First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Horizontal smokers with a side firebox and tuning plates.
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Chukknob
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First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Chukknob » October 26th, 2018, 4:30 pm

Hello,

My first pit build and a couple questions come to mind before I get started. I'm doing a standard offset from an old compressor tank that had the ends cut off. 24"x60".

I don't have access to a forklift or engine hoist so I need to get the pipe off the ground first. Should I mount the pipe to a frame first (with casters) and then get started with cutting doors and attaching firebox?

I saw a cool video on youtube that frank did that showed how to find center and level on a pipe using a neat level. That would be ideal but they are kinda spendy for a single use. How would I find center manually? Also, please confirm I cut 1 inch past center for water run off and 1 inch below bottom center for more rack space?

What's the best method for cutting out the door to prevent warping? I planned on using a hand grinder since the metal is only 3/16''.

Thanks



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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Dirtytires » October 26th, 2018, 6:53 pm

Welcome.

I liked to have the tank movable/rotatable while building. Recommend mounting it last...just before firebox.

Let’s assume a 20 inch diameter tank. Drop a carpenter square over the top of the pipe and put a level on top of it. Rotate the square till the level reads plumb. The 10 inch mark on both reads of the square will give you top dead center and 90degrees.

Some tanks warp, some don’t as metal has a memory. Adding heat (plasma, grinder wheel) can increase that chance but not always. Don’t fret too much, a warp can be fixed.

Have fun... I love cutting doors!



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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Big T » October 26th, 2018, 7:17 pm

:welcome: :yth:


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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by The Czar » October 26th, 2018, 7:26 pm

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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Chukknob » October 26th, 2018, 8:37 pm

Thanks for the tips. I’m sure I’ll have more questions but I can’t wait to dig in.



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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Pete Mazz » October 27th, 2018, 4:19 am

Welcome


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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Chukknob » October 27th, 2018, 3:14 pm

Got the pieces cut off that would have been above the door. Now for the bottom pieces. Trying to decide whether they should stay and mount to the frame. Doing a patio model unless I can find a cheap trailer to mount this too. The top pieces took a while with an hand grinder.
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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Big T » October 27th, 2018, 8:47 pm

There was a recent build that left the feet on and I believe he mounted it on a trailer but you could mount it on a stand also.


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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by towtruck » October 27th, 2018, 11:10 pm

Welcome! Personally I would try and use those feet if you can. For a patio build I would run legs down off the existing brackets to a main frame at the bottom that has your casters on it. I would have that frame extend under the fire box without it being attached to the fire box so it does not get hot. The casters would mount as far apart as I could get them so there is no chance of it tipping down on the fb end.

But that is just how I would do it......and I'm no expert. There are lots of ways to skin that cat.



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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Chukknob » October 28th, 2018, 12:54 pm

Thanks towtruck.

Another quick question. Since this pipe had the ends cut off I had two 24” square cut from my sheet. I need to cut them to circles (how to do that is one question) but my main question is whether I should weld the whole circle to the firebox end and then cut the throat to match the firebox or should I just cut it to a half circle since I plan on attaching the firebox 24” up at center. The firebox itself will have the cutout for the throat.



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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by towtruck » October 28th, 2018, 1:40 pm

Chukknob wrote:
October 28th, 2018, 12:54 pm
Thanks towtruck.

Another quick question. Since this pipe had the ends cut off I had two 24” square cut from my sheet. I need to cut them to circles (how to do that is one question) but my main question is whether I should weld the whole circle to the firebox end and then cut the throat to match the firebox or should I just cut it to a half circle since I plan on attaching the firebox 24” up at center. The firebox itself will have the cutout for the throat.
Well, this is just how I roll......I would weld on the full square to the far end and use my torch to trim off the corners after it was welded on. I would weld the full circle on the fire box end after cutting it out leaving a grease dam in place. My welder friend calls me a farmer welder.....I cheat a lot!



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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Chukknob » October 28th, 2018, 1:41 pm

I need a torch. All I have currently is a hand grinder. Gonna be a lot of grinding.



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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by towtruck » October 28th, 2018, 1:47 pm

Chukknob wrote:
October 28th, 2018, 1:41 pm
I need a torch. All I have currently is a hand grinder. Gonna be a lot of grinding.
Hold those squares up to the ends and mark them off with chalk and then cut the corners off with your cut off wheel. You can also make a cardboard template to trace onto the metal.....I would do that. Torches are like ugly women...you don't have to have one but they sure make cheating easier.



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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Big T » October 28th, 2018, 4:31 pm

:yth: I use cardboard a lot when I'm cutting odd shapes, it's much cheaper than steel.


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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Chukknob » October 28th, 2018, 5:12 pm

One down
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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Chukknob » October 28th, 2018, 5:44 pm

I switched from Harbor Freight cutting discs to Benchmark and it was night and day. Cut the second circle in half the time and half the material.



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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by towtruck » October 28th, 2018, 5:56 pm

I have never tried the big harbor freight disks. I use the little 3" on my die grinder and they cut well and last a long time. I have not cut much with a grinder as I always had a torch around. Me and full sized grinders never got along. I can use a 4.5" all day but the big one's kill my shoulders pretty fast.



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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Chukknob » October 28th, 2018, 6:15 pm

Yeah don’t bother lol. They suck.



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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Big T » October 28th, 2018, 7:41 pm

:kewl:


Measure Twice.....Cut Three Times.

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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Chukknob » October 28th, 2018, 9:16 pm

Now that I’ve started I keep thinking a reverse flow wouldn’t be that much harder.



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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Big T » October 28th, 2018, 10:08 pm

It's not hard at all, just a BP, grease dam(drain) and the stack is on the other end. If you decide to go RF now then you can install the BP in one piece before you weld the end cap in place.


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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by towtruck » October 28th, 2018, 10:16 pm

If I ever build another smoker I would probably do a standard offset with tuner plates. Something about being able to fine tune it appeals to me.



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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Chukknob » October 28th, 2018, 10:22 pm

Does the drain go on the stack side or does it not matter? Also, do people put angle iron between the plate so the grease settles in it?



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Re: First Build. Cart first or later? Centering door

Post by Chukknob » October 28th, 2018, 10:24 pm

towtruck wrote:
October 28th, 2018, 10:16 pm
If I ever build another smoker I would probably do a standard offset with tuner plates. Something about being able to fine tune it appeals to me.
At this point I may end up investing in a “nice” welder. So maybe tuning plates for now and build another pit down the line. We’ll see. I’m kind of trying to get by on the cheap for this pit.



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