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The Orb - portable pizza oven

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  • The Orb - portable pizza oven

    With this thread I will try to detail the construction of a portable pizza oven. This design is a straight knock off of The Brookencookies Satellite oven.


    To start, I am using a 100 pound propane tank. This was available to me at no cost from a Craigslist add. It is a bit bigger than the tank BC had, but will end up about the same height, just a bit bigger around. This tank has a diameter of 15 inches.

    As a heat source, I've bought in a cast iron burner from 'Bayou Classic' - found'm on the web. It burns propane. The burner is rated at 50,000 BTU.

    These pictures show the tank as it was given to me. And after a bit of time cutting. I've cut the top off the tank, and will use this as the bottom of The Orb. And have cut a hole for the burner. I am using an angle grinder for most of the cutting, so straight cuts are easier than radius's.

    I'll keep ya'll posted as this project progresses! It will be fun, and with luck, we can cook pizza on it when we are done...


  • #2
    Re: The Orb - portable pizza oven

    So Jed,
    another interesting and very portable oven in the making!
    Tell me, how did you cut the tank safely? (I am fearful of then exploding whilst cutting them although I have done numerous welding/repair jobs on petrol tanks safely in the past.
    Fill it with water before attacking it with a friction cutter?
    Remove all the propane (lpg), then the fittings and blow all the fume out?
    I ask as I have access to numerous lpg tank (one in my veggy garden) reay to be created into another life form.


    If you don't succeed the first time, try again and again until you get it right!


    • #3
      Re: The Orb - portable pizza oven

      Hello Rastys,

      The volatility of the propane was a concern of mine, also...

      I started with an empty tank, pulled the valve off the top and let the tank vent for a few days. Propane is heavier than air, so I stored the tank upside down for a few days.

      And with the use of an angle grinder to cut the steel, nothing has exploded for me yet!

      The residual smell associated with the propane is my current issue. The inside of the tank is saturated with the smell from the propane, and I find the smell offensive... So my current quest is a system to eliminate the smell... Any ideas?



      • #4
        Re: The Orb - portable pizza oven

        The stink is an additive that is mixed with the propane. Over time some of it settles out and it is not uncommon to find some of the additive as a fluid in the tank even though the tank is empty of propane. The recycle yard where I got my tank (Steel Dome Oven) has a dedicate area where they dump the fluid (they periodically have a small open fire over that area to help remove the stuff). If you just dump it out you will be plagued with the smell where you dump it for quite a long time.

        Hot soapy water will help remove the residue although it will eventually all evaporate or burn out.


        • #5
          Re: The Orb - portable pizza oven

          Congrats on your start. I fired mine up last friday and had terrific pizzas. After 4 months of winter weather and making do with house oven pizza it was great to get back to the real thing.

          The smell will go away after you fire up the first time. I fired my for about an hour before loading pizzas the first time and have had no problems with the residual smell.

          Sharpei Diem.....Seize the wrinkle dog


          • #6
            Re: The Orb - purification by fire

            The smell was a real irritation...

            So, with the help of an old pallet, and a bit of regular fire wood, I decided to try toasting The Orb parts.

            It worked, the time in the fire has cooked the offensive smell from the inside of the cut up propane tank. Now I can work with the parts without feeling ill..

            And one image of the mock-up of The Orb as it comes together... The tabs on the flat stock on the top of this mock - up will be bent, drilled and installed inside The Orb to support the firebrick. The blue bits are cut up length of steel from bed frame from the local re-sale shop (cheap steel...) and will be painted black and bolted on to support The Orb off the ground, and to support the burner below...



            • #7
              Re: The Orb - First Curing Fire

              The Orb construction is coming along fine!

              At this point the basic construction is complete. I will add a wood handle to the top, and paint to clean up the look of the thing...

              And most important, after the first fire, I will add air venting holes to the top.

              As it turns out, the 55,000 btu burner moves a lot of air. And without someplace to go out the top, it will push air back down on top of the burner and smash the flame and heat... So I will add some holes at the top.

              Do any of you have an opinion on how big a hole (or holes) I should add? I am thinking of cutting two flaps, one on either side of the handle, maybe two inches long and an inch wide, with the 'flap' bent up to vent the air away from the handle... I might do something different if I had easy access to welding equipment, but this is all happening with hack saw, angle grinder, sawzall, and bolts.... low tech, but it seams to be working...

              And with a twenty minute fire this afternoon, the brick was over 400 F when I shut off the propane, and a half hour later the brick was over 500 F. Nothing fell off, which is usually a good sign...

              The next step will be to start with a full propane tank, run it for a half hour, and then take the tank down and top it off again.. see just how much propane this thing will consume...

              That's the report for now. I have committed to provide pizza at a meal on Wednesday, so time to get this project complete!


              PS: This construction system makes a heavy 'portable' pizza oven... Don't have a weight yet, but it is heavy!


              • #8
                Re: The Orb - portable pizza oven

                Hi Jed,
                Looking good! Regarding vent holes: think I would push in the direction of making the vent adjustable so you can shut off the heat and close the vents and retain as much heat as you can as well as adjust the amount of exhaust.

                I would also look into insulating the handle on the lid with something. A few beers and some unfortunate might grab handle with bare hands to have a peek at how the pizza is doing and end up regretting their curiosity.



                • #9
                  Re: The Orb - portable pizza oven

                  No help here, but it looks very nice. Cute is the word I think I'm looking for.
                  "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)



                  • #10
                    Re: The Orb - portable pizza oven

                    Nice work!
                    Still, you will need the vent!. A "medium size" one, not little at all.
                    More oxigen to rich combustion, more final temp.
                    If possible, the ideal place to cut the vent holes should be in the lower edge of the upper oven part and in opposition to the gas entry.
                    You know, like a true wood oven, flames on one side, running up to the ceiling and exhausted by the opposite lower exit.
                    Your brick base will help to close the front upcoming of the gases and to open the rear one (meaning a circle of bricks cutted out by a little chord)
                    Alluminum foils covering the inner surface of your oven, will help the flames path.



                    • #11
                      Re: The Orb - portable pizza oven

                      I solved the vent problem by leaving a 1/2 inch gap between the wall and the fire brick. I then put a vent on the bottom of the lid ( about 1 inch high and 3 inches wide. The vent is placed opposite the firebrick gap. This forces the air to move across the pizza giving you a convention affect. With the vent on the lower part of the lid it also keeps the temp up overall because the lid has to fill with hot air before escaping. When I fire mine up you don,t want to stand too close to the vent. It puts out quite a bit of heat, like standing in front of a hair dryer on steroids.
                      Looks great so far. You, be having pizza in no time.

                      Mine weights 22 pounds.
                      Sharpei Diem.....Seize the wrinkle dog


                      • #12
                        Re: The Orb - First Pizza! woo hoo!

                        The thing works!

                        And better than I anticipated.... Three cheers for The Orb!

                        Tonight we took The Orb to a pot - luck meal, and made pizza for the crowd (small crowd, but more than just the two of us). Rave reviews. The pies came out great. We cooked three.

                        I used full size fire brick in this oven, and it takes a bit of time to get to temperature, but after an hour of heating, I was able to get and hold nearly a 600 degree F hearth. A very blustery, 50 degree spring day, threatening rain all evening, so I propped up wood and logs to act as a wind block.

                        Attached pictures show The Orb, partially protected from the wind and the first pizza on the hearth.

                        One more post to follow after painting and any clean up details...

                        Thanks to the Brokencookie for the idea. We have a four day river float scheduled in a month or so, and could be the envy of the river community to have fresh quality pizza in that setting....