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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Brew Stands > Material advice for brutus!
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:22 PM   #1
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Default Material advice for brutus!

So I've been drooling over Lonnie McAllisters plans for a brutus 10 ever since I started brewing out of keggles and an opportunity came about to get this sucker built today. I'm flying to So. Cal over Christmas and showed the plans to my dad as a project we could do while I was there. Long story short my dad used to work for FMF back in the day and is an experienced welder and all around tinkerer and jumped all over the idea.

I plan to build the brutus basically to the plan spec (aside from the gas tube) and freight the sucker back to Idaho. Heres where it gets interesting, his neighbor owns some massive materials company in Orange county and can get us material at cost, and will lend us all the materials needed for the build that my dad doesnt already have. However, he thought of using aluminum rather than stainless. Is there any reason that aluminum shouldn't be used for a brutus stand? I read through various forums where stainless or standard steel are used but didnt see much regarding aluminum. I figure it would be just as strong, and significantly lighter.. any thoughts? I'll certainly make sure to document the build when we do it! -nostrovia!

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Old 11-22-2013, 10:33 PM   #2
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As long as it will support the weight and take the heat from the burners I can't see why you couldn't use aluminum.

Not sure what size batches you brew but if you are going for 10 gallon size each kettle could be over 150# or 450# plus the weight of the kettles and components. You will also be operating 3 burners to some degree simultaneously which can generate a lot of heat.

It sounds as though the people you have to build with should be able to answer these questions and ensure the welds are good.

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Old 11-22-2013, 11:00 PM   #3
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I'm seeing a lot of stands assembled from aluminum strut, and if that works I'd think one could come up with the appropriate size/gauge aluminum tubing that'd work just as well...

Cheers!

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Old 11-23-2013, 05:52 PM   #4
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What grade aluminum. All those plans are for steel. I would over size the tubing size a bit to be safe. If your Dad is good at welding Aluminum and you build it with tubing of sufficient strength it should be okay.

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Old 11-24-2013, 03:40 AM   #5
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Aluminum is expensive. I would go with steel and then paint it when done.
If your budget is unlimited, I would go with stainless over aluminum.

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Old 11-25-2013, 01:54 PM   #6
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I'm getting the aluminum at cost. From the prices I've seen online you can get aluminum from wholesalers for a 1/2 if not a 1/3 of the price compared to stainless. The issue of heat is interesting. Wouldn't aluminum dissipate and distribute heat better than stainless anyway?

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Old 11-25-2013, 07:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeavyMTLbronco View Post
I'm getting the aluminum at cost. From the prices I've seen online you can get aluminum from wholesalers for a 1/2 if not a 1/3 of the price compared to stainless. The issue of heat is interesting. Wouldn't aluminum dissipate and distribute heat better than stainless anyway?
Yes, your stand will get hotter that hell. Hose, wires, whatever you have mounted to it will get hot too.
Also, the grate or whatever you are using to actually hold the kettles will get red-hot. If you use aluminum there, it will melt.
I wouldn't use aluminum at all... Mild steel or SS are the two options IMHO.
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Old 11-27-2013, 05:34 PM   #8
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Isn't aluminum an excellent material for dissipating heat though? I would imagine using aluminum would be a just as strong if not stronger and light as hell since I'm freighting that sucker from CA back to Idaho...? Hmm any thoughts folks? I'm certainly going to continue doing research here....

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Old 11-28-2013, 03:28 AM   #9
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Thermal conductivity of Al is order of magnitude higher than stainless steel, which I infer is the reason it will get hotter then hell.

I doubt that Al stand will melt. (If that was the case, how do people use Al pots as boil kettles?).

You will have to oversize tubing to get equivalent strength as steel. (Again the grade of Al you use will determine this). I am not a structural engineer, so not exactly sure how much bigger stand will need to be.

I would just choose steel as it is cheaper, easier to weld and allows thinner tubing. I do not thinkit would be impossible to use Al tubing, just impractical.

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Old 11-28-2013, 03:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
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[...]I doubt that Al stand will melt. (If that was the case, how do people use Al pots as boil kettles?). [...]
Maybe because they're filled with fluid that won't get any hotter than 212°F?

Leave an empty Al pot on a burner and the ending might not be quite so benign...

Cheers!
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