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Feb 10, 2010, 01:58 PM
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DanL's Avatar
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EZ Build Fogger Smoker Design

Here's a write up on building a very simple 12V fog-juice smoker for boats. It puts aout very good smoke for the power used.

It's based on work by strmnd 54 at RCGroups/RCTanks:

He had the great idea to use a simple resistor as a heater element instead of nichrome wire, making for a much simpler unit. Thanks strmnd 54!

The tank guys have put a lot of effort into smoker mods and design, so I thought I'd try to convert the ideas to a simple unit for boats.

I'll be tryinhg another unit at twice the wattage (28 watts) of this first smoker (12v, 1.2Amp, 14 watts).
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Feb 10, 2010, 03:09 PM
Work induced time dilation...
Andrey225's Avatar
That looks great! I'm thinking of using a similar design in my 1:400 QM2. The only question I have is what fluid do you use for the smoke and where can I get some?
Feb 10, 2010, 06:13 PM
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DanL's Avatar
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The fog juice is Ultratec Maxi Fog Fluid. It's $27/gallon. Seems like a lot, but it goes a very long way and makes much better smoke than cheap fluids I've tried.

Here's their website. It's under "Fluids"

They only sell a case of four of 4-liter jugs - about $120. I found a magic shop in town that sells it by the single jug. Stores that sell magic supplies, party supplies or that rent fog machines probably have decent fluid for sale.
I bought some at Walmart last Halloween - a quart bottle. It was cheaper, but also not as good. Probably the most likely option though.

Another one that is supposed to be good and sold by the gallon ($18):

Cheap good stuff is hard to find.
Don't use antifreeze - it has nasty additives and I'm not sure it would work anyway.
Last edited by DanL; Feb 10, 2010 at 06:19 PM.
Feb 10, 2010, 06:35 PM
Cheif Bottlewasher
more coffee's Avatar
Im new to smoke ..

any reason a guy cant use WD40? ..
Feb 10, 2010, 07:17 PM
Mmm, tugs...
patmat2350's Avatar
This isn't oil, and isn't being burned... you're boiling off a glycol solution, but nowhere near the temps needed to boil water. And the smoke is just condensed glycol droplets... just like visible "steam" from a teapot is actually a cloud of condensed water droplets (steam is invisible).
So it's a much cleaner way to make "smoke", without messy oil and sludge all over everything. And, it's supposed to be safe to breathe... that was looked into at length, since it's used for fog in stage productions and such.
Feb 10, 2010, 08:14 PM
Cheif Bottlewasher
more coffee's Avatar
Thanks Pat ...
Feb 10, 2010, 11:13 PM
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ken_nj's Avatar
Dan, how is this in comparison to the one I have?
Feb 11, 2010, 02:40 AM
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DanL's Avatar
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The smoker you have is bigger than this resistor unit. It holds more fluid, is more spill resistant and operates at higher wattage, so it should produce more smoke than this smaller unit.
The advantage of using the resistor is that a very efficient and very compact smoker can be made for small spaces and smaller battery capacities.
In your boat, there was enough room for the bigger nichrome heater smoker. I use a wound coil of pretty heavy nichrome - 28g - vs the very fine wire that has the burnout problem in the HL smokers. Your heater wire should not burn out. If it does, let me know. It's fairly easily replaced.

An addition you can make to your smoker is placing a small jellybean sized piece of loose pink fibeglass insulation right at the top of and between the two percolator tubes. I can't remember if I put one in. Place it so it's in the airstream and so it gets wetted by the glycol bubbling up the tubes. When tested, your unit put out a good smoke stream. How is the smoke volume in the installed unit?
Feb 11, 2010, 09:28 PM
GSMB Member
ken_nj's Avatar
I'm painting the hull right now and she is mostly upside down and all masked up so I'm on hold for the smoker install. Once I'm done painting that's the first thing I will be getting back to. My boat club is also interested in seeing the final result. Me too!!!!
Feb 12, 2010, 09:30 AM
GILL RC's Avatar
I'll stay with my Aristo-craft smoke oil. It is safe and clean burning, it is the only one sold that has an EPA rating as a food product.
Yes I do work for Polks but of my 103 boats I only use what works. I started using this oil long before I worked here.
Feb 13, 2010, 01:51 AM
MarcRacer18's Avatar
This is cathing my eye. I think a smoke unit will be used in my next build.

Would i want a long lasting smoke? Or a thick smoke? Just looking through the Ultratec site and it has quite a few choices.
Feb 13, 2010, 11:20 AM
Semper Fi
GreenAmphibian's Avatar
MarkRacer18, The kind of smoke you use depends on what you are trying to portray. I have not looked at the Ultratec site, but if it is a smoke screen, thick would be the best choice. If you are going for smoke stack smoke, then I would try for the long lasting.
Feb 13, 2010, 12:41 PM
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DanL's Avatar
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The guy at the magic store where I buy the fluid says that some of the fluids are for a different kind of machine. And the ones for the heated filament smokers basically give more smoke as the price goes up. Some of the glycol ingredients are pretty expensive, and the more used gives more smoke.
So I guess Directors Choice is the smokiest, Maxi is a little cheaper but still good smoke and think there is even a cheaper one in the line that likely gives the least smoke/hang time.
I bought some WalMart stuff at Halloween a couple years ago and it definitely didn't smoke as well as the Maxi from Ultratec (formerly LeMaitre).

I've wondered what some glycol smoke fluid added to the water in an ultrasonic smoker would do. That might be interesting....
May 21, 2011, 08:36 AM
Tinkerer in Training
RGinCanada's Avatar
I just wanted to bump the thread.

This smoker design works incredibly well. I have added a few tweaks to the basic design, but more on that later

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