Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Also called Stump's Clone.
wbegg
Needs a Bigger Shop!
Needs a Bigger Shop!
Posts: 77
Joined: June 3rd, 2017, 10:25 am

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by wbegg » January 16th, 2018, 9:24 am

I find the best method is to blow through every 2 inches, then spend hours filling holes, then go through 20 or so flap discs to grind everything smooth. Then i'm not satisfied until I've turned that flat sheet into a 3D relief map of Rocky Mountain National Park.

I have mastered this method quite well!



User avatar
ajfoxy
Expert
Expert
Posts: 2246
Joined: April 12th, 2016, 8:07 pm
Title: Neophyte Smoker Bldr
BBQ Comp Team Name: Not competing yet...
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by ajfoxy » January 16th, 2018, 6:00 pm

=)) been there, done that.


Learning generally boils down to "Repetition or the avoidance of pain", some people learn by doing, some by watching and some just have to pee on the electric fence.

Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right. Henry Ford

Heatermeter builder
Needs more Steel
Needs more Steel
Posts: 133
Joined: September 20th, 2017, 4:51 am
BBQ Comp Team Name: Not competing yet...
Location: Wa

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Heatermeter builder » January 16th, 2018, 11:37 pm

wbegg wrote:I find the best method is to blow through every 2 inches, then spend hours filling holes, then go through 20 or so flap discs to grind everything smooth. Then i'm not satisfied until I've turned that flat sheet into a 3D relief map of Rocky Mountain National Park.

I have mastered this method quite well!

You were my inspiration for building my GF so I did not know I also have the same method as you.


If you would like information about building your own heatermeter or having someone build one for you, feel free to ask any questions you may have.

User avatar
Elmacho
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Posts: 184
Joined: June 28th, 2014, 9:03 pm

Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Elmacho » February 1st, 2018, 12:59 am

SHEET METAL!!

**Disclaimer** Always use PPE Proper Protection Equipment. Some images may depict improper use of PPE or in the case of my "helper" No PPE. This isn't safe, and can ruin your life in a split second. I value my eyes, ears, lungs, and hands too much, DO NOT DO THIS AT HOME.

**NOTE** If you are reading this and going to start building any of the Gravity Fed smokers. Take some scrap 16ga and practice welding corners to square tube. Do not be afraid to ask every single user on this forum how they did it, what tips they may have, or what they would have done differently. Building this smoker is not hard, and I would not let it deter you, but practice on some scrap if you have never done it, or you will end up like me and have half the welds done before you get the hang of it. and half the welds will look great, and the other half will look like Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder got together and wanted to build a smoker.

Before anything else, I want to thank Frank Cox, for the countless texts and phone calls he has entertained from me, as well as Weldon who I have "borrowed" so much from his build, as well as the countless pms he has had to endure from me. And also everyone else who has popped on and answered the endless questions I have asked.

Alright, well it has been a crazy few weeks. But back on track.

I build everything in sketchup first. I find it helps me get a better understanding of how stuff fits together to draw it and then assemble it in sketchup. This helped me realize the absolute detail that has been put into the plans and the dimensions of the sheet metal parts. This thing truly is a puzzle and all the pieces fit perfectly, but definitely follow the instructions if you have not had years of metal working experience.

Image

With that said, the most daunting task that I had been dreading about this entire build, even before I bought the first piece of steel, and a bit before I even bought the plans, was the sheet metal. This is my second ... well third welding project, since the welding table counts as the second. I am not a welder by trade, I learned a little in high school 23 years ago, and I took a crappy class at the local community college in which I burned through more rods than I could count. It was a Mig class so I am still unsure why I never once touched a mig gun in that class. So needless to say, the welding sheet metal part scared me, like paralyzing fear scared. I am glad I am building three of these Minis because this first one was definitely a learning piece. Hopefully it cleans up well =)

I will say that having the parts plasma cut saved I do not know how many hours of measuring and cutting. Buying the CNC file is well worth the money. Following the instructions I started tacking in the panels in the order outlined. They key is tack welds, lots and lots of tack welds. You will be tempted to run a bead, you will be tempted to just keep welding or "I can just go ahead and weld this seam here" but DONT! It is a trap set by the sheet metal warping Gods to test your patience. After thousands of tacks, which turned into stitches, which turned into beads, I can say that the next one will not scare me as bad.

