I received an email a couple of weeks ago from Charles Volpe who took the smoke pipe design from my previous posting, and made some interesting improvements on it.
Most logically of all are the modifications to protect the plastic interior (the computer vacuum was never designed to handle heat or smoke obviously) and the metal tubing to replace the plastic one that comes with the product. The other major improvement is in the larger bowl attached which makes it much more practical for larger groups and quick platings.
In Charles' words...
A few modifications were added that I thought you might be interested in. First, I lined the vacuum chamber with aluminum duct tape to protect the soft plastic shell from hot smoke and ash.
Second, I sprayed the plastic impeller with high temp enamel from Home Depot, to protect the plastic from the burning embers. (This may or may not work in reality, but it seemed worthy of trying). Third, I fashioned an arm from 1/4" stainless steel tubing (from a local hobby shop) and bent it to allow smoke to be directed up into the inverted glass or dome. The tubing was attached with Gorilla Glue to the threaded fitting on the vacuum bag that came with the Mini-Vac. Perfect fit and removable for cleaning.
Finally, I purchased a large bowl from a head shop in Greenwich Village NYC that has a screw top to contain the burning wood chips even if it falls over. This was attached to the plastic housing by directl y threading it in place. NO GLUE needed. I was able to use a 3/8-24 tap (Craftsman) to create the threads in the plastic shell.
Now everything is securely attached and can be removed as needed for cleaning. It is really quite solid. The parts total was just slightly more expensive than you listed due to the addition of the larger bowl and the stainless steel tubing (plus $10.00 USD). The time of assembly was around one hour.
That is the full design. It's a beautiful prototype. I may order another one to try this. Also, I cannot stress how important it is to use screens in the bowl. Even after crudely grinding wood chips in my spice grinder, there are pieces that will fall into the impeller chamber and jam it. This was frustratingly experienced one night when we were trying to send out a table-smoked poached fish dish and the pipe kept stopping. We had to become MacGuyver once again and fashion a screen from pierced aluminum foil... it's a good thing those old-school hippie days ended up being good for something other than killing our brain cells.