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First build! Later That same Decade....
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SmokIan
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Joined: 21 Jun 2011
Posts: 47
Location: Flatwoods, KY

PostPosted: Tue Jun 21 11 11:09 pm    Post subject: First build! Later That same Decade.... Reply with quote

Hey guys,

I have been reading on here for a couple months, but just now signed up. I have gained a wealth of great info from reading here! I am just getting started on my first build, so far I just have the Trailer done, I decided to get it done first & build the smoker on the trailer. The smoker will be mounted horizontally across the rear of the trailer (you would stand behind it to cook) & the firebox will come off the back of the smoker. I decided to go traditional instead of RF because I want to use is as a large grill some too. I may add removable tuning plates though. The smoker will be 53" wide x 39" deep x 4' tall, their will be 1 6" stainless stack on each side mounted a the height of the lowest grate. The firebox will be 36" x 21" x 21". The smoker is being made from 3/16" plate steel and the Firebox is being made from 1/4".


The trailer when I got her. She came from a 1978 Starcraft pop-up camper. Cost me a whole $80:


Trailer to Start by cellerbr


Trailer to start A by cellerbr

After the first round of cutting:


Trailer 1st cut by cellerbr


Trailer 1st cut A by cellerbr

And after all the cutting & reinforcing is done & the first layer of paint applied. Ready to start putting some smoker parts on!


Trailer first paint by cellerbr


trailer Reinforce & paint by cellerbr


Trailer reinforce by cellerbr


Trailer reinforce & paint a by cellerbr

That is all I have so far.. I plan on starting the smoker this evening, any tips/tricks/comments will be greatly appreciated. HOw would you guys go about cutting the plate steel? I can use a torch, grinder with a cutoff wheel, or a metal nibbler (which I have never used before). Which method would you guys use for the best results? I hope to post some more pics of the progress later tonight once I get some more done!

Thanks in advance for any advice,
Ian


Last edited by SmokIan on Wed Sep 26 12 11:24 pm; edited 7 times in total
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seattlepitboss
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Joined: 28 Oct 2008
Posts: 573
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22 11 12:10 am    Post subject: Re: New to The Smoke Ring + First build! Reply with quote

SmokIan wrote:
HOw would you guys go about cutting the plate steel? I can use a torch, grinder with a cutoff wheel, or a metal nibbler (which I have never used before). Which method would you guys use for the best results?


Hello, Ian, welcome to the Ring! You did a good job on that trailer. Be sure to check with your state patrol to make sure you fully understand their licensing requirements for homebuilt trailers. Most trailers like that one were licensed vehicles once and in Washington State, that means you must come up with the title or the affidavit from the titled owner saying they sold it to you. So be careful before you get too far.

Another thing to think about on your trailer is the weight distribution. You want to wind up with something like 45% of the weight on each tire and 10% of the weight on the tongue. If you get too far from that the trailer won't track correctly especially at highway speeds. I see a lot of guys who are great welders and very skilled cooker builders making these trailer-mounted cookers with negative tongue weight and I always wonder how they get them down the road. I did a quick-and-dirty center-of-gravity calculation on my RF build and realized I needed to move the axle as far back as I could. You have a lot of deck to work with - you could simply cut off the thing right behind your axle if you wanted to go that way. Something to think about, anyway.

I often cut flat plate steel with a plasma cutter fitted with a drag nozzle. I clamp a straightedge a tad less than 1/4" from my desired line and make the cut. If you have a worm drive saw you can buy steel cutting blades by Tenryu, s--t and other vendors. That way you can also saw to a straightedge and get a perfect line. If you live in or near a large city you can look up a local welding school which has a track burner. They would likely do your cuts for you free.

For cutting on a round horizontal tank, I like to roll strap steel (1/8x1") so it closely fits the curve of the tank, then tack it on a tad less than 1/4" from my line and then use my plasma cutter. That works really well. You can see this technique in my RF build thread:

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=42652

Good luck! Ask lots of questions, read a lot of posts, and keep posting pictures!

seattlepitboss
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SmokIan
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Joined: 21 Jun 2011
Posts: 47
Location: Flatwoods, KY

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22 11 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tips Pitboss! I think the weight distrobution on my trailer should be very close to what you are saying. The smoker body will be righ over the axle, the fire box will be in the middle of the trailer & then the front & tongue will be decked with a wood box/cooler on it. So by my estimation about 85-90% of the weight should be on the axle.

About the cutting, I don't have access to a plasma cutter, I wish I did, we use them at work, but that doesn't help me as they don't loan them out. So basically I am stuck with a torch, cutoff wheel, or metal nibbler.

Also, I tried to check out your RF, however, the pictures in your thread are not loading for me for some reason.

