Originally Posted by MushCreek
Or you can do this. Mine has 3 brackets which have a small stud sticking down to engage the U-bolts I use to hold the grates. I use mine more for grilling than I do for smoking, but it works well for either. The best thing is I can raise my basket up to do a reverse sear after smoking a prime rib. I do like the chain idea, though. I envision some system of gears and chains so you could turn a crank to raise and lower the basket. Igor- off to the laboratory!
I apologise for crashing this thread and realise it is an old conversation, but I may have some useful ideas on the crank concept MushCreek was suggesting. I recently introduced myself over on Cattle Call, I'm completely new to and absolutely without experience of the UDS concept but a convert already so gettig ready to build my own (actually have THREE drums standing by) so just been watching and learning as I work up to my own final (tweaked) concept(s) but staying true to proven UDS fundamentals. However, as a South African I'm used to open coal grill BBQ and am stongly inclined to being able to grill as well as smoke with my UDS. So, I've been thinking about this for some time and reading your thread reassured me that I wasn't a complete lunatic with the direction I was thinking. Obviously one could make this really really complicated with all sorts of gears and cogs etc as MushCreek envisaged (using old bicycle cranks, gears and chains is one obvious option), but although something like that might be a cool feature to show off, seems to me that actually it is over complicated, not cheap and will definitely need maintenance.
So I sat down to think about how one could stick with with the same notion of a turning crank on the drum but get away from cogs and chains to a more simple application of the same concept, and this is what I came up with. I love the idea of the reversible charcoal basket, but ultimately decided that for me, because I my probable grill / smoke ratio will be 50/50, actually I preferred to have a dedicated grilling charcoal basket which also reduces overall weight for the suspended hi/lo system.
The essential idea is the merging of climbing and winching techiques with offset anchor points to a lifting of a load (the charcoal basket) straight up a vertical chute (the drum). Instead of chain, I propose using a suitable weight steel cable winding onto a drum (like a scaled down winch and cable) and as the cable get's tighened the basket should rise up. The weight of the basket provides the force to lower it as tension is taken off the cable and that's it.
To get around the possibility of the basket tipping due to effectively being suspended from only two points, I propose fastening two channels (like shelf suspension rails) on either side inside the drum and having two vertical guide plates fixed to the basket frame (positioned such that if the cable runs from 12 o'clock through 6 o'clock then the guide plates are at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock) which will slide up and down between the channel sides such that they will resist any lateral tipping force and hold the base steady.
I'd be delighted to have feedback on what y'all think, being a newbie it's quite possible I may well have missed something really obvious with this, but on the face of it, seems like a nice and reasonably lightweight, neat and tidy solution to the puzzle.
To make it easier to understand what I'm thinking of, I've down some drawings which I'm trying to attach below. If it doesn't work, I'll try to send them as a separate post.