Typo's UDS Build

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by typojoe, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. Hello from S. Carolina!

    Well, I debated whether or not to do a thread of my build.  Mostly because there are a lot of UDS builds documented, but after thinking about it, I think its worth it, if no other reason than the direct feed back I will get (assumed) on my project from all of you guys.  That's huge and can only help me make some better grub.

    So, my build...

    I was given an empty 55 gallon drum a week or so ago. It used to contain unflavored nicotine base for e-cigarette juice.  The drum is a sealed drum with a crimped lid and it is lined. After doing a little digging, I found that I could grind of the lip edge and still maintain my flat top lid.  This was important to me, as I prefer the look of the flat top, plus I don't want to buy a grill, just to part it out.

    Yesterday, I grabbed the grinder and sure enough, after grinding for 30 mins (ish) it popped right off and it seems like it's going to work out well.  Now that's where the work on the drum has stopped.  I've been working on my plan, deciding how I want to set everything up.  Once that's all figured out, I'll do all the fabrication (hole drilling) and dry fit everything.  Once I'm satisfied, I'll tear it down, do the burn out, give her a fresh coat of paint, put her all back together and season her up. 

    Here's a list of what I'm figuring out know:

    • Grate(s) height.

    I know I want two racks. The top rack will get the majority of the work load, but I do want an option to have two layers or the option of removing the top rack and doing larger items, like whole chickens.  Right now, I'm thinking 7" and 12".  Anyone see a problem with either of those numbers?

    • Vents

    I see nearly everyone using three 1" holes evenly spaced around the drum and they have two on the front with valves and a plug hole in the back. I guess my first question is why does everyone seem to do it this way? I've been thinking of just having the same three holes grouped together on the opposite side of the top vent with magnetic covers, no valves.  Is there a reason why this wouldn't work or not be ideal?  Besides the intake vents, I'm on the hunt for something to use for the smoke stack vent. My drum has a threaded hole in the lid, if I could find something that would work with that and be able to source it locally, it would be awesome... any suggestions?

    Tomorrow I'm going to swing by the store and grab the goodies I need to make the a lid hook, lid handle and a charcoal basket.  The handle and hook aren't anything special.  As for the basket, I have no welding skills, so I'm going with the expanded metal and grill grate basket.  Seems that it works out for a lot of people, so no reason to over think this. Once this is built and I get it in the drum with the ash catcher, I'll be able to determine the height for the diffuser rack at the bottom.  Not saying I'll use this all the time, but I want the option. Plus, I've read that it helps prevent hot spots.

    That's all I'll bore you with for now... More updates to come.

    Now for the photos...

    Lid on (after grinding):

    Detail of the lip (after grinding):


    Lid off (after grinding):

  2. rmmurray

    rmmurray Master of the Pit

    Watching and waiting. Good luck. Can't wait to see the finished product.
  3. We will be waiting

  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would space your intakes around the drum. The main reason is if the wind is coming from in direction it's easier to adjust the temps. If all. Your vents are on one side then you would need to rotate the hot meat laden drum.magnets are fine to use, the valves just give you a bit more control. If using magnets don't use the sheet magnets as they melt. Use real metal ones.

    Your rack spacing is fine.

    For your kid vent, unless you are worried about rain you don't need anything screwed into the hole. I just remove the bungs in mine and let the smoke flow.
    typojoe likes this.
  5. gunkle

    gunkle Meat Mopper

    Looks like your off to a good start with your plan. I believe that black steel pipe will thread into the bung in the lid of the drum for an exhaust. Make sure to get a cap with it so you can snuff out the coals when your done.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
    typojoe likes this.
  6. Seems like a plan,  I'll be watching

  7. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks like a good start. Will be watching and waiting. I come to the coast several times a year, so I will plan a trip for your first cook. Wouldn't want you to enjoy it without some company. Ha.Ha

    Good luck, Joe
  8. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I ended up with the exact same barrel from a chemical company in town that makes e-cig liquid. I successfully burned it out this weekend and got the last bit of liner/paint of with a Brillo pad and some Bar Keepers Friend.

  9. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    afterthought here but it helps to have your intake holes drilled before the burn. It helps to get that bottom paint off better inside and out.
  10. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Yea I didn't have all my components yet but this weekend was the only time I had to burn it out. I did drill two 3/4" holes to help but I ended up burning it a second time to get the bottom paint off.
  11. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I have 3/4 inch intakes in mine and they work fine. 1 ball valve and 3 pipe nipples with caps. No problems even at -10 F.
  12. I'll be watching

  13. Well thanks for all the interest in my build.  I stopped by lowes and walmart and grabbed some of the things I need to start making some progress.  Items I grabbed include grates, stuff to make the charcoal basket and stuff to make and a couple handles.

    I planned to grab a 20" pizza pan, but finding anything larger than 16" locally seems to be a bit difficult.  I'm sure I could find one at a specialty store, but not looking to spend a chunk on something to catch ashes.  Other than amazon, anyone have any ideas?

    I'll try to catch some pictures of any progress that comes.
  14. rmmurray

    rmmurray Master of the Pit

    Stop by lowes/hd and check out the pan that goes under the water heaters. They might be near 20".
    typojoe likes this.
  15. That is an great idea... just checked their website and I quickly found several sizes from 20" up to 30". They have drain spouts on them, but I can figure out something for that.  Obviously the price is dependent on the size, but I found a 20" for $14.

    Stopping there by after work.  Thanks for the suggestion.
  16. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Make sure that they are not galvanized metal. The ones at our Home Depot, and Lowes stores are.
  17. Very good point.... I checked and they do have aluminum... and according to the store availability, one of the local lowes has 6 in stock.  Hopefully that is true.
  18. rmmurray

    rmmurray Master of the Pit

    Good luck today
  19. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Just make sure you will be able to clear your bolts easily to remove the basket. I wouldn't go with anything much bigger than the basket itself. Mine is 18 inches. I used the bottom of a rusted out old propane tank for my ash pan. Do you have a second hand store or thrift store around. Just about anything will work as long as it's not galvanized. I have seen one made with an old beer tray on here.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015
    typojoe likes this.
  20. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    On that note, do you know what the ash tray from a 22" weber is made out of? I was going to reuse it for my UDS. I guess I could hit it with a torch and see what happens.

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