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Jed 04-28-2009 09:06 PM

The Orb - portable pizza oven
4 Attachment(s)
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...


Rastys 04-28-2009 11:09 PM

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.



Jed 04-29-2009 08:59 AM

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?


Wiley 04-29-2009 09:39 AM

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.

brokencookie 04-29-2009 12:43 PM

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.


Jed 04-30-2009 05:59 PM

Re: The Orb - purification by fire
3 Attachment(s)
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...


Jed 05-11-2009 08:42 PM

Re: The Orb - First Curing Fire
3 Attachment(s)
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!

Wiley 05-11-2009 09:15 PM

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.


Frances 05-12-2009 01:25 AM

Re: The Orb - portable pizza oven
No help here, but it looks very nice. Cute is the word I think I'm looking for. :)

arevalo53anos 05-12-2009 06:53 AM

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.


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