First build, need design and technical help

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by scott76, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. scott76

    scott76 Newbie

    Hey all - getting ready to start my first build and I have several questions. I had originally planned to do a UBS, but just came into possession of a 26 gal air compressor that is junk except for the tank. So, I was thinking of doing a vertical UBS style smoker with that. Now I am wondering if instead I should do a side fire box, or maybe just scrap the whole compressor idea altogether as it's only 26 gal. I'm not concerned with the size from a large cook standpoint, I usually only cook small to medium amounts. I know nothing ant smoker build theory, is the small size an issue? I know many have done UBS builds out of 33 gal drums, this is not much smaller.

    If the compressor tank will work, which would be the best style? UBS, vertical offset, horizontal offset? I have searched but I can't really find definitive information as to what the different positives and negatives of each style are. I honestly don't even know if I want to do a wood or charcoal smoke, I am brand new to smoking.

    I have no desire to also use it as a grill, so that is not a concern.

    I am an experienced welder and metalworker, fabrication is not an issue. In fact I prefer it, that is why I didn't just buy one.

  2. The air tank is a little small for a UDS. You won't have much room between the grates and the fire basket. Your tank would make a nice little offset smoker.

    Happy smoken.

  3. chiefusn

    chiefusn Smoke Blower


    Welcome to the forums. The tank should work just fine and actually probably hold heat a lot better than a regular drum since the tank is made out of thicker metal. The biggest things, in my opinion, that will make or break a drum smoker is airflow and air leaks. You have to have a good exhaust that will pull air in to the intakes as it exhausts. Heat rises, so have your exhaust at the top and your intakes at the bottom. As the heated air and smoke rise out of the exhaust, it gets replaced with fresh air from the intakes. This is how temps are controlled as well. The more fresh air, higher the temp, less fresh air, lower the temp. Why are air leaks an issue? if the tank has a leak, it will draw in air and cause temp spikes and flucuations making it almost impossible to regulate and stabilize which is key to a successful smoke. The small size shouldn't be an issue as long as you can get it up to and hold a good smoking temp whether it has a side box, or a coal basket. Do a search for UDS or ugly drum smoker and you will find a vast array of results and ideas which will spark ideas of your own. Good luck and post pics or videos.


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