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Reverse Flow Smokers and frabrication questions - Page 3

post #41 of 72
dang dude! that's gonna be one serious smokin machine.
we simply must have more pix as progress continues!
post #42 of 72
Thomas I'm glad to see you convinced him to go with the tandem axles. With a 500 gal reverse flow and a 250 gal vertical theres no way I would have accepted a single axle. I think he will be adding more cross members as he gets ready to mount the tanks especially the vertical tank right now he has nothing for it so I'm sure your going to see more being done on it as he gets farther along with the build.
post #43 of 72
Thread Starter 


Hi Pineywoods,
Yeah I was concerned that if the trailer was going to be a single axle it wouldn't be enough. I also think that when I first took a look at it that it was a single axle. When talking to him on the phone I asked him about it and he informed me that it was a tandem axle. I told him sorry "I must have CRS" because I thought it was a single axle. We made light of it and that’s when I asked him where it was being built at. I'm just wondering if the trailer he has now is going to be long enough to hold all that I have planed to be on the trailer. I'll have to go over there with a measuring tape. If it isn't long for what I have planed is it safe to add onto the length of the trailer or should I use two longer one piece sides to on the frame? He was saying that he could just move the tires and axles back. With the 500 gallon tank I still need room for the Standup 250 tank and enough room for a large Chicken grill that Meadowcrest is selling.

I don't know the lenght of the trailer but feel it may have to longer. I plan on putting a box on other side of the chicken grill I have planed. So I'm hoping that it's long enough to go along with my plans!

Thanks Pineywoods and Dutch.

Thomas biggrin.gif
post #44 of 72
Thread Starter 
Hey Lightfoot,
Yeah I think it will be one big and serious smoker/grill when it's all done. If you looked at one of my earlier post where I made my drawing of what it should look like you can tell it's Smoky the Bar-Be-Que Bear coming! ;) tongue.gif
Thomas biggrin.gif
post #45 of 72
Good luck on your build Thomas. Looks like it will be a nice smoker when finished.

The only thing I see that would be questionable would be the frame you will be using. That is the Back Bone of your build. I would make sure he beefs up the frame you pictured as it looks a little lite to me other than the tandem axles.

I would have opted for a frame custom made of Box Tubing with plenty of cross members, instead of C-Channel and adding them were it me .

It is almost as easy and sometimes more so to build the trailer from scratch fitting the project than to adapt one already built to it. JMHO
post #46 of 72
Thread Starter 


Thanks Beer-B-Q,
The more I think about the more I'm going to go with another frame. There is a place near me that make trailers. I have one now that is a tandem axle w/breaks that is for holding equipment such as lawn mowers. I got it from there and it has served me well. I may go over there and just get a trailer from them and take it to my welder. I think Jerry (Pineywoods) may even know of the place, called EZ Wheels in Crystal River Florida. Thanks for your input as I had my doubts too and its better before he welds the tank on the trailer!!

Thanks again,
Thomas biggrin.gif
post #47 of 72
Be Sure to keep us posted as it looks to me like it is going to be one SUPER SMOKER.
post #48 of 72
Thread Starter 

Smoker build

Hello everyone,
I went over to the welder who is fabricating my Smoker for me. I took a measuring tape to see how large the 500 gal tank was. It’s 10 feet long and about 3 feet wide. He was there drawing out where he was going to cut into the tank at the firebox end. This is going to be one big smoker. Plus I will have a 250 gal tank standing up on the end. He’s going to cut the round section off one end and weld a piece of flat metal to it and have it connect to a smaller firebox. I want to use this as a slow smoker for hams, sausage, turkeys. I’m also planning on getting one of those Heavy Duty Chicken Cookers (BBQ Pits) from Meadow Creek. That will be at the front of the trailer. On the other side I’m going to put in either a box to hold fire wood or maybe a sink with a water tank to wash hands while you are cooking. Right now the trailer that is there for the tank is 17 feet long. I’m thinking that it will have to be longer. Tomorrow I hope to get some pictures of the build and upload them here.

post #49 of 72
Thread Starter 

Build update

Well I thought that the next time that I would be making a post here would be filled with lots more info and photo's for everybody to see. Sad to say that isn't the case. I just got back from where the 500 gal tank is and the trailer. The last time I took photos and submitted them here for everybody to see. It looks the same now as it did back then. The trailer is too small and his answer was to just move the tank backwards to get more room on the trailer!

