Hello from S. Carolina!
Well, I debated whether or not to do a thread of my build. Mostly because there are a lot of UDS builds documented, but after thinking about it, I think its worth it, if no other reason than the direct feed back I will get (assumed) on my project from all of you guys. That's huge and can only help me make some better grub.
So, my build...
I was given an empty 55 gallon drum a week or so ago. It used to contain unflavored nicotine base for e-cigarette juice. The drum is a sealed drum with a crimped lid and it is lined. After doing a little digging, I found that I could grind of the lip edge and still maintain my flat top lid. This was important to me, as I prefer the look of the flat top, plus I don't want to buy a grill, just to part it out.
Yesterday, I grabbed the grinder and sure enough, after grinding for 30 mins (ish) it popped right off and it seems like it's going to work out well. Now that's where the work on the drum has stopped. I've been working on my plan, deciding how I want to set everything up. Once that's all figured out, I'll do all the fabrication (hole drilling) and dry fit everything. Once I'm satisfied, I'll tear it down, do the burn out, give her a fresh coat of paint, put her all back together and season her up.
Here's a list of what I'm figuring out know:
• Grate(s) height.
I know I want two racks. The top rack will get the majority of the work load, but I do want an option to have two layers or the option of removing the top rack and doing larger items, like whole chickens. Right now, I'm thinking 7" and 12". Anyone see a problem with either of those numbers?
I see nearly everyone using three 1" holes evenly spaced around the drum and they have two on the front with valves and a plug hole in the back. I guess my first question is why does everyone seem to do it this way? I've been thinking of just having the same three holes grouped together on the opposite side of the top vent with magnetic covers, no valves. Is there a reason why this wouldn't work or not be ideal? Besides the intake vents, I'm on the hunt for something to use for the smoke stack vent. My drum has a threaded hole in the lid, if I could find something that would work with that and be able to source it locally, it would be awesome... any suggestions?
Tomorrow I'm going to swing by the store and grab the goodies I need to make the a lid hook, lid handle and a charcoal basket. The handle and hook aren't anything special. As for the basket, I have no welding skills, so I'm going with the expanded metal and grill grate basket. Seems that it works out for a lot of people, so no reason to over think this. Once this is built and I get it in the drum with the ash catcher, I'll be able to determine the height for the diffuser rack at the bottom. Not saying I'll use this all the time, but I want the option. Plus, I've read that it helps prevent hot spots.
That's all I'll bore you with for now... More updates to come.
Now for the photos...
Lid on (after grinding):
Detail of the lip (after grinding):
Lid off (after grinding):