Image

**Lesson learned** When welding in the panel with the slot for the transfer tube, I would put the panel on the transfer tube and then clamp or brace tack the fire box where it needs to be, making sure it is flush and level and everything lines up. Once the firebox is secured, you can maneuver the last interior plate with the slot in it to make sure that slot is not binding against the transfer tube. Clamp a few pieces of scrap square tubing to the frame where the plate will go to ensure it sits flush and tack the plate in place. You can then remove the firebox to allow more room for welding the seams.

I did not do this, and when it came time to marry the firebox to the frame the plate with the slot was a little low causing the firebox to bind and sit at an angle. It may seem like nothing, but if that transfer tube is not level you will get different temperatures when you are cooking, and can cause one side of your cook chamber to be a different temperature than the other side.

In this drawing the blue blocks are scrap pieces of square tube that I used to ensure the plates would lay flat in place where they needed to be.

Image

Copying Weldon's use of bar channel for cooking grate rails, I also decided if I was going to steal his idea, I would go ahead and steal all of it. So I went with the channel, the extra rails for more options when placing grates as well as the idea to plug weld the rails to the side walls of the cook chamber. This was actually very simple. Once I had the interior walls in place, I marked up the grate rail locations, and then marked where the plug weld holes will go.

Image

Measuing down from the top square tube allows for easy alignment. The best part about using my buddy's shop is I also get a helper. He was a little less than thrilled when I tasked him with making 50 1/2" holes but I showed him my plan for them all along. A used Flap Wheel with a metal ring in the center makes for an amazing plasma guide for cutting plug holes. =)

Image

After that it was easy to then plug weld the bar channel inside the cooking chamber.... except nothing is easy, don't let it tempt you.

**Lesson Learned**
If you decide to plug weld the rails, do not plug weld every hole in rapid succession. This will cause the bar channel to warp and make your rails bow in. This makes it a nightmare to fit your cooking grates.

I of course ended up with some warped walls with the rails bowing in. But this is where having a hoarder for a buddy comes in handy, he had a phenomenal tool for showing those rails who was boss.

Image

The turn buckle eyes slid perfectly into the rail slots and I was able to jack the walls back out straight.

Next came mounting the firebox, which in itself is tricky. We had to open up the slot for the transfer tube as I had welded the panel in place before test fitting the firebox and the slot was a little low. This made the firebox a little more forgiving.

As for man handling the firebox, we found two ratchet straps work best. I will edit this and take a picture tomorrow on what I mean by this, but essentially I laid a long scrap piece of square tube across the top and ran a ratchet strap down through the smoke stack hole and attached it to the transfer tube to give us an up and down adjustment. Then a ratchet strap around the whole frame to pull the firebox into the chamber. This ratchet strap was mvp when it came to getting the ash box to line up with the frame at the exact position needed for the door frame. You want that opening to the ash box to be flush and if that opposite side wall has warped or oil canned in anyway, you want to be able to pull that firebox in as well as maintain everything is perfectly level plumb and flush. it took a bit of grinding on the transfer tube to ensure a perfect fit but we got it together.

Image
Last edited by Elmacho on February 1st, 2018, 12:59 am, edited 3 times in total.



User avatar
Elmacho
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Posts: 184
Joined: June 28th, 2014, 9:03 pm

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Elmacho » February 1st, 2018, 1:11 am

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT NIPPLES

That should get some attention =) One thing that isn't specifically called out in the instructions and I learned the hard way is about when and how to attach your air inlet nipple.

Initially I bought 3 nipples and cut the threads off one end and was going to weld it to the ash box before mounting the firebox as I thought it would be difficult to weld the backside of the pipe after the firebox was mounted. Well that thinking was wrong. Once the nipple is welded you can no longer get the firebox into the frame because of the front frame vertical support and the slot doesnt give you the wiggle room you need to get it around it. So I got 3 new nipples and a threaded coupler. I cut the nipple off the firebox and welded the coupler to the stub that was left. This allowed me to thread a nipple onto it after the firebox is mounted. For the other two fireboxes I will weld the coupler directly to the ash box.

