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Newbie and new RF Build

post #1 of 96
Thread Starter 

Hello everybody,

I am taking the plunge and starting a smoker build. I have been here lurking for a while and decided to start my first build earlier this year. I had the idea and my good friend has the equipment and skill! Cool The tank is 250 gallons so we decided to go with a firebox that is 30" wide x 25" long x 24" tall. Hopefully that will be an efficient size. The 1/4" plate sure is heavy!

I want to thank everyone who has already contributed their smoker builds and unknowingly passed on a lot of knowledge to me on this forum.  With that being said, I have changed my mind several times on whether to build a reverse flow or direct flow design before we got too far. Think we've decided to finally go with reverse flow. Here is our progress so far. Please feel free to add any advice or tips that you may see that we may run into along the way. Thanks guys! Happy smoking!


The tank marked out. 



The trailer we decided to use.   It was originally a 4x6' but we extended it out another 3 1/2 feet. 


The trailer after we extended it. 



We came up with a hood spring system for a counter weight.  The door measures around 56".






The tank on the trailer for the first time. 



That is the progress so far.  I'm looking forward to moving along with everything.  Any tips or advice is greatly appreciated! 

- Brad

post #2 of 96

Looks good so far. I would add a second rack. I would also add 2 jacks on the back of the trailer.

When you get a chance will you drop by roll call and update your profile. That way we can all give you a proper SMF welcome.

Happy smoken.


post #3 of 96

Looking good so far! Are you planning to plug up the spots on the top of the tank or cut them out and weld plates shut?

post #4 of 96

Brad, evening and welcome to the forum.......  Looks like you have figured out what you want.....   


Please take a moment and stop into " /Roll Call/  " and introduce yourself and get a proper welcome from our members.... 

We're glad you stopped in and joined our group...    Enjoy the long smokey ride....     Dave

post #5 of 96
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by BigBoySmokehous View Post

Looking good so far! Are you planning to plug up the spots on the top of the tank or cut them out and weld plates shut?

BigBoySmokehous thank you! Yes I am going to cut the spots on top off and weld them shut. It seems the farther along we get the more we want to do, but it sure is fun!
post #6 of 96
Thread Starter 
Got a little bit of time to get a few things done. Slowly but surely!

Got the cooking grate put together




Hopefully I'll get some time this weekend to actually start on the firebox then the RF plate. Hope everybody's having a great week!
post #7 of 96

Looks good. May i sugest you put a small piece of strap ontop of the angle on both sides of pic 2. That way when you pull it out. It can't dump.

Happy smoken.


post #8 of 96
Tried to attach a pix of what I believe themule69 described. Maybe it will load later.

I agree on adding the upper rack too...toss some chx up there! Have fun with it.
post #9 of 96

You definitely want to put a piece of Angle or Flat stock on the top to keep the rack from tipping forward.


I just flipped my angle to make a stop for mine which you can see here. Works wonders! My racks are 36x30 and fully loaded I pull them almost completely out and they don't go anywhere. Don't want you to drop that beautiful Q on the ground yo grilling_smilie.gif

post #10 of 96
Thread Starter 
themule69 thank you for the suggestion. I am definitely planning on doing something similar to that. I want to be able to pull the rack out without it dumping especially when we cook a whole hog for everyone to pull from. Do you think strap would be strong enough once it's welded in place? Would angle iron on top be too much? That was my original idea.

DoodleQ I want to add a second rack but I'm not sure that I've given myself enough room with the size door we cut. Some of the other builds I've followed on here seem to have a larger door cut. Thank you for attaching a pic. Hopefully it will load later. Thanks guys!

BigBoySmokehous thanks for the pic!! That helps! Having any Q on the ground would NOT be a good day at all!
post #11 of 96
Thread Starter 

Guys I have a question.  Is there a general rule of thumb that states how far below the bottom cooking rack the reverse flow plate needs to be?  I'm not sure if 2 inches below is too close for the radiant heat or if it needs to be more than that.  I marked out 2", 4" and 6" roughly with some soapstone just to get an idea.  Any ideas?  I'm sure it's a simple question but since I'm a total beginner I want to make sure I don't make things harder for myself.  I appreciate all the help so far! 






Not sure why this image isn't posting. 

post #12 of 96

There isnt as much radiant heat as you might suspect ( other than the hot spot near the cooking chamber if you dont engineer that out)  Ive had it as close as three inches with out a problem.


As far as the racks, I just cut a one inch section of the same angle I made the racks from, flip it over and weld to the the backside of the rack  3-4 inches from the front of the rack. This will keep it from tipping forward but also will allow you to pull it right out when cleaning. leave it loose though at least 1/16

post #13 of 96
I think you'll see them here...not my RF but the principal's the same. Allow about 1/8" clearance vertically; it can be a bit helpful if your racks tip down a bit when loading, and that will allow that to happen
post #14 of 96

any of the above ideas will keep your Q off of the ground.


post #15 of 96

double posted by me.


post #16 of 96
Alright after a little conversation in a PM, and many talks and meetings later CarolinaSmoke and I have decided to continue and finish this build a little closer to home.
So between the 2 of us we can upload pics a little more frequently and show our progress from different perspectives, as wells as answer any questions that might come up.
Gotta love the connections/friends you can make in a forum of like minded individuals such as this one.
More to come. ....
post #17 of 96
First things first we decided to remove the door hinges from the CC door so the flanges could be blind welded from the back side, I just feel it's alot cleaner on the end result appearance.

post #18 of 96
Next we cut the firebox to CC opening. As a general rule of thumb I've kept it to 1/3 of whatever I'm working with to determine alot of my dimensions.
What I mean is simply this, if the tank is 30" diameter then my firebox size will be 30"Lx30"W then whatever height I need to hit about 120% on the calculator. Then since I'm working with 30" I know my baffle plate will be 1/3 or 10" from the side wall of the tank.
From there I can reasonably create a 1/2" air buffer to minimize hot spots at the firebox end and cut 9 1/2" in from the end (typically aligns with the weld seam on a 250 tank) and 9 1/4" up from the bottom.
Here is a pic of the cut layout, kinda hard to see but the line is there.

Here is a pic while using the new plasma cutter to cut the firebox to CC notch.

post #19 of 96
And here is a picture of the finished cut

Now that is a CLEAN LINE that only took about 60 seconds to cut.
Have I mentioned how much I LOVE MY NEW PLASMA CUTTER?
post #20 of 96
Here it is flipped back over looking from the inside.

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