Smoker Rehab 2018

Two years ago I pulled my old smoker out and gave it a complete overhaul.  It needs a little help again.  Nothing dramatic, but the paint is chipping up with rust blisters in places.  Best to get to that before they become dramatic.

A heavy grit flap sander pad on my angle grinder did a good job of cleaning off the paint and exposing fresh metal.  I think I used a wire brush last time, but this works a lot better.  So much better in fact that it revealed a lot more bad paint than I had originally thought.  I had sites all over the smoker that needed grinding and repainting.

Out came the high temp primer and paint.  I basically ended up repainting 75% of the smoker.  That was a lot more dramatic that I set out to do, but I figure it is a lot cheaper than having a rusted out smoker.

With it safe from the elements for a few more years I had one trick to install.  I wanted to customize the front fold out table.  I figured some kind of Florida BBQ sign was in order.  I was going to make it look like a caution road sign, but then thought that would reflect poorly on my cooking.  Watch out for this guy’s food!

I would historically use my mill to cut a stencil from thin plywood or hardboard.  I haven’t used it in ages and need to spend a day on repairs and re-learning how to use it.  Instead I tried to 3D print a stencil.  It can make finer curves and lines anyways.

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I sprayed the back with some light hold adhesive hoping that would keep spray paint from seeping under while letting me pick the stencil back up.  I masked around it and sprayed away.

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The edges weren’t as clear as I had hoped, so for the BBQ letters I sprayed more adhesive and make sure to rub it onto the grill table really hard.  That probably would have gone ok, but I sprayed too much paint and it seeped under.  Multiple lighter passes would have worked better.  I used too much adhesive and it left residue on the table.  I will wait a few days for the paint to really cure well before hitting it with a solvent.  I also didn’t mask enough and got a little over spray on the grill.

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Up close it has a lot of issues, but from afar it isn’t bad.  All lessons learned for next time.  Maybe in 2 more years when it needs another paint touch up I will have a better plan for branding it.  The smoker will be 11 years old at that point!

Printer Rebirth

After months of being without a printer since the breakdown, I am back in business!

It lives again!

A post shared by Chase (@kiltedcraftworks) on

dsc_0665I was 99% sure that all it really needed was a new hot end.  Not sure what happened to the last one, but it would jam up no matter what I did.  Monoprice of course doesn’t sell new ones, and I didn’t want some cheap knock-off.  I didn’t realize it when I first had this problem, but it turns out E3D makes a “lite6” version of their famed V6 for half the price.  It can only do PLA and ABS, but that is all I ever wanted anyways.  Step one, remove old hot end with extreme prejudice.

I was able to reuse the heating element from the old system, but the thermistor is new.  This setup doesn’t have any part cooling fans so I bet the overhang performance will suffer dramatically, but at least it should work.

Some things that aren’t working out for me are power.  The old fan was 5V and got modulated by the micro-controller to change speeds for variable part cooling.  The new one is 12V and needs to be on all the time.  After some frustrating work with non-standard connectors, I ended up cutting out their connectors and directly wiring the given 12V supply to the machine with a power tap off for the hot end fan.  The fan power runs up the back, and the old 5V fan power just hangs out front.  I might use it to add a part cooling fan someday.

I learned a lot about how hot ends are made, and ended up having to completely replace the tubing on mine to get a full range of motion.  It is one ugly critter now.

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Ugly, but working!  I made a few of these small 1/4″-20 nuts as test pieces, and they turned out all right.  This wounded beast should keep me going till I can get something better and more permanent.  No more trying to print 24/7 now, just the things that I really want… This might be harder than no printer at all!

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