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My Homemade Electric Rig

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
First time adding pics. If they took, here are a few snaps of my rig. My daughter named it the Trojan Horse. It ain't much, but I call it my own.

The stainless box is an old derelict food warmer from a catering outfit. It was discarded because the existing elements in the walls were all burned out. I cut an adjustable air conditioning vent into the top for through flow circulation control. I made four pair of shelf runners from steel shelving legs. They are all adjustable up or down due to existing shelf pins built into the oven walls. The four shelves are cut from expanded metal, measuring 24"x 34". Chamber access can be gained on either end from a pair of clamshell doors. The base is nothing more than old scaffold wheels and scrap steel (The paint cost more than the material!).

The smoke chamber is built from the bottom and lid of an old round Brinkmann unit and rest on two drawer slides. The lid raises about an inch via the handle to allow the drawer to be pulled out for re-charge. There is an element on one side for burning chips (260 watt from a Lil' Chef smoker) and the other side has a water evaporator (150 watt from a commercial freezer), each with it's own temperature controller. The water chamber is re-charged with a manual valve and tubing that runs from a half gallon jug hung on one of the legs. There is a third controlled element (1500 watt) in the bottom of the cooking chamber for actual heat control. With the chamber element off and the smoke element on the unit will maintain about 80-90 deg. F for cold smoking. The chamber will max out on a freezing cold day at about 300 deg. F with everything running at full tilt.

The control panel is homebuilt using throw away parts from work (yeah, sure) and automotive pinstripes. The cooking chamber and smoke chamber elements are controllable either automatically by temperature or they may be set to manual for "on" only operation. The water evaporator is not actually controlled; it is either on or off. This controller is used only to indicate when water needs to be added to the heater. When the temperature rises beyond about 180 deg. F, the water chamber is empty.

While this thing may look kind of elaborate and gaudy, it does generate a lot of conversation with guests. And, it's really kind of fun to baby-sit throughout the day (or night); you feel somewhat like a process engineer. Oh, and it makes damn good grub too.

Let me know what you think.


BTW- I have a question about water use, but I'll save that for another thread.
post #2 of 31
post #3 of 31
So how come you don't work for NASA?

You are very inventive ... which means we at SMF will be honored to keep you!

Well done! PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #4 of 31
Niiiiice!! Way to go emtee!!PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #5 of 31
WoW Mark, I echo what Paul says. That is just plain icon_cool.gificon_cool.gificon_cool.gif . My hat is off to you my friend. Great job.
post #6 of 31
Awesome!!!! icon_eek.gif
post #7 of 31
I totally impressed, very nice work !!!
post #8 of 31
That is a nice smoker. You should really be proud.
post #9 of 31
Sweet lookin' rig!! You must have some Instrument and Control background, or other technical schooling. Well Done!!

We have retired old equipment here at the power plant that I have later wished I had latched on to for use in a homemade smoker... A couple of decent heating elements and a couple of temp controllers with some thermocouples and a person can do wonders!! I always wondered about automating the damper controls on a wood fired smoker to satisfy the traditionalist, yet make it easier to operate....
post #10 of 31
Sweet! Nice work emtee!
post #11 of 31
Thread Starter 
Honestly, I probably should get a life. But I love to tinker.

Actually the driving force behind this project was the ability to smoke enough meat and fish for a number of people. I have a salmon recipe that my friends think I should market. Well, after a quick talk to the local health department, that wasn't gonna happenicon_sad.gif! So instead I have everyone who want's a slab buy it (as per MY fish monger, MY instructions, and a date that I set), along with the brining ingredients, and I take a weekend and make it up for them. I also charge each person a buck or two for the electricity (uncalculated). I use five gallon buckets for brining, and, since everyone must buy the exact same fish on the same day, I only need to count how many slabs each person gets back. I fill each of the four 24"x 34" racks twice, once on Saturday and once on Sunday. This method works quite well for me since, after trimming the fillets for brining, I have plenty (say pounds) of scrap product for myself!

Anyway, the old smoker just wasn't large enough to accomodate everyone, and so the Trojan Horse was conceived. It got this elaborate because I am the electrical and instrumentation supervisor where I work, and I screwed up and told my guys what I was collecting parts for. One guy would say "hey why don't you...", and another would say "hey, it'd be cool to...". Next thing I know, I'm calling the power company for a bigger service to my garage biggrin.gif !
post #12 of 31
I always figured if we could get management approval, get the welders on board and build a huge smoker that we could use to feed all of us at plant/company functions... Imagine a huge smoker all out of stainless steel with automated temp controls and hooked into a 480v welding outlet. Man that would be cool!!
post #13 of 31
emtee, that is one nice piece of craftsmanship! Nicely done!! PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #14 of 31
Nice rig, way to tinker!!!!!!!!PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #15 of 31
That's simply amazing! This fellow tinkerer newb is highly impressed. cool.gif
post #16 of 31
emtee, I am in utter amazement of this outfit. When you described where you work I completely understand since I am in plant operations. You all have to problem solve (tinker) everyday to keep things running.PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #17 of 31
Awesome lookin rig , great idea and great lookin job PDT_Armataz_01_34.gifPDT_Armataz_01_34.gifPDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #18 of 31
Holy Smokes!!! Truly remarkable craftsmanship, emtee. As I type this reply, I do so on bended knee in homage to your artful creation...

post #19 of 31
Great looking. Very innovative. congratulations on a job well done. Should produce a lot of great grub. I just inherited an "Old Scow" of a smoker myself. Nothing as advanced as this one, but am going to post a couple pictures of it soon.

Good luck, I know you will enjoy the results.

post #20 of 31
Wow, I must have missed this the other day when you posted. I was researching some methods to adjust the voltage on a heating element, and found your post.

Well done! You've got my attention!
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