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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:51 pm
Posts: 22
After recently trying my hand at smoking ribs and a few other things, I decided that my "Weber Q and chip parcel" method simply won't cut it anymore. I looked into a few bullet style smokers such as the Weber Smokey Mountain and Pro Q Elite 20, but they just don't seem big enough in grate area. So I decided what the hell, I'll build my own UDS.

Now the issue is that some rusty old drum, no matter how tasty it cooks food, will not suffice. WAF is real, and if I'm to have something cooking in the back yard, it needs to look respectable. So I did some research (the more you read the more you need to start over again!) and started acquiring the parts. Below is a list of things that I have planned for the build, which may of course change greatly or not at all over the course of the build.

  • Recycled 44 galon drum
  • Charcoal basket made from an 18.5" Weber charcoal grate and mesh sides
  • Weber 22.5" cooking grates, upper and lower
  • Weber 22.5" lid on "Unknown BBQ" brand hinge
  • Side tables
  • Castors so I can move it around

I don't intend for this thread to be a step-by-step, but I will try to capture a decent number of pics of what I'm doing along the way. I spend a good amount of time when I get home from work with my young daughter, so most of the work on this project is done at night so apologies for the sometimes suspect quality photos (night time and phone camera).

Anyway, on with tonight's progress.....

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Got a drum, that's a good start! Made in Korea apparently, hopefully not glorious Korea. Had some kind of solvent in it at some stage, but not to worry, it will be thoroughly burnt-in. Has a slight ding at the top, but a rubber mallet will fix that in no time.

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Started out by flipping it and marking out the holes for the castors. Figured this will make it easier to move around when doing other parts of the mock up build (Intend to build the whole thing first before burn in and paint, so I don't have to damage the finish.

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Pilot holes drilled and about to attack with with the stepped drill.

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First time ever using a stepped drill. Holy shit! These things are awesome.

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Holes for all four castors drilled. Used some vegetable oil as lube for the stepped drill. Can't remember where I read that, but it helped. Thanks Internet!

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Bugger, forgot to grab hardware to mount the castors. Oh well, on to something else. I was going to make some side tables for it, to hold the thermometer sender, meat before it goes on, my beer, etc etc beer beer. The I found out some clever blokes had already designed and were selling some. Shout out to Big Poppa Smokers, these are a nice little product.

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One table fully assembled. Apparently there is a coating on the timber, but it's a bit light for my liking, so before final assembly, I'll probably give it a quick once over with a polyurethane floor lacquer, something that can easily be wiped down.

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Hey, one for each side!

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Hardware for the 25mm (1") inlet at the front of the smoker. This will only be used for lighting and capped once temperature is up.

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This gear is for the two adjustable air inlets. 90° bends at the bottom and the cooper pipe runs up the side of the drum at the rear. 20mm (3/4") ball valves on each for easy control. Before final assembly, these will be rubbed back with wet and dry, and high temp clear coated to preserve that nice copper look.

Started drilling the hole for the 25mm (1") front inlet but it was getting late and drilling big holes into empty drums is bloody loud, so I thought I'd give the neighbours a break. More progress to come soon.


Last edited by Statts on Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:42 am
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Location: Melbourne
Welcome Statts. Excellent informative post. I'm at work, but I'll read it all properly later when I get time.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:19 pm
Posts: 1799
Location: Macedon Foothills (Sunbury), Victoria
Awesome build!

Yep those step drills are awesome! They come with a big popper smoker included in the hardware kit, they last a very long time if you use them at a lower speed, like the lower speed on a 2 speed cordless drill.


Anyways, yes keep your info coming, and awesome to see another enthusiastic build thread!

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:46 am 
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this is amazing, we are starting to see more and more build threads :)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:51 pm
Posts: 22
Thanks for the encouraging replies guys.

Cheeky little update......

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Managed to finish off the hole for the capped inlet. Hardware shown installed.

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Marked out the positioning for the side table.....

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And test fitted the first one. Figured it better to fit one and measure downto table top from lip of drum to make sure they both sit at the same height.

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Drilled the holes for the two controllable air inlets. Unfortunately couldn't locate my hacksaw to cut some threaded nipple, so the hardware will have to wait.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:15 pm 
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Posts: 643
Ahh, love me a UDS build thread!

Looking good with this one mate! Gonna look mint once youre done!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:42 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:47 pm
Posts: 33
I have found that I need to seal the holes for the castor bolts as my UDS leaks water due to the humidity inside.
Leaves a terrible mess on the floor outside which does not please the wife.

Seal the bolts before you can't get in there.

Keep up the good work.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:51 pm
Posts: 22
Well, I've hit my first snag. It seems the 22.5" Weber lid doesn't fit straight on the top of the drum. Not sure what I'm going to do yet, but I'm not able to weld in a ring as the added height will make using my hinge impossible. I'm thinking the best way might be to utilise the original flat lid, cut the lip off the Weber lid and weld them together, then cut out the bottom of the new lid, leaving just a ring of the flat lid.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:06 pm 
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Mounted up the other side table. Going to get a mate to do the welding on the lid, and while he's doing that, I'll be making the charcoal basket.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:29 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:39 pm
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Location: Victoria
Looking great so far.
I have never built one but I believe people usually cut the rim off the top of the drum.
Then the weber lid fits.

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