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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Brew Stands > RIMS Build on a budget - but still pretty advanced
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Old 12-31-2009, 05:29 AM   #1
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Default RIMS Build on a budget - but still pretty advanced

Well, I am about two weeks into my build and decided I should start a thread to show what I am doing and the direction that I am taking it. Unfortunately my camera had a run in with some rain and does not work, so I apologize for the horrible cell phone pics. I will replace them with better pics once I go buy a new camera!

I am calling this a budget build since I am trying REAL hard to source all of my material in the cheapest manner possible. For instance the stainless steel was quoted new at $460 dollars. I picked up some scrap from a customer for $60, bought a cheapo grinder and cutting disks $35 and cut it all to length. This puts the total cost of my metal for the stand to $95. I am not having this welded simply because it is being built in my basement and it would never get in or out the door the way my house is laid out. Instead I opted to use 3" stainless bolts and drill some holes. This also saved a ton of money. The kettles are keggles which I paid $140 for all three of them. Yes I know I got ripped on the keggles, but beggers can not be choosers and they are in great shape.

Here is the stand from a few nights ago when the first pod was finished:



After building the top of the stand, I got bored with metal working for a few days and decided to build my control panel. I sell automation controls for a living so getting over a thousand dollars of high end components was pretty easy. Total cost to me on the panel is up to about $60 but I have yet to finish it off. I would say that another $40 and it will be all set. Again this fits my idea of a "budget build" (at least for me)
Here is the exterior of the panel without any legend plates or markings yet:



-The top left is one of the temp controllers, I am sticking with one for now as they are $225 and I could only get one sample. it will be used to maintain the temp on the electric RIMS.
- Below that is a pilot light that tells me when the rims is heating
- Below that is a selector that has positions "pump" "off" "auto"
---- Pump will turn on the rims pump only so that it can be used for more than just one operation
---- Off, well that is self explanatory
---- Auto turns on the Pump and allows the PID to control the heater element.
- Below all of that is a lighted push button. It illuminates when the pump is on indicating that you can press it. When pressed it turns on the RIMS heater element for a manual boost of heat. It basically makes the "pump" setting also work as a "hand" setting on the selector switch.

The second column works just like the first, but it is used to control the 240V 5500W heater element in the HLT. It has "pump" "off" "heat" as its selections as I can either be pumping the fluid or heating the fluid. Just incase I have the pump hooked elsewhere and I need a burst of heat, the green push button allows the heater to be fired at any time no matter the position of the selector.

The third column starts with my primary power. It is a key operated switch so that without me present, no one can mess with the brewery. The controls under that are for the Boil Kettle, and are simply "off" "on" for the element.

Here is a quick shot of what all of this crap looks like on the inside (not finished wiring yet)

That picture makes my carpet look really gross!

That is as far as I am for now, in the next couple weeks I will have all of my kegs cut and drilled, and ready for the balance of the parts to be ordered.
I still need:
2 pumps
All fittings for fluid transfer
All parts to build rims heater
All parts to build wort chiller (will be a reverse flow system)
Heater elements
2 30A GFCI and 1 20A GFCI breaker OUCH!! I just want to be able to run all controls and elements at the same time!

I do appreciate any feedback on things that I am overlooking or tips to make the brewday on this go a little easier ie: motorized stirrer (may be making one out of the left over Keg Parts)


Thanks for looking, and Slainte if you read that entire novel I just typed!!

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Old 12-31-2009, 04:06 PM   #2
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Nice dude!! I love the control panel!

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Old 12-31-2009, 04:30 PM   #3
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a twenty amp GFCI outlet is WAY cheaper than a 20 amp breaker.

Where in NY are you? I am buying the stuff to build a "high temp" CFC so that i can reciculate boiling wort to sanitize. Buying to build two is way cheaper than buying for one. want to go halves on the supplies?

right now i have 50 feet of high temp hose, and im going to buy 50 feet of 3/8" tubing as soon as i can get to Lowes.

Nice work on your system.

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Old 12-31-2009, 04:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by sjlammer View Post
a twenty amp GFCI outlet is WAY cheaper than a 20 amp breaker.

Where in NY are you? I am buying the stuff to build a "high temp" CFC so that i can reciculate boiling wort to sanitize. Buying to build two is way cheaper than buying for one. want to go halves on the supplies?

right now i have 50 feet of high temp hose, and im going to buy 50 feet of 3/8" tubing as soon as i can get to Lowes.

Nice work on your system.
I know that a 20A outlet is cheaper, I can get a good Hubbell one for about $7 whereas the breaker is around $40. MY thing is that I want to either hard wire this, or use twistlocks to ensure secure connections.

I live in Buffalo, opposite side of the state from you. My design for the chiller is up in the air, and may be quite different from what has been built before, or it may be pretty close to what others are using. I still have to test out some of my ideas.

I would say not to buy your copper tubing at Lowes, it is expensive there. Check out coppertubingsales.com The price for a 50' coil is about half of Lowes price.
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Old 12-31-2009, 06:23 PM   #5
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Are you planning on the keggles resting on the lower rails or are those burner supports?

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Old 12-31-2009, 06:28 PM   #6
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The keggles are resting on the lower rails with the upper rails keeping them firmly in place. There are no burners as this is a full electric setup. There will be 2 5500W elements and one smaller yet undecided one for the rims heater. I will actually be upgrading the electrical service to 200A to be able to power this beast. I already have the panel, wire, fittings, etc... just need to get it all installed one of these days, or maybe stick to my original plan and buy a new house and install the panel just before we move in. I promised the SWMBO that she could have a hot tub if I get this..... WIN/WIN the way I see it.

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Old 12-31-2009, 06:32 PM   #7
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The Lowes where i live has a 50' roll for $46. it may be left over from when copper prices were lower. I priced CTS today, and it was 45 shipped from them.

I will double check, but thanks for looking out!

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Old 12-31-2009, 06:34 PM   #8
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I'd reconsider your design.

As designed you're asking a very small area of thinwall tubing to take the entire load of the full keggles. When loaded, I've have concerns about the bolt pulling through the tube. You might be fine, you might not.

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Old 12-31-2009, 06:41 PM   #9
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Nope, It has been tested. It is actually heavy walled tube. This tubing is left over from heavy machinery for the dairy industry. By calculation the keggle will be approx. 120 Lbs fully loaded, and me and a friend were able to stand on the rails for one pod without issue. That is a total of 350 Lbs and it didn't even bend or flinch. If i really need to I will add some heavy S.S. washers to the bolts just to insure their strength, but I don't forsee that happening.

Edit: looking at the picture makes me want to add the washers..... DAMN I hate giving Home Depot my $$.

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Old 12-31-2009, 06:53 PM   #10
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Am I just not seeing the fusing in your controll box? Maybe they are down at the bottom?

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