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4xAggie 138 gal Pit Construction (4-17-16)
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4xAggie
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Joined: 16 May 2013
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Location: Katy, TX

PostPosted: Wed Jun 19 13 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
JM2C i run 7/8 acet...35 oxy i don't think i ever ran acet at 15 ever YMMV


I think every welder may have their own preferences. I started off pretty consistent with 5/25-30, and then had some folks provide suggestions up at the ranch over the years. I was probably pretty close to 7/8 and 35 on those cuts. And, I was actually a little nervous--I had to replace the Acetylene torch pressure gauge after that weekend. The needle was a little sticky, and I didn't want to get it too high at all.
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19 13 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I miss read I thought your end plates were the .500. The 0-1-101 would be my choice for the 1/4" plate my pressures are set at 30 psi on the oxygen and about 8 on the acetylene. These are my preferences not book settings just my preferences. When you know your equipment you can perform to your fullest capability.
I prefer a torch over a plasma.
.375 wall cut free hand.


1/4" plate free hand.

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Wreckless
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19 13 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

k.a.m. wrote:
I guess I miss read I thought your end plates were the .500. The 0-1-101 would be my choice for the 1/4" plate my pressures are set at 30 psi on the oxygen and about 8 on the acetylene. These are my preferences not book settings just my preferences. When you know your equipment you can perform to your fullest capability.
I prefer a torch over a plasma.
.375 wall cut free hand.


1/4" plate free hand.

So the TP is for when the acetylene regulator gets bumped? Laughing
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19 13 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No Mike. The TP is when you let your grandchildren wrap your house and you have more important things to do rather than pick up their carnage. Laughing
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4xAggie
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23 13 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for not updating this for a month Sad -- it just takes time, and there's only so much obvious progress that I can make.

Here was the final finish on the end caps:



Next, I got started cutting out the 1/2" plate for the firebox. This came in the 24" x 73" sheets, which was convenient for making a 24" x 24" x 20" firebox. I had done a good bit of thinking, and added 1/2" to the front height and top length--which would allow for a full overlap for the firebox door and help in mating the firebox to the pipe and the end cap--it'll make more sense with later pictures.

The 02 tip worked better on 1/2" plate and freehand -- not completely perfect, but at least the pieces came right apart. Later cuts with my new 00 tip were much cleaner.




Laying out the sides:


Getting it tacked together, and setting the top in place. I used C clamps and a hydraulic jack to fight against gravity and get it set up just as I wanted.



One thing I'm really seeing is how important good set ups are for good welds. Slightly open corner welds allowed for complete penetration, and I used grooves on the bottom of the firebox for the 2" portions of the front where the door won't be (the door wasn't grooved to provide a full flush fit).



The firebox all tacked up, except for the firebox to cooker chamber side, which I left open for access during welding, and to give me some extra time to contemplate the opening (size, how to cut it out, room to finish the cut, etc.).

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4xAggie
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23 13 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At this point, I realized I needed something to help pick up and move the 400 lb box in small amounts--tractor hydraulics are just a bit erratic. Time for a new toy!


Weld out of the 5 sides took me 2 weekends.



I started with a 6011 root pass, and I got pretty good penetration when I had a small gap in the setup. Nevertheless, I even put a bead on the inside because I wanted a "pretty" bead finish if I happen to look inside--not necessary, but I'm pretty picky.


Before/after pictures:






Next steps (see questions in a future post) are to 1) cut/finish the opening, 2) attach the last side, 3) cut out the firebox door, 4) weld out the last side, and 5) attache the firebox.

I've measured out the opening multiple times (I even used the circle cutter to plan out the cut), but just can't quite fire it up and make the cut--don't want to mess up the metal.


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4xAggie
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23 13 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some questions I have before moving further:

1) I've seen kam's sacrificial plate at the top of the firebox (I believe it was a 3/8" plate set sloping 1/4" to 1/2" from the top). Since the cooker has been in use for a while now, I figure more info is available about how well it works. Should I include one for my design?

I'm planning to put a warming chamber in place, and the top of my firebox is 1/2" plate. Now is the time to put one in while I can still easily get into the firebox. If I include one, I would use 1/4" plate, and try to keep the same 1/4" to 1/2" sloped spacing on top. Please let me know if I should modify in any way. I do wonder if the 1/2" plate on top combined with the 1/4" plate would minimize heat transfer into the warming chamber

2) Rack spacing in the cooker. I'm planning to do a 2-level cooking surface in my 26" diameter cooker chamber, and will do a hybrid cooker (tuning plates that can be sealed for RF mode). I'm planning to put the bottom of the plates at 8" from the outside (matches the bottom of the top of the firebox), and then put the top of the lower grate at the centerline of the pipe. This would give me roughly 4.75" from the top of the tuning/RF plates to the top of the lower grate.