Thanks,
Ian
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TrailerBuilder
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Joined: 08 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22 11 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SmokIan, very nice start on your cooker build. By the measurements you list, sounds like she is going to be a nice one for sure. I always use my plasma when cutting but see no problem with you using a torch to cut. The thickness of your material should handle the heat of the torch with no problems. Just take your time and I'm sure you will be fine.

On a side note, and with all due respect, seattlepitboss, I'm not sure where you are coming up with the 45% over the wheels, 10% over the tongue to make it "track" properly, but your statement is not accurate. Weight distribution has nothing to do with how a trailer tracks down the highway. A trailer will track fine down the road with weight on it unless the spring hangers are not set correctly with each other and the axle is misaligned or "crooked". That is pretty much all that makes one not track properly. Tongue weight or placement really has nothing to do with it at all.

As far as the "skilled builders" not getting their tongue weight correct. It would be interesting to know how you figure that out from only seeing pictures that they post. I talk to a lot of these skilled builders often and we always calculate and recalculate weights and measurements to try to get the best distribution possible, and so far all have been real close to the right amount of tongue weight needed and they all "tracked" just fine.

Just my 2c worth.
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Last edited by TrailerBuilder on Wed Jun 22 11 5:23 am; edited 2 times in total
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RLane22
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Joined: 09 Jul 2009
Posts: 373
Location: Valley View TX.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22 11 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the Ring where we may not all agree at times but are willing to help in any way we can. Very Happy

Looks like your off to a good start SmokIan I will be watching this for progess and updates.

RL
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
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Location: Southeast Texas.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22 11 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the ring Ian, looking forward to seeing some pics of your cooks and following your cooker build. Smile
Your off to a fine start I love the axle setup that is very stout looking. Very Happy As far as plate and large pipe cutting mine is all done with my O/A setup. On small pipe, flat bar, tubing or angle it is done with the cold cut saw or porta band. You can make as clean and precise cut with your O/A as a PLasma if your using the proper tip and it is kept clean. I do not use circle cutters or tracks they slow me down and get in my way. I have a piece of 4" channel I rest and slide my hands on so I can relax and enjoy the ride. From reading it sounds like you have your weight pretty much figured out. 10% on the tongue is light in my opinion I would shoot for a finished 60/40 split even on a DP clone like your building. It will cut down on the axle whipping at traveling speeds. Troy is correct in that weight distribution has nothing to do with a trailer tracking, it is axle alignment that will make you or break you. Check in your area to see if you can license the trailer as shop built this will be much less in some cases than using the Starcraft vin. You have modified the trailer so it should fall under a shop built tag if it is available. I hope this helps and if you need any more feel free to ask. Smile
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GF
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Joined: 30 Apr 2011
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Location: Greenwich, CT.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22 11 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SmokIan, looks like you are of to a very good start. Check with DMV for registering the trailer, I know in Ct., they terrorize you trying to register a homemade trailer. I hope you have an easier time where your at. Enjoy your build , keep things updated when you can.
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SmokIan
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Joined: 21 Jun 2011
Posts: 47
Location: Flatwoods, KY

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22 11 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tips guys! I got the bottom plate of the smoker cut today (did it with a torch & a piece of angle for a straight edge, worked great!). Didn't get it welded on because of rain, it rained enough that I only got to work about 45 min on it. I hope to get more done on it tomorrow, weather permitting. As for the registering of the trailer, in the state of KY you are not required to license a trailer, which is nice. Also, K.a.m, what is a DP clone? The axle is pretty stout, it has electric trailer brakes, which I plan on wiring up just because they are there & they work..LOL... I hope to get enough done tomorrow to justify some pictures.

Thanks,
Ian
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
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Location: Southeast Texas.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22 11 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian, a DP clone is a cloned version of the Diamond plate cooker. They recently closed their doors but hopefully will be back in the race soon.
Here is a link to what they look like.
http://public.fotki.com/winstons/diamondplate_produc/
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SmokIan
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Joined: 21 Jun 2011
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Location: Flatwoods, KY

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22 11 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! Nice, glad to see someone has been building some quality units set up like I am looking to set mine up! Most I have found have been cheaper units sold online. Thanks for that link as it is nice to see how this style of setup has been built before! I am pretty excited about this build, I have been wanting a large pull behind for years & never wanted to shell out the $$$$ to buy one. I have been using a cheap offset & my Pro BBQ excel20 for a long time & they are getting very worn. If this build goes as well as I hope I am going to build a backyard offset next.
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daddywoofdawg
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Joined: 22 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22 11 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to throw it out there,make sure your tongue,axles,springs can handle the extra weight you'll be putting on.
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SmokIan
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Joined: 21 Jun 2011
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Location: Flatwoods, KY

PostPosted: Thu Jun 23 11 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well... We got both sides & the back cut this evening... Still no time to weld anything together. As long as there is no rain tomorrow I gaurentee some new pics with main parts of the smoker welded in & standing.
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SmokIan
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Joined: 21 Jun 2011
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Location: Flatwoods, KY

PostPosted: Fri Jun 24 11 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually got to put some metal on the trailer today!! We got the bottom, back & both sides tacked in today!!!

