Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Smoker Clones are your own version of a commercially available Smoker. Examples are Stumps, Jambo, Backwoods, or any other you want to try to copy.
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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Rodcrafter » September 20th, 2015, 7:54 pm

Looks great, nice work!


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Puff » September 20th, 2015, 8:30 pm

Wow...that is impressive. Great job you have going on. Funny you think this way about the coal preventer screen. I said the exact same thing on my big GF and after a few days of agonizing over it.. I welded it in with a few tiny tacks. On the big one, I can almost reach up and change it. More of a problem for me bending under it than the access to it , if that need arises.

How did you bend the inner wall so nicely? If I saw it sliding in that far, I would have probably tried to pound it in all the way....knowing it would bend it or screw it up somewhere. It scares me a little that you now call it officially heavy. I am certainly more prepared for 1/2 the weight of the big GF but that means about 350 lbs? Are you using casters of any kind to move it?

I can't even start welding my frame until the temperature drops to about 70. Since I put a boat load of money into my boat, I use it every chance I get before the snow comes. A texting girl crashed into the back of my commuter car at 35mph. Zero damage to her Jeep, and the $2400 to mine turned into a total loss. My mom has a few medical appointments so we been going to Drs all over the GARDEN state. And...IF the striped bass season gets going as good as they predict, that frame will be in pieces until December.

So, enough of my routine. Are you adding insulation in a blanket or the panels? Adding extra cooking racks? When I had installed the inner wall over the transfer tube, I just cut a big slot and slid it down, patched the cut and ground down the weld. Is your firebox mounted? I also welded in a piece of 1/4" at the opposite end of the transfer to prevent any hot spot wear... I don't even know if there is a hot spot but I assumed if I was using a blower, it had potential


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » September 25th, 2015, 10:21 am

Puff, I have a brake, so that's what I used to bend. Like I said, I'm not positive this is the best approach so far. It saves welding, and I'm really close on sizing, but reserving judgement until I get the CC slid all the way home.

My plan is, once the CC will slide in, to layout and cut a rectangular hole for the smoke transfer tube (the firebox assembly isn't welded to the tubing yet), then slide the whole (bloody heavy) assembly in. Good idea on the end of the smoke transfer channel, I may do that too.

Once that's done I need to install the drain and smokestack...I might be stuck because I don't have the pipe for those parts yet, but I should have enough to keep me busy this weekend.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Puff » September 25th, 2015, 9:36 pm

I used channel stock and just trace the opening out on scrap 1/4". I like that I did it but not sure it was necessary. My mini is getting 1/4" like yours did
Last edited by Puff on September 27th, 2015, 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » September 27th, 2015, 9:56 am

I got my cook chamber fit to the tubing yesterday before it got too hot to work any more. It's not perfect, but it's good enough. It's a nice snug fit around the tubing where the door will go, and reasonably good everywhere else.

Image

I cut the opening for the smoke transfer tube with a cut off wheel and got a decent fit around the transfer tube.

Image

Here are all three parts mocked up. I could weld them all together, but I'm going to hold off until I get the pipe for the air inlet for the firebox. Shoot, I should have ordered that last week.

Image

Still, there is plenty I can do before welding these three parts together. The drip pan is probably what I should do next. And maybe an ash tray for the firebox too.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Rodcrafter » September 27th, 2015, 11:16 am

Looking good


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » September 27th, 2015, 3:43 pm

First try on the drip pan -- I'm about 1/4" too long for it to fit right. I think I'll re-make it, should have bent a test strip first. Once I get one bent properly I'll weld on a front and back, then drill the hole for the drain tube.

But it's 90 in the shop already.

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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Puff » September 27th, 2015, 4:28 pm

Wow that really looks great.. Are you using stainless ? It looks so commercial restaurant quality


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » September 28th, 2015, 9:29 am

Hi Puff, no it's just cold rolled 16 gauge. It looks nicer than the hot rolled stuff with the mill scale. The steel place gave it to me for the same price as hot rolled, and I prefer it. I bead blasted the plate pieces before I welded them to remove the worst of the mill scale.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Puff » September 28th, 2015, 12:48 pm

Well, the extra effort makes it look very special... I have a blast cabinet but after seeing what it looks like after I'm done cooking, Ill skip that step. I may use that CR sheet material for my inner and outer skins however. I'll bet your are cleaner at the end of the day.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by R290 » September 28th, 2015, 4:57 pm

I like the extra bend to make sure no leaks on the bottom.
By accident I over bent bottom bend, but it works great as now I have a valley to collect drippings. I also raised the lower side about 3/8 in the back and dropped the front a 1/4". This gives it some slope to the front. I'm going to put the drain in the middle of the valley. This way you can drain everything.

I'm a week away from installation of the drain



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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » September 28th, 2015, 7:17 pm

I just ordered the pipe pieces I need for the drain and firebox air vent from McMaster so I won't get stuck on that next weekend. Hopefully it will cool off, it's almost October dammit!


