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RF vertical smoker, Finished with pics!!!!!
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ggarner
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Joined: 22 Mar 2010
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12 10 4:58 pm    Post subject: RF vertical smoker, Finished with pics!!!!! Reply with quote

So I have finally started on my reverse flow vertical smoker build. I will try and keep taking pics to follow along with the build.

So here is the design that I ended up going with.



And here it goes!
Cutting all the tubing to make the frame. I ended up going with 2x2x.065 square tubing, and after am now sort of wishing I had used .095 or .12 because welding this stuff is a pain in the butt.

Decided to make the front and rear of the frame with mitred corners for added strength, and because I am just kinda anal about stuff like this HAHA.

I made all the cuts with my evolution rage 2 saw, and after making sure to get the fence set correctly the angles were dead on.


I dont have my mig welder yet, so I am stick welding this whole thing. Hence why I wish I had gotten the thicker tubing. I took a couple pieces of scrap to get my machine settings down, and was very disappointed when my 3/32 7014 rod burnt through shortly after striking an arc. After playing around with some different rods I found that my choices were:
3/32" 6011
1/16" 6013
1/16" 7014
Ended up using the 7014's and 6013s. Have to run my welder bottomed out at 30A for the butt welds and can go up to 45 for the inside corners. Needless to say the welding took way longer than I expected.

Here is a corner after welding it up


And here is after grinding the weld off


Here are the 2 main pieces of the frame after grinding


I dont have any pics of attaching the cross braces but after I tacked them I ran into this problem when I started welding up all the seams.


The tubing is so thin that I had to have the welder on 30A. But because of this I kept getting cold starts for the first 1/4" of weld. After a couple of these I went and got my torch and preheated the metal and it was no longer a problem, but preheating 14 of these followed by welding used up most of my day. Tomorrow I will get some pics of the full frame. I still need to add the lower supports which will be near the firebox area.

The inside and out of the smoker will be skinned with 12ga cold rolled steel, and the firebox area will be lined with 3/16" plate. I am planning on adding a Watts full port 2" ball valve for air control and for draining the water pan/grease tray.


Last edited by ggarner on Wed Feb 16 11 8:32 am; edited 6 times in total
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bkabina



Joined: 15 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12 10 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your off to a great start. I will be watching for the progress pictures. Very Happy
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ggarner
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Joined: 22 Mar 2010
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 13 10 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bkabina: Thanks! I will try and keep them coming.

Well today I got the rest of the skeleton frame finished up and prepped for the sheet metal to be added


Here is the main portion of the frame that I finished yesterday and forgot to take pictures of:


This is an example of what preheating the metal with a torch was able to do for me. No more cold starts!!


Here is the frame all finished up with the extra supports for the firebox section added in and everything ground off flat.


Closeup of the firebox section


Everything ground off nice and flat.


I am going to be out of town Sat, so I will have to resume the build on Monday. Hoping to get the 12ga cold rolled steel picked up as well as the 3/16" plate for the firebox area and start cutting it to size.

I have a question though. I am planning on skinning the interior of the smoker first so welding the sheet metal should not be a problem. But just thinking down farther down the line, whats the best way to weld on the exterior sheet metal? Seems like plug welds may be the easiest, but I have never made any of these before so any tips would be appreciated. How far apart should they be etc?
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13 10 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ggarner, I like the looks of your build so far the frame looks fantastic. Very Happy I have never spot welded such a large area but I would think 3/16'' to 1/4'' holes every 2'' will ensure a solid make up. If you stick weld them the 7014 might be better for the plug weld since you have them. I like the 6013 and use it on most of my plug welds but you end up with a pin hole sometimes and needs to be re welded. I look forward to seeing some more pics and updates. Very Happy
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Jonnyrod
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Joined: 11 Feb 2010
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Location: Pasadena, Tx.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 13 10 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks great! You know on the thin stuff with a such a short bead, I drag the rod from one end to the start point with a little long arc. This warms up the rod and the steel so you don't need to preheat and all the BBs are consumed when you go back over it. Smile Do you have a tig set up there at home?
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ggarner
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16 10 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

k.a.m. Thanks! I thought I would be able to knock out the frame faster than I did, but live and learn i guess. In retrospect (After talking to a friend of mine who is a professional welder) The thicker tubing would have saved me a lot of headaches and would have been worth the extra $$ in material costs. But o well! Thanks for the suggestion on the spot/plug welding. I am going to have to try it out on some scrap first to make sure I dont make a mess of things. Do you basically just bury the rod in the hole and wait for the puddle to fill up the hole while feeding in more rod? I can try the 6013 and 7014 and see which one comes out looking better.

