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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > DYI vs Off the shelf breakeven point?

View Poll Results: Acceptable cost of DIY vs Retail Solution
Up to 50% of Retail 26 30.59%
Up to 75% of Retail 39 45.88%
Up to 90% of Retail 20 23.53%
Voters: 85. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-15-2012, 06:38 PM   #1
Jukas
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Default DYI vs Off the shelf breakeven point?

I've always liked the idea of DIY, and am inclined to so when possible. However I've had quiet a few that ended up with a final cost within 20% of just going out and buying it which usually bums me out.

For example I'm pricing out DIY stirplate with parts from radio shack bare minimum I"m looking at about $25 bucks include tax. That's assuming I can scrounge up the extra wire and wall wort I need. If I have to buy 2 spools of wire cost would go to about $30. (I have tons of PC fans and dead hard drives lying about)

By comparison I could simply order a pre-made stirplate from Stir Starters: Yeast stir plate for the home brewer for $42 shipped.

So if I do the DIY right and don't screw anything up at best I'm looking at a 40% savings off retail, not counting my time. That's usually a good enough breaking point to go the DIY route for me

This lead me to wonder what everyone's breakeven point is on when they decide to head down the DIY path vs just buying it off the shelf (and getting a warranty).

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Old 01-15-2012, 07:02 PM   #2
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For me, the benefit is the DIY aspect itself. If it looks like I can build it for less and/or if it looks like it is a project worth my time I will go the DIY route.

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Old 01-15-2012, 07:30 PM   #3
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I think in the case of the stir plate, you can build one that would be equivalent to a higher priced stir plate and it would still cost less than the cheapest one you could find. I always feel I could just buy the cheap one, but I never want just the cheap one. I wan't a bada$$ one.

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Old 01-15-2012, 07:51 PM   #4
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I like DIY when it comes to things I KNOW how to do. I recently ghetto rigged a DIY stir plate. That was stretching my DIY talents.

I made my own Keezer and Keezer cart. That's way below retail cost.

But as I said, sometimes buying it already done is easier for some of us and not worth the hassle of losing one's temper when it doesn't work out they way other people said it would.

Those who DIY with everything, more power to you. come to my house and lend me your whits.

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Old 01-15-2012, 08:03 PM   #5
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For me the novice I initially looked at my brewstand like this.

Buy new..... Roughly $1000
Pay a welder $500-plus burners etc
DIY.. Price of materials. $300-$400

What I failed to account for was all the other things I needed. My welder was only $100. But then my angle grinder miter saw work bench additional tools etc added up to over $500 plus hours of learning to actually use this stuff. .... I guess the trade off is that I've learned a fun new skill and will eventually be able to build a lot of other things with my new skills and tools.. I prefer the DIY route because it's more fun, not because it's cheaper in my case.... That's just me though.

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Old 01-15-2012, 08:09 PM   #6
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I do it for doing it and don't think much about the price. I could've made my own stir plate, I even have most of the parts, but it is a boring project for me so I just bought a couple. I put lots of money into my Keezer but probably ended up paying less than a comparable unit (if there is such a thing). I am making some BIAB bags simply because it looked like a fun project and I wanted to brush up on my sewing. Don't think I will save any money since I'm planning on trying a couple things so bought extra stuff but don't really care.

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Old 01-15-2012, 09:32 PM   #7
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For me, it really isn't the idea of how much I save when doing a DIY, its the fact that I save at all and I have a project that gets me in the garage doing what I love and it is going towards something I love more (brewing). I do understand the idea of a warranty on something I can buy but if its something simple like a PC fan that I can get all day long for free (friends in low places) I'll still do the DIY. If you dont love doing DIY, follow your heart. Myself, I've built everything from my brew stand to my brew pot to my mash tun (cooler came from a roadside find, no shame on my end).

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Old 01-15-2012, 10:36 PM   #8
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For me it's more than just cost. Electrical work isn't my strong point. For $15 difference, I'd definitely buy one. That's me though.

There's other things where in the end I lose money, but I HAVE to diy. Best example is....brewing beer. I'll probably never break even on the equipment I have, but I simply don't care.

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Old 01-15-2012, 11:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomtanner View Post
For me the novice I initially looked at my brewstand like this.

Buy new..... Roughly $1000
Pay a welder $500-plus burners etc
DIY.. Price of materials. $300-$400

What I failed to account for was all the other things I needed. My welder was only $100. But then my angle grinder miter saw work bench additional tools etc added up to over $500 plus hours of learning to actually use this stuff. .... I guess the trade off is that I've learned a fun new skill and will eventually be able to build a lot of other things with my new skills and tools.. I prefer the DIY route because it's more fun, not because it's cheaper in my case.... That's just me though.
hehe I just met a guy on here who lives near me. He built a single tier and is mounting my current burners onto it. All for just 280.
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:29 PM   #10
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For me it depends on how comfortable I am with the DIY, I'm a mechanic by trade so most things I'm comfortable with, simple electrical, welding, and using power tools.

However I'm also a busy guy with a large family so I look at the project and ask myself, how much am I going to save?, how long is it gonna take me? And do I have put out all the money now?

My stirplate I made I scavenged most parts but sill had to buy a few things and it cost me $20 so I made it. My bottle tree is 6 ft high and holds 90 bottles and it took an hour to make and have less than $20 invested so I made it. Now my IC I bought one it was gonna cost me more for the parts than I could get one shipped to my door and I was still gonna have to actually make it.

I look at the big picture not just will it save me money.

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