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Update on UDS build from oil barrel

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by bman62526, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    So I decided last week that I had to have a UDS!

    I put an ad on CL, but no hits...then a guy who I do business with said he could get me a very good condition 55 gal. drum for $8.50!  I explained to him EXACTLY what I wanted, but sure enough - he shows up at my office today with a drum that has a sealed top.  To his credit, it IS in very good condition.

    The drum came from an auto service shop...labeled as containing motor oil.  I have about 100 old pallets in my warehouse to use for a burn out, so I'm not really worried about what was in the drum.  My problem is, I don't know how to cut the top off so that my Webber Grill lid will fit properly on top of the UDS.

    Do I want to cut INSIDE the top lip of the drum - or right below the lip, essentially cutting off the lip??

    Any help would be appreciated. 

    PS - I got a good condition Webber kettle grill off of CL for $20, so this should be a pretty inexpensive build - If I can get the top of the damn drum off! 

  2. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Cut the inside top of the drum. You want to keep the rolled edge for strength.
  3. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Good point!  I'm also unsure now how to go about cutting the top off.  Any suggestions?

    I don't have a cutting torch, but maybe a sawzall with a few new blades would do the trick?  [​IMG]

    Should I be worried about rinsing out the drum really well before attacking it with something to try and remove the top??
  4. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    a grinder with metal cutting wheels works great
  5. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for the suggestion...It just so happens that I already needed to buy an angle grinder pretty soon - as I've got to put in some new metal flashing on our roof that was just replaced.  It seems like now would be the time to invest in this tool - not because I'm too anxious to complete my honey-do project on the roof, but because I want to get this drum built ASAP!  [​IMG]

    I looked on the side of the barrel again and it says, "SAE 30 -- custom blended heavy duty oil"

    Should I be concerned about sparking this thing with a metal grinder?!?  It says right on the label "not to cut or weld on the container."

    But I was thinking if I treated it like a propane tank on a trailer smoker build, and just filled it with soapy water and let it sit a couple days, that I would be ok then with proceeding to grind the top off.  ANY SUGGESTIONS HERE THAT COULD SAVE MY LIFE WOULD BE APPRECIATED!   [​IMG]
  6. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I used an old wood chizel that I sharpened, I used it just like a can opener, just angle the chizel and hit it with a hammer, do that all the way around until the lid is free. then lay the drum on its side on a solid concrete surface and hammer down the sharp edges. That is how I did mine, it worked great and took about 1/2 hour. Make sure you wear some hearing protection!
  7. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    My first was made from a motor oil drum. I used an air chisel and it worked great. No sparks with the air chisel. 
  8. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  9. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for the advice...not sure if I know anyone with an air chisel, so this might not be a quick build like some of you could accomplish on a Saturday morning.  [​IMG]

    I'll have to do some asking around.  As of now, the only other obstacle I've noticed (since I already have ALL the parts) is that the Webber lid is just OH so close to fitting over the the top lip - but yet, it definitely does NOT fit over it.

    I'm thinking I can bend the lip of the the grill lit out just a hair all the way around, and it will be a good seal.

    Thanks again for the helpful advice....there is no way I would already be able to produce awesome 'que without the help of this forum.
  10. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Update:  My younger brother who is WAY more mechanically inclined than I am, responded to an email I sent him this morning - regarding the drum project.  I had mentioned to him how guys have treated their old propane tanks before going at them with a torch....about filling them with liquid dish soap and then filling them up with water until all of the soap bubbles run out.

    He said that is how he's welded on some drums at the fab shop where he works.  (if it wasn't 3 1/2 hours away and me with no way to get there right now, he would be building this for me! )

    He said that the soap forces the oil to float on top and come out of the barrel, and if I do this a couple times - the detergent will have broken down and flushed out enough oil that I can safely remove the drum top.  He said after the 2nd flush, to dump out about half the water, then drill my pilot hole and start hacking away with the sawzall.

    That's the plan...so we'll see how it goes.  Thanks again to everyone for the input.
  11. porkaholic

    porkaholic Smoke Blower

    One more thought, I just drilled a pilot hole and inserted a saber saw with a heavy metal blade.  Cuts very clean and easily.  You can just ride the saw around on the lip of the drum and stay close to the edge without much effort.  Good luck with the build, I am working on my third one now.
  12. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Update:  I found a company here in town that sells their drums - picked one up for $10 and it looks almost brand new.  It's an open top drum so I no longer have to worry about cutting the top off!

    The problem is that unlike the first drum I got that had motor oil in it, this one had some sort of gear lube that looks like tar.

    Someone on another site suggested that I take the drum to the car wash and use the "engine degreaser" setting to remove most of the residue before my burn out.  It sounded like a great idea, but it didn't work at all.  I'm not sure if it was maybe the particular car wash I chose to go to (in the "hood" - very old business, old equipment, etc. :-) or if it's just that I'm not going to be able to work with this particular drum.

    The 'engine degreaser' setting at the car wash produced the very low flow of water (like when you switch from the high pressure soapy wash to the low pressure 'spot free rinse', for example).  About 10-15 % of the gear lube came out, but that was after 5 straight minutes of switching back and forth from the engine degreaser setting to the power soap setting.  The last minute or so - I didn't really remove much residue.

    So - my next thought is to head to Autozone or some place similar, and buy a quart of commercial grade degreaser and see how that works.  I'm thinking either the Orange Zap, or perhaps Simply Green Degreaser.

    What are your thoughts on this??  Anyone had any success with these products?   I know both are advertised as "all natural" as opposed to those that use harsh chemicals.

    I have put ads on Craigslist for food grade drums, and I've also called almost every business in town that I could find that deals with food products.  I was told by everyone that they either use plastic or fiber drums or no drums at all.  (BOO!!)  I've already spent a fair amount on a step bit, hardware, webber grill parts, ball valve, etc...so I don't want to order a new drum online - as once this all adds up, it will kind of deflate the whole personal satisfaction I would get from creating a great smoker on a low budget!

    I thought of one more thing - since I get LTL freight deliveries daily here at work, I'm going to start asking truck drivers if they deliver products anywhere around my area that are contained in steel drums - then I can call these businesses and see about getting one.

    Now that I've got all the tools and parts, I'm dying to get started - all I need is a way to clean out this damn drum!
  13. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wait till the sun goes down, fill it with broken up pallets and light it on fire. Throw more pallet wood and some scrap plywood if you can find some and get that puppy red-hot. Wire wheel it the next day and check for gear oil. I'll bet you won't find any.
  14. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    HA!  Based on your profile picture, I would say you know about drums.  [​IMG]

    Thanks for the reply...I was hoping to dissolve some of the gear lube and THEN burn it -  but after two unsuccessful attempts now with degreasers, I will take that advice and just burn baby burn.  I already took 4 pallets home last week and ripped them down the middle so they'll fit in the drum.  Might just take 3 or 4 more home tonight.
  15. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    I agree with Pete. Burn it out a couple times.