Jonnyrod: Thanks! I have done that drag technique with 7018 before to get the rod hot and keep porosity out of the start of the weld. My only thought with this 1/16 rod is that it puts out so little heat it may not get the tubing warm enough, but its def worth a try! I dont have a tig setup, I have never actually even tried to tig before but imagine it would be pretty disastrous! HAHA. My next 2 investments are to get a new helmet (because the one I have is no bueno) and to hopefully get a miller passport before the build is over.
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Cranky Buzzard
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16 10 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm looking forward to watching this one!

So far it looks great!

Charlie
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ggarner
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 17 10 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, picked up all my metal this morning about 350lbs of cold rolled 12ga steel (3 pieces of 36"x120") and 160lbs of 3/16" plate for the firebox. Was trying to save money by cutting them myself (with an angle grinder) and cut a few sheets and decided this was for the birds! So I talked to a friend of mine and found out the place that rolled the rings for my santa maria cooker has a big bending brake that can do 10ga x 10' wide and can shear the stuff for me for cheap too. So tomorrow I am going to mark all the pieces and drive it over to have them shear it for me because it will save a ton of time and a soar back.

Thinking of having the exterior skin bent to 90's so that I can butt weld the pieces instead of having to do corner welds on the whole thing.

Anyway that was all the progress for today.
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ggarner
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 20 10 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Charlie!

I got all my sheet metal back yesterday cut to my specs. Not bad, i think it was 15 pieces or something like that and it cost me $60 to have it sheared. Def worth it to me as it saved me hours and hours with the cut off wheel on my grinder!

Well here is the bottom of the firebox after getting tacked to the frame. This is 3/16" and used 3/32 6013 to attach it.


This is a pic of the inside vertical seam after I welded it together with some 7014


And here is the bottom seam after welding it together.


And here is the finished firebox after it was all sealed up


I have not attached the top of the firebox yet because I think it will be easier to finish skinning the rest of the interior of the firebox and do this lastly. That way I can have the cooker on its back and be able to actually sit in there and weld up all the seams.

So far so good thought! I got my casters ordered yesterday, because its getting a little heavy to carry around by hand now at about 200lbs.

Where do most of you get your high temp insulation? I have been looking around for 2" mineral wool but am having a hard time sourcing a vendor.
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bman
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Joined: 26 Jun 2010
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Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22 10 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

that is one good looking cooker you are building. I got my insulation from www.mcmastercarr.com. Do a search and you will find they have different thickness and different types. Good luck on your build and keep posting the pics.
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Wreckless
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Joined: 15 May 2009
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Location: New Braunfels, TX

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22 10 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ggarner, on the welds...carry on. They look just fine for .065" tubing with a stick welder. I just finished some platforms for a couple of tripod deer stands using a MIG on .065" tubing and managed to blow a hole or two. If you are still in the game with the stick, you must have some game. Your build is looking very nice. Take a break and jam over to the Glamis dunes for the T-giving weekend for me if you get a chance, should be awesome. Sorry, had to throw that in there when I saw your locale.
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nachovo
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Joined: 28 Jul 2009
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Location: Idaho

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23 10 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm liking the looks of your build, signing up to watch the rest.

Keep up the good work!
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Jonnyrod
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23 10 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's coming along fantastic. I agree with the money spent on the shearing. Cool Everything looks really nice and square and will be a real nice unit when you are done.
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ggarner
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Joined: 22 Mar 2010
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23 10 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bman: Thanks! I was looking around for a better price on the insulation, but didnt feel like waiting for home depot to special order it, so I placed my order this am with McMaster for High-Temperature Sheeting . I ended up getting 2 24x96 lengths of 2" and 1 1"x24"x96". This should have me covered for the whole build. The nice thing is that I had my friend order it for me and they have a delivery guy down there who stops by the shop 2x a day for deliveries. So get your order in by 9am and they will have it at the shop by 2pm, order after that and the guy comes @ 8am as well. So I should be getting it tomorrow afternoon when he gets back from work.

Wreckless: Thanks man! It was more of less just a learning curve of what rod I could get away with in different positions without burning through. Yea that would be a fun little weekend, but we have family coming into town so I will be stuck hanging around here.

nachovo: Thanks! I am slowly making progress day by day!

