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Old 07-21-2009, 08:27 PM   #1
discgolfin
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Default Building a three tier brew stand with Unistrut

I think the title explains it all. I have been looking at this stuff and wanted to get some guidence for where to begin.

I could use Unistrut Product Group

or Unistrut Product Group

I planned on a three tier verticle tower..with square frames off of the main pole for three burners..it seems simple but wanted to get some ideas as to one parts to use..They are plenty strong and have some nice fittings to make a frame with out any welding. any thoughts?

I also have to get some price quotes but need to know what to begin with..the center piece will be about 8 feet tall..and the burners will be 1.5 to 2 ft peaces to make a square..the max load on these are way more than I need and I want the thing to last a long time..I plan on going into 15 gallon batches when this is done...

Jay

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Old 07-21-2009, 08:33 PM   #2
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I did this too.

Except, I decided to just bolt the unistrut directly to the kegs to keep everything more "mobile". For the burners, I just bolted angles to the legs and set the burner ring atop the angles.

At the very bottom, I bolted cross braces in and also devised a carriage bolt leveling feet. the system worked great for a long time but, everything was weldless and I grew tired of that. Sold the system and bought premanufactured solution.

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Old 07-22-2009, 12:15 AM   #3
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You must have deep pockets by the time you buy all the strut be it Super-Strut, Unistrut or Kindorf alone not counting all the plates, fittings, spring nuts, bolts, washers and nuts. Different manufactures of parts will not all work with different brands of struts. Oh one good feature you can order it in stainless if your pockets can reach down to your shoes. On a stationary framework it will stay tight and strong, on a stand moving around twisting, flexing plus hot and cold all the joints will keep working loose. This will result in a unstable overpriced stand. If you welded all the strut together instead of bolting it together I bet your parts list would be cut in half besides stronger without it loosening up or falling apart, thinking safety here with hot liquids. The only good feature I see is if you used solid strut without holes and slots it can be used as a raceway just add the metal cover. Unless your working for rather large contractor or have a connection for all the strut and hardware
available free or cheap your in for sticker shock. The only other high dollar stand is one of those 2" square tube in stainless with a .250" wall thickness strong enough for crossing rivers off roading as portable bridges.

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Old 07-22-2009, 03:00 PM   #4
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Jay, I created a stand out of pieces of Unistrut, brackets and fittings that were "appropriated" from the dumpster of our local electric utility. They just throw this stuff out.

Here's my pros and cons of using strut

Pro:

  • Quick assembly - I was able to put the stand together in a few hours. 2 days and I was ready to brew.
  • The open channel in the strut allows for cooling of the frame. I have pots sitting on pieces of strut with my burner mounted below. Sometimes the flame will touch the strut directly. But even with that the frame itself doesn't get hot just warm.
  • No welding - Enough said

Cons:
  • BrewBeemer is correct, you have to tighten spring nuts occasionally
  • Parts are very expensive. I didn't have to pay for any but there were some fittings that would have been nice to use that I didn't have free access to. I wasn't willing to pay the price.
  • Not stainless so it's lacking in beauty. I plan on painting it with high temp paint sometime, but it hasn't been a priority.

Let me know how I can help. I don't have any plans drawn up, and my cost sheet shows $0, for the reasons stated above, but I'm willing to take and share any pictures that you might need.

Jack
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainJack View Post
Jay, I created a stand out of pieces of Unistrut, brackets and fittings that were "appropriated" from the dumpster of our local electric utility. They just throw this stuff out.

Here's my pros and cons of using strut

Pro:
  • Quick assembly - I was able to put the stand together in a few hours. 2 days and I was ready to brew.
  • The open channel in the strut allows for cooling of the frame. I have pots sitting on pieces of strut with my burner mounted below. Sometimes the flame will touch the strut directly. But even with that the frame itself doesn't get hot just warm.
  • No welding - Enough said

Cons:
  • BrewBeemer is correct, you have to tighten spring nuts occasionally
  • Parts are very expensive. I didn't have to pay for any but there were some fittings that would have been nice to use that I didn't have free access to. I wasn't willing to pay the price.
  • Not stainless so it's lacking in beauty. I plan on painting it with high temp paint sometime, but it hasn't been a priority.

Let me know how I can help. I don't have any plans drawn up, and my cost sheet shows $0, for the reasons stated above, but I'm willing to take and share any pictures that you might need.

Jack

Thanks for the info..I was just looking into it and I would guess I was looking at 400$ in framing and parts..I can weld one for probably under 200. I figured you would have to paint the unistrut becasue of the heat..I will go welding route..but just wanted to look into this as an option..hey if I got most of the peaces free I think I would go for it as well..

Jay
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Secondaty: Blond Ale, Apfelwine, Crandaddy mead
Bottle: Blue moon clone,Kolsch, Eds House Ale, Barley wine, Stone IPA, Oatmeal stout, Hefe,

Drinking: 60 minute IPA, Honkers Ale, Wheat, cherry wheat, Appfelwine,

On Deck: Imperial Stout,

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Old 07-24-2009, 02:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discgolfin View Post
Thanks for the info..I was just looking into it and I would guess I was looking at 400$ in framing and parts..I can weld one for probably under 200. I figured you would have to paint the unistrut becasue of the heat..I will go welding route..but just wanted to look into this as an option..hey if I got most of the peaces free I think I would go for it as well..

Jay
Why not use regular strut for the frame and only use stainless strut around the burners where the paint would be burned off? Less costly using just what you need in stainless for your welded stand.
Weld in short 45 degree gussets out of strut in the corners for a stiff flex free stand in the needed locations.
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Last edited by BrewBeemer; 07-24-2009 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 07-24-2009, 02:44 AM   #7
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hell what's wrong with angle and flat iron + a drill and bolts?

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Old 07-24-2009, 11:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z987k View Post
hell what's wrong with angle and flat iron + a drill and bolts?
The big problem is having to drill all of the holes. I bolted mine together with bed frames. It's been a few years now, and I've never had to tighten the bolts, and it's plenty strong. Total cost for the frames was about $12, so the price was right.

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Old 07-25-2009, 04:08 AM   #9
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I too have the same plans. I found 10' sections of strut at my local hardware store for $18/stick. I went with the 3/4" strut because the 1.5" seemed like overkill. The 1.5" strut was $22, so price wasn't the factor, just felt like too much. The 3/4" is super sturdy, doesn't flex at all. I can get a two tier stand done with 50' so it will be just under $100 for the strut channel. About 2 months ago I luckily found 90 degree L brackets on Grainger.com for $0.86/ea on clearance from $4.20/ea. I picked up 25 of them. I just looked and they have them on clearance still for about half of what I paid, $0.48/ea (steal!). They take 1/2" bolts and the spring nuts are not necessary, you can bolt straight through and use a standard washer and nut. Nuts and bolts at HD/Lowes or the like for about $45. That's all it takes, should easily be able to keep it under $200. I wasn't quite ready to built the whole thing, and I plan to have each section independent anyway for maximum flexibility, so I just built the main burner and it's strudy as heck. I only brewed twice on it so not sure about the bolts loosening, but can't imagine they'll move much as tightly as I have them cranked down. The bonuses over a welded stand were full flexibility, changing from 2 to 1 or 3 to 2 tier in a heartbeat by loosening the bolts and moving pieces around. Also limitless locations to bolts things up to it (pump, switches, plate chiller, piping, etc) without any tools or drilling. Loving mine so far. I'd go for it, especially with the most expensive part (the brackets) on super clearance at grainger.

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Old 07-25-2009, 04:31 AM   #10
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Has anyone tried building a 3 tier out of metal studs?

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