My First UDS build - Watch the Fun!! Starting NOW 6/29!!!!

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by oneeyedblueberry, May 30, 2010.

  1. Hola Gang,

    Well, I have been talking about it here and at home FOREVER. Time to get off the mark and get this party started. I know its been posted here 1,000 times, so for you vets I apologize.

    To document this whole process in a MS Word doc housed on Google Docs and shared with anyone. I will update my progress there, post pics and docuemtn it for anyone else. The link to that doc is as follows:

    https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AZTolhMadqo4ZGhxa2dtbWdfMzZjemMyZzVjeA&hl=en

    Don't worry all..I will also post plenty of Qview!!

    First off, I have some pre-build questions. Any and all advice is welcomed. For those of you contemplating a build, you should probably do everything opposite of me.   [​IMG]  For you veterans, feel free to chime in. I will post my build sheet below my questions. Thanks in advance!!

    Let the games begin....

    1) I am planning for 3 intakes running a couple of feet up the drum with ball valves on all. I am thinking of using PVC for the intake tubes after the elbows. It will save some $$ and weight as well. Have read this elsewhere I think so looking for feedback. Heat issues? Durability? Paintability?

    2) I would like to have 2 cooking grates. Will I have room with a domed lid? Min. 24" from bottom of charcoal bucket for first grate (read this here)? Should I try and get taller barrel?

    3) Would like to also use as standard grill so any "neat tricks" for hooks, etc. to maybe hang coals basket below top rack for standard grill mode?

    That might be all for now. Thanks in advance for the feedback.
    ItemQty.CostProduct/Source
    55 Gal. Drum1  
    Weber Lid1  
    Handles?? - moving drum and tie downs2  
        Nuts for Handles4  
        Lock washers for handles4  
    1" Step bit1  
    22.5" Weber Grill grate (cooking)2  
        1 1/2"x1/4" SS bolts8  
        1/4" SS lock washers8  
        1/4" SS nuts8  
    Thermometer2  
    Diffuser plate - to be added later   
    Coal Basket   
        Exp. Metal - 48"x6"?1  
        1/2"x2" SS bolts4  
        1/2" SS lock washers4  
        1/2" SS washers8  
        22.5" Weber Grill grate (basket bottom)1  
    3/4" close threaded nipples3  
    3/4" conduit nuts6  
    3/4" elbows3  
    3/4" metal/pvc pipe for intakes (in feet)6  
    3/4" ball valve (pvc/brass)3  
    3/4" pipe brackets - for attaching to side of barrel6  
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  2. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

  3. Thats a good diagram in the link meateater. Thanks a ton! I am undecided on water pan but will prob set on or below diffuser plate.

    Also I have thought about access door, but want it to seal good so no heat loss??

    Thanks!!
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2010
  4. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    If your worried about heat loss or air leaks just look at all the ECB posts. There are open all around the bottom and smoke a dandy job. I had one and parted it out for my UDS, only because I wanted a bigger smoker in the same style. Trust me I have no heat loss on mine at all, I have a water pan for various reasons one being I don't care for sour smoke.
     
     
  5. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Having a access door is not a spot for heat loss as much as it is a place to get extra air intake which you want to have full control of.

    One thing I see in your list that I would change is I would make the expanded 8" tall instead of 6". Maybe even 10". You don't have to fill the basket full every time,If you decide on a long cook you will want to be able to fill that sucker up full. I think if memory serves me correct the 48" long will make about a 16" basket. What ever the size of the Weber charcoal grate is.

    The other thing is I would use no grade bolts from the hardware store if you are buying them. Also I would not send the money for the stainless, you can acid wash them to remove the zinc plus rust should not be an issue since all but the head is going to have black gunk and meat juice on them.

    I would highly recommend the pvc ball valve, but I only used one due to cost. The caps are only like a 1.50 and its no big deal to take them on and off, then adjust with the one valve.

    Something to think about would be a 4 wheel furniture cart if you have no access to welding. It sure makes it handy to move around.
     
  6. Hey Tom37,

    Thanks for all the scoop. I was wondering about the basket, and yes I will want some capacity for a longer smoke.