I even went with Pineywoods since he lives so close to me. He has been giving me some helpful suggestions on the build. Now it looks like I may be getting some stainless steel sinks with water tanks that run on a 12 volt system and I’m getting them free or next to nothing from a friend. The trailer will have to larger in length now. I only wished that I still had my 2008 F250 SD 4x4 truck. I sold it when I was going to get a new truck but found out that the dealer was trying to pull one over my eyes so I cancelled the deal. I’m waiting now for the 2010’s to come out. I wish I had it now though as all I have now is a transportation car that runs nice but isn’t a work truck. I don’t know if I hook up my trailer to the car that it could haul a 500, 250 and a 125 gallon tanks? I just know that I’ve got to get my tanks back and take them to another welder that isn’t so part time slow at his work! I may be venting here. I paid this guy some $2000.00 so far and that was for what he said was for stainless steel. I very much doubt that now as I think he’s so lazy at getting the job done that he didn’t bother to lift his arms and write up an order. Talking to Pineywoods he says that it only looks like he has put in an hours work into the project. I think it may be even less and that the trailer was just sitting there gathering more rust.

Thanks for letting me VENT!

post #50 of 72
Thread Starter 

Types of welding equipment

icon_question.gifI've been thinking that since I'm getting no where with this welder /builder that maybe I should just do it myself? I think I read here that a plasma cutter will cut the metal before it gets to hot and warps the metal, right or wrong? Can I weld with a plasma cutter? Should I get a Arc Welder too? I have a friend of mine that’s does welding but his too busy for the build. I think that he would give me a few lessons before cutting and welding on the 500 gallon tank. I have a 300, 250, and a 125 gallon tanks. So I could practice on a smaller one first. I noticed that BBQ Engineer uses a Hobart Welder brand. I think that I could go to the Northern Tool store near me and get what I need. I just want my Smoker!!

post #51 of 72
Thread Starter 

two steps forward and three steps back

Hello everyone,
I feel like I’ve been taking two steps forward and three steps back on this build. It should be fairly obvious that I wasn’t happy with the work the builder/welder was doing for me. So today I got over there around 9am to get my belongings back. No one was there. So I gave the builder/welder a call. Since he has the tanks at his brother’s place of business and that it is right behind his house, I took notice that his truck was still there. When making the call I got his voice mail. I told him that I was at his brothers business and that I needed to see him so call me back. Soon after that I heard his truck start. It sounds like a tank. So I gave him another call, then I noticed that he was coming our way. So when he got there and after the initial greetings to each other I told him that I was taking back the tanks since he wasn't feeling well and that he was busy dealing with selling cars and that the project didn't seem that it was going anywhere. That it would be best that I just take back my 3 tanks plus the 500 gal tank. He then says to me: "Well you know that there are no refunds on a deposit". I became at that point a little bit unglued. Firm but still in control. I said No, I don't remember ever agreeing to that. That I didn't really think that you would give me back my $2000. deposit just like that. I do however full expect to get all 4 tanks, the trailer, the wiring for the trailer plus all that Stainless Steel that you to order at that time. That I should be able to get back most of what I had paid for! So I left my trailer there so that they could load the tanks on it, took back the shoddy trailer that he built (most likely had lying around) and made plans to pick up my trailer with the tanks later today. He told me that he is going to drop off later this week the lights; wiring for the trailer plus all the stainless steel he bought that he claims is still waiting for him to pick up. If not I will take him to small claims court. If he does bring it over I do plan to ask him for more of the money that I gave to him, since he has put very little into this project.

I am SO GLAD to get it all back now, and further speaking it is a Blessing that he didn’t do much work on the tank. You should see the hole he put in on the bottom of the tank for a drain pipe. It’s all jagged and not uniformed at all. Looks like he made of circle using a drill. I could only imagine to my horror what the rest of the tank would look like if he still had it? That makes me wonder if I would have been better off doing it myself. You better believe that if I do have somebody else working on the smoker that I will check out there work first. I’ll take a photo’s of it with the rest of the tanks tomorrow, if anybody is interested. Personally it makes me sick to see such shoddy work!
post #52 of 72
Sorry to hear about the problems, I hate to say it but I sent several years fabricating for a living. Durring that time I fixed more stuff others screwed up by either not having the tools or not having the skills. I learned on other things like this that ya just can't go on reputation or word of mouth on some things. Sometimes you just got to see THEIR work..

Good luck brother. 2000.00 deposit,,, Want to bring it to Indiana :)
post #53 of 72
A lot of times it is better to have an established shop do your custom projects instead of taking them to someone who is basically a shade tree shop. If they were that good at it why isn't it their primary occupation.

