I’m making a simple smoker that I saw first on Good Eats, Alton Brown's, and later in this great page.
This instructable can be taken apart in 3 different parts:
- The first part is how to make a round grill. (Step 1 to Step 5)
- The second part consists on making an extension for the electric burner temperature knob. (Step 6 to Step 9)
- The last part is putting all together. (Step 10 and on)
All the parts have their own difficulty level, but I think it is al fairly easy if you have the right tools. It's advice that you have bench mechanics skills, at least for the first 2 parts.
I can't make an estimated value because most of the materials I already have them in my house (I have my own little junk yard ;) ).
Note: It have been a while since I wrote something in english, so I apologize for any mistake. And if you see any mistakes please let me know so I can fix it. Thanks
Step 1: Round Grill Intro
So I needed a round grill of the right size, about 32cm diameter for the smoker. After looking up for different grills in the market, I couldn’t find one of the right size, and all the specs I wanted like handles and some kind of stand. So instead of wasting more of my time, I decided to make my own with some ¼” steel rods I had from a previous project.
Step 2: Tools and Materials for the Grill
The tools I used were:
- Measuring tape
- A MIG welding machine
- And a bench vise
And the materials I used were:
- News paper (for the guide)
- Steel rods
Step 3: The Guide for the Grill
As always, I start making a guide. For this guide I used a news paper, because it has the right size and it is pretty easy to work with. I measured the diameter of the vessel in different points to see if it is really round, and I ended using the smallest diameter. Then I draw a circle in the center of the paper. For this I placed a mark in the middle, and make several marks al around this point at a distance of half the diameter. After this I used a hand free technique to join the marks and finish the circle, with more marks, the easier it is to close the circle. Finally I cut it out and test it in the pot, to make sure it would fit.
Then I used this guide to place the rods on top and decided the separation I wanted between them. I ended up using two rods in between to make a ½” gap that seems to be a standard separation.
Step 4: Cutting and Welding the Grill
As you can imagine, the farther the rod is from the center the shorter it is. But to determine how much shorter you could do it by a math equation (not really easy), or you could use the guide we made. The first thing I did was to cut two rods of the size of the diameter, one will be the center rod of the grill and the other one will be the backbone of the grill. I placed the rod at the center of the guide, using the first mark I made as reference. Then, I put three pieces of rod next to it, two of them will give the size of the gap and the final one is the one I marked to be cut and place in that spot. To mark this rod, I first aligned the end of the rod with the upper edge of the guide, and using the hacksaw I mark in the rod where the lower edge of the guide is. Using the vise I cut two rods to the length I marked, one for each side of the center rod. I have found it easier to cut and weld in pairs, in other words cut two rods and weld two rods, repeat to conclusion.
To weld it all together, I it’s easier to keep the rods that I used to make the gap in the marking stage to keep the rods parallel and to an even spacing, just been careful not to weld those rods to the backbone. I also keep the guide in the botton to make sure that the rod Im welding it's centered, and be carful not to move the center rod from its place in the guide.
Step 5: Finishing the Grill
I wanted to give the grill a more solid feeling so I weld two more backbones to it. Kust keep in sight the guide, you dont want to make them larger than it should be.
Then I used the vice to bend two rods to form a “U” with enough width to fit my hand and a height equal to the width and weld it up straight to make the handles. To make it easier to weld, I chose a width that’s exactly the outer distance between two rods, so I can deform a little bit the handle and pressure place it. The forces between the rods and the handle will keep it in place, making it easier to weld it using just one hand.
Finally I welded 4 pieces of rod to make the legs. To choose the height, I just made them long enough for the handles to reach the edge of the pot.
Step 6: Extension for the Knob Intro
In Good Eats, Alton Brown says that it is better to use an electric burner because you can control the temperature. What he didn’t say is that for you to change the settings, you have to open up your smoker, remove everything and adjust the knob.
Somewhere else I found that people dissemble the burner and put the thermostat and knob on the outside with all the cables, I don't like that idea because first of all the Thermostat needs to be close to the heating element for it to work properly, and secondly I don't like the way it looks.
So I decided to make a small extension for the knob rod, and put the knob on the outside of the smoker, and also make it look more professional. I also changed the knob for a bigger one that looks better with the size of the pot.
Step 7: Tools and Materials for the Extension
For making the extensión you would need a:
- Lathe, and the tools used with it.
- Vernier caliper
- Measuring tape
- Metal file
- Flat screw driver
- Different sizes drill bits for metal
- Hand or stand drill
- Small Thread Tap
- A piece of metal to make the extension. I don't recomend using plastic because of the temperatures inside the smoker.
Step 8: Measuring
The first step to make your extension is to measure the length you would need. I started by putting the burner in the center of the pot, measuring in all directions with the tape to make sure that it was perfectly centered. Then I measure the distance between the base of the knob and the inner side of the vessel. Using and vernier caliper I measure the thickness of the pot and added to the first measure. And finally I measure the depth of the hole in the new knob with the vernier and added it too. Then I added some extra length to make extra sure it will fit well. It is better to cut it longer and not shorter, because you can always cut it again.