Image

But, I will say that after getting the firebox welded into place, welding the pipe to the ashbox would not have been difficult after everything was mounted. it is a little tight but the mig gun would fit back there just fine. So either way is fine, just do not weld the nipple onto the firebox before the firebox is mounted =)



User avatar
Pete Mazz
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2955
Joined: February 16th, 2013, 8:19 am
Title: Meathead
Location: Bucks County, PA

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Pete Mazz » February 1st, 2018, 6:01 am

Good stuff !


If it's tourist season, how come I can't shoot 'em?

Don't speak the language? Try this: Smoker Terminology

Try my SmokerBuilder Calculators

User avatar
Dirtytires
Expert
Expert
Posts: 2306
Joined: November 24th, 2015, 12:36 am
Title: It ain't broke...yet
BBQ Comp Team Name: Dont compete...cook for events once in a while
Location: Phoenix, Az

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Dirtytires » February 1st, 2018, 12:35 pm

You have been busy....once progress.



User avatar
ajfoxy
Expert
Expert
Posts: 2246
Joined: April 12th, 2016, 8:07 pm
Title: Neophyte Smoker Bldr
BBQ Comp Team Name: Not competing yet...
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by ajfoxy » February 1st, 2018, 2:28 pm

Good progress and excellent naration on how you did things and overcame issues. Nice.


Learning generally boils down to "Repetition or the avoidance of pain", some people learn by doing, some by watching and some just have to pee on the electric fence.

Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right. Henry Ford

Heatermeter builder
Needs more Steel
Needs more Steel
Posts: 133
Joined: September 20th, 2017, 4:51 am
BBQ Comp Team Name: Not competing yet...
Location: Wa

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Heatermeter builder » February 1st, 2018, 3:32 pm

After making my Double Pan. I am a firm believer warping makes my smoker even more customized. Somebody can look at mine and say " Yep, you definitely can tell you made that"

The sheet metal scared me also. Surprisingly, most of the sheet lined up fairly good with my frame, except for the same transfer tube piece with the cut out. I had about 3/4 inch gap on the top inside corner and I had the same gap on the door side bottom corner. I had to fill it with some scraps I had laying around.

Yours is looking good, I was wondering how it was coming along


If you would like information about building your own heatermeter or having someone build one for you, feel free to ask any questions you may have.

User avatar
Elmacho
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Posts: 184
Joined: June 28th, 2014, 9:03 pm

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Elmacho » February 1st, 2018, 5:46 pm

Today was deciding how to mount the legs. After the trials and tribulations of this first one I know how the next one will be done.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk



User avatar
Big T
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5642
Joined: September 1st, 2013, 2:40 pm
Title: Go Getter
BBQ Comp Team Name: Backyard Boys
Location: Lower Alabama

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Big T » February 1st, 2018, 8:19 pm

Awesome work and explanation :kewl:


Measure Twice.....Cut Three Times.

User avatar
Weldun
Expert
Expert
Posts: 583
Joined: December 24th, 2015, 3:40 pm
Title: I'm no expert
BBQ Comp Team Name: Not competing yet...
Location: Northern Indiana

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Weldun » February 1st, 2018, 9:34 pm

No such thing as stealing an idea bud, sharing ideas is what our community is all about and thanks for taking the time to share your lessons learned. Nice save with the chain binder that's for sure outta the box ingenuity, keep up the awesome work!


Grandma always said "if ya can't be handsome ya better at least be handy"

User avatar
Elmacho
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Posts: 184
Joined: June 28th, 2014, 9:03 pm

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Elmacho » February 1st, 2018, 11:12 pm

So another part of the build that I did not have a clear concept of was how the legs in the original design attached. The plans call for the square tube to get welded to 1/8" plates that then were welded to the sheet metal and outside edges. While this seemed stout, I feared that with the weight of this monster, and the large leverage of the 8" casters, that the welds could have some play in them.

Here is my take on mounting the legs.

I went with 1/4" plates instead of the 1/8" plates. I am sure the 1/8" plates would have worked, but it would have been the only 1/8" steel in this build so I kept it consistent with 1/4" plates.

