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Build My Pit 101
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13 17 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dwilliams35 wrote:
I always had a hard time with meat, especially hamburgers and such, sticking to non-flattened expanded metal, mainly just an inability to get any spatula in there "flat" to flip it..
You ever have any experience like that?

I do not smoke hamburgers but my experience with sticking burgers while grilling on a grate is due to trying to flip too early.
If it were me I would just use the regular flat. Any type of rod would not be an option.
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dwilliams35
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13 17 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stopped by at lunch and picked up a full sheet of flattened: once again, go with what you know...
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dwilliams35
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20 17 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, making a little progress..


Backing up just a hair: got some 1/8" diamond plate for the deck; changed my mind from the expanded metal I had planned on, just thought of how much mud I ended up playing in... I just cut the holes to fit around the smoker risers rather than just fitting pieces around them.



Got out the front end loader and set the assembled smoker on the trailer, tacked it where it belongs after some minimal adjustments.





With the smoker in place, I switched over to cutting parts for and assembling the Santa Maria/parilla grill pan: all 1/4"
plate. 2' x 3' with 10" walls, I was anticipating putting the coal grate at 3-4" off the bottom, and the lowest cooking grill position at 1-2" below the top edge.

The front "face" of the pan is a 4" piece of flat bar on the top edge for stability, and a 6" flat bar "door" for cleanout below.






I flipped it up on end to weld hinges on that cleanout door, which is where the screw up fairy made herself known.. I never caught it until I flipped it, but the bottom doesn't align right with the base on one side. You can't tell just looking at it without flipping it over, but it really screws up the hinge place,net and door swing. Looks awful. I've got a few ideas about how to fix it, but I'm just going to leave the pan as is once I get the door figured out.

I've also been working on getting some hinges and parts for the firebox intake machined, hopefully I'll be able to start putting those all on this weekend.. I spent last weekend procuring some venison to try this thing out, so I'll call that a viable excuse for not working on it...
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dwilliams35
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21 17 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got the hinges done this afternoon, opens up a lot more stuff I can start doing...like I needed more. CNC mills are so cool...






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smootz
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21 17 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice hinges. Since you have access to a cnc mill you surely have a lathe close. So spin out some pins with grease fittings (bolt threads tend to wear grooves after some time) and that puppy will darn near open itself. Wink
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dwilliams35
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21 17 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smootz, I was actually planning on just getting a long enough bolt that the shoulder hit all the bearing surfaces, then just cut the threads down where it's just enough for the nut. The bolt in the pics was just the first 1/2" bolt I laid my hands on to check fit..

I've got a 14 x 40" lathe at the house, and a monster wells index mill as well, I'm just in a position to be the first to raise my hand when usable equipment is about to get scrapped at work. They are a little sloppy, but they'll hold good enough tolerances for what I need around here..
The cnc at the shop is just much nicer to do the radii and such. Doing that radius to match the CC pipe would have been a fixturing nightmare on my manual machine..
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smootz
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21 17 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was confident that you had a plan. Just jerking your chain. Enjoying the build until I can start another of my own. Carry on Sir.
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Maniac
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21 17 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

looks like you can see a little light at the end of the tunnel Cool
you have some nice looking work going on...can not wait to see her putting out a little blue smoke Very Happy
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smootz
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21 17 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those are sweet hinges. Not sure if you are planning full weld or stitches. With that much contact area be careful about putting too much weld on them. On my first cooker I turned a beautiful fitting door and opening into a warped nightmare with very little weld. Sad
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dwilliams35
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21 17 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smootz, that's one good thing about having them fit that well; I don't HAVE to have a full weld to cover up the gaps a welder like me would normally have... Laughing I was thinking stitches too..

As long as we're on the doors, that's probably happening this weekend; any thoughts on a minimum width for a "center strap" to leave between a double door setup?
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smootz
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22 17 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dwilliams35 wrote:

As long as we're on the doors, that's probably happening this weekend; any thoughts on a minimum width for a "center strap" to leave between a double door setup?


I've not done double doors but there are several guys here who can advise.
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23 17 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your cooker is looking great dwilliams35. Very Happy
I would leave a 4" center bar if your going to have a 3/4" door flange.
On your hinges make sure you back set the pivot point or your door flange will hit the chamber when you open the door.
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dwilliams35
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26 17 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got started measuring out the doors tonight; just wondering how you guys determine a square line down a round CC: I know there's a bunch of ways to do it, from just a square off the end plate or whatever: what's the prevailing method around here?

I think I've got a good line with this miracle point thingie, I haven't thought of any possible geometry where two points at the same angle, on opposite ends of the pipe, aren't going to be in line with each other; basically, it just seemed a little too easy and scared me.. anybody ever use one of these for this?



I think I've got a baseline to work off of, now I'm off to search the forum for the best place to locate the top and bottom of the door...
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smootz
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26 17 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Start by leveling the tank horizontally.

Find the center of each end using a large set of dividers, hold a 4 foot level vertical intersecting the newly found center mark on each, transfer a mark to the top of the body. (Leave this line on the end for future use when mounting fire box) Connect the two lines and you have a top work line. Drop down 1/4 of tank circumference to find lower edge of door opening. Come in from each end and scribe the sides of door opening using a flexible straight edge. Viola! Make sure you measure corner to corner on the scribed opening to make sure it is square.