I'm pretty sure these fit within the normal range, but would they be preferred? Would you guys modify those in any way?
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23 13 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

4xAggie, very nice work so far. Very Happy
While I cannot say what temps you will have in your warmer with the thicker firebox I can tell you my warmer runs at about 145° to 160° depending on where I am running the main chamber.
The reason I put the plate in was because I saw what a beating my R/F cooker was taking that I built my son-in-law. I have since put one in his cooker and the only change it made was his warmer dropped in temp about 10°.
With the 1/2" plate you may not need one as you are running twice the thickness as normal.
While 4.75" will work I prefer 6" between my plates and the top of my grate, I would use a 6" to 7" wide deflector to achieve it.
You lost me here.
I'm planning to put the bottom of the plates at 8" from the outside (matches the bottom of the top of the firebox),
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4xAggie
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23 13 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the response!

Sorry, the 8" is the planned distance from the outside of my pipe to the bottom of the top of the firebox. Shocked

With the setup I was thinking of, I wouldn't deflect downward.

I suppose one of the reasons for the 4.75" is that I think I remember reading that you like the RF plate to be a little closer (1" to 5"), and I thought this would balance between tuning plates and RF.

In any event, what are the implications of the plates being closer to the bottom rack? i.e. Higher rack temperatures? Lower air velocity in the channel below the plates?
Just wondering--though I don't mind doing so, before I change the plan, I like to know the reasons why.

I know personally, I'm not sure if I want to deflect it downward--it would hold a certain cross sectional area through the firebox to chamber opening (in my case 92 in2) as a "control" parameter and then neck it down to a smaller cross section later on in the flow (if I dropped down to make the 6", the cross section under the tuning plate channel would be 86.5 in2). This would make the area under the tuning plates a potential airflow restriction, rather than the opening. I don't want to change what works, but I do like to understand why things work the way they do.

On the plate--I'm going to go ahead and put one in, but probably a smaller one (say 8" to 10"), but make it removable. If I don't like it, I can always take it out. If it's 1/4", then it and the 1/2" would net 0.75", which is only 1/8" more than you have on yours (1/4"+3/8"=0.625"). I'm not sure what temperature to expect (or what I even want)--I've never used one before. It's just something that I think I have the steel for, and I figure I may as well add it's something I may want.
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23 13 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

4xAggie, as I said your 4.75" will work. I personally like a 6" spacing in my plates when using tuning plates. I use my cooker primarily in tuning plate mode because I prefer this way of cooking. When you have a close vertical distance on your plates the heat coming up in the gaps can be intense. For a dedicated R/F cooker yes I prefer my plate 1" to 5" below my grate. For me knowing the chances of me running in reverse flow dominantly were slim so I adjusted in the tuning plates favor.
As far as the deflector changing flow I have been using them for years with no ill effect. I use a 6" to 7" wide plate and only let it fall about 10° to 20°. Mine has one welded in permanently it falls about 1.25" if memory serves me correctly.

I helped TQ set one up in a reverse flow not long ago due to the firebox height needing it. His report back to me was it worked like a charm.
My advice is set the cooker up which ever way it makes you feel comfortable and then learn how it works. Wink
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4xAggie
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23 13 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks kam!

I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do yet on the drop and distance, but I can move forward on my project. I now know that I'm not going to lower my firebox connection onto the cooker, which is why I paused and asked the question Exclamation

I feel pretty safe to go ahead and make the cut on the opening, and try to get the thing mounted.
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4xAggie
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03 13 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Couple of quick questions (I'm trying to mark out my cooking chamber doors this weekend):

-What spacing do you guys recommend around the vertical door straps? By "spacing", I mean 1) the offset from the edge of the cooker to the outer edge of the door strap, and 2) the spacing between the two straps for the left and right doors.

I'm using the 1/8" x 1.5" strap split evenly on either side of the door. I could see anything from 2" to as small as possible (1/4" to even flush with the edge). I'm not really planning to bridge the cooking grate support angles (they don't need to be welded to the end caps). This is mostly an aesthetics issue--but it also makes sense to have bigger doors for more access into the pit.

- What size of warming chamber opening is recommended?