    I will prob take your advice on the bolts and the cart is a great idea.  I do not have a plasma cutter or even cutting wheel (although that could be gotten cheap) so idea of making "pretty" door bothers me a little. However I have seen a lot of posts where they are useful for shaking basket and even adding wood.

    Hhmm??

    I guess the consensus is that PVC pipe after the elbow would NOT get enough heat to be an issue???

    Current build sheet...
    ItemQty.CostProduct/Source
    55 Gal. Drum1  
    Weber Lid1  
    Handles?? - moving drum and tie downs for travel2  
        Nuts for Handles4  
        Lock washers for handles4  
    1" Step bit1  
    22.5" Weber Grill grate (cooking)2  
        1 1/2"x1/4" bolts8  
        1/4" lock washers8  
        1/4" nuts8  
    Thermometer2  
    Coal Basket   
        Exp. Metal - 48"x10"1  
        1/2"x2" bolts4  
        1/2" lock washers4  
        1/2" washers8  
        22.5" Weber Grill grate (basket bottom)1  
        Pizza pan, etc for ash tray1  
    3/4" close threaded nipples3  
    3/4" conduit nuts6  
    3/4" elbows3  
    3/4" pvc pipe for intakes (in feet)6  
    3/4" pvc ball valve3  
    3/4" pipe brackets - for attaching to side of barrel6  
    Luxurys - To be added   
        Diffuser plate   
        Chimney Starter   
        4 wheel furniture cart   
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  7. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    umm I'm gonna have to argue that point meateater, the ecb's are nowhere near as efficient or easy to control temps as a properly sealed uds, i started smoking with a ecb and it was alot of work to use compared to my uds and its probably due to all the air that gets in the cracks everywhere? so i would say whatever you do as far as doors and things you need to make sure they seal good. I asked you about your uds on another post because i was curious about yours having all those vents on top? i havent seen any like that before and wonder if it cooks right?

    The most i have seen is one 2inch stack or the equivalent in more 1/2 inch holes, just wondering
     
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  8. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    It smokes very well, the triangle pattern allows for the heat to escape evenly, I suppose one vent in the center would be the same but I always do things different, that's just me. I have three 1 1/4" for a total of 3 3/4' of vent. My temp gage on the lid locks in at 250* winter or summer. I also only have one 1/2" ball valve where most builds have 3 which are alot bigger than mine, so even though I have a door the amount of air flow is probably the same. Of course the ECB is nowhere a UDS but they work fine and a lot of folks use them with great success, I just wanted a bigger smoker so I can smoke a 20# bird or 2-3 butts. I'm sure however it gets built it will be a dandy of a smoker.
     
  9. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I ain't got a door on mine, need ta shake the basket, grab the handles on the drum an giver a shake.  As fer addin wood, I put enough in at various levels in the basket ta keep from havin ta do that. 

    One thin bout drums, ya gotta be able ta control air flow heavly otherwise temps be hard ta control.  So, the fewer places ya got fer air ta get in, the fewer leaks ya got an the easier it is ta maintain temps.
     
  10. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Take a look at this thread then modify as you see fit  . . . and at your own peril. [​IMG].

    http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=43943

    One word of caution though . . . they don't get much more efficient or easier to control than that original build.  Other than adding the domed lid for a second rack, the original design is pretty difficult to beat.

    Dave
     
  11. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    Not trying to hijack the thread but thanks for the info Meateater, good point on the three holes bringing the heat up evenly, i like the door down there for adding chips because lately ive been using the chips because i cant get good woods around here so thats all i can get are the apple, cherry, maple chips.
     
  12. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    ddave that's one of the best explained post that I have seen, that is the one that really got my attention and lit the fire for me to build one.

    Not sure about everyone else or even if this holds true for all lump charcoal but, in my experience I notice that I do have to shake the basket when using briquet's, but with lump it is not a problem at all. My last burn had a mix of briquet's and lump, it was not a nice even burn at all. Yet the time before I had 10 lbs Kingsford charwood and it ran most beautifully. It left me with about 2 pop cans of ash when it was all done.

