Three drawer filing cabinet with PID

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Original poster
Mar 4, 2011
I just got done reading the two drawer build that was just started and I have to say this is pretty much the same concept. I was given a three drawer filing cabinet from work and thought this was the perfect structure. I plan on going the electric route using an electric converter from Cabela's ( I think the 1500 Watt element should be perfect for this build. 

I plan on using the rails, but turning the top two drawers into doors and using hinges. The bottom drawer will be used for sliding out to refill wood chips without releasing too much smoke and heat from the top. 

Now for the fun part. I have built a Sous Vide using a PID and SSR relay before and I was thinking about going that route, but thought the on and off relay might burn out the heat source too quick. So I began to research some more ideas and decided that I would go with a ramp controller ( Ramp controller will bring the heat up to a point and continue to step through the programed instructions. It has spots for multiple probes, one for the internal temp and the other for the meat. I'll be able to set the controller to turn the internal temperature of the smoker when the meat reaches its point to keep warm. 

As I continued to research this product, I came across someone who created software to easily program the controller using a serial port of a computer (http://www.temperaturecontrolwiki.c...t-UpLoad-Manage-Profiles-Arizona-Phoenix.html). The guy also sells the controllers, software, and other parts through ebay.

The biggest question I have is the thinness of the filing cabinet structure as was pointed out in the other thread. I figure the whole point of the electric heat source was to be able to leave it on so it stays at 220 degrees? Yes the walls are thin and probably wont keep heat in very well, but the electric element should be able to keep it hot enough, right? I know I could probably structurally build the outside of the cabinet a little thicker, but if I don't need to I would rather not. 

Sorry for the long thoughts, I'm hoping to get some feedback before I begin real soon. I will post pictures of the project as I go along. 
Hey zinger, welcome to SMF!

I have a propane GOSM that I installed a PID with Ramp/Soak features to control a 700W finned heating strip so that I could smoke at the lower temps, my walls are probably close to the same thickness as yours and I don't have any problem maintaining the temps, on mine during the ramping time the PID cycles to achieve the target temp, during the soak mode the PID maintains the target temp, probably already knew that, with a 1500W heater you shouldn't have any problem holding target temp.

I looked at your PID, it doesn't come with a manual, I take it you know how to program it from the other one you built? Just asking...

Have fun and I'm looking forward to following your build.

Yeah I found the manual in the forums, its actually specifically for the base line model xmt63x ( Maybe you have a better version of a ramp/soak PID? This seems doable to control it from the device itself and not have to use a computer. However I would love to be able to monitor it remotely using RDC. 

Once I get it all put together I can find out if the wall structure will be good or not. Can't wait to get started. Thanks for the input from a fellow PID enthusiast. 
I will follow your thread closely as I work on mine, like you said, we seem to both have the same goal in mind! I hope to see success on both our parts! I am really trying to nail this thing on my first attempt, my most important goal being the temp control with an electric element. Keep the updates coming and thanks for posting the info on your ideas.
Zinger, I bought mine from Aubers Instruments for $78 along with the SSR, heat sink, thermocouple and box, it came with 6 pages of instructions that took this old geek 4-5 days to wrap his head around them.  There are some posts about PID's here if you search for them that are quite informative, they even show how to wire it (but that was included it my instructions).

So I got a good start on the filing cabinet yesterday. I received my expanded metal for the racks on Thursday and surprisingly received my heating element Friday. So I got to work. 

Here it is without the drawers in. Plan on using the two rails for racks and the two uppers will be doors. 


I bought enough metal to make two rails and the other sheet to make a charcoal basket for my UDS


After attaching the expanded metal and adding the door hinges to the doors. 



You can see I mounted the element on the bottom drawer. The plan is to allow the bottom drawer to have a mounted wood chip tray and a spot to put a water pan in. So during cooks I can slide out the drawer without messing with the element. This should keep as much heat as possible still in the cabinet. 





I still have to burn the inside. Debating if I should just get a propane torch or add some wood and let it burn. I'm a little nervous of a filing cabinet burning on my driveway in a residential neighborhood and the fire dept only a block away. 

Then I am going to test the heat on the inside to see if I need to insulate it. I bought a welding blanket from Harbor Freight for dirt cheap and plan on using the to wrap the outside of the cabinet. I also don't have a controller on the heating element yet, I just wanted to get the structure down first. Its a 1500 watt heating element from Bass Pro shop thats for a Brinkman smoker. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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