Typo's UDS Build

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by typojoe, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I think they are aluminum if I remember correctly. I gave my old kettle away when I got my performer so I don't have it here anymore to measure it for you. I bet it's around 16-18 inches though.
  2. Update time:

    After another trip to good ole lowes I have more stuff and have since made some more progress on the build.  As of now, the basket is complete, minus the ash catcher.  I used an 18" (actual) weber grill and two 12x24 pieces of expanded metal and 6 SS bolts, washers and nuts.... pretty standard stuff.  I attached the expanded metal to the grill grate with J hooks and a washer.  I had planned to buy u-bolts, but they didn't have the small ones in stock... I realize the larger would have worked, but I couldn't justify the additional cost.  It seems to work, but I'll probably swop it over at a later point... maybe.

    I did get a hot water tank tray and it is made of aluminum.  The problem: they didn't have the 20" version.  The smallest they had was a 22 or 24", either way I bought it.  However, after getting home, I realize it is too big and wont even slide into the drum. The base is small enough to go in, so I could slice of a little bit of the rim, but after reading one of the above posts, either way, it wont clear the grate bolts.  So, looks like I'm going to go back to the pizza tray I bought yesterday, which is 16".  You can see it in one of the photos below... It is smaller than the grate used for the bottom of the basket, but it is larger than the expanded metal section (where the charcoal goes).  Now, I have to figure out how I'm going to attach the basket and the ash catcher, but that's not going to be too difficult.

    Other than that, I picked up the hardware for the grates and got the grate holes drilled.  I also grabbed some sheet metal (to make a lid hook), a piece of oak dowel (to make a couple handles) and all the appropriate hardware. That wasn't the only thing I grabbed, but the next items are a little 'out of the box'.  Originally, I had planned to buy a stemmed thermo to mount in the side, but after reading several bad experiences with accuracy and a lot of recommendations for the Maverick ET-732, I've decided to grab one of those instead.  I debated this because of the price, but figured by the time I buy a decent stem thermo and a decent instant meat thermo, I'll have spent what the Maverick costs.  Plus, I'd probably upgrade eventually anyway.  BTW, I realize theres a newer version of the Maverick, but I'm not too concerned with the preset foods and would rather save the coin.

    So, what did I buy and why's it out of the box?... Well I bought a piece of oak and some hardware.  Since I'm not going the traditional thermo route, I thought I'd make a mount for the Maverick to be attached to.  I'm not planning on putting it on the drum directly. The oak will be offset with spacers... the bottom one being longer than the top to provide an angle.  The oak (for the mount and for the handles) will be sealed.  Any thoughts?... bad idea, good idea?  Let's here it.

    My next steps: attach the basket to the ash tray, make the handles, make the lid hook, drill the air inlets and drill all the holes for the handles and hook.

    And now... the pictures:

    Basket on the failed ash catcher:

    Drum with grate (mind blowing stuff here):

    Basket on 16" pizza dish (not attached):

  3. rmmurray

    rmmurray Master of the Pit

    Way to rock it typo! I've got points saved for you at the end of this build. I'm dying to see this baby in action.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015
  4. While I'm sharing, thought I'd share this too... this is my end game, or at least what I see in my mind, but I'm sure things will change.

    Not that it matters, but everything is drawn at full size (obviously its been scaled down for the attachment).

    Some things to note: the side table (if added) will be added at a later date. I seen where someone took a round slab and attached.  Looked pretty cool, so think I'll give it a shot at some point.  Also, this shows the thermo mount that I mentioned in my last post.

    Just noticed, again, not that it matters, but the hook on the lid is upside down and will need to be rotated 180 degrees in order for it to work the way it was intended.

    So, let me know what you think.

