Homemade cookers

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Okay everyone, here's the deal. Since there is no actual thread for homemade cookers, Dutch said we can start one. I'm not exactly the person to start this thread because I haven't built one YET. But it is a chance for everyone to show-off their pride and joy. Plus I really need ideas for when I get a chance to build my own. Pix are a definite plus. And if you can remember what you did during the built, let us know.
Thanks everyone,
well, i found these 2 lost souls on the curb last week, seemed to me they belonged together, i'm thinking a Bubba griller w/sfb......
Man, I'm looking on the wrong curbs. I've got big trash day coming and and hoping to find some good parts for a project to be. I figure early May should be prime picking for old grills being replaced for Memorial Day.
I have been considering building a new one completely from scratch once I get the water tank finished and dialed in.
I have done a ton of research on steel prices and what to buy so you don't have any scrap left over, utilizing every $ you spend.
I was thinking about doing a video or picture tutorial for the project.
I can even tell you where to get a fantastic welder for little $ that has 100% duty cycle. You can weld all day with it and never hurt it. And it's a professional welder that will do what a $10,000 portable welder will do.
Actually Gunslinger, that's the funny part. I think (hope) I've got a hookup for an old fridge. If so, it will be a gas verticle setup. But I want to build a trailer mounted stick burner. Barrels or possibly and old tank. I just found out about a welding course at the community college (read NO WELDING EXPERIENCE YET) that I will take next month. I really want to be able to not only say "yeah I cooked it" but also "yeah, I Built it". Sorry, but I'm egotistical.
But the reason I hoped to start the thread is so everyone else can be a little egotistical about thier work also. Honestly, we all take pride in the work we do.
I take SOME pride in my home-built projects. But quite frankly it's function over form with me. My pride starts when someone does the same thing I have done, but for much more than I spent.
Let me know when you are ready to purchase a welder. I'll send you to the right place.
OK, youve got me wondering.. I tend to weld a bit myself.. What machine are you referring to??
I actually have 2 cookers started.The one that is getting the quality time is a stumps clone.Gravity fed charcoal.I have been posting pics on the charcoal thread.This one will be for every thing but fish.for the fish I am doing a propane burner which also has pics on the propane thread.I smoke a lot of salmon in the summer so I would like to keep the meat and fish seperate.The pic with the tubing frame is the charcoal burner and the other is the gasser.There are a bunch of homebuilt units on the site.There are several when you see them you would bet a bunch are pro built.

Nice looking units there COZ. May build another when I find the material and time. alway have my eyes open and mind working. Good luck and keep up the good work.
Gunslinger, I thought you were a concrete man. What do you know about welding concrete? J/K. I'm not gonna lie to anyone here. My original plan was to build a cooker with nuts and bolts and ask my uncle to weld it for me until this course was advertised. When the time comes, and I feel (my wife says I can), then I will buy a welding setup.
The last thing I want to start is a "mine is better because" thread. I've seen it in other forums and it is very unproductive. So please, if you want to joke, go ahead. But please don't hate. But pix rock.
Anyone that has any idea or actual finished product is better than me. I'm still working with hopes and dreams.
COZ, besides possible smell, is there a specific reason you use the propane for fish. I don't ask for myself because I don't think I'll ever smoke fish. I want anyone that sees this thread to understand why it might be good to have 2 diferent smokers.
Domn8; a smoker can be made rather cheaply, to get you started. If you can find a good 55 gal. barrel, a jig saw/metal blade, an old grill grate, and some hinges and hardware. build a fire on one end and cook on the other end. just a thought if you want to get started. You can turn out some good "Q" on some simple equipment. Even a charcol grill will work, fire on one side-cook on the other
Domn8,the reason for me to use gas for the fish is pure and simple convience.I fish Salmon almost every weekend in the summer.I typically leave at 2 am and get home any where from 1-6 pm.When I get home I clean and package what is going to get frozen then debone and clean what is going in the brine for the next days smoke.If I fished on Sunday that means smoking fish monday after work.I usually get a batch done in about 4 hours including time to get the smoker up to temp.If I use charcoal it adds more time to the equation.Also the gas burner is big enuff to do whole Kings for the freinds that want the presentation with the head etc.As posted above you can smoke on a charcoal grill.Some of the best smoked fish I hae ever ate was smoked on a weber kettle grill by one of the old guys down at the local store.
It's a portable unit made by a company called Zena, Inc. It's a welder packed into a large GM alternator case. It's probably one of the best purchases I ever made. You can run it from any gas motor. Mine is piggy backed to the alternator on my old farm truck. You can use a small gas motor, a riding lawn mower, a tractor, etc. The positive electrode clamp contains all the welder controls so you have control of the welder at your finger tips at all times.
It's high frequency DC, so you can also TIG weld with it. And you can weld in either + or - polarity.
I just park my truck outside the shop door when I need it. I have used it all over my place, for everything from coral fencing to, well, smoker building. I also have a Lincoln MIG welder and a Lincoln arc welder and I use the Zena most of the time.
If you are interested you can find them at www.zena.net . You can buy one from them through eBay for a little less than they sell them on their website.
This would be a great welder for someone that doesn't have a lot of room or even a shop, because you can adapt it to any car and it's always under cover because it's under the hood. It's very easy to operate and would be good for someone that has a lot, little or no welding experience, because it's such a forgiving machine. And 150 amps, 100% duty cycle for 500 bucks is unbeatable. It will go through 1/2 inch plate like a hot knife through butter. I know because I have done it.
If you would like, I can post a pic of my truck underhood.
here is mine. i built it at work, and i have roughly $100 in it. the first pic shows it the when i first built it. the second one shows it after i painted it. the third pic shows it after i added insulation. the fourth pic is my ABT rack. what i did, is i took a 55-gallon drum and i cut out for the door. then i made the leg assembly, using 1" square tubing. i welded the legs to some steel plate cut into squares. i used 1" angle-iron for the braces on the legs. i bolted the legs to the drum using stainless bolts, washers, and nuts. i bought the firebox, $55 at lowes, and found some 3" diameter x 4" long pipes at work. took some diamond plate steel and made a cover for the opening on the firebox. i welded the pipes to the plate on the firebox. then took the plasma cutter and cut out the plate inside the pipes. then welded the pipes to the end of the drum, and cut out inside the pipes there too. made a food rack out of 1" angle iron. used some plate steel we have at work that has a bunch of round holes in it, hard to describe it. i made the front shelf the same way. i used 4" diameter vent duct for the smoke stack, a 90° elbow, a 2' length, and a rain shanty. i bought my thermometers at academy, for $9 each.
i got the insulation at work, from a contractor making new exhaust ducts for our furnaces. it is fireproof. i put it on using foil tape. i made a new food rack. this time i made two identical racks, 14" x 22". i used expanded metal instead of the round hole stuff.
i made an ABT rack using the food rack out of a retired LP grill. i welded up some 1" angle iron and welded the rack on top of it. i cut out every other wire on the rack. all welding was with a wire-feed welder, all cutting with a plasma cutter. i used a chop-saw to cut the angle iron and square tubing.



here is a link to the website for the insulation i have. i got the 2.0 stuff. i used foil tape, but it does not hold good to the drum. it does hold to the insulation very good though. i am going to re-do mine soon, with some of the tape the contractors use. i found a box with it in there, and i got two rolls. it is some wicked looking tape. has fibers (like string) thru it in a criss-cross pattern. looks to be very stout, and you can't just rip a piece off, like you can with duct tape. i will try to get a pic when i can.

btw, it is freaking snowing here.
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