I started by welding the plates directly to the corners of the frame. I wanted the plates welded to the frame because I felt uncomfortable welding the plates to the 16ga sheet metal. I knew I would have to cut the bottom sheet metal to go around these plates but felt that was a fair trade. Since my phone was dead I could not take pictures so I will use my trusty sketchup. The plates are in green and I welded a single bead in purple for now. This left the plate to tube contact point free of welds along the bottom to make the sheet metal lay flush against the square tube.

Image

Once all four plates were welded, I was then able to lay the bottom sheet metal down and mark for the cutouts for the plates. I used the scrap from cutting the squares out of the sheet metal to give a solid surface for the sheet metal. I tacked them under the leg plates as shown in blue to give me a ledge to support the sheet metal. I tacked these in the red circles and flap wheel'd smooth to ensure they allowed the sheet metal to lay flat once again.

Image



I made sure to cut 1/8" larger to leave a gap between the plate and the sheet metal when it was seated. In turn giving me a very nice joint to weld. As you can see here when I run the bead around the perimeter of the 1/4" plate, I can weld the plate to the frame, while also lapping the puddle to catch the sheet metal, tying all 3 parts together.

Image

Image

This I feel completely ties it all together where the legs are concerned. Now to get more wire so I can start spot welding the bottom skin on to be 100% complete with the bottom.


Elmacho



Heatermeter builder
Needs more Steel
Needs more Steel
Posts: 133
Joined: September 20th, 2017, 4:51 am
BBQ Comp Team Name: Not competing yet...
Location: Wa

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Heatermeter builder » February 2nd, 2018, 12:40 am

I actually did the same on mine on the caster legs, although I used the 1/8 plate. My steel supplier ga e me some extra peices and put them in the frame just like you.

But, I did not start out that way. I had one of my legs break off when i was rotating the frame, so I went with a design just like your to be able to get more welding surface.


If you would like information about building your own heatermeter or having someone build one for you, feel free to ask any questions you may have.

User avatar
Gringo
Just Got in trouble for buying tools
Just Got in trouble for buying tools
Posts: 38
Joined: January 8th, 2018, 1:14 am
Title: Member
BBQ Comp Team Name: Not competing yet... would join an existing team.
Location: Miami FL

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Gringo » February 2nd, 2018, 12:18 pm

I appreciate the time you are taking to explain you trials and accomplishments on this build. I'm planning on doing the Mini Gravity feed as my next build. If/When we ever meet up I owe you a beer or three!



Cole
SmokerBuilder Addict
SmokerBuilder Addict
Posts: 153
Joined: November 7th, 2017, 8:20 pm
Title: Member
BBQ Comp Team Name: Not competing yet, Family and Friends!
Location: Ohio / Michigan Border

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Cole » February 2nd, 2018, 9:39 pm

The detail is awesome, thanks! Do you think the bottom skin and legs could go on before the firebox goes in? Wanting to avoid flipping the frame after the firebox is in.



User avatar
Elmacho
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Posts: 184
Joined: June 28th, 2014, 9:03 pm

Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Elmacho » February 2nd, 2018, 9:46 pm

Cole wrote:The detail is awesome, thanks! Do you think the bottom skin and legs could go on before the firebox goes in? Wanting to avoid flipping the frame after the firebox is in.
The issue I would find with that is being able to run a bead on the bottom of the firebox on the bottom support. That’s a key weld in my opinion. You do get a couple small beads from the top. But that bottom weld ensures that firebox isn’t going anywhere.

But with that said. I was able to flip it with the firebox in it without that bottom weld so it’s definitely doable to weld the firebox in after the bottom is done.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk



User avatar
Elmacho
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Posts: 184
Joined: June 28th, 2014, 9:03 pm

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Elmacho » February 3rd, 2018, 7:53 pm

Cole wrote:The detail is awesome, thanks! Do you think the bottom skin and legs could go on before the firebox goes in? Wanting to avoid flipping the frame after the firebox is in.
I revised my initial thoughts on this. I think you could mount the firebox after the wheels. But I truly feel you will need to flip the whole unit in the end as you weld all the seams.

We welded the bottom sheet metal completely thinking that would complete the bottom but that turns out not to be the case. When we attach the sides they will also have to be welded on the bottom so we will have to do double work now.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk



User avatar
Elmacho
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Posts: 184
Joined: June 28th, 2014, 9:03 pm

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Elmacho » February 3rd, 2018, 7:56 pm

Now that we have started sheeting this bad boy. What does everyone do about the insulation in the firebox cavity? Do you just fill it completely? Or do you somehow put the insulation in just the outside areas of the frame?

