Originally Posted by mmmmeat
Ouch! I think I cut myself just lookin' at those pics!!
I'm kinda thinkin' that if you have a piece of steel that will fit front to back and all the way to the left with a small gap on the right, you could get your reverse flow idea working... but I think your fire box hole is too far to the right to get the true reverse flow that you want. Remember, you need heat & smoke to enter and exit on the same side to work right.
Also, I think I would weld something similar to your first baffle in place, that way heat isn't directly hitting the larger plate that will be above it.
As for the aluminum, I think the shelf idea is the better way to use that sucker if it's large enough...
Make sure to post some pics of the finished project!