Traffic Signal Cabinet Build

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by smokndad, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. First off, thanks to all on here.  You guys on here are what makes this a great site.

    I got my hands on my aluminum traffic signal cabinet.  It measures about 44" wide, 26" deep, and 56" high.  When I got it, it still had some left over wiring and electronic stuff in it.  I gutted it of all not metal parts.  Came out with two big aluminum trays, and some smaller ones the electronic parts were mounted to to maybe use later.



    If you're wondering, yes the other side of the cabinet has a door just like the front.  I'm guessing that rubber door gasket has to go, so I'll take that off next.  May try the fire caulk & plastic wrap, or may just go with oven gasket.  Also, there's a small door in the big door where you see that box welded on the right side of the pics.  I'd like to cut that off so I can use the small door to peek instead of opening the big door letting all of the smoke/heat out.

    Here's my question that I need some advise from you experienced smokers.  The front door already had a large louvered vent in the bottom center that should be big enough.  Just above the door, there is a soffit type vent under the top to allow the cabinet to circulate air.  I've been under the assumption that smokers should have circulation through the middle.  In this set up all the air circulates just in the front.  What about if I mount one of the shelves (in the top pic) just above the burner and chip skillet in the front where it touches the door when closed.  This would allow air in the vent to supply the burner, then deflect off the shelf toward the back and spread it out better as it goes up, 'through' the meat, and then out the top vent.

    Secondly, how important is dampening the outlet vent?  I didn't get a pic, but it is about 2" wide and the whole width of the cabinet.  Thanks in advance for all of your help.
  2. frosty

    frosty Master of the Pit

    Great idea, I think someone else did it too, and it was impressive!!!  Good luck with it.
  3. sunman76

    sunman76 Master of the Pit

    yep a fellow smoker built one not to long ago, your off to a great start I'm along for the build[​IMG]
  4. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  5. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That should make a nice smoker for sure!
  6. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just spitballing here, but what would be the feasibility of spining it around and using the door with the vents as the backside? Just thinking of your comfort level with smoke in your face as you tend it. Would the other door be large enough to use as a front loader?
  7. Thanks guys for the replies.  On the similar build, the existing vent was scrapped for a more traditional vent, then later to find out that it may not have been the problem.  Here's a couple more pics I took.  This one is a pic of the vent on the outside.


    This is a pic of the inside top, looking through the back door to the inside just above the door.  The large hole housed an exhaust fan to pull out the hot air.  I'm thinking it would be similar to a smoke-stack.  The smoke can spread out behind that baffle with the hole in it to exit through the outside soffit type vent.

    Wow... I'm not sure I can follow that  [​IMG]    LOL.  Anyway, Mneely490, I could do what you recommend.  The back door is the same size as the front.  However, the top is slanted toward the back, (which then would be the front).  I'm thinking about mounting one of the large shelves that I removed just above the burner and chip pan and toward the front.  If I have the burner on the left side near the front, the shelf would deflect heat toward the back and help spread it out, then the eventually heat/smoke/air would have to migrate to the top right side where the exhaust vent is.  Is this thinking sound, or am I over-thinking it?  

    Hopefully, I'll be able to test-run this weekend for a temp check.  What's your thoughts on insulation?  I know the other build ended up using tiles around the bottom, but I don't know that it was really for insulation.  Would a wooden liner (hardwood plywood) inside do for insulation?
  8. dazdnaz

    dazdnaz Fire Starter

    Well it was only a matter of time...I am the guy that did the other one and I found that the vents on the underside were not enough and did not allow for proper airflow at all.

    I ended up sealing them off with the hardibacker and some high temp silicone and then mounted a 4 inch exhaust pipe to the top (I think 5" would have been better). I may end up redesigning the burner to utilize the front vent, as of right now I just have the bottom vented for a more low profile burner set up to allow for more room inside.

    I will try to keep up with you on this any assistance I can offer I will try.

    Good luck it will be one roomy smoker for sure.
  9. hattrick128

    hattrick128 Newbie

    Guys no need to over think the traffic signal cabinet smoker. I have had one for several years and it is the envy of all my friends....looks just like the one at the beginning of this thread. I was the traffic signal engineer for the Kennedy Space Center in the 1990's and rebuilt all of their intersections. My cabinet sat roadside for 30 years and will still be smoking fish, beef and pork long after I am gone. Gut the wiring, electrical fans and unnecessary brackets. Install a bottom plate and stainless grate racks that can be removed for pressure washing. No need to make a chimney just use the vent system installed. You can install a flat plate baffle where the cooling fan was installed and make a simple cable if you want to adjust the baffle from the outside. The vents on the lower front were blocked by riveting sheet metal over it. Forget about using the little small door on the front for sneaking a peek at your meat. This access door is so police can use a push button switch to manually sequence the traffic lights during special events. If you open the door during use...smoke will pour out and you can't see your meat anyway plush burn your arm! Good place to put an analog or fancy temp gauge. I didn't worry about the door gaskets and they are still working many years later. By the way the bottom plates are removable and we're cut to allow small air gaps so the unit draws air from these bottom gaps. As far as the burner assembly....I use a camping style two burner propane stove and a castiron skillet on each for a simple wood chip plate. Simple and easy. Regulating the heat is pretty simple after a few valve adjustments. Probably your biggest expense is the stainless grate racks. I have three. One above the burners for disposible aluminum drip/water pans and two meat racks. I could easily have a third meat rack. Using a single 20lbs propane tank I recently did a load of smoked mullet fish for 6 hours at 150 deg, four large pork butts at 250 deg for 4 hours and a brisket at 225 deg for 8 hours.......All on the same tank fill with a little still left. Lastly, mount your smoker of four steel casters to make it mobile!
  10. Funny, I was just driving around looking for an old fridge or oven and thought to myself 'if only i could pull off one of those electrical boxes'. Not an hour later I find this thread! Looks like a fun project! I'm jealous!
  11. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    Four large pork butts at 250 deg for only 4 hours?  Is that a typo?  Some of my butts have taken as long as 24 hours, usually around 15 hours at 235 or so to get to 200 degrees IT.  I can't imagine a 15 degree smoking temp difference making that much difference in time.  Unless you weren't going for pulled pork.  Have a great day. :)
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015

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