the length of the cooking chamber, turned it upside down and placed it by firebox opening.Hope it shows in the pics.If I can get them uploaded.
Tonite I just used the firebox as a grill. Put 1/2 Weber chimney of Kingsford charcoal into my home made basket. Temps were only off by 20* side to side, much better then last time. I think with a little more working on the problem, the temps would even out some more.
I wasn't happy about the way the grill worked, next time I have to get the grill grates closer to charcoal. The charcoal was 6" from the grills.

Thanks Dan
post #5 of 14

Buy odds and ends of metal from them..... probably 30-50 cents/pound.....  buy a 4 1/2" grinder and a cut off blade.... cut your own..... You will have about the same in the plates and grinder, and own a grinder.....  or if you own a skill saw, buy a metal cutting blade for it.....

post #6 of 14

As Dave and others said, look for scrap and (as I do) talk to people I know . Find someone with a Torch and grinder and do some Bartering. Get them into your love for Smoked Meats and become BBQ Buddies.biggrin.gif

 

That's how I met my HogRoast Buddy , Rodney... I helped him build his his Roaster...now we BBQ together , win-win icon14.gif

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi I went back to original thin tuning plates that came with the smoker, put them  by the firebox side ,plus I In used a cookie sheet pan on the far end.
Getting 41* temp difference end to end.Will post pics of this set-up when I'm done smoking. Temps got better 1/2 thur the 3 hr cook, on ly 20* different.???

 

Last Try:Here is what I used for tuning Plates. Read about it somewhere in this forum .I took the charcoal tray that runs the length of the cooking chamber, turned it upside down and placed it by firebox opening.Hope it shows in the pics.If I can get them uploaded.
Tonite I just used the firebox as a grill. Put 1/2 Weber chimney of Kingsford charcoal into my home made basket. Temps were only off by 20* side to side, much better then last time. I think with a little more working on the problem, the temps would even out some more.
I wasn't happy about the way the grill worked, next time I have to get the grill grates closer to charcoal. The charcoal was 6" from the grills.
My highest temp by the firebox only reached 220, could the low temp be from only using 1/2 chimney of coals? Another thing I will have to play around with.

 

Thanks Dan

PS I gotta work on a better seal for the pit door.When the smoke first  started it came from the back and sides of the pit door.Once the smoke settled down it seem OK                                                                                               
 

 

other day plates

 

Today plates


Edited by DanBono - 6/23/13 at 5:05am
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi All I was thinking of using the pit grate as a tuning plate..Wrap with heavy duty aluminum foil and put small holes by the fire box side and bigger holes on the other end. What do you think?
Thanks Dan
PS I got the pit lid sealed with self stick gasket tape,1/2W x 1/4" thick. One spot had to do 2x.
Haven't fired It up as of yet.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi All Finally got around to firing up the smoker, only used the firebox side for a couple of chops.Most of leaks have been sealed, just small area on each side by the back, needed more gasket.
Will see once again today when I fire it up/firebox side for some bugrers n sausage.I wasn't too happy with the way he way the firebox grill cook, kinda of on the slow side. I had the cooking grill about 2" from the charcoal.
Today I going to use more charcaol and see what happens.
Thanks Dan
post #10 of 14

Good luck on your Independence Day Smoke!!!

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi All Today I used the firebox as a grill once again..This time I used more charcoal and the sausage n burgers were overcooked. It is pretty tough trying to grill in the little space..Might go back to gas grill next time, where I can control the heat better.
I did see most of leaks are gone and temp side to side are not that far off. I won't be using the whole cooking grate in the pit anyways.
I was in a  hurry so no pics this time around.Way too hot to be outside taking pics.

Now I have to get  a brisket and smoke it.

Dan

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi All Here is a pic of my baffle & tuning plates that came with the smoker. At 1st the temps were off by 80*, once the pit heated up the temps even out some..So far I only smoked on the grill by the firebox side.It is really NOT a bad thing too have temps way off, gives me a choice, on fast or slow I want to go.Temps for most part were pretty steady,I was surprised, Read where some were having temps go all over the place,highest I let the temps get was to 250* before adjusting the FB vents, to bring the temps back down.

Thanks Dan


Edited by DanBono - 7/15/13 at 5:30am
post #13 of 14

Looks good Dan......    icon14.gif .......

post #14 of 14

I have found with my tuning plates, my temps varied more from side to side.  My problem was getting the temps up to 250* using the charcoal basket.  I started adding more of a stick fire to the box and the temps began to rise.  I would get the basket loaded next to smoking chamber, then load wood next to firebox vent.  Temps began to rise and I could control it better.  I think I am going to start using just wood (small amount of charcoal to get it started) and try that without the basket.  I will let everyone know...with Q-view, of course.  Happy smoking!!!

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