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Igotgas
07-08-2011, 12:12 PM
Awhile ago fellow brethren Capozzoli posted this thread that got me thinking:crazy:

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.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!

http://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l601/Igotgas/362c5eaa.jpg
http://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l601/Igotgas/6c6da17f.jpg
http://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l601/Igotgas/c891cb24.jpg

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.:becky:

landarc
07-08-2011, 12:29 PM
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.

Arlin_MacRae
07-08-2011, 12:48 PM
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

azken
07-08-2011, 12:59 PM
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 :roll:

landarc
07-08-2011, 01:00 PM
Chad, you thinking of using a gas burner for this one too?

bigabyte
07-08-2011, 05:37 PM
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

Will work for bbq
07-08-2011, 06:02 PM
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:thumb:

Zin
07-08-2011, 06:09 PM
By the pic's, it looks more like thin stainless steel.

Daytrip
07-08-2011, 06:31 PM
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:thumb:

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.

Capozzoli
07-08-2011, 06:45 PM
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?

KoonBQ
07-08-2011, 10:46 PM
Nice score!

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

:)

Igotgas
07-11-2011, 02:49 PM
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
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.

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 ?

jestridge
07-11-2011, 03:53 PM
How thick is it.??You could line it with some ss flashing with some type of insulation board under the ss flashing

Igotgas
07-11-2011, 04:58 PM
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 :clap2: thanks Jestridge. Where can I could get some insulation board?

jestridge
07-11-2011, 05:09 PM
Prolly at Lowes , they sell a board that goes around a fireplace.

tmehlhorn
07-11-2011, 05:52 PM
1. First off if it is straight aluminum, it melts at 1220 degrees
2. any coatings of paints especially on inside would need to be cleaned or burned out first.
3. I see lots of holes that would need definite filling
4. i would pull the smaller box and attatch a smoker box there(if you doing charcoal?)
5. you could use metal from smaller side to help seal those holes as well as make a heat deflector between the two boxes
6. well i dont know all the ideas i have so far.

tmehlhorn
07-11-2011, 05:55 PM
for smaller cooks instead of spliting vertically you could just build a metal plate you could stick in at any shelf level with one hole in it to adjust the size.

Igotgas
07-11-2011, 11:38 PM
1. First off if it is straight aluminum, it melts at 1220 degrees

2. any coatings of paints especially on inside would need to be cleaned or burned out first.

3. I see lots of holes that would need definite filling

4. i would pull the smaller box and attatch a smoker box there(if you doing charcoal?)

5. you could use metal from smaller side to help seal those holes as well as make a heat deflector between the two boxes.

6. well i dont know all the ideas i have so far.


1.It just needs to be good to about 350:becky:
2.Naturally a few fires before food!
3.That is all part of the fun.
4.Not sure what the fuel source is going to be but the side box will be hanging in my garage before the smoker gets built.
5.Still working on the design
6.Keep them coming...... that is why I love this place:clap2:
Thanks
Chad