As it relates to laying out the doors, I want to make sure I have enough area available for the opening, and I need to make sure the grate supports don't interfere with whatever slide mechanism I put into it. I'll have about 3" under the grate and above the firebox, so maybe I can keep everything under the grate and not worry about it. Otherwise, I need to shift the edges/angle in a little so I have enough room.

Thanks for the help--hope to have some good pictures after the weekend.[/list]
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4xAggie
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03 13 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just for clarification on the warming chamber opening (between the cooking chamber and the warming chamber):
I'm talking about an opening that would be used if, for whatever reason, I wanted to put smoke on whatever is in my warming chamber (like sausage, anything else, etc.). This would normally be closed.
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Pappy
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03 13 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enjoying the build. Keep the pics coming.
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4xAggie
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06 13 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Pappy! Here are a few more for you!

Started off putting in my sacrificial plate(s). I wanted it to be removable in case the plate insulated the eventual warming chamber too much to get up to temperature (plus it'll be easier to replace in the future). I used two 6" wide by 1/4" plates, which are offset at 5" from the front edge of the firebox and 7" from the back. The 7" spacing makes a 6" plate removable, but also gives coverage in the portion of the firebox that gets the most direct heat exposure. I put in 1/2" tabs on the front and back to hold the plates.

I used the plates to help set the rails, but then took them out for a picture:

With the plates (note that the box was turned upside down, so the plates aren't resting on the guides):


I finally made the firebox to cooker opening cut. The actual torch cut was fairly smooth and much cleaner than before (the smaller tip helped a lot), but I'm still not where I'd like to be. Oh well, the grinder and flap disc took care of any imperfections very well.


The opening geometry actually left me with a slightly larger opening than called for (96 sq. in. vs. 92 sq. in.). I'll take opinions on whether I need to downsize a bit. In general, I'm not too worried, but my firebox is slightly bigger than called for by the cooking chamber, so I may need to make modifications at some point. That said, I'm pretty happen with it right now.

Then I got the last side of the firebox fit up, tacked, welded up, and finished out. I'll spare you guys more pictures of the process, but the end results made me pretty happy. Note that I kept tally marks of the number of weld passes it took to fill up the 1/2" fully open corner welds. Yes, that's 8 to 10 passes each. 6011 root pass and then 1/8" 7018s.


Next I cut out the front door of the firebox. I used a paint pen to make some permanent marks that should help realign the door when it's time to put it back on. For the actual cutting, I was somewhat a mess--I couldn't decide between the torch (ease of use, faster, more "normal", etc.) and a saw cut (nicer finish). At first I tried just the abrasive saw cut for the finish, but I wound up doing both. I used the torch to make starter cuts, leaving the middle and corners for later, and then used the saw to clear it out, straighten the cuts, and give a mostly very consistent edge. Note that I (again) tried to get a little cute with the torch (I tried to use a strap guide to make straighter cuts), and again found that just going freehand gets it done much easier. Maybe I won't mess around next time.



I'm very happy with the finish. This isn't the greatest picture, but you may get the idea. Now I've got very even sides that won't have as much drift from grinding. I will first put weld on any spots that aren't flush, and then grind it out evenly.


I was very pleased with the work for the weekend:



I should be able to work next weekend as well. Items to do include 1) filling in on firebox door cuts, 2) putting a weld bead on the inside seam on the last side, and 3) prep and attachment of the firebox onto the cooking chamber pipe!
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gibby
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06 13 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

4xAggie - Just started following your build. Nice work! Looking forward to seeing more.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06 13 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aggie,

Looking good!......I can definitely tell you're an engineer. That will pan out for you in the end I'm sure. As to your opening size, I think you are fine. She should draw nicely with a bigger firebox and larger opening. You can always choke it down a little if necessary.

Looking forward to more updates!

Ed
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06 13 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

4xAggie, very nice work your making some nice progress. Very Happy

As far as your firebox opening you will be fine with what you ended up with in my opinion.
On the outer door spacing I have gone nearly to the end on some notching out for my grates to slide through and I have come in some and suspended the rails allowing the grates to be more open. It is a preference call.
These rails are to the edge.


So are these.


Or you can pull in and suspend them just leave yourself enough center bar on two doors for support I like about 5".

My opening into the warming chamber from the cooking chamber is 6" square which is slightly larger than the chambers exhaust.
I hope this helps. Very Happy
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4xAggie
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07 13 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Gibby, Cat, & kam
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Txagg



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 12 13 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks good, as a fellow Aggie with a 1/2 finished BBQ in my garage good work!

Thanks and Gig'Em
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