Jonnyrod: Thanks, yes I agree the shearing was money well spent. Hard to beat $60 for 18 or 20 cuts, that were accurate down to a 1/16 of an inch!

I dont have any pis of todays progress, but I got one of the interior walls in. I butt welded the 12ga to the 3/16 and it went really smooth. I used some 3/32 6013 at 90A and it was smooth sailing! I then welded the 12ga to the tubing in the front to make sure it was air tight so that there would not be any leaking from the cooking chamber into the insulated portion of the cooker. Tomorrow I hope to get the other wall and the back sheet fitted in and welded up. After I have this done I will have some updated pics, since it will actually be looking somewhat like a smoker!
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23 10 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ggarner, your cooker is looking fantastic. Very Happy She is starting to take some shape. Very Happy Your laying down some nice beads they look Great.Very Happy Keep up the fine work I will be watching for more updates and pics. Very Happy
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ggarner
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03 10 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Kam!

I have been lagging a little on getting some pics up of progress so here you guys go

Smoker with all 3 interior walls in place.



Side view



Top down



Some of the stitch welds holding the 12ga sheet to the frame. After I had the 3 piece of the sheet tacked in I did all the stitch welds. Then I crawled inside and fully welded all the seams so she will be air tight. Took quite some time since it was 20+ feet of weld. Done with 3/32 6013



Here you can see what the inside looked like before I welded up all the seems. This is a pic of the roof. I still have to cut the holes that the 1x6 tubing will fit through to make the exhaust.



Ordered the high temp insulation and it came the next day from McMaster. Thats a nice thing about having a friend whose company is in their delivery range. Think it ended up costing about 85 bucks after tax and delivery.



Wow this stuff will def make your forearms itchy!



Flipped the smoker upright and figured to get the height that I wanted I would need legs 5" in length. This is after I welded on all the legs.



I then cut come 3/16" plate to make feet for the casters to mount to, and got those mounted as well. And then is when I realized there was a problem. The feet were already welded on and the plate to cover the exterior bottom was too wide to fit past the feet. I ended up using a 2" ratchet tow strap to bend the piece of sheet metal so it would fit between the feet which was no easy task. Once it was in place I clamped it down and then plug welded every 2". I found that 5/16" holes worked really well for this and used some 3/32 7014 rod. I am thinking for the rest of the exterior panels I may just 1" long slits every 2" and then weld through the slit. Any thoughts on this?

My uncle has a bunch of old 2" brass ball valves so I got him to send me one. These are about 25 years old and were used in a greenhouse for about 20 years. So needless to say they were a little tarnished Wink The blue color is from a mix of oxidized copper and years of having fertilizer drip on them, so i used the benchtop grinder with a wire brush on it to get them back to looking new. Here is a little comparison photo of what you can get doing this. Took about 15 min to get it fully polished up.

Just for size reference that is a 10" long wrench! HAHA
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Smokenstein
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03 10 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice build!

I'm curious to know what's the cost of an equivalent commercially made unit is in comparison final cost of this build?

Beside the personal satisfaction of building your own, are you implementing any new features/designs that a comparable commercial units don't have?
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ggarner
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 04 10 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smokenstein wrote:
Nice build!

I'm curious to know what's the cost of an equivalent commercially made unit is in comparison final cost of this build?

Beside the personal satisfaction of building your own, are you implementing any new features/designs that a comparable commercial units don't have?


The pitmaker vault is what I sort of designed this cooker after. A similarly sized smoker from them goes for about 3k.

I have never actually seen one of their smokers in person, just a few pictures here on the ring really and from browsing their website. Things that jumped out the me were that the roof of the firebox shoul be angled up towards the rear, because this doubles as a water pan/ drippings catcher so this would make it easier to cleaning the grill (Not sure if they have this design or not). I also made the entire firebox out of thicker material. I believe their entire cooker is constructed of 12ga, and for the firebox area and the roof/floor of the cooking chamber I bumped this up to 3/16" steel.
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04 10 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ggarner, very nice work so far. Your cooker looks fantastic. Very Happy I missed your question earlier on about the method I use for plug welding I apologize for that. Embarassed
I run the stick into the hole and sort of draw a circle like your topping an ice cream cone finishing in the center. After a few you will get a rhythm that works.
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Jon D. Q.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04 10 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just wanted to tell you That I have very much enjoyed following your build so far and that I am looking forward to even more of your progress updates. Keep up the great work.
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