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500+ gallon tank RF first build

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hey Guys,

Thanks for all the great info. I am starting up my first trailer smoker build and will need some assistance.

I am from Australia and smoking meats isn't really a big thing here but I went to the USA and now have a taste for it.

So here is the newest member of the family an old gas tank which measures 1.5m (60inch) x 3m (118inches).
I bought the tank but I haven't picked it up yet. I also just bought a makita metal cutting circular saw for the job.

Just a quick question do you all insulate your FB or how thick steel do you use? 1/4 or 1/2inch?

post #2 of 16
Will be starting a rf project sometime soon, I picked up quarter inch for the firebox
post #3 of 16

Looks like it going to be a fun build good luck with it.


I used 3/8 on mine. insulating is really up to you if I lived in a place where it got cold and snowed I would insulate. From what I read during my research for my build if you lived in a warm place it wasn't needed.    

post #4 of 16
From what I have been reading insulation is a good idea no matter where you are. The insulation helps put the heat into the cook chamber....instead of the atmosphere.
post #5 of 16

I see what your saying. I just undersood that in a hot area you will use less fuel anyways you don't have to keep feeding it fuel to over come the cold.   

post #6 of 16

Be looking forward to watching your build.  I use 1/4 "  works quite well.  Check out Dave Omak's pit calculator it is better that Feldon's for RF's   I have one but still putting the finishing on it to make it user friendly.



post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hey Guys,


Sorry a lot has gone on between when i bought my gas tank to trying to build my smoker. I finished off the trailer a couple of months ago but haven't started on the tank yet. Have a look at the trailer and let me know what you think. 


By the way i am a amateur at welding so no judgement :)








Don't worry about the gold paint i will do the whole thing in black once all the welding is finished as it's the only paint i had.

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

Here is a picture of me picking up the tank with my new trailer on it's first ride. I still have to sort out the wiring a bit better but i don't want to do that until i have welded the tank on.




post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

I got the tank off the trailer and it's been sitting open for a couple of months. I opened up all the ports and got ride of all the left over gas and all the smelly sludge. I have filled it up with water and drained it - so there should be no more gas left in it.


The tank is 2200 litres (581 gallons). 


My next step is cutting the doors and welding the hinges so i can burn it all out. 


i have done a bit of reading and correct me if i am wrong. 


Step 1 - mark all the doors up in tape as a guild line


2 - cut the top of the door


3 - weld a hinge above the cut line, taking into account i will have a steel strip with fire rope underneath to seal the doors. 


4 - once hinge is welded on cut the rest of the door


My real question is at this stage - how big should i make the doors?


I was thinking probably having 2 doors instead of 3 as it's a lot more work.


Can you please tell me what size doors do people recommend? I think width wise it will be easy as i will cut  2 inch from the weld seam and piece in the middle about 20 cm (7 inches). Really i just need to know how high and do i need to cut?


I was thinking maybe cutting not directly at the top of the tank but maybe 7 inches below and the bottom cut until it hits the half way point?

post #10 of 16
If you search this form for 500 gallon tank builds you should find lots of info.
When I built mine I made two doors that overlap so there is one big opening.
post #11 of 16

How many racks are you going to stuff in that monster?

I just finished a 500 Gallon and cut it about  220 mm from 12 o'clock and 80 mm below 3 o'clock.

Left a 4" gap in the center.     I am running 3 racks in there though.

I don't need a counter weight on the doors.


Can you get a video of cutting the doors with a a circular saw.   I want to watch the part where the blade gets jammed.  ;)


Failing that use a 9" grinder with 1/8" cutt off wheel if you don't have a plasma cutter.

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
I made some hinges last night after work. (Sorry neighbors). I did the sketch on photoshop, printed it , then cut them out using band saw, grinder and handheld cold saw.

The hinges will need a bit of work to make them sit well before i weld them. Probably need to cut an arv at the bottom which with mirror the tank.

I'll try and cut the doors with the cold saw. I have a plasma cutter but I think mine has always struggled to work well so I don't use it much.

Thanks for the advise on the doors. I'll go with your measurements and see how I go.

The tank is at a mates farm so I want to cut the doors out before he has a big bonfire where I can put the tank on top of. Should I be carful of excess heat bending the tank? I mean this will be a huge bonfire.

I think it might be wise to just use some of the wood to burn the inside and slightly around it. Thought?

post #13 of 16

Don't get too carried away and heat your tank until it warps.


I find once the doors are cut out and tank is open for a few days most of the smell goes.

Usually I run the temp to 400F or so on the first run to see if anything warps and clean out any smell.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Doors almost cut but hinges are welded on and installed. And yes the cold saw jammed the saw blade like no tomorrow :)
post #16 of 16
Originally Posted by krackers50 View Post

Doors almost cut but hinges are welded on and installed. And yes the cold saw jammed the saw blade like no tomorrow :)

Yeah, this ain't my first rodeo with a steel horse!   Been there done that  ;)

Don't go gettin all carried away welding the flange solid to the door.    Do as Dave O suggest and every 4 " notch the door a little with the grinder.  Clamp your flange onto the door and put a small weld where the notch is on the INSIDE.  After you are done touch it with the grinder to remove anything sticking up on the weld.   You will have a clean looking door seal for not much extra work.

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