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Unread 07-08-2011, 12:12 PM   #1
Igotgas
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Default Aluminum Smoker Build?

Awhile ago fellow brethren Capozzoli posted this thread that got me thinking

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=108247

Is it feasible to make a smoker out of Aluminum? Then I ran across this and the price was right at Free!





It is a traffic signal box and it is all aluminum. One guy loaded it in this truck by himself. Now I just got my hands on this and have not even started to think about plans, but I thought I would start here to see what say you. Ideas, Suggestions, telling me I am out of my mind, all welcomed. The Mrs. will probably take care of the last one when I tell her.
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Unread 07-08-2011, 12:29 PM   #2
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I didn't know Tesco made aluminum boxes, very interesting. I thought all their stuff was thin to medium gauge stainless steel. Either way, lots of potential there. I think one thing that comes to mind right away is that aluminum is a great conductor of heat, but, a poor holder of heat. You will probably want to consider that aspect of your build.
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Unread 07-08-2011, 12:48 PM   #3
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I can think of a couple of pit fires I had that woulda scared chit outta me if my pit had been aluminum!

I'd check the melting point and all that before going for it.

YMMV
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Unread 07-08-2011, 12:59 PM   #4
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Now...if you could score some heat shield tiles off a soon to be obsolete space shuttle you'd have an out-of-this-world cooker
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Unread 07-08-2011, 01:00 PM   #5
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Chad, you thinking of using a gas burner for this one too?
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Unread 07-08-2011, 05:37 PM   #6
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You might want to make sure it is pure aluminum and not coated with anything. OTher than that, if they make aluminum pans you put directly on a fire, I can't see any reason you can't have an aluminum smoker. Aluminum melting point is over 1200*F
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Unread 07-08-2011, 06:02 PM   #7
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If it's aluminum it will most likely be anodized. I would keep it as the outer shell of an insulated smoker and make the inner chamber out of carbon steel then either make it gravity feed or split the front door and make the bottom the fire box. Whatever you do, that's one hell of a score
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Unread 07-08-2011, 06:09 PM   #8
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By the pic's, it looks more like thin stainless steel.
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Unread 07-08-2011, 06:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will work for bbq View Post
If it's aluminum it will most likely be anodized. I would keep it as the outer shell of an insulated smoker and make the inner chamber out of carbon steel then either make it gravity feed or split the front door and make the bottom the fire box. Whatever you do, that's one hell of a score
Agreed, being in the elements will oxidize it fairly quickly if it's not anodized or otherwise treated.

It looks pretty shiny in a couple of areas to be anodized but I can't imagine one guy loading it if it was indeed stainless. The hardware, handles, and support plates are probably stainless and there is visible difference between those and the outside sheeting.

As far as the structural integrity goes the melting point is important of course but depending on the alloy the more important thing is what percent of it's integrity remains at the temperature required. Being that you want to make a smoker out of it you should be fine.

I'd be much more worried about what surface treatment as mentioned above. The outgassing temp is something you don't want to find by mistake.
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Unread 07-08-2011, 06:45 PM   #10
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Wow, pretty cool.

It is most likely anodized. They put a surface on that type of aluminum equipment called "hard face anodizing", its transparent and hard to detect by looking at it. Im not sure at what temp it will burn at. You could try burning it of with a torch. Try a test are first maybe?

Are you considering insulation? Im pretty sure insulation will take care of any heat dissipation issues associated with aluminum.

How thick is it?

Cant wait to see what you find.

Im still considering the aluminum smoker build. I would like to make a large trailer smoker that any car can pull and that one man can wheel around by hand. Spicewine made a smoker for my friend that does the charity BBQ's but I am building them a large 3' x 8' Santa maria grill now. Im making it out of steel though.

Wheres NWBBQ?
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Unread 07-08-2011, 10:46 PM   #11
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Nice score!

Now you just need a three light temperature indicator.
(think "stop light")

:)
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Unread 07-11-2011, 02:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capozzoli View Post
Wow, pretty cool.


Are you considering insulation? Im pretty sure insulation will take care of any heat dissipation issues associated with aluminum.

How thick is it?
I think it is around 3/16. I did not check for sure though.
I think with it being AL that insulation is a must. I like Will work for bbq's idea of the inner cabinet. Maybe reverse flow
Quote:
Originally Posted by landarc View Post
Chad, you thinking of using a gas burner for this one too?
I am still in the VERY early stages of design..... But yes, I am considering it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zin View Post
By the pic's, it looks more like thin stainless steel.
Definitely not stainless. All TIG welded Aluminum.

I am thinking of splitting it vertically and having a damper system so that if I am doing a small cook I can use only half of the cabinet. It has really nice doors on both sides, so I dont really want to weld it shut but ?
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Unread 07-11-2011, 03:53 PM   #13
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How thick is it.??You could line it with some ss flashing with some type of insulation board under the ss flashing
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Unread 07-11-2011, 04:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jestridge View Post
How thick is it.??You could line it with some ss flashing with some type of insulation board under the ss flashing

Pretty sure it is 3/16. Flashing is a good idea thanks Jestridge. Where can I could get some insulation board?
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Unread 07-11-2011, 05:09 PM   #15
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Prolly at Lowes , they sell a board that goes around a fireplace.
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