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How to Build a Mailbox Mod for an MES Smoker (pic heavy)

smoking4fun

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I searched around high and low and couldn't find a tutorial on how to build a mailbox mod - even there there are lots of photos of everyone's mailbox mod (and you have to piece all of them together to figure out how to build one. Yeah, they're pretty simple, but I thought I'd try and put together a sample build. Since I got all my parts at Menards, I'll give part numbers to make it easier for those with Menards (and for those without a Menards, you can at least see the parts I used).

Parts needed:
metal mailbox (please don't use a plastic one) - SKU 2156924 ($9.79)
2x 30-gauge duct elbows - SKU 6392916 ($2.51 each) (I actually used an adjustable elbow, but since I also used a flexible pipe, a non-adjustable elbow will probably work better)
2x 3" hose clamp - SKU 6790641 ($1.53 each)
3" x 8' semi-rigid aluminum duct - SKU 6399249 ($8.99)
Aluminum Foil Duct Tape (optional) - SKU 1613250 ($6.99)

Step 1: Trace outline of duct elbow onto rear end of mailbox (I had to draw outline twice since first effort was way off center). Drill pilot hole within outline.
trace.jpg

Step 2: Use tin snips and cut out outline - it's better to cut outside the line than inside the line.
tin snips.jpg duct hole.jpg

Step 3: Cut slits into end of duct elbow, and bend every other one up so it's 90*.
clip elbow.jpg

Step 4: Insert clipped end of elbow into mailbox, and bend tabs inside the mailbox so they are against the back wall of the mailbox.
outside elbow.jpg inside elbow.jpg

Step 5 (optional): Tape elbow to the mailbox.
tape elbow.jpg

Step 6: Attach flexible duct tube to elbow with hose clamp (and aluminum tape).
elbow clamp.jpg

Step 7: Attach second elbow to opposite end of flexible duct with hose clamp (and aluminum tape). This is the end that is inserted into chip opening in MES 30/40.
smoker insert end.jpg

Finished mailbox mod:
complete mod.jpg
 

cmayna

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With the length of that elbow, I'd surely like to see how it ends up being fitted.
 

mike243

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I have never understood the use of galvanized metal when cooking food, it can put off some poisonous fumes but folks will swear its safe up to so and so temps, I aint no rocket scientist but i refuse to take any chance, hope it works well for you
 

BuckeyeSteve

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I have never understood the use of galvanized metal when cooking food, it can put off some poisonous fumes but folks will swear its safe up to so and so temps, I aint no rocket scientist but i refuse to take any chance, hope it works well for you
I agree with you on this one, why take a chance. I ordered aluminum elbows from amazon for around the same price.
 

Steve H

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Well, it is cold smoking. And if done properly the temp should not get over 100 degrees.

Galvanized fumes are released when the galvanized metal reaches a certain temperature. This temperature varies by the galvanization process used. In long-term, continuous exposure, the recommended maximum temperature for hot-dip galvanized steel is 392 F (200 C), according to the American Galvanizers Association.
 
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thirdeye

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I agree with you on this one, why take a chance. I ordered aluminum elbows from amazon for around the same price.
I'm cautious of galvanized steel around smokers of grills too, but usually when they are used inside (like grate mounting hardware), but wouldn't there be more heat in the mailbox itself than in the ductwork? And aren't most metal mailboxes galvanized?

On an off subject, the galvanized coating on things like this is easy (but somewhat messy) to remove using vinegar or muriatic acid.

EDIT - After some searching, apparently there are aluminum mailboxes out there, including some heavy duty ones but they are in the $100 range. The one from Menards above is galvanized steel.
 
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chopsaw

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I'll give part numbers to make it easier for those with Menards (and for those without a Menards, you can at least see the parts I used).
Good effort . I'm sure someone will benefit from this .
 

BuckeyeSteve

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I'm cautious of galvanized steel around smokers of grills too, but usually when they are used inside (like grate mounting hardware), but wouldn't there be more heat in the mailbox itself than in the ductwork? And aren't most metal mailboxes galvanized?

On an off subject, the galvanized coating on things like this is easy (but somewhat messy) to remove using vinegar or muriatic acid.

EDIT - After some searching, apparently there are aluminum mailboxes out there, including some heavy duty ones but they are in the $100 range. The one from Menards above is galvanized steel.
If you want steel or aluminum you might consider the popcorn can mod.
https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t...or-use-with-amnps.127770/page-13#post-1868395
 
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chopsaw

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Great detailed post will the amazen pellet tube 12'' inch work in the mailbox mod?
If you have the tubes , look thru this thread if you haven't already . I have 3 tubes , U-bolts on all of them . Great idea from normanaj normanaj . The reason I built my mailbox set up was because of to much smoke when using the 12 " inside the smoker .
The 6 " tube works great in the smoker .
 

Steve H

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If you have the tubes , look thru this thread if you haven't already . I have 3 tubes , U-bolts on all of them . Great idea from normanaj normanaj . The reason I built my mailbox set up was because of to much smoke when using the 12 " inside the smoker .
The 6 " tube works great in the smoker .
I have both the 6" and 12" tubes. Why do you think the 12" puts out more smoke? Or did you mean a longer duration smoke? In the mailbox they both work good. Just wondering.
 

Kevinbthgrouse

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I've tried so hard to get my cold smoke attachment working but never to my liking even with the router mods so thinking of the mailbox mod.I work in a sheet metal shop so anything is possible.The tube works perfectly in the smoker with dust but yes sometimes a little bit to much with pellets
 

chopsaw

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I have both the 6" and 12" tubes. Why do you think the 12" puts out more smoke? Or did you mean a longer duration smoke? In the mailbox they both work good. Just wondering.
I'm fine with the duration , just to strong when using the 12 inside a mes 30 for me . This is something that is going to be different for different people . I have to baby sit the six inch when I use it in the mailbox . Wants to go out on me . Inside the smoker , lite once , nice thin smoke .
12 " in the mail box no trouble ,,, inside the smoker smoke is to heavy .
 

Kevinbthgrouse

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Interesting I'm wondering if I should try a 6''tube in my mes 30 instead of the 12'' for the amount of smoke before making the mailbox mod I do have the clamps on my tube
 

chopsaw

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Interesting I'm wondering if I should try a 6''tube in my mes 30 instead of the 12'' for the amount of smoke before making the mailbox mod I do have the clamps on my tube
Well if you have a 6 " try it out . If you have to buy one , I would get the tray instead .
 

Bearcarver

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I don't have the 6" I was thinking the pan so dust, pellets could be used

It was the AMNPS "Tray" that was designed to fit in the MES30 during Gen #1 times.
The Tube was originally meant for either High Altitudes or bigger Smokers, and Grills with a lot of air leakage.

Bear
 

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