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First UDS build

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I am soon going to start building me a UDS, i have been given a 55 gallon drum that has a removable lid. i know i want two cooking grates and i am going to try to find a 18" to 20" pizza pan or something to make into a heat diffuser. as far as mounting the grates and diffuser i intend on using some strip shelving brackets to make everything adjustable. as far as the charcoal basket i am going to use some expanded metal and have someone weld it to an ash catcher. I am pretty confident on how i want and need things to be done BUT..... i am not sure about the air intakes and the exhaust vents. i see that most builds on here have 3 air intakes with one of them having a ball valve and the rest are capped off. i am just trying to figure out why only one intake is used?


i will be posting pics of the build process. and if i get time i may do Autocad drawings and .pdfs of my build design.


any and all help,tips, and information is greatly appreciated.

thanks to all in advance      

post #2 of 11

All intakes are used, but you use the one with the ball valve to fine tune temps.  The other stay capped off until you need to kick up your temps.  I don't use a ball valve, but have four 3/4" pipe nipples for intakes.  With 1 off I can run 225 to 250, with 2 off I'll run 275-325, with 3 off it will run 335-375, with 4 off, I'm over 400, which is where I do my grilling at.  

Looking forward to your build.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hmmmm i see, forgive me i am still very new to smoking in general but having one open and other closed would create uneven heating or am i thinking about it wrong?

thanks again for the help

post #4 of 11
I have (3) 1" valved intakes. As mentioned above for most cooks only one is open. For higher temp cooks you need to open the others. I like having them all valved for better control, and the caps tend to rust on to the nipple. Having one vent open will not create uneven cooking.

For exhaust my drum kid has two bungs. 1", & 2" I remove both bungs for a total of 3" of exhaust.

I have adjustable grates and can set them at any height in 2" increments.

For your charcoal basket you could go no weld and wire the expanded together and just bolt the ash catcher on. Another option is to bend the expanded metal to hook into itself iat the joints instead of wiring.
post #5 of 11

Having only one intake open will reduce the air flow and cause the charcoal to burn slower. When you open all of them up you bump up the airflow and the charcoal will start burning faster and hotter. The heating will not be uneven as the actual heat source remains in the same spot you are simply changing how much air you provide to the heat source.

post #6 of 11

No weld basket.

post #7 of 11
Wow! The Information here is outstanding!
Recently bought a Charbroil propane vertical and my son and I are having a great time smoking things with it but I thought it would be cool to build one of these UDS!
I think I've read all I can ! Haha
But one question' how are you securing the pipe nipples to the drum after drilling?
Do the threads just pull themselves into the opening and tighten up or do you use some type of retainers ie: conduit rings..?
I've introduced myself in roll call and have one post about our first success with the Charbro..
Thanks guys!
post #8 of 11
I've used conduit nuts and 3/4 to 1/2" reducers. The reducers worked better in IMHO and you can tighten them up good and tight.
post #9 of 11
I would not use conduit rings as they are usually zinc plated or galvanized.
post #10 of 11
If you're carful with drilling your holes you can just thread the black pipe nipples into the drum and they will tighten up. If your really concerned you could use some JB weld on the OUTSIDE of the drum. Or tack weld. Mine are just theeaded in and work great. After a few uses the junk and grim prevents anything from moving.
post #11 of 11

Very good, thank you'

  And for 1'' pipe you drill 3/4 correct?

Sorry, don't mean to hijack this thread, I'll start

a new one when I start my build..


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