  5. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    My side shelf is just screwed on with wood screws right through the drum. It has been there for a hundred plus smokes and is just as tight today as it was when I installed it 3.5 years ago. It's just plywood with some varnish on it. Works great for the Mav.
    typojoe likes this.
  6. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    4 3.5 inch bolts with nuts and washers. Drill holes in pizza pan and well, you get the idea. If you look at the picture of my basket you will see. Just make sure you have about 3 inches of clearance between the grate and the ash pan. I used an eye bolt in the center so I could hook it with my fire place poker to haul it up out of there but that's not really necessary. I find a good pair of insulated gloves works fine.
    typojoe likes this.
  7. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    It's not like you will probably ever have to reload the basket for any smoke I can think of. That sucker will hold one heck of a lot of fuel. Next up the burn?
  8. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    edit. delete.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
  9. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    never mind those last pictures confused me with the unburned drum I had forgotten you already burned it out.
  10. No I haven't done the burn out... that was someone else who posted here.  I'm planning on doing the burn out this saturday; after all the fabrication work is finished up.

    I'm pretty sure I'll be ready for the drum burn before then, but due to that pesky thing called work, saturday is the first day I'll actually be able to do it.  If everything goes accordingly, saturday will be a burn out, sand off and paint day.  I can smell the smoke already.
  11. Update time:

    Earlier today, I made a list of the things I still have to do.  Then I divided that list into days, all aiming for my goal of having it completed on Sunday. The list had a decent amount items, but with the exception of the burn out and my time crunch Saturday, everything else should be easy to knock out before Saturday morning (burn out time).

    After tonight, I'm still on track with the game plan.  I got the ash catcher and basket mounted to each other (see photo).  I used four carriage bolts, eight bolts and eight washers... all stainless of course.  I also cut, bent and drilled the lid hook.  It worked out, but I believe it will have to be replaced before too long.  The sheet metal I used is too thin, but it should do the trick for the time being.  In addition to the hook, I was able to get the handles and the mounting plate for the thermo cut down and drilled for the most part.  I wasn't able to get all the hardware I needed because they didn't have enough in stock.  I'm going to stop by another lowes or hd tomorrow.

    One issue I've run into is finding some spacers to use between the handle and the drum and cover the screws I'm using to mount.  The spacer needs to be less than 2".  I found an aluminum tube online for $8 but I'd much rather buy it locally.  The only thing small enough I could find at lowes was a piece of copper tubing (that I plan to paint).  I cut them down to size tonight and I could probably make them work, but they are way, way less than ideal and I know there has to be a better solution.  Any ideas?

    Another issue: feet.  Don't really want casters, not planning on moving it.  What are my options?

    That's pretty much it for tonight.  I did, however, get the maverick et-732 order today. With the help of a free amazon prime trial, it should be at my house on friday.

    Picture time (only had one to show tonight):

    Basket attached to ash catcher tray (16" pizza pan from walmart)

    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
  12. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Looking good. If you are using it on your deck or something you will probably want something under it but it really does not get that hot on the bottom. I use paver blocks to keep it up off the ground so the bottom does not rust out. You could just use a piece of plywood. It's not like you will be running it at 500 degrees or anything. Unless you are. Anyway your basket looks great. Time to get this puppy burned out and seasoned.
  13. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I use three CMU blocks under it when I run it on my wood deck. Otherwise it sits on 4 bricks.
  14. Update time:

    This one is going to be a short one... I'm ready for the burn out.  All fabrication is wrapped up, currently sitting fully assembled.  I'll tear it down tomorrow, take it outside and fill it with wood... in preparation of an early morning start Saturday.  I'm sure my neighbors wouldn't be into hearing my tear down pallets at 7-8 in the morning on a saturday. lol. 

    There are still a few things I want to do, but I have what is needed to use it.  There are some things I want to redo at some point too.  I'm not happy with the handles, mainly how the attach and the lid hook is too flimsy (as I mentioned in a previous post).  After the dent this has had on my wallet (so much for a cheap smoker), I've gotta slow down a bit on the spending. I'm surprised the people in the hardware department at lowes don't know me by name now.

    Oh as for the feet, I went with three 1/2" x 3-1/2" carriage bolts, six 1/2" bolts and six 1/2" washers.  It works, but this is something else I plan to change in the future.

    That's pretty much it.  So I guess, it's picture time.

