New(bee)Freezer Build

Discussion in 'Fridge/Freezer Builds' started by strgzr, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. So here is my shell. It's 72 cubic feet. Scored it from a local restaurant for free! It's all stainless steel inside and out. I would like to do both cold and hot smoking and have never made my own smoker before. I have a pretty good idea about how to make a facsimile of a "Smoke Daddy". But could use some advice on hot smoking. Been reading threads here for a couple days and it sounds like an electric setup is the preferred method. I need advise on what it would take to get up to temp. This thing is huge (I could lay down in it!) so I'm guessing it won't be easy. I used to do jerky in a friends fridge set up with just a pan of red oak coals in it and was happy with the results. But I would like to do this one better! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for having a look!!

    EDIT: Been looking at PID controllers and have question. Does each element need it's own controller or will the PID control multiple elements?
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  2. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wow!!! That is huge.

    Unless you are going to smoke commercial resale quantities of meat, if that fridge is in working order, you way want to sell it and take the profits to buy a smaller surplus unit that would be more managabe as a home smoker.  That's too pristine looking to tear apart and remove the insualation from (which is pretty much a must do thing on a modern refrigerator to smoker conversion). 

    As to the PID question, no a PID can trigger multiple SSR's and multiple heating elements. Remember the PID is only outputting the triggering signal and the SSR is acting as your switch in the load power to the heating element.  With that much volume of air, to hot smoke, you will probably be using multiple 220v elements anyway.  Make sure you have this type of power available where you are planning on setting the smoker up if going with this unit and hot smoking.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  3. No it's dead. It needed a new $1600 compressor so they bought a new one. Don't even know how that can be accomplished the inside looks like it can't come apart. [​IMG]

    This forum needs a hanging my head in disgust emoticon!

    So your saying multiple SSR's are required and they can be controlled by one PID?

    Thank You for your response!
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  4. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Usually there is a plate around the inside of the front that is either screwed or riveted in.  The inner liner will either be a set of interlocking plates or a single tub.  Look for a thin line with silver sealant (caulk) or if it's all one piece inside.  I've also seen models where the top comes off and the inner liner drops in that way.  You just have to figure out how the built it as it varies by brand.

    If I was converting that monster into a smoker, I would look at running multiple heating elements and a convection fan.  With multiple elements you will be looking at a 220v setup.  The average household outlet can only run a single 1500 element as they will max out at either 15 amps or 20 amps depending on what you have.  With multiple elements you would get more even heating and be able to deal with that large volume of air (and cold meat).

    Assuming you figure out how to get the insulation out and replace it, I would also consider making some sort of removable divider so that I could use 1/3 of it at a time for less than huge smokes.  Either way, a single PID can trigger and control multiple SSR's to multiple heating elements. 

    Here is a thought, again assuming  you replace the foam insulation, why not put in a permanent dividing wall on one side again cutting it into 1/3.  Insulate this wall and you have storage shelves in the other areas for your accessories, grill gloves, smoke pellets, etc....  You should be able to run 1/3 of that cabinet just fine on a 1500 watt element and a standard 110v outlet.  Like you said, you have it home now, might as well figure out a way to make it work.

    If you only use it for sausage making and cold smokes you can probably leave the insulation alone.  But anything over 190* I would suggest pulling and replacing it for safety.

    Also I confess that I have a McCall proofer that needs the insulation pulled and replaced and I have been putting that off for a couple of years.  So if there a "hangs head in disgust or shame" emoticon, I can use it also.  Mine is more a matter of not having the space to properly pull the inner liner out of the cabinet (nor the time).  I picked up the proofer when I was retired and a week later received confirmation they wanted me at another job and I've been there ever since (no time now). Paid $76 for the cabinet which is all stainless and has a recirculation blower system already built in.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  5. Thank You Dave! I'm not gonna give up on it. I always dreamed of having my own smoker. I just wish it was gonna be easier than it sounds! Been looking at some of the fantastic builds here and am very inspired to do it right. And your right a partition system is a great idea!

  6. Can't afford rockwool! Is Vermiculite an option? I can't get rockwool in Pheonix and on line the crap is priced out of sight!(oh and plus friggin shipping) I can get Vermiculite and pulverize it to create a fairly decent insul barrier? AND is Vermiculite Inert enough for the job??

    And as an aside... The search feature here is terribly BAD!
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016
  7. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Some builders have used unfaced fiberglass insulation.  Just double check the stats for the heat rating of what you plan to use.  By unfaced, I mean it's just batts of fiberglass with no paper or plastic or anything on either side.  Just scrunch it up and slide it in.  I would do this before using vermiculite (also some vermiculite has naturally occurring asbestos in it).  

    Also did you check Lowes?  They usually have rockwool in sheets and will ship to store for free.  Look for Roxul brand at Lowes, Home Depot, or your local building supply house.  Either sheets or batts would work.  If you can only find something thicker than you need, it splits into thinner portions fairly easily.

    Here is a package of 12 sheets that are 3.5" thick and 15" wide by 47" long for $51.43 at Lowes.

    Also look for the Johns Manville brand of "stone wool" or "mineral wool" insulation.  They sell it in packs of 7 for less (depends on how much you need)
  8. Thanks for this info! I did go to home depot and they didn't have it. We do have a Lowes over in Mesa and I didn't even think of trying there. And it's $39.97 a pack W/ free store pick-up at your link so bam I may be back in business! Thanks again Dave!!

    Edit: did the math and it looks like 111.12 sq feet so 2 packs should do it. that is if i'm doing the math right.

    Now to get after this polyU. Has anyone tried a pressure washer on this stuff?
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2016
  9. fullsmoke

    fullsmoke Meat Mopper

    Regular insulation is good to 1600 degrees
  10. Looks like you have a heck of a project there buddy. It can definitely be done if you have the patience and skills( or money). I would be happy to help on the PID if you go that route. I have a PID for sale as well as elements that would be perfect for that if you need any(not trying to make this about selling) Also glad to help with wiring no matter what you choose. Let me know if I can assist.
  11. Thanks Pappa! I will definitely need some help with that stuff. Got the back panel off and am now scraping some foam. Had to stop last week when my trash can got topped out with the stuff!

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