Then I used a flat screw driver to remove the knob from the burner. I just ply between the knob and the burner wall, and the knob just slide out. As you can see in the pictures, the shape of the rod is a circle with a straight cut. It goes the same way on the new knob. I try my best to measure the circle diameter and the distance between the flat surface and the circle end with a vernier caliper.
Step 9: Making the Extension
If you know your way around a lathe you will find this step to be unnecessary because by just looking the final photo of the extension you would know how to make it. But ether way I will explain how I made it.
In first place I used a hacksaw to cut my piece of rod to the a little more of the length you calculated in the last step. Again, it is always recommended to have an upper tolerance to work around. Then I mounted it on my lathe and sized down the rod to a diameter bigger than the diameter you measure in the rod in the burner, I like to keep a 2mm wall thickness. Then I use the drill bit to make a hole in the end of the rod of a depth equal to the length of the rod on the burner. Then I turn my extension around in the lathe and sized down the diameter to the diameter of hole in the new know, and a length of the depth of the hole.
Then I mounted the extension on a vise and with the help of a file I made the flat surface so the new knob can slide in tight enough. Finally I used a hand drill to make a hole perpendicular to the one in the end of the extension that goes from side to side. To choose the drill bit size I used a thread table in combination with the thread tap and the screw I’m going to used to fix the extension to the burner rod. Then I used the thread tap to make the thread in the hole, and you are finish. I made the hole from side to side because I have had some bad experiences where the tap hit the end of the hole and it breaks.
Step 10: The Smoker Intro
So here we are, the final steps to make a smoker. If you have read all the steps before this one I hope you have been enjoying this instructable, I know I do.
If you are just joining in, I hope you find what you came for, like it, and maybe head back to the previous steps.
There isn’t that much else to say, so hand on!!!
Step 11: Smoker Tools and Materials
You would need a:
- Hand drill
- Drill bits for concrete (cement)
- A MIG welding machine
- Steel nail
- Steel rod
- Steel curly ornaments
- Large ceramic pot
- Ceramic lid, for the pot
- Electric burner
- Heavy pan
- Round grill
- Extension for the knob
- Grill thermometer
- Epoxy adhesive
Step 12: Smoker Stand
Alton Brown said in his show that it is advice that you should raise you smoker from the ground to let the air circulate inside the smoker. So I decided to make a pretty stand. I bought some curly steel ornaments to used, and I just weld them together like in the photo. To make sure of all the distances, I just put the vessel upside down and place the ornaments in their final places and weld it all together. There isn’t that much science in to it.
Step 13: The Hole for the Knob and the Electric Cable
To place the knob in his new place, I first measure the distance from the top of the pot to the center of the rod in the burner and translate that measure to the outside of the pot. Then I used a nail and a hammer to make a small mark in the vessel so the drill bit won’t “dance” around. Then I made the hole with the drill bit. Make sure you use a concrete bit, and if your hand drill have a percussion set DON’T USE IT (you may break the pot), and use a drill bit a little bit larger than the diameter of the extension (you want it to move free).
If your pot doesn’t have one drain hole to pass the cable you should make one. In my case there was one in the bottom big enough to pass the plug. But I had to raise the burner a little bit for the cable to pass freely; I made this before making the hole for the knob so the height I measured was the final height of the burner.
Step 14: The Pan
There isn’t much to do to the pan. I bought a pretty big pan, so I had to remove the handles for it to fit in. I just used a drill bit to remove the rivets that hold the handles. I saved the handles and attach them to the lid, but that’s the next step.
Step 15: The Lid
For the lid you need to do two little works. You have to make a small hole for the thermometer and attach the handles. For the hole I just used a concrete drill bit of the size of the thermometer thread and place it in. And for the handles I used an epoxy adhesive; just make sure to sand a little bit the surfaces (makes a heavier bond) and clean them. Make sure that the epoxy you use is for high temperatures, and I also notice that there is just one way that the lid fits the best so you want to take this in acount when placing the handles.
Step 16: Assemble and You Are FINISH
The first thing you need to do is place the pot on top of the stand. Just slide it in and align the hole you made for the knob to be in center between too legs. Then place the burner in the bottom of the vessel. Make sure to pass the electric cable by the hole that was planned for this. The next thing you need to do is attach the extension to the rod in the burner. First align the rod to the hole you made, insert the extension in the hole of the pot and in the rod. Tighten the screw of the extension against the flat surface of the burner rod. Then put the new knob in extension. After this you can place the pan, the grill and the lid, in that order. AND YOU ARE READY TO START SMOKING MEAT AND WHAT EVER YOU WANT!!!
Thanks again for your attention. Hope you enjoy it, and maybe make your own inspired by mine.