Hope you get all your stuff back including your money.
post #54 of 72
Sorry to hear about your situation. Just my 2 cents here. I have been a professional welder/fabricator for nearly 20 years. If you are planning on a do it yourself, then no, the plasma will not weld. It is for cutting only and will not warp metal like a torch. But cutting in straight lines are no as easy as just starting at one end and finishing at the other if they are long cuts. Better to do them in 12 inch or so increment with a 1/2" spot thats uncut and go back to it later and cut them spots. A plasma is the greatest too made, but metal will have a tendency to pull to one side when cutting all in one pass so that is why you make it in steps on long cuts. Next, if you buy a welder, I would say get a MIG (Wire Feed) welder like BBQ Engineer has. Much easier to use, and a much cleaner weld. But with all this said, if you are unfamiliar with any of these tools, especially the welder, you may be better off finding someone who can do it for you. Now here is something that may help you. If you are next to a trade/vocational school, many of them offer welding classes for the students. Im not saying to sign up, but rather offer to pay one of the students to do the work for you. Most of them need the money, know what they are doing and you can get the welding done for very little money. I would use them for mechanical work years ago when I did not have the time to do it myself. Just and idea. Simply go to the school and maybe even talk to the welding instructor and ask him which students he would reccomend.
post #55 of 72
Thread Starter 

Taking your advice and I have a few questions please

Hi Beer-B-Q,
I agree with you that I should now take it to a established shop to have the work done on it. When I got the tanks from a company that did landscaping and irrigation I asked if there was anybody they knew who made Barbeque Smokers out of Propane tanks. I got this welders name. Then I asked somebody who had some Smokers if they knew anybody and I got the same person. That’s how I got him. This sure has been a learning curve for me. I’m at the point that I don’t trust anybody without seeing their work and then making up a contract so it will be built according to my plans. I had a hard enough time convincing this former builder of my project what “Reverse Flow” was! He wasn’t going to make it that way, thinking that it was just extra and unnecessary work that he had to do. Finally because he listens to Pineywoods~ Jerry he accepted in making it. When a person does not listen to the owner’s wishes but listens to someone else is now a Red Flag to me that they don’t honor my viewpoint or wishes. Right now, I have to think in what direction that I will go to. It’s been this long already. I may put off taking the build to anybody and opt out to do some of the work myself. First before I have anything done to the tank(s) I want to follow in the direction that UncleBeef had done.
I know that the trailer has to be longer then 17 feet long for what I have planed. When I got the trailer back my neighbor asked me if I was building a 500 gal. Smoker if the width of the trailer was too small” He said wouldn’t the heat of the smoker make it to close to the tires and cause damage? So I need to know from somebody that has a 500 gal. tank on their trailer, how wide is it PLEASE? I will continue on with my answer following the question from Meat Hunter.

Thanks Meat Hunter, I will accept any suggestions given to me 2 cents or not. I need to get some clarification so it’s good that you write!

I know now that the Plasma Cutter will not weld. It does cut the metal better then using a torch that can get the metal so hot it will warp on me. When I started to have the problem with this so called Shade Tree Welder I was wondering if I should just tackle it all by myself. That’s the reason as to why I was asking in an earlier post about the welding. I have followed both UncleBeef’s Build and BBQ Engineer Build. I want to get the trailer done so that it’s strong to carry what I have planned. Like what was told to me before, and I’m listening. That the trailer is the Backbone of my smoker. So I want to make very similar to the way UncleBeef has his trailer made but just longer. I need to find out like I asked above, how wide of a trailer for a 500 gallon tank that is nearly 4 feet wide. Then I want to take off all of the paint that is on it and bring it down to fresh metal. Maybe using some kind of paint removal or take it to a sand blaster near me. Which I may very well do since after its build in a mock up I was planning on getting the trailer and the tanks Powder Coated at this shop that I know does good work.
After I figure out the trailer and have that done and waiting for me I was going to try to do some of the work myself on the tanks. I have this buddy of mine that knows how to weld. He owns a Lawn cutting business here in Florida and it’s been real busy for him that he can’t do the work for me. He can however give me some pointers on the welding. He too recommends getting a MIG (Wire Feed) welder. I took notice of what BBQ Engineer was using and was about to get an Hobart brand of ARC Welder. I went on You Tube and did a search on ARC Welding and it looked simple to use. I was going to practice using some scrap metal before doing any real work. I know that the Mig’s use wires and that the Arc’s use rods. So I should get a MIG over an ARC? Is the MIG as easy to learn as what I noticed of the ARC on You Tube?
You make a good point of the vocational school. There is one near me and I will look into it. I still would like to be able to learn how to do some welding and I know it can’t be any worst then the shoddy work I had done to the tank now. If I can do some of the simple work and then take what I felt was beyond me to a established welding shop to get the hard work done. I was planning on using one of the smaller tanks that I have as a tool to learn how to do the things I need to do on the big tank. When I do take on any of the tanks, especially the 500 gallon tank I will take your suggestion of: “if they are long cuts. Better to do them in 12 inch or so increment with a 1/2" spot that’s uncut and go back to it later and cut them spots.” I also like what UncleBeef did by putting in a straight edge on the tank as a guide for the Plasma Cutter.

post #56 of 72
200 amp mig welder would be the best for this app.and most as far as that goes.
if your going to get a plasma cutter get a 35 to 40 amp for your app.
you could get by with a 30 go slow.just my 2 pennys.
pm me if you want any help on which brands as i work on them and kinda know what works best for what.
post #57 of 72
So I should get a MIG over an ARC? Is the MIG as easy to learn as what I noticed of the ARC on You Tube?