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » October 2nd, 2015, 10:13 pm

I re-made my removable drip pan this afternoon. I cut it just 1/4" shorter (side-to-side) and bent it the same way. It fits just right. Added a front and back. Next I'll drill a hole through the drip pan and the bottom of the smoker at the same time so the drain hole will line up just right. I'll make the hole in the drip pan smaller than the ID of the drain pipe and form a lip on it so it registers on the opening.

Or, at least, that's my plan. We'll see, plans sometimes don't survive contact with reality...

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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Puff » October 3rd, 2015, 11:16 am

I think the removable pan is a very nice idea. I'm not cleaning my gf after every use. I figure it's great seasoning with each use up to a point . Between the dripping and the ash dust, cleaning the base will get to be a tough job if left alone too long. Being able to remove the pan and blast it with anything is a good thing.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Rodcrafter » October 3rd, 2015, 7:40 pm

Sweet


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » October 4th, 2015, 10:55 am

Puff wrote:I think the removable pan is a very nice idea. I'm not cleaning my gf after every use. I figure it's great seasoning with each use up to a point . Between the dripping and the ash dust, cleaning the base will get to be a tough job if left alone too long. Being able to remove the pan and blast it with anything is a good thing.
In practice I'm expecting that I'll cover the drip pan in foil to make cleanup simple. My pellet cooker has a big drip tray and that's what I've always done, it's simple to swap out the foil and throw the mess in the trash.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Puff » October 4th, 2015, 1:20 pm

Of course, I never thought of that!


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » October 9th, 2015, 8:10 pm

I finished welding the sheetmetal to the tubing, finished the drip pan and added the shelf supports. I also cut the parts for the door, need to stuff insulation into those tubes tomorrow and weld them together.

I'm trying to decide how to proceed. I could weld the firebox assembly in, but then it's going to be too heavy to toss around easily. Need to sleep on it I guess.

I wish it was up and running, there is a rib cookoff in San Jose in a couple of weeks that I'd like to enter...if I had a little more space on my current smoker. I have a lot of it built, but there are a lot of details to finish too. Just the exterior sheetmetal is going to be a grind (literally).

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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Rodcrafter » October 9th, 2015, 9:37 pm

Sweet


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » October 10th, 2015, 6:25 pm

I welded up the door frame -- after packing the tubing with insulation. Almost forgot that. Even with clamping it in place it still tweaked a little bit, but I got it back flat. I think I need to cut up more sheetmetal tomorrow and weld one face on the door frame to help hold it flat. Time to order gaskets, hinges and other hardware.

Image

I also welded the firebox assembly into the frame, added the other tubing bits and added insulation between the firebox and cook chamber. I don't have a picture of it, but I tack welded some 18 gauge sheet over the insulation to hold it in place. Tomorrow I'll make a support to hold insulation around the firebox to keep the heat in. Not sure that's necessary, but it seems like a good idea.

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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Big T » October 10th, 2015, 8:04 pm

:kewl:


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Puff » October 10th, 2015, 8:04 pm

Well Cal...that is looking really nice and is very inspiring. I'm assuming you will have your gaskets in place prior to setting the door hinges in? You comments on the weight are a little frightening but having the the big gf here reminds me that not matter what it winds up to be, it's less!

Not sure yet on my gaskets here...I may go with 1/4" thick sine the gaskets on the large gf have compressed a very little bit on the latch side. The latch draw down is adjustable so no real concerns but the extra compressibility might be nice. Not sure what to do there yet.

I like the coupler for the ash box and the drip pan. Your miters look very clean, if I can suggest....place a backing plate wherever your latches are mounted. I feel it gave me a bit more bite on the attachment to the skin. FYI


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by CaliforniaSmoke » October 10th, 2015, 9:01 pm

Thanks for the feedback Puff.

I'm definitely going to add backing plates for the latch and striker. I'm thinking of buying the parts kit from BBQ Smoker Supply, which includes D-rings to strap the smoker down on a trailer. So I'll probably add some extra steel there too. That way I can drill and tap into the sides for mounting bolts. The kit comes with 1/4" thick self-stick gasket material.

Did you tap your holes or use rivnuts? I'm on the fence.

On the hinges, I'm thinking I'll put a little piece of gasket material in each corner of the door, then clamp it to the smoker to slightly compress the gaskets before I weld the hinges on.


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Re: Cal Smoke's Mini Gravity Fed Build

Post by Puff » October 10th, 2015, 9:42 pm

My gasket process is as follows . I wiped the frame surface to to stuck to with acetone. Peel of the backing and place it on the door. Once all for side are good, I'd strap or clamp the doo in place, let it lie under clamp for an hour an then recheck alignment. Then tack the hinges in place. Place the gasket material to the door so that it is less exposed to rubs and sauces that my pass closely to the edge and smear a wad on ti it. the door, it is out of the way for the most part. It has been a good technique on 5 smokers already so I have confidence with it.


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