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Mini Patio RF Build

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by ledhead84, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. ledhead84

    ledhead84 Smoke Blower

    I am starting to work on a small patio size RF smoker.

    Picked up a couple air tanks for the cook chamber and fire box. 


    Right now i am working on the design. I have a few questions before i get cutting. I'm new to smokers and i like to over think things so i am going to have a lot of questions.

    #1. I measured the tanks and by my calculations the big tank is about 19 gallons and the small works out to little over 5 (not the 21 and 7 as advertised) How important is the 1/3 rule? what are the issues of having a fire box less then 1/3 the cook chamber? should i be looking for something a little bigger or look at giving the fire box a little more capacity?

    #2. For the air inlet for the fire box is it better to be above or below grate level? Below seems like it would allow the fuel to burn better, but above I'm thinking it my have better control? Or have inlets both above and below?

    #3. Any point in having a damper of some sort between the fire box and cook chamber?

    #4, Am i over thinking all off of this?
  2. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    With the supplies you have on hand, have you considered a vertical water smoker?

  3. ledhead84

    ledhead84 Smoke Blower

    Anything is a possibility at this point, it's something I'll look into,

    I'm not sure if the tank i have would be big enough for a vertical water smoker, The black tank is only a little over 24" tall and 15-1/2" dia.There wouldn't be much room left over if almost half of that was firebox/water pan might be only room for 2 cooking grates. Would only work out to around 350 sq" cooking surface. With two grates in a horizontal smoker i should be pushing 500 sq" cooking surface.
  4. ledhead84

    ledhead84 Smoke Blower

    Something like this could be a possibility, use the little tank for a fire box but go with a vertical design, thoughts?

  5. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That looks like it would work, do you plan on Wood or Lump/Charcoal as a fuel source?

    You could make that design into a gasser.

    If you attach it direct without the pipe you can completely open it up and use a diffuser plate or water pan or both

  6. ledhead84

    ledhead84 Smoke Blower

    Going to be using primarily Lump,

    Still worried about cooking grate size if i made it a vertical smoker..15" dia is going to make it hard to fit a full rack of ribs. I will probably end up going with my original plan and keep things horizontal.
  7. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    For ribs I would have to agree.
  8. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    So to get back to your Original post:

    #1.  I think you may be ok with the 1/3rd rule you're at 26% as opposed to 33.3%, lump will also burn hotter. if you can get a tank slightly larger ok, if not, don't sweat it

    #2.  Below only

    #3.  For your build and considering the size  of the tanks, I don't see a need for a damper control into the smoke chamber.

    #4.  Not at all, I researched mine for many months

    Have you given any thoughts to Reverse Flow or tuning plates?
  9. ledhead84

    ledhead84 Smoke Blower

    ^ Thanks, enough to get me started

    Got at it this week for a few hours, cut all the old brackets off the tanks, started grinding all some of the outside paint (gave up about half way through). Welded in support pieces to keep the proper shape of the door before i cut it. Cut the door for the cook chamber, and was happy to find a nice clean inside.


    Got lots of time this weekend to work on it and i think i pretty much have all the materials i need. So should be some good progress.
  10. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Man, that sure looks small now that it's cut.
  11. ledhead84

    ledhead84 Smoke Blower

    Yup just going to be a little guy, but i think its going to work out good for what i want, it won't take up too much space, be somewhat portable.

    Little more progress today, got the door burned together, made some simple hinges and mounted it. Also, started working on a frame for it to sit on.

  12. ledhead84

    ledhead84 Smoke Blower

    Back at it today, Got the frame to the point where it will support the tanks to make fabrication a little easier. Still need to add a few gussets, wheels, and shelf's. Cut the hole to connect the fire box onto the cook chamber and started work on the firebox itself. Last but not least made a bacon handle because everything is better with a pound of bacon.

  13. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That handle is pretty slick, I like it. 

    It does look like a nice compact tidy little rig you got going there. Did you weld up the hinges on the lid so that the door will come off to the left or is there set screws to lock it on?

    Nice work.
  14. ledhead84

    ledhead84 Smoke Blower

    ^ Thanks, im happy with how its going together so far.

    The hinges are welded on, the hole you see in the picture is to put a drop of oil in to keep them from rusting
  15. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I sure wish I had those type of metal working skills.   Wood maybe, but wood aint worth a darn when trying to build a smoker!
  16. ledhead84

    ledhead84 Smoke Blower

    ^Give metal a try! metal isn't too bad if you have the right tools. All you really need is a welder, drill, and 4.5" angle grinder and you can do almost anything...metal is a lot more forgiving the wood for the most part..

    Little bit more done, Some work on the fire box, got the door framed up, made a hing similar to the hinges for the cooking chamber. Repurposed a cheap chipping hammer as the fire box handle. I was going to make the handle operate a latch on the inside of the fire box, but i am thinking its going to be a waste of time since the lid fits nice and tight.


    That will be it untill next week. I am going to pick up some wheels and paint this weekend. Might be a long shot but i am hoping to have it operational next weekend.

    Still a bunch to do,

    - Make cooking grates

    - Make RF Plate

    - Weld fire box to cook chamber

    - Make air inlet/baffle for fire box

    - Make fire box grate

    - Install chimney

    - Finish Stand and make a work shelf
  17. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey now, LMAO, ur playin tricks with my head.

    I'm sitting here on auto pilot looking at your picks, and I'm thinkin oh I see, the handle is bent downward when the lid is shut.

    Well I got it now, I think. You must have had the hinge set on top for one pic and then in the last pic the hinge is gone. WOW, really messed me up for a second or two.

    Now that I'm on track, your build is looking fantastic. Very nice work.
  18. ledhead84

    ledhead84 Smoke Blower

    ^ lol, yup, thanks for the compliments,

    Ran out of mig gas the other day so just been getting a few things cut and mocked into place until i get a fresh bottle.
  19. Leadhead, were you planning on doing a burn out of your tanks before you go much further?  At least before you start painting?  I do not know what was in those tanks before you got them but it is my opinion that a good burn out is a good idea for any kind of barrel or tank of any type, it can get rid of about anything that might cause you to get sick plus it will help getting the rest of the paint off before you grind yourself to death.  Look at this site before you go too much further.  http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/forum/thread/73908/to-burn-or-not-to-burn     They are a bunch of sites if you type in burn out of new smoker builds in the SEARCH Bar at the top! Just a thought you might not have considered this.  Just my 2 cents worth, I may have missed something! Keep up the good work, I think your going to have a good looking smoker when you get done with it.

    Your SMF Friend,

    Barry  [​IMG]
  20. ledhead84

    ledhead84 Smoke Blower

    ^ Thanks! I will defiantly do a burn out one i get most of the the fab stuff done before i paint. The tanks were air tanks, and from the looks of the inside they were not used, there was only a few spots of rust on the inside of the big one. So besides maybe some oil on the steel they should be relatively clean.