My MES 30 cart/mailbox mod build

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by texfinn, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. texfinn

    texfinn Fire Starter

    Howdy folks from Texas!

    Been working on the cart for a couple of days and haven't gotten to the mailbox part yet. The project actually became a bit more involved than I was planning, but oh well... Today I got the cart somewhat where I want it to be and I'll try to finish up the mailbox tomorrow.

    Bought a three shelf service cart w/wheels from Harbor Freight for 50 something bucks minus 25%. I wanted wheeled version so I can move the whole thing around if need be as I have yet to figure out the actual placement of it in the patio.

    Plan was to use the two bottom shelves and just cut access to the sides for the door and mailbox. Well... The metal used on the shelves is wimpy as hell, and after I cut the openings and put the smoker on the shelf, the cart almost collapsed as it lost a lot of it's rigidity when I removed the sides.

    So... Back to the drawing board... Bought some aluminum angle stock from Home Depot and used it on the long sides to give it rigidity both at the bottom and the middle shelf. Also put two pieces across the shelf under the spot where the smoker will reside. No more flexing, that's for sure!

    Wasn't really planning to spend this much money on it, but eventually it became a challenge and I wasn't about the be beaten... It's still work in progress as I'm planning to add a shelf to the left side of the smoker and maybe some other things. The whole contraption will also be sprayed matte black with bedliner stuff or plastidip, but those will have to wait for now and I will update the thread as the work progresses. I just want to get it operational for my Christmas smokes.

    Stay tuned.

  2. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Looks like a nice self-contained unit!
    Looking forward to the finished project. You can't beat Wheels!
  3. texfinn

    texfinn Fire Starter

    Been reading about the MB mod quite a bit but just to make sure, I'd like to ask the following question: Do I need to remove all of the chip loader stuff so the elbow can send the smoke upwards right when it enters the smoker?

    I think I should, since it looks like now the smoke would be traveling first through the chip tray area before going up. I also think I saw at least on Dave's MB build thread that he had nothing there and the elbow was protruding straight to the inside.

    Here's what mine looks on the inside at the moment.

  4. I did not remove anything in mine. I do pull the chip tray out about an inch but the smoke is gonna go where it needs to go regardless.

    Smoke it up
  5. texfinn

    texfinn Fire Starter

    OK. I may also be overthinking it a little bit. Leaving those in place makes the smoke come out from the area where it comes also in stock form.
  6. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    On the Gen 1 40" there are three holes in the side of the chip housing in a triangle facing the center of the smoker and three more holes in a line underneath the triangle facing the bottom of the smoker. It should be fine to leave all parts in place.
  7. texfinn

    texfinn Fire Starter

    Well... Had to pull the chip tray out, because otherwise the elbow wouldn't have gone all the way in. Now it's all connected and ready to go.

    Paint and the shelf to the left side will come later.

    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015
  8. I would definitely put something back over the element to keep anything from dripping on it and flaring up.

    Smoke it up
  9. texfinn

    texfinn Fire Starter

    Good point. However, the drip pan covers most of it, but I'll see what I can come up with. Just to make sure, I guess.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015
  10. texfinn

    texfinn Fire Starter

    Smokng ham produced excellent results and no flare ups as the water pan was able to collect all the droppings. Yummy stuff that ham!!!

    Having issues now with cold smoking, though... My pellets burn only about 1-2 hours and then die. No matter what I do I can't seem to get enough airflow throgh the mailbox to keep the pellets smoldering. I have two 1/2" holes at the bottom of the door and one at the top, but I guess I need to drill more.

    My salmon fillet has been in the smoker having on/off smoke since last night and I don't think it will be any good anymore...
  11. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Maybe it's the pellets? If the air's right to burn for an hour or two, they should burn until done, but then I'm new to pellets...
    Maybe the pipe's too long? Mine is a lot shorter.
  12. texfinn

    texfinn Fire Starter

    Well... After reading a bit more, I saw a post from bear where he said you should dry the pellets before using. Maybe that will be the solution since they actually also went out when I tried having the AMNPS inside the smoker.

    I could possibly shorten the pipe a little bit,mof necessary. However, it looks like mine is not much longer than Dave has in his and his works fine. His thread was my main inspiration in doing the mod.

    Trial and error, I guess, until I find the right way to do it...
  13. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    That's what makes this fun. Playing with it and finding the groove that works for you.
  14. smoking4fun

    smoking4fun Smoke Blower

    I too am having problem with my mailbox mod during cold smokes - without the chimney effect during the hot smokes that pull the air through the MES30 through the mailbox, I have problems cold smoking unless it's windy (and pulls the smoke up through the exhaust vent).  I am considering adding a fan to the exhaust vent only for cold smokes to help pull the smoke through the smoker box and provide enough airflow over the pellets to keep them lit the entire time.  Any other suggestions on how to keep the smoke flowing through the MES30 during a cold smoke with a mailbox mod would be helpful.
  15. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Maybe if you just shorten it up enough, Tex, to get that downward turn out. That might give you enough flue effect. Remember heat rises..
  16. texfinn

    texfinn Fire Starter

    Good point. Yeah, the tube is a bit on the long side and could be shortened quite a bit. I could even turn the elbows towards each others to make it even shorter.

    Need to look into that. It's still work in progress, anyway...

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