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I recently built my first UDS, and I have cooked on it several times already with "impressive" results each time. I used a 55 gallon drum a friend got from work. Burned it out 3 times, sanded old paint off the outside. Then painted it with gloss black grill paint (1 can did 3 coats) I used a step bit to make the holes in the drum, I used U-bolts to attach the 3/4" vertical pipes that are capped off with ball valves (3 of them) and the U-bolts serve a dual purpose as they provide a ledge for the grates to rest on. I purchased a $99 Weber kettle and use the charcoal grate to form the bottom of my coal basket and used expanded metal (+ bolts & washers) to form the sides. I also got a cheap "disposable grill" and I use that as my ash catcher (NOTE: I placed the 90 elbow for the air inlets in the bottom of the grill so that they would set just above the lip of the ash pan so as to not restrict any air flow)
I installed a 1" ball valve on mine with a two inch exhaust. Works great. Once you reach desired temp you shouldn't have to touch your valve or valves and leave your exhaust open while smoking. I put a rain cap on mine that will still let it breath though. I also installed a set of wheels on one side and bent up a handle on the other side out of EMT, as so moving it around as if it where a two wheel dolly.