Smartfire adaptors are designed to require no drilling for installation. Historically the adaptors required drilling a 32mm hole to attach the 'Dual Thread' adaptor, and some new owners are keen to drill their smoker higher up to get the Smartfire more out of the way of ash/embers on Kettle and Bullet smokers. This guide provides our recommended approach if you desire to take that path.
What you'll need to proceed
- Smartfire "Universal Bowl" adaptor
- Power drill with an 8mm drill bit
- Non permanent marker pen (in case you make mistakes) for grate level marker
- Permanent marker or pencil for hole markings
- A4 printer for the drilling template
- Scissors/craft knife to cut out template
- Sticky tape to hold template on smoker
- Your kettle/bullet smoker of choice
High level approach
Drilling a large hole for the Dual Thread barrel adaptor was expensive (~$55AUD for the auger and holesaw!) and the adaptor was susceptible to ash/embers. Our recommended approach uses multiple 8mm holes in a pattern that offsets the holes from the Smartfire coupler. Most people already have an 8mm drill bit in their toolbox, it provides great ash/ember protection, it's the same size hole as required for the securing bolt and provides great airflow. Win win win.
Note: you place the template *inside* the smoker, not on the outside. It's easier to judge the grate height and perform the drilling on the inwardly curving surface. You will need to clean your smoker!
The important file: Drill Template
- Print the template. You need to print it scaled at 100%. Easy way to check it's right is sit your Universal Bowl on the piece of paper and check it matches the outline!
- Cut out the template, follow the outer circle of the bowl
- Push little holes in the centre of the drill points, using a food probe works well!
- Place the template inside the smoker and line it up to where you think the orange grate line matches where the grate is, secure the top with a piece of tape
- Insert the actual grate and check it lines up, adjust as appropriate
- Secure the template with more tape
- Circle the template in a few places with a non permanent marker so it's easy to relocate the template afterwards
- Make markings with pencil or permanent marker for the red / green / purple holes
- Remove template and check visibility of markings, reapply as appropriate
- Compare markings and their position to the template, check twice, drill once!
- Drill the holes, it helps to start slowly to avoid the drill skidding over the metal, then a steady but not super fast when it's making progress
- Prepare the Universal Bowl, secure the outer coupler
- Attach the Universal Bowl to the smoker via the bolt, washer and wing nut assembly
- Twist the bowl so that the female coupler is horizontally level with the lock bolt, check inside the smoker for positioning
All done. Just remember to keep fuel on the grate at least 1-2" away from the adaptor side. Live fuel sitting right against the adaptor will superheat it, which likely will result in melting things. A small alfoil tray can be very useful so nothing is forgotten or accidental falls of stacked fuel.