"Question--what are the differences between the Smookeeter and MBD pot rings? Is there a more reasonable deal out there? A ring of aluminum, once mass produced--as in Tinny's case--can't possibly require such a markup. I mean, some of the prices are insane. (And I love the man and his ideas.)"
Based on video's and some on line discussion I think Tinny makes his by hand in his shop. If he is having them mass produced he is paying somebody then marking them up so it's either his time or the markup and somebody else's time. I also think smokeeater908 has access to a CNC shop and is making similar product on the CNC. Less time and lower cost if he is not paying for the CNC. Also one is in the NE and one SE so there seems to be some regional loyalty. I have not seen any complaints on quality about either one.
Free advice worth what you paid for it. ;-)