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Old 01-28-2009, 05:08 PM   #1
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Default Any way to tell what type of metal?

Is there any easy to distinguish between aluminum and stainless steel? When Mervyns was closing down a few weeks ago, I wandered through their store to take a look at the fixtures they were selling. I ended picking up this neat rolling display on heavy casters. Under each of those wooden decks is a horizontal metal beam. I figured I could take the wood off and have a brew stand that was already partially completed.



My general plan was to cut off the top two decks for most of the length, but leave a bit at one end and weld in supports. Basically have my HLT on one level and the mash and BK down on a lower level. The thing is, I have no idea what it's made of. Since it's bare metal and it's not rusted, I figured either aluminum or stainless. Basically I just need to figure out whether I'm going to be welding or bolting this thing together.

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Old 01-28-2009, 05:14 PM   #2
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Try and drill through it. Aluminum will be a peice of cake, stainless steel not so much.

It may take you 30 seconds for a 3/8 hole in aluminum and 10 minutes with stainless steel.

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Old 01-28-2009, 05:18 PM   #3
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Scratch test will work as well, try to file it and aluminum will file very easily, it will be hard to scratch stainless.

Weight will also give you an idea, also a really really strong magnet may stick slightly to some stainless. If the magnet sticks really hard you may have chrome plated steel so watch out..

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Old 01-28-2009, 05:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conpewter View Post
If the magnet sticks really hard you may have chrome plated steel so watch out..
I'm assuming welding chrome plated steel is bad? Does the coating vaporize? If so, is it possible to take it off with a wire wheel ahead of time or something?
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:25 PM   #5
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Yes, it's bad. You can do it with a respirator and good ventilation, but I'd take it off first.

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Old 05-01-2009, 09:29 PM   #6
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bump back from the dead! Thanks to the help of folks in this thread and my LHBS, the stand material was identified as stainless. After much planning and procrastinating, the build is finally under way:

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Old 05-01-2009, 09:52 PM   #7
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That looks great! Nice creative thinking. Those units are expensive as hell new. I'm guessing you paid a fraction of retail for that unit. Good job.

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Old 05-01-2009, 10:25 PM   #8
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Sweet! I'm glad it is stainless, that is going to work out wonderful.

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Old 05-04-2009, 05:32 PM   #9
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I paid $60 for the stand at mervyns. I'm not well versed in such things, but the guy I have welding it for me estimated that buying the raw stainless would have run something like $300, plus the basic fab work that was already done. I guess the cheaper materials makes up for the fact I don't know someone who can weld stainless and I'm having to pay for it.

Only a little progress since the last shot.

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Old 05-04-2009, 10:34 PM   #10
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One of those shelves would look nice on top of a kegger.

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