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UDS Build. Advice Welcome!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, so last week I picked up a drum from one of my customers for free! (I deliver 5 Gal jugs of water)

So it's a 55 Gal Drum. It had varasol in it which is a solvent. And it's a sealed top :/

Firstly, how should I go about cutting this thing open? What size dome lid am I looking for? What size racks will fit in here? 22.5 or 18. How should I build my basket with ash catch?

Hopefully this weekend I'll drill my holes, cut it open, and burn 'er out!

Here's the drum!

post #2 of 18

Below are pics of "How-To" without a store bought lid...   The extension is nice for more room..... on pics to enlarge.....




post #3 of 18
Before you get to cutting make sure the solvent is completely gone. I'd fill with water and a good bit of Dawn dish soap. Let it sit a few days then repeat.

Use a step bit to drill your holes for your intakes. For cutting the top off you can use a grinder or a jigsaw with a metal blade.

I used the racks from the 18" Weber. But I have adjustable racks so the supports eat up some room.

For the charcoal basket I used a grill grate for the bottom and expended metal from Home Depot for the sides. Added 4" bolts for feet and welded a pizza pan to those as an integrated ash catcher.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
I like the extended lid idea! Does it matter what kind of metal I use? Just generic sheet metal?

Yea I'll do the dish soap thing a couple times.
Thanks for the tips guys!
post #5 of 18

I would use mild steel from a sheet metal shop...  no galvanizing...   or you can use roofing trim metal...  comes in rolls like at Home D...   It's a baked on paint that shouldn't cause any problems after you "condition" the barrel with a good burn out...



Below are pics of what it looks like...

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey guys! So yesterday I cut off my
Top and did my burn! I forgot to drill the hopes in the bottom but it still burned almost right to the bottom. Hopefully I'll get some time next weekend to carry on. Maybe make my basket.
I hammered the edge on the top (very easy while it was hot)

post #7 of 18
Good progress!
post #8 of 18

Nice job on the drum.... 

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys! My wife really likes the blue so I guess that's what colour it's gonna end up. Maybe midnight blue or blue and black. 👍🏼
Next step sanding! :/ lol
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Finally was able to get some work done yesterday! Got the exterior sanded and the charcoal basket built and welded up! First time ever using an arc welder, but I got it done :)

Next up is find my step drill bit and buy some hardware! Screws, pipe elbows, pipe, ball valves, grill racks.
I'd like to build a door on the front of it. That way I can add charcoal without loosing all my heat. Thoughts?
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey guys! Finally looking into buying some parts. What size pipe and ball valves should I use? I'm assuming I should use black iron pipe for the intake stacks?
post #12 of 18

3 each 3/4" pipe nipples with electrical lock nuts inside and outside...  2 pipe caps and 1 each 3/4" ball valve.....    If the ball valve doesn't give enough air, remove 1 pipe cap and adjust the air flow with the ball valve...   

Your charcoal basket....  It's a good idea to have it 4-5" above the floor of the UDS for ash to fall out...   You should be able to run it 20+ hours with one load of charcoal...  no additions should be needed....  therefore no door required...   a door only causes air leaks which will really screw up the temp control...  an airtight unit is imperative for good temp control.....

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
So 3/4 will be big enough? I'm going to go 1 cap at the back and two pipe/ball valves on either side. For the door I was planning to use that silver heat seal stuff that you are on the glass of a gas fireplace.
post #14 of 18

If you decide to put a door in the UDS, get a second drum and cut the door from it...   overlap the cutout in the cooking drum by 2" on each side...   That way you will be assured to have a very good contour that can have a gasket added to it for a perfect air seal...

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
That's a great idea! If I decide to do that that's what I'll do 👍🏼
post #16 of 18

ECTO1 is a member here and has used an UDS in comps....   Here's a story on how one load of charcoal lasted 30 hours...   so, you might rethink that door....

post #17 of 18
post #18 of 18
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