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250 gallon trailer build
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k.a.m.
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Location: Southeast Texas.

PostPosted: Jul 18 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flyingj wrote:
Nice! After I finally get the nerve up to cut my doors, I'll do just that. When I see a reply like this, I automatically overthink the solution like: where can I find a hydraulic press, etc. Confused. Thanks kam!

You are very welcome.
I do 90% of all my bending by hand. I have pieces of pipe in various diameters that I use for jigs.
I can grab one of those and bend a piece of flat bar quicker than most folks can think about it and set up a press. It is great to have access to equipment however I do not. I was taught fabrication in the field, out there you learn how to make do with what you have on hand. Very Happy
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Flyingj
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PostPosted: Jul 19 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply seattlepitboss. I appreciate the great information.
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seattlepitboss
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PostPosted: Jul 19 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

k.a.m. wrote:
I do 90% of all my bending by hand. I have pieces of pipe in various diameters that I use for jigs.
I can grab one of those and bend a piece of flat bar quicker than most folks can think about it and set up a press. It is great to have access to equipment however I do not. I was taught fabrication in the field, out there you learn how to make do with what you have on hand. Very Happy


Hey, absolutely and for sure! What I had was a shop press and that chunk of 24" pipe. That's why I used .. a shop press and piece of 24" pipe! Absolutely you use whatever you have to hand. No question Kevin's way is faster than mine. Probably better, too. I just did it the way I could figure out how to, thought maybe it would help someone else out.

seattlepitboss
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Wreckless
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PostPosted: Jul 19 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

seattlepitboss wrote:
Flyingj wrote:
I do plan for the cutout of my firebox to precisely match the dome cutout in the tank but plan on leaving the bottom of the arc on the FB straight across to provide a grease ledge instead of adding one later.


Great idea! Although I guess I didn't build a grease bridge into my cooker. I've been cooking in mine for almost 3 years now and the bottom under the RF plate is still completely dry. Doesn't seem like grease gets past the RF plate and if it did, it would have to somehow magically run around my washout drain and then run five feet slightly uphill to the firebox. A grease drain at the end of the RF plate farthest from the firebox, now that's very important.

Quote:
That's a great tip for making a plug for my hole. Did you build that circle cutter for your plasma torch? It looks like a dandy!


No, I didn't build it. Just picked it up somewhere, don't quite remember where. I've had a few of them over the years, but this one works really well for me. There's an Australian company called Tanjant that makes really good circle cutting attachments.

Quote:
Oh, and I meant to ask about bending the stock. It's 1/4". What's your method to get that nice smooth bend?


First, use a drawing program to draw a piece of circular arc with the same radius as the OD of your tank. (Is yours 30"?) Print it out. Now you have something you can compare it to as you form the flat bar.

I tried a couple of ways. Best would be a powered roll, but the closest one to me is about an hour away and I didn't think it was that important. The main way I did it was by "bump bending". I made up a little bending jig for my press and bent a little, then moved the bar and bent a little more. Lots of trying it to fit the curve. Pretty quickly it fit "close enough". Remember, we aren't building Swiss watches here!
I also tried bending it to the ID of a piece of scrap 24" tube I happened to have. In the end, I just used a combination of the two methods. One curved bar will yield quite a few patches.

Have a look. In the first pic, you see the bent bar next to the paper with the printed-out curve.



The next two pictures show bending techniques. The first one works fine - I only did the second because I happened to have that piece of pipe the right size. - seattlepitboss




I do prefer the second (last) pic method when possible tho I usually am applying it to 1/8" door straps. Since the doors are not on Flyingj's smoker yet, that area next to the cutout should be sufficient to still use this, an almost or slightly orange glow heat job with a torch once c- clamped in place should make a glove fit, only a slightly smaller radius, good fit. As far as a plug goes however and barring an extremely large plug, I won't bother with a radius and just weld in a flat plug slightly raised outside of the base mat'l (tank). A minute or so with a 40 grit flap disc will have that plug looking as one with the tank easily. My $.02 worth
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Wreckless
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PostPosted: Jul 19 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

k.a.m. wrote:
It is great to have access to equipment however I do not. I was taught fabrication in the field, out there you learn how to make do with what you have on hand. Very Happy

+1 AKA McGuyver AKA Necessity is the mother of invention. Cool More often than I would like, yup, pretty much how I survive in Wrecklessville
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Flyingj
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PostPosted: Jul 19 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Wreckless. Good idea on grinding the plug down. With my less than stellar welding skills, I am extremely proficient with a grinder Very Happy .
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Flyingj
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PostPosted: Jul 20 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally got around to do some more work on my smoker. The whole time I've had this propane tank, I assumed it was 1/4". After cutting the doors, I was pleasantly surprised that it is 3/8". No warping whatsoever on the doors (so far). That may change with all the welding I have yet to do.

I changed my mind 3 times on where to cut the opening for my firebox. I finally settled on 11" from bottom, thanks k.a.m! I guess cutting the bottom of the doors at 3:00, I could have come up to 12".




Not sure about leaving the flange inside the cut on the dome.