We had pursuade the one side to line up (we are using 3/16" leftovers from my local metal/fab shop).

2011-06-23_20-12-05_105 by cellerbr

My Dad getting that one tacked in..

2011-06-23_20-17-13_471 by cellerbr

Me doing some welding, I am a welding noob FYI, in my 29 years I have welded... Well I just started when we started this project last Thursday, so keep that in mind when you look at my welds Laughing


2011-06-23_21-05-31_79 by cellerbr


2011-06-23_21-05-43_105 by cellerbr


2011-06-23_21-09-55_379 by cellerbr

Done for the day


2011-06-23_21-10-48_718 by cellerbr


2011-06-23_21-10-55_208 by cellerbr


2011-06-23_21-10-49_670 by cellerbr


2011-06-23_21-10-41_208 by cellerbr


Sorry for the pic quality, I was using my phone for these.

The back is 2 pieces & that is simply a cost savings deal. I wish we could have found a piece of leftover that was big enough, but we didn't so it is getting seamed. Overall, other then my crappy looking welds, I am pretty pleased with the progress so far.

Take it easy,
Ian
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milt
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Joined: 09 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24 11 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used a pop-up trailer in this build also. I saved the
roof and made a frame and placed it over the smoker.
worked great for me.


http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l126/miltost/PDR_0694.jpg
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seattlepitboss
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Joined: 28 Oct 2008
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Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26 11 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TrailerBuilder wrote:
I'm not sure where you are coming up with the 45% over the wheels, 10% over the tongue to make it "track" properly, but your statement is not accurate. Weight distribution has nothing to do with how a trailer tracks down the highway. A trailer will track fine down the road with weight on it unless the spring hangers are not set correctly with each other and the axle is misaligned or "crooked". That is pretty much all that makes one not track properly. Tongue weight or placement really has nothing to do with it at all.

As far as the "skilled builders" not getting their tongue weight correct. It would be interesting to know how you figure that out from only seeing pictures that they post. I talk to a lot of these skilled builders often and we always calculate and recalculate weights and measurements to try to get the best distribution possible, and so far all have been real close to the right amount of tongue weight needed and they all "tracked" just fine..


OK, here is what I know. I used to borrow a 4x8' utility trailer all the time. It pulled just fine, straight as an arrow. I took it down and loaded it near capacity with railroad ties which just fit the bed, one flat layer, and on the way home it wouldn't go over 45 mph without racking violently side to side. Turns out I had negative tongue weight. I have also seen this other times, but never so graphically as that time. You and I may not be that far off. I have read many times that about 10% of the weight of a trailer should be on the tongue - is that what you are taking exception to? The other part is just balancing the weight side to side which isn't as critical. And this is all for a single axle trailer, with double axles all of this is out the window.

I note your handle is "Trailer Builder". If you can point me to some reliable information, I'd love to learn more. I'm just passing along what was passed down to me by whom I cannot remember.

This link says between 9-15% tongue weight: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-parts/towing/towing-capacity/information/tongue-weight.htm

This link says a tail heavy trailer can oscillate at speed, and suggests 10-15% tongue weight: http://www.sherline.com/lmbook.htm

The site etrailer.com also says unweighting the back axle of your vehicle with negative tongue weight can cause instability. It also recommends 10-15% tongue weight:

http://www.etrailer.com/faq-weightdistribution.aspx

So if you're still thinking I'm out in left field, at least you can see I'm not alone out there!

seattlepitboss
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26 11 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian, your design is a bit different from a DP but I am loving what I see very nice work. Very Happy I look forward to seeing some more pics and updates. Very Happy
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romex2121
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26 11 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i had a chance to get one of those pop-up trailer frames for a $100.00 and i turned it down cause i didnt want to mess with taking all the busted camper parts off,, i kick myself in the butt now for not getting it,,,,
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TrailerBuilder
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28 11 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SmokIan, your cooker project is looking good man. Dont worry about your welds, they can always be ground down to make look nice. For a rookie welder, your taking on a big project and seems like your doing just fine. Keep up the good work and the updates and pics.

Sorry that I stole the thread a bit, I really didnt mean for that to happen. I will say though, that tracking has nothing to do with an over loaded trailer that fishtails or "walks" around. Again, I do apologize for butting in on your cooker thread. Very Happy
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GF
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Joined: 30 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28 11 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SmokIan, looks good so far. A interesting design. Looking forward to more updates.
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rodneymeatsnsweets
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28 11 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SmokIan Nice looking build so far. I will be watching for updates. Long as your seams are tight don't worry about how your welds look, grinding and paint works wonders.... Very Happy
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