    Also as said above I mix my wood chunks into the coal basket having no need to add any.

    I did have a little problem last cook.

    When I was finished, I did as usual and shut down my vents. Well it worked to stop the fire before, but not this time. I forgot that I changed the lid and the new one does not have a slider to close the top vents. So as expected my temps started dropping, I figured I was all good. Four hours later I went out to put a trash bag over my lid since it was going to rain and OPPS!!!! my drum was running at a cool 140. I suppose the little vent hold in the lid was just enough air to keep it going.

    Yesterday when I was done I put my welding glove over the vent and with in two hours I was well under 100 degree's.

    Just remember,

    No two people are the same, so just because someone did it one way does not mean you have to. LOL I think thats how we all learn new tricks and tips. As long as it smokes and you have a good time with it. Then all is good. The great thing about drums is they are pretty low cost to build and if you mess it up, it doesn's cost much to start over.

    Have a great week.

    Tom
     
  13. DAMMIT DDAVE!!

    Now if I make a mistake everyone is gonna know I really am just a dumb jarhead!!!

    Thats a VERY good post and will save me tons of lost brain cells!!

    Do I see from that diagram that that drum has two cooking grates?? I guess with a domed lid, thats not a problem.

    Thanks again....
     
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  14. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, I could get some felt and make a gasket to seal it tight, but so far I haven't the need to. I hear your pain on the wood supply. I can get hickory and mesquite chunks but apple, cherry and maple are chips only around here.
     
     
  15. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Quote:
    Not at all. [​IMG]

    Quote:
    Great point.  I guess "modify at your peril" was a poor choice of words.[​IMG]   Perhaps what I should have said was modify very carefully.  Build the basic UDS but with modifications in mind if you are so inclined.  Go with close nipple and caps at first but leave enough threads exposed so you can screw on fittings and elbows if you think you want vertical intakes.  But only change one thing at a time.  That way, if it's hard to control, you'll know what modification caused the issue.  I've read lots of posts on the Brethren where folks set out to build a completely different UDS then spent months trying to figure out why it wouldn't hold a steady temp or ran too hot etc.

    And as far as a door goes, clearly Meateater has been able to make it work.  The main reason I don't recomend a door as a general rule is the air control issue for one but mostly because it increases the complexity of the build.  If I thought I had to have a door in a UDS, I probably would not have tried to build one.  I don't have the tools nor the skills for that.  I prefer the model that Norco presents in that thread.  No welding or cutting required.  If you can run a drill and some wrenches you can build a great smoker.[​IMG]

    Dave  
     
  16. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Dave, I do agree the door is not for everyone. I liked having the door on my ECB and incorporated it into my UDS. I do have a background in machining and various other fields so it was a no brainer for me. I didn't like not having access to the fire box without disassembling my smoker. Anyhow I haven't seen a UDS that I didn't like. [​IMG]  They are a beast of a smoker.
     
     
  17. Okay gang!!

    After so much procrastination and life in general, I went today and bought a barrel. Food Grade, $10 with no lid; $15 if you wanted one with a lid. I have place pics of "Barrel Heaven" in Northwest Arkansas and also my new "baby" under construction. I have a couple of questions:

    1) Was food grade (juices, etc) see close up of lip that I sanded quick to see metal and I can see no liner material per se. Just seems to be solid coat of rust. Season and go?? get grinder bit to confirm no liner??

    2) Gonna put in 3 or 4 3/4" vent pipes so can run wide open and run as grill. Thoughts on PVC from elbow up? top half?

    Thanks in advance!!

    Close up - didn't sand hard - liner or no?

    [​IMG]

    My "just born"

    [​IMG]

    Barrel heaven $10 to get in

    [​IMG]
     
  18. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks like liner to me. Something about the colour is off. It doesn't look like rust.
     
  19. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    yes it looks like the old red liner like the one i made, well the more work that goes into it the better the food will be[​IMG]
     
  20. Well SH*&&^$!!! Grabbed this one cause of overall roundness of top, etc....oh well I guess burn and get drill with wire wheel out!!! :)  Thanks!
     

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