With that said. your protractor should be pretty accurate and much faster. You can always double check by again measuring corner to corner.
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26 17 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a 3' piece of 6" channel iron and saddle it on the pipe then just draw a line down the edge.
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dwilliams35
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30 17 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got a good bit done this weekend:

First, putting some angle iron just inside the edge of the firebox, so the door would fit inside: there's a lot of different ways I was kicking around doing this..

I needed to make sure the angle iron was all on the same plane, but since the door is still solid, it would have entailed me getting very, very small and crawling into the firebox to tack the angle in. I didn't trust any way I came up with to measure it, knowing my fitting abilities, so I just cut a ring out of 3/4" plywood so I could fit it all up and reach inside to tack the angle iron.



Door in place:



When I was doing the CC hinges, we threw on a few more and just did the radius on three sides, without the CC radius on the fourth corner; so it would fit on the flat plate firebox.



Came together pretty well, seats in there nicely. Vent and latch soon to come...



On to cutting the CC doors:

2x4 clamped/strapped on for a plasma cutting guide:



I did the "cut everything but the corners, then hinge it, then finish the cut" method:

I got the top and bottom straight lines cut with the 2x4 guide, then I was looking around for something to use for a plasma cutting guide on the curved verticals: my plasma skills are bad enough without a guide, free-hand I look like a two year old that just discovered sharpies and sheetrock. We always have a bunch of empty cattle mineral tubs laying around, I just broke out the sawzall and whacked the rigid top edge off of one: wrapped it around the radius, strapped it on with a ratchet strap, and went to cutting.. Worked pretty well in a pinch...





Got the hinges put on, did 4 1" or so welds on each hinge section, just going back to it and did the next weld after the whole thing had cooled, trying to keep the doors in the right shape:



The left side is probably not more than 1/16" deformed, It may very well be within the range that would just get covered with caulk or a gasket anyway..

The right side may take a little tweaking, I'll deal with that later.. Still have a good bit of grinding and such just to clean up my less-than-ideal plasma blobs, and make sure all my clearances are where I want them to keep down any interference if it walks any when it's heated up.. I'll get some strap tomorrow for the doors as well...

I also managed to solve my little hinge problem on the Santa Maria grill: got it where the ash door is opening the way I wanted it; I then moved it over onto the trailer on some stacked 4x4's to get an idea on just what height I want the grill at: I didn't bother taking many pictures of that, it's...a box. You can see it sitting there behind the smoker in this one:

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dwilliams35
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06 17 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Making a bit of progress this weekend:

First, I committed an egregious error: had a math error somewhere down the line and just rolled with it when measuring rather than actually seeing how it was going to work; ended up as a result with my hinge pins dead-nuts on the top cut. No workie. Just got in a hurry, I knew better and everything.. I had to grind them all off, and clean everything up enough to move them back an inch and put them back. I just tacked them for now, going to make sure EVERYTHING works next time before I weld them for good.

I did have a little bit of spring in the doors, took them to work and beat them up a little bit with a press; they're not perfect, but nothing some RTV won't cover.

Built a triangular box to hold the stack pipe, cut a hole in the CC end plate for it, and tacked it on. Then attached the side straps on the doors to hold it in place while I got the hinges back on: (doors just sitting on top of the CC to work on them)



Got the hole cut in that box for the chimney pipe, and tacked on the pipe. Put on hinges (again), in what is probably the right place this time, and put in the top door strapping. (pic is kind of deceiving on the gap on that strap: it's better than that once I got the straps all beat into shape.)



Went back to the firebox end, cut the hole for and mounted my vent "apparatus" I put together a few days ago...



Door back on, put in Acme threaded rod into that center nut and tacked it on that nut to immobilize it, then puton a couple of round-bar "knobs" to spin the cover plate (another Acme nut welded to the back of that plate)





I'm pretty sure I'll end up cutting down that threaded rod a bit, I really don't need that much length on there to get all the air I can through the "tube"..

just for the record, in case anybody isn't familiar with it, the Acme thread is a LOT tougher than standard bolt-thread allthread: it's basically a more square cut instead of a triangular thread: it'll eat a LOT of junk and still work, and will take a lot of beating on the threads themselves without getting jammed up (as much, of course). I've used it before on stationary pits, with some pretty good success.



Switched over to the Santa Maria grill "foundation" 2x2 square tubing through the deck and welded to the joists in the frame, then capped with another piece of horizontal 2x2..



Put the previously-made grill box on top just to see how things are going to fit...



Back to the firebox door: put a latch/clamp mechanism on it.. Put in a hole for a pin to keep it from vibrating open on the road.. I'm going to put a separate handle on the latch "arm" and one on the door just to open the thing with whenever I get around to putting all my other handles on..





Then switched over and built the wood/charcoal grate for the Grill, just trying to get all the heights and clearances off that grill when I do the actual cooking grate..



Then spent an hour or two drinking some iced tea and "figgering" for fender placement, etc. etc. etc: More to come, really feels like it's coming together now...
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dwilliams35
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11 17 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been looking at that firebox, and looking at my steel pile. With what I've got on hand, I could pretty easily just put together a small warming box on the top of the firebox that would hold 2 standard pans, without getting any height beyond that of the CC.... What do you guys think, worth it or no? I've never had one before.
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dwilliams35
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11 17 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cut the plate and mocked it up (minus the door of course);


With pan for scale;



What do you think, worth the effort? I really don't want a big one towering way above the CC, but I do see the value in having one if it works..
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11 17 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two pans are plenty for most cooks.
Put a 4" to 6" exhaust on the side or you will have a rain forest in it. you will thank me later.
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