30gal SS Drum pics. Help me with a build?

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by smhead, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. Greetings! Its been a looong time but I've been a member here for a while, but got a bit overwhelmed with other things. I am ready now to go about a build. I acquired this 30 gallon stainless steel drum, a coal box, thermometer, smokeskack and various cut up bits and pieces from a friend who was planning to make a horizontal BBQ pit out of it. I'd like to make an upright smoker. I'll be reading up now on making an upright smoker but it seems to me I just need a basket and a couple of grills, and can use that box for an ash catcher. I'll also not need the smoke stack, though it is pretty nice and has an adjustable baffle in it, I could get the same results with holes in the top and simple covers. I have a wire feed welder but don't know how to weld stainless, so I'd like to cut and screw things together as much as possible. Thoughts? Ideas?

    Here's the goods. The best part, all of it was free...



    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012
  2. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That is going to be a great project and the price is awesome 
  3. First question to come up in this build as I gather materials is - since I have stainless, does it need paint on the outside? Seems it doesn't NEED paint.

    Second question, if it should be ideally 24" minimum from my coals to the grill, it seems I don't have much room, I should look for a Weber lid and let the grill sit near the top of the barrel, is that how these things generally work?

  4. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    You don't need paint because it won't rust but it will get dirty.  I would just use the lid it came with and find away to attach that smoke stack.  Your coal box is going to need holes in it you may want to use that to catch ash and make a charcoal basket that will fit in the barrel.  Academy should have some replacement grills for the smaller kettels that will fit it.  If not go to a fab shop and have them cut out some expanded metal to fit it for you.  This is going to be a great cooker and use very little fuel.  I have seen people use this size drum perfect size for a chicken cooker.  
  5. Great to hear. Yeah, I can attach that smokestack, I have a wirefeed welder and knw a little about using it, but not about welding stainless. I was going to use that stanless box as an ash catcher and make an expanded steel coal box. I'll try it as is.

    I got my rack from a Weber parts bin at the hardware store, and all I need now is a step drill bit and some expanded steel...
  6. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Get your expanded metal at triple s steel in Houston cheap prices.  
  7. you can weld stainless with a regular wirefeed your welds just wont be stainless, stainless welds very nicely and easily. your welds will turn brown but they will not rust and flake like plain steel the weld becomes partially stainless from the whole melting metal thing . welding that way is still better than drilling and bolting
  8. I may do that then. I might also weld my pipe nipples into the barrel as well. I just came back from picking up a step bit to drill the holes and some handles for the thing, and got some expanded steel for the coal box (sorry ECTO1, didn't get it at Triple S). Now to carve out some time to get this beast underway in earnest. Right now its all talk and a bunch of parts.
  9. thats cool gotta start somewhere
  10. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    Ok here's my 30 gal uds, I drilled 4 ports on the bottom for air flow, 1 ball valve, 3 threaded pipes 1-3/4 inch about 3 inches above bottom, drilled 4 1/2 inch holes for 2inch long screws to hold weber 18-1/2 inch grill grate.cooking grate should be at least 7 inches from top, handles, thermometer, 4 1 inch holes in lid. Applied wheels on bottom for mobility..12x12 basket.for wood and charcoal. Put about 3 -6lbs of lava rock on the very bottom, though it would help to even out and maintain heat. Runs a steady 250*degrees- and will drop to about 200* once fuel gets low.
    Use the minion method for long burn time. Dont over load with unburned wood. I like blending lump and reg.charcoal.
    This thing will burn steady for a good 10-12 hours, amazingly ! A great tailgater! Or for camping!
    I just picked up a Stacker for a 18" weber smokey mountain, will let you know if it fits. Also looking for some neighbor to through out a grill lid, no luck yet. But the stock barrel lid is heavy duty and has a tight seal.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  11. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    OK here is my $0.02 on this. You can weld stainless even if you have a flux core wire feed welder, you just need the stainless flux core wire. However it has been my experience that the welds are not the best. The place I use to work at we had allot of stainless in the kitchens. The welding shop that did all our stainless welding closed. The only other shop wanted an arm and leg to come out and weld stuff for us. So we bought a small flux core welder to do it our selves. After fighting it for awhile we finely bought another wire feed welder and set it up strictly for stainless. It had stainless spool of wire and a triple mix shielding gas. This set up produced welds almost as good as TIG welds. 


    I stumbled across this while looking for something else and thought it might help ya out. Good info regardless.


    I use this allot for different things, I never thought to include it earlier. If you click the E-LEARNING tab, there is a bunch of info.

    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  12. Great info folks, thanks! I started drilling my holes today, going to have one grill at the top for when I can find a Webser lid, but will place another down 7" from top. Good advice.

    I have been using 1" pipe nipples at the bottom, one with a ball valve. At first I was going to do 3 but I am thinking 4 would be better, I can always plug one if needed. I see you used larger pipe at the bottom of your skull fish, do you find that all of them need to be open or do you plug one? I'm thinking airflow should be OK with 4 1" pipes.

    Suggestions for a coal box? I was going to make a simple one 12: diameter of expanded metal propped up on 2" bolts which then connect to a 16" pizza pan beneath to serve as an ashtray. I plan to put a handle on the whole unit and nothch the ash tray to pass by the bolts holding the grills. Easy cleanout - one grab and pull, then dump.
  13. Take some scraps and do a little practice welding first to get the feel of it. You'll be glad you did.

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