Hi again. I would for sure go Mig over arc. BBQ Engineer uses a Hobart Mig welder. We talked many a night while he was in the process of building his smoker. As far as learning to weld. There is nothing like hands on with an instructor or someone who knows what they are doing, but you cab get some very good instrucional dvd's off ebay. I have seen them and they are worth the money. Shot from behind the welding helmet so you get a much better understandig of whats going on versus some still photo in a book. Keep you eyes open on craigs list for used welders in the 200amp range. Will tackle most anything you would ever need it for. Stay away from the 110 volt ones like they sell at sams. Good for light duty only.
post #58 of 72
Thread Starter 

Plans in making it done right!

Hi again. I would for sure go Mig over arc. BBQ Engineer uses a Hobart Mig welder. We talked many a night while he was in the process of building his smoker. As far as learning to weld. There is nothing like hands on with an instructor or someone who knows what they are doing, but you cab get some very good instrucional dvd's off ebay. I have seen them and they are worth the money. Shot from behind the welding helmet so you get a much better understandig of whats going on versus some still photo in a book. Keep you eyes open on craigs list for used welders in the 200amp range. Will tackle most anything you would ever need it for. Stay away from the 110 volt ones like they sell at sams. Good for light duty only.[/quote]

Thanks morkdach and Meat Hunter,
Well I think that says it all from what you are telling me. I will go with the MIG Welder. I know by looking at BBQ Engineer that he uses Hobart for his welder. I didn’t really know it was a MIG or an ARC, I just took notice of the brand. I know Hobart is a good brand because when I was a meat cutter I’ve always used Hobart for my meat saws and meat grinders. I also know that Miller is supposed to be a good brand too.

On the Plasma Cutters I was planning on getting from Northern Tool and Equipment the Hobart AirForce. 250CI Plasma Cutter — 12 Amps. It states on the website there that the new AirForce™ 250CI plasma cutter with built-in air compressor features a new lightweight design that is both lightweight and powerful. Built-in compressor for total portability and low system cost. Cuts mild steel up to 1/4in. thick using standard household current. New HP-25 torch is more comfortable, efficient and economical. That goes for $799.99. They do have the Hobart AirForce 400 Plasma Cutter with 27 Amps going for $1299.99. I see that they also sell Lincoln there too. I really don’t know much about Lincoln like Hobart and Miller. I do know that looking at the prices that I will look for a used one from Craig’s List. How do I know that when I buy it used that its still works? I’m already leery because I was burned before!
Meat Cutter, that was a good idea that you had in getting some instructional DVD’s. I have been getting some lessons just my using my iPhone and watching You Tube for the lessons too. Also I’m sure that my buddy who does weld can give me a few lessons from time to time. And if I get into an area that I’m not sure on I do have him and all of you to ask.

Now even before I start with the plasma cutting or the mig welding. I want to get the trailer set up right. I’m still needing to know if I have a 500 gal tank on it and it’s about 4 feet wide. How wide does the trailer need to be so it won’t damage the tires? Then I want to get the tanks needed for the build sand blasted. After all the welding is done I want to get them Powder Coated.

Suggestions on a width of a trailer needed for a 500 gal. tank please??


post #59 of 72
We had an old charcoal grill/direct heat smoker that was built using an extra wide tank. Not sure how many gallons, but I am thinking it was in the neighborhood of 500 gallons. We had an issue at first with heating up the tires and causing them to smoke. With a slight axle modification, we were able to prevent that from happening. As long as you've got at least 6 inches between the outside of the tank and the tires, you should be fine. Just make sure there is some air movement in that area near the tires to help keep them cool.
post #60 of 72
Thread Starter 


Hi tsywake,
Yeah I kind of knew by looking and getting a good eyeball at it that it might be in issue with the tires being too close to the tank and heat. Still I will have to go out there and take some measurements and photo's of it too. If I do MIG weld on this I do know now that I have a heck of a lot of Rust to clean off! I may just start all over on this. I once saw a movie and the guy says: "No matter how much polish you put on it... it's still a terd!" About what I'm thinking.
Thomas biggrin.gif

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