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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Jul 20 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice work on your cuts and fit up Flyingj. Very Happy I will be watching for more pics and updates. Very Happy
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Wreckless
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PostPosted: Jul 20 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flyingj wrote:
I finally got around to do some more work on my smoker. The whole time I've had this propane tank, I assumed it was 1/4". After cutting the doors, I was pleasantly surprised that it is 3/8". No warping whatsoever on the doors (so far). That may change with all the welding I have yet to do.

No door warp after cut? I think you have successfully crossed over the hardest bridge. For sure, the 3/8" thk will be in your favor here on out. Some pre-bending of your door straps using the I.D. of your cooker would be a nice follow through. The space next to your door opening looks good, you can use that before you install / hinge your doors. Not sure if you are planning to fully weld out your door straps or stitch weld them, IMHO, I have not really seen a need to fully weld them out. Fully welding them out seems to be a Major invite for Murphy to show up and tweaking 3/8" doors s not anything I would ever want to be part of, regardless of any tweak method. if you go the full weld out, as someone on here has posted "Slow and Steady wins the race" Stitch weld that door slowly. Just my $ .02 worth, FWIW. All looking good! Cool
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Flyingj
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PostPosted: Jul 21 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

k.a.m.: Thanks for your input. I appreciate it!

Wreckless: Sounds like stitching the flanges are the way to go.
I don't see a need for full welds. Thank you!
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Flyingj
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PostPosted: Aug 02 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't had much time to work on my smoker lately but I did get the firebox notch cut out with a reasonably tight fit for welding up. I'm having a hard time deciding whether to build up everything on the ground then put it on the trailer, or go ahead and mount the tank on the trailer and build from there.





Last edited by Flyingj on Nov 02 2014; edited 1 time in total
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Flyingj
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PostPosted: Aug 02 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yeah, I still need to build a trailer. Very Happy
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Flyingj
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PostPosted: Aug 05 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I decided to just keep building while it's on the ground and easier to maneuver around, and hope I have enough oomph to get er up on the trailer when it's time.





The doors are still in pretty good shape and I hope they stay that way after welding in the RF plate.


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Maniac
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PostPosted: Aug 05 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like she is going to get heavy real fast...beter get that trailer built quick Wink
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Flyingj
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PostPosted: Aug 06 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maniac wrote:
Looks like she is going to get heavy real fast...beter get that trailer built quick Wink


I couldn't agree more Maniac. Very Happy
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Flyingj
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PostPosted: Aug 26 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote



I decided to get started on the trailer part of the build. Still have a little more welding to do then I will dry fit the smoker and everything else that will be on the trailer to determine my axle position for proper tongue weight.

I may have to change the title of this thread as I am seriously considering jumping ship on the RF idea and going conventional with tuning plates. A hybrid is still a possibility but I'm not sure I want double stacks on this build. I bought a small smoker years ago that I believe was built by someone down in Corsicana and have cooked a lot of great tasting meat on it with even temps throughout the chamber. It has tuning plates with a RF stack on the firebox end only. Like I said, it cooks great but I don't know if this design will translate successfully to a 250 gallon pit. I haven't seen anyone on this site build one like that so I am suspect of it's design.

Thanks k.a.m for the time you've spent offsite, answering my many questions so far in this build. Can't wait to nail down the smoke flow design and get started putting it all together on the trailer. Very Happy

As always, any suggestions or input is greatly appreciated. I am having a ball with this project!
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Flyingj
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PostPosted: Sep 12 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote



After taking a little time away from my build to tend to a little farming and getting ready for hunting season, I got some more done on the trailer. It's all welded up and just about ready to put the smoker on.



I ran into a little problem while bolting the springs on. Advice here would be appreciated. When I tightened the locking nut down enough to pull the bolt head up flush with the shackle, burying the splines into it, it was all bound up, so when I backed the nut off a bit to free up the shackles, the nut had lost it's locking ability and galled (sp?) Very Happy pretty badly.

Once I get the axle problem figured out, I'm excited to start putting it all together.
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Sep 12 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Buy new bolts and nuts.
1.)
As you tighten the nut tap on the bolt head with a hammer this will help set the bolt.

2.)
Lay the strap on a solid surface like the corner of a welding table or open your vice just enough for the bolt to go through the jaws then place a bolt in a hole and preset it. Do this for both bolts, this is my preferred method.
Tighten the nuts to where they close down on the spring and hanger tightly then back them off a 3/4 turn.
I hope this helps. Very Happy
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Flyingj
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PostPosted: Sep 13 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks k.a.m. That worked great! For the front hangers, I pulled the bolt in with a non-locking nut and washer while tapping the bolt, then secured with a lock nut as per your instructions. I'm back in business. Very Happy
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Sep 14 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flyingj wrote:
Thanks k.a.m. That worked great! For the front hangers, I pulled the bolt in with a non-locking nut and washer while tapping the bolt, then secured with a lock nut as per your instructions. I'm back in business. Very Happy

Happy to help,
I am glad it worked for you. Very Happy
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