    --- Sorry about the yellow, no offense, but I want to show you the drum, not my house. ---

    Fully assembled - outside (dry fit)

    --no smoke stack (for now)

    Fully assembled - 'inside' (dry fit)

    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  15. rmmurray

    rmmurray Master of the Pit

    Busy boy typo. Can't wait to see the burnout! I love watching builds, and yours is coming along nicely. 👍
  16. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I agree on the "budget price" of a UDS. I planned on building mine for $100 and after going to lowes to get all my hardware and fittings yesterday I quickly changed the budget to $200.
  17. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks good. Both the UDS's I've built came it right around $200. The first one was actually $150. The last one was higher because I budgeted $75 for the sand blast and powder coat. To offset some of the cost I went with $5 gate valves instead of $20 ball valves. They work just as good. I spent a bit more making the adjustBle rack system. Since I did that I didn't add any handles or frilly stuff. I don't move the drum often so handles aren't a requirement. A lid handle would be nice but my magnetic nail picker upper works just fine.

    Good luck on your burn out don't forget to remove the wood handles!
  18. I use a tractor disk for a ash catcher. Pizza pans don't last. Tractor disks come in various sizes, mine are 18 inch.
    typojoe likes this.
  19. Update Time:

    Well, she's done. And she's already been broken in.  Needless to say, I've had one busy weekend.  Friday night I tiddy up some small things, dry fit every thing and then disassembled it.

    Saturday morning, I stuffed it full of pallet wood and set her a blaze.  It started slow, but ended up knocking out a good amount of the liner and paint, but just to be on the safe side, I tore down another pallet and burned it again.  I ended up with about a foot of charred pieces of wood and a ton of nails.  After the second burn, I was happy enough to move on.  I shoveled out all the junk and sprayed her down.

    On the outside I used a course wire cup brush on a corded drill.  I handled the job decently.  I know there were better solutions, but most involved me spending more money and at this point, I'd rather not.  Some extra labor is worth not opening the wallet again.  On the inside I used a 60 grit sanding disk for the angle grinder.  This made pretty quick work of the inside.  Again, it could have probably been done a different way, but the job got finished.

    Unfortunately, by the time all that wrapped up, it was getting dark outside.  So, I rushed through the spray paint job, coated the inside with veggie oil and stuffed her in the building.  Sunday morning, I pulled her out into the sunlight and she looked nearly great. I say nearly, only because I'm a perfectionist and would really like another coat on there, but there wasn't time for that.  I bolted the handles, lid hook, grate supports and thermo base to the drum, dropped a couple in the chimney, filled the basket with coal, heated her up and ran her at 250 for about an hour.

    While that was going down, I prepped a boston butt for tonights meal.  I grabbed a 5.5lb butt from the local grocery store.  Not the cleanest looking meat, compared to some I see being cooked on youtube, but she was tasty. It only took 11.5 hours to hit 200... lol.  It was worth the wait though.  I do want to go into great detail about this cook, cause I want some feed back on it, but not here.  I know there's things I didn't do right and things I could have done better.  I'll make a thread of that later (tomorrow probably).

    After using the UDS for the first time, I already have some things I want to modify or improve.  One thing I was fighting the entire cook was holding the temp.  So, one change will be to add a hole or two behind the thermo base so I can run the probes through the side wall.  I had them running through the top, under the lid, and I feel like the issues I had with the temp were because of the air gap the probe cables created.  The other thing I want to adjust is my vent covers.  I used magnets this go around... being a sign guy, I just used a couple scrape pieces of car magnet.  It worked and nothing melted, but they were so soft, I'm sure I could have cut them with a butter knife.  That's less than ideal, but the real reason I want to come up with a better solution is because making small changes to the airflow wasn't the easiest thing to do... not that it was hard, and yeah it might be a little nit picky, but it should be as easy as possible.

    Next time I will also get me some high heat gloves.  Pulling that hot chunk of meat off wasn't the easiest thing I had done.  Hopefully, I can get a side table on there before the next smoke too.  I desperately needed some 'table' space on a few occasions.

    All in all, I am very pleased... in the uds and the first smoke on the uds.  Thanks for those who helped provide some ideas and to those who were just curious and took a look.

    And now for the pictures:

    Pre-burn out:

    During burn out:

    After burn out: (ended up sanding off bottom paint with angle grinder)

    Drum after wire cup brush:

    Painted, assembled, waiting on starter chimney:

    Sad view of finished product: (gotta get velcro for proper mounting)

    Pulled boston butt: (sorry for blurry picture)

    rmmurray likes this.

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