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Electric UDS with Back up

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi to all
Have abandoned idea of using a busted w/machine as a smoker as i just picked up a near pristine 55 gal. drum for 20 bucks ( no lid). I am looking for input/ideas on the build. Being a retired engineer ( sorry about that) I like to write down a " design requirements spec." before starting design.
Here is my first draft. Please bear in mind that I live in the tropics.
  1. Primary heat source: electric element w. contol
  2. Back up heat source: charcoal/propane( will probably put drum on 6 inch legs so I can slide another heat source under the drum.)
  3. Smoke Daddy Kahuna for smoke
  4. Water pan to stabize temps.
  5. Drip feed/drain iced water supply to water pan for cold smoking.
  6. One piece 3 grid rack unit raised and lowered to/from drum with light block and tackle.
  7. Hinged lid cos I am old.
  8. Easily cleaned by filling with soapy water and draing.( after element removal)
  9. ???????
Any input would be appreciated.
post #2 of 24
Here is a good tutorial on building a UDS.
post #3 of 24
All you have to do is get a hold of Nutzman he's benn building them for about 2 weeks now. Last time I heard he was up to 7 now.
post #4 of 24
Here is a very good thread on building a basic "no frills", bullet-proof, proven design.


From there you can get as complex as you want.

In looking through your design specs though a few things come to mind.

Number 6 seemes a little extreme. The cook grates are pretty light. Same with number 7 - the lid is pretty light. As far as Number 8, there's really no need to clean it out other than getting rid of the ash if you use charcoal. I certainly wouldn't fill mine with soapy water. I might wipe the bottom off once in awhile to get rid of excess grease but that's about it.

Since your an engineer, I understand your mind set. I'm a tech guy and have to stop myself from "overteching" things sometimes. The UDS is really an example of elegant simpiicity in its design and function.

Sounds like you've got a lot of neat features planned but be careful not to over engineer it. That could be very frustrating.icon_mrgreen.gif

Good luck and have fun with it.

post #5 of 24
I would have serious questions about using an electric element for heat as it would be at the very bottom with all the juices dripping on it...
post #6 of 24
I am a tech also. So allow me to elaborate.
Carry on and enjoy the build, then the Q.
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
I assumed that the water pan would prevent this. ?
Am I wrong? icon_confused.gif
post #8 of 24
No, you're not wrong. Norcoredneck of the BBQ Brethren (the one who posted the "how to" thread that I linked) made one with an electric heating element in it. I'll post the link to his post if I can find it.

Also, I beleive Dutch made an electric drum. I'll see if I can find that thread.

On Edit: Found it.


post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
A great big thank you, Dave.
post #10 of 24
I stand corrected, If it wouldn't cause problems then I would definitely go Electric... Electric is so easy and convenient for use "Old Fogies"...
post #11 of 24
You're welcome.

As for Norcoredneck's electric UDS, I couldn't find a thread where he described it but I did find a post where he talked about it a little bit.


Hope this helps.

post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input folks. Started cutting metal today. Thank god for a Dremel tool with cut off blades. Already have an MES element and controller, a Big Kahuna and a bunch of pipe fittings, nuts, bolts etc. As soon as I have something to show of the build I will post some pics. At the mo it is too darn hot to work outside.
We have three fishing tourneys in the next seven weeks so I want to be ready for the fresh fish supply. The one on Sept. 17th is a biggy with 52 boats entered so far with 4 anglers per boat. First prize is a Ford 3/4 ton Lobo truck.icon_redface.gif
post #13 of 24
what or where is the mo?
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Mo as in moment.
post #15 of 24
Do you think that the element from the mes is going to generate enough heat?
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Enough heat? Good question. The answer " I dunno" Did a test today to provide a reference point. Mounted the MES element 2 inches below the drum w. the reflector( 1500 watts) Ambient temp was 90 degrees and it only got the drum up to 150 degrees with a sheet of plywood on top. 2 inch air intake hole in the lower end of the drum and huge gaps between p/wood and top of drum. Soooooo , tomorrow will cut the drum and fit the element inside and run another test. At least I got to heat it up, pour some oil in to start the curing process. This is fun. Will post results.
post #17 of 24
I believe the element from the mes is in the 750-800 watt range. The item that you refer to as a "reflector" generates 1500 watts? That's pretty impressive.
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
No. Perhaps I was not clear. the element I have is stamped 1500 watts and it comes with a reflector plate.
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 

nearly there

Installed 1500w element in drum today and did another test. On high it got to 210 degrees. Drum is getting nicely cured. icon_confused.gif
post #20 of 24
Sounds interesting. Do you have any pics?
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