Image

Sheeting this thing is slooooow if you do more than a couple spot welds it starts to oil can on you. But it is getting close!

Image



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk



User avatar
Big T
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5642
Joined: September 1st, 2013, 2:40 pm
Title: Go Getter
BBQ Comp Team Name: Backyard Boys
Location: Lower Alabama

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Big T » February 3rd, 2018, 9:38 pm

:LG:


Measure Twice.....Cut Three Times.

User avatar
Weldun
Expert
Expert
Posts: 583
Joined: December 24th, 2015, 3:40 pm
Title: I'm no expert
BBQ Comp Team Name: Not competing yet...
Location: Northern Indiana

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Weldun » February 3rd, 2018, 10:57 pm

I only insulated between charcoal chute and smoke chamber, then wrapped the ash box and charcoal chute. If I had it to do again I would insulate all the exterior panels that cover the charcoal chute assembley. The outside tends to get a little warm on those panels, not terribly warm but I think it would have been better if I would have insulated better.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.


Grandma always said "if ya can't be handsome ya better at least be handy"

User avatar
Elmacho
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Posts: 184
Joined: June 28th, 2014, 9:03 pm

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Elmacho » February 4th, 2018, 6:47 am

Weldun wrote:I only insulated between charcoal chute and smoke chamber, then wrapped the ash box and charcoal chute. If I had it to do again I would insulate all the exterior panels that cover the charcoal chute assembley. The outside tends to get a little warm on those panels, not terribly warm but I think it would have been better if I would have insulated better.
Ok I think I will tack in some thin flat bar to hold pieces in.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk



User avatar
Rodcrafter
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 8456
Joined: July 21st, 2012, 5:46 pm
Title: Member
BBQ Comp Team Name: Not competing yet...
Location: Orlando, Florida

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Rodcrafter » February 4th, 2018, 8:29 am

Around the FB gets the hottest. I would insulate the heck out of everything. Then it won’t burn up your paint.


Making memories!


Current Smokers: Backyard RF Offset and Hybrid RF Offset trailer rig with Cowboy cooker and fish fryer, always room for more........

Cole
SmokerBuilder Addict
SmokerBuilder Addict
Posts: 153
Joined: November 7th, 2017, 8:20 pm
Title: Member
BBQ Comp Team Name: Not competing yet, Family and Friends!
Location: Ohio / Michigan Border

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Cole » February 5th, 2018, 6:44 am

Elmacho - Thanks for the feedback. next question when you are tacking about how long of a tack, 1/8", 1/4" or 1"? Then you are move far away and tacking another panel or area on the panel? Thank you , Cole



User avatar
Elmacho
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Big Time SmokerBuilder
Posts: 184
Joined: June 28th, 2014, 9:03 pm

Re: Elmacho's Mini Build(s)!

Post by Elmacho » February 5th, 2018, 7:21 am

Cole wrote:Elmacho - Thanks for the feedback. next question when you are tacking about how long of a tack, 1/8", 1/4" or 1"? Then you are move far away and tacking another panel or area on the panel? Thank you , Cole

I am not sure if it is best practice, but its how I did the last panel and it did not warp the panel. It takes forever though. Basically I run 3 tack/spot welds then move to the adjacent position until I run all the way around then I move to the middle of the panel and do 3 tack/spot welds then move to all the sides, then the same in the opposite end of the side I started on.

The picture below, my first tack/spot welds are Red, then I do Blue, Then Green, Then Orange starts the process over again. I use the air compressor to blow off the welds and cool the panel between each round, and let the entire panel cool after the 12 tack/spots are done. So process looks like

Red tack/spots, blow off panel to cool
Blue tack/spots, blow off panel to cool
Green tack/spots, blow off panel to cool and let panel stand for 10 or so minutes before starting the next passes.

I found that you should tack all the panels in place before welding the seams. If not you will be tack/spot welding for a week =) If you have all the panels tacked on you can then move to a different panel opposite of the one you are making the tack/spot passes on and do that panel while the previous panel cools.

Image



Post Reply

Return to “Gravity Feed Smokers (GF)”