Planning a new UDS build.

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by tagalong, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. tagalong

    tagalong Fire Starter

    I'm researching and planning a UDS build soon, hopefully. I have a few feelers out looking for the right drum to use, but in the mean time I have a few questions that I haven't been able to find answers to while searching the site.

    1. I see that everyone is using black pipe nipples and fittings for air intakes. How do you think brass fittings and nipples would fare? I don't mind spending the money for the iron stuff, but I have access to the same things in brass, free of charge.

    2. Does an ash pan serve any other purpose other than ease of cleaning out the ashes? Does it offer any sort of protection to the bottom of the drum? I'm thinking that, for me, the best way of cleaning out the old ashes is the same way I currently do it on my offset firebox, a Shop-Vac.

    3. If you were to build another USD, is there anything you would do differently? Anything you did that you didn't need to or something you wish you had done.

    4. If anyone has used both a flat lid and domed lid, did you notice any difference in cooking times or fuel used due to larger volume?

    All answers are appreciated. And I may have more questions as I get farther into it.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    There are no issues using brass if you can get it free. Reason most use black pipe is because it's cheaper than brass.

    The purpose of the ash pan is for easier clean up. It is nice to have if it is attached to the charcoal basket and you light your basket before putting it in the drum.

    The $75 I spent to sandblast inside and out and powder coat the exterior was worth it.

    My first drum had both lids. No noticeable fuel consumption changes. If using fixed shelf positions it gives you more room up top for larger cuts using a domed lid.

    My current UDS has an adjustable rack system I can set the racks in 2" increments. Works great.
  3. tagalong

    tagalong Fire Starter

    Thanks for the answers.
    I have my boss checking into getting an empty hyd. oil drum we have sitting around the shop at work. Maybe I'll be on my way to building soon. In the meantime, after perusing the forum quiet a bit I've decided to build a mini-WSM also. Have the SJG and IMUSA ordered, should be in next week.
  4. tagalong

    tagalong Fire Starter

    My boss offered me a drum today. Open top with lid, contained automotive grease but the grease was inside a plastic bag and never came in contact with the interior of the drum. There is no liner but it does have an oily film that appears to be cosmoleen (sp?), it's slick when you rub a finger across but is tacky. How do you feel about this drum with a couple of good burnouts and washing? I also was offered, from a coworker whose son races dirt track, two drums that had racing fuel in them. They are closed top and I'm not sure if the fuel they use is unleaded or not. The grease drum with the open top and lid seems to me the best option of the two, what do y'all think?

    I have some brush from yard work I did back in the Spring that is piled up and I can't open burn because of a seasonal burn ban here. It can be burned so long as it's contained and a 55 gal drum qualifies as a containment. Is it OK to mix this in with some pallets when I do a burnout? I know the oak branches are fine but there is some crepe myrtle and privet hedge in there too. If its OK that would be killing two birds with one stone.

  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Drill your holes for your intakes and burn away. Everything that you have there will be fine for a burn out. After your burn hose it out scrub it down and you'll be good to go. Be aware that the paint outside may fall off too.
  6. tagalong

    tagalong Fire Starter

    Thamks for the help Dirtsailor
  7. tagalong

    tagalong Fire Starter


    The grease drum didnt pan out. I was finally given the nod to grab the drum containing hydraulic oil, so I snatched it up and brought it home yesterday. Its a sealed top drum so I ground around the outside to get the top off and still be able to use it as a lid. After draining the remainder of the oil into a bucket, I turned it upside down to gravity drain as much as possible overnight. After work today I filled it about 1/3 full with water and Dawn then washed inside and out and the lid. Dawn worked great, got all oily residue out. I cant find my step drill bits so I need to pick up one along with a wire wheel for the angle grinder and some high temp paint before I can do a burnout. At least Im finally on my way.

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