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Old 12-16-2010, 04:22 AM   #1
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Default Home Made Mash Tun...

Thinking about making one completely from scratch..

Would be wood shell, closed cell insulation, and a fiberglass tub..

Is there anything wrong with using off the shelf fiberglass (fabric and resin custom to shape) as a tub material/surface for mashing?

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Old 12-16-2010, 04:38 AM   #2
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Yeah, higher temperatures will leach chemicals out of the resin. As of late, the thought is that the fiberous materials of "fiberglass" can cause the same health effects as Asbestos since both are silicate fibers. The chemicals will kill the beer and eventually you. There is a reason why people wear filtered masks when pouring fiberglass and shaping. All mash tuns are made from food grade plastics or SS. If you want to make your mash tun, go with an igloo cooler. Find one for cheap on CL maybe.

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Old 12-16-2010, 04:47 AM   #3
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I wanted to make one custom shaped and sized.. So I guess that if I'm set on that, the only way is stainless steel?

Or are there other materials that can be used?

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Old 12-16-2010, 04:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r8rphan View Post
I wanted to make one custom shaped and sized.. So I guess that if I'm set on that, the only way is stainless steel?

Or are there other materials that can be used?
SS is one way. I know for a fact that used kegs can be bought off of eBay. Another way is to search for kegs to convert them off of Craigslist. Not sure about food grade plastics, but I am sure you might be able to find some injected food grade plastics. Just make sure they can handle higher heat or you will end up with a mash tun made out of jello.

Custom sizes would all have to be fabricated and that gets expensive. I would go with a converted keg with various parts like a valve and thermowell with thermometer.
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:58 AM   #5
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I have a mig welder (oxy/acet rig too).. I can weld steel, but have never tried SS or aluminum... wonder how hard it would be to weld up a SS or aluminum box with no prior experience...

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Old 12-16-2010, 05:11 AM   #6
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I have a mig welder (oxy/acet rig too).. I can weld steel, but have never tried SS or aluminum... wonder how hard it would be to weld up a SS or aluminum box with no prior experience...
You could MIG weld it. I would use shielding gas instead of the core wire. Or if you have the soldering experience, that is an option.
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Old 12-16-2010, 05:16 AM   #7
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I have 'lots' of soldering experience at the electrical/electronic level.. but very little with sheet metals...

What about products like rubbermaid containers? Is that a food safe and reasonably temp safe material?

How about tupperware (if I could find a vessel the size I want)?

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Old 12-16-2010, 05:55 AM   #8
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Rubbermaids website says their roughneck totes and stackable totes are made from polethylene.. They say their coolers are also made from polyethylene...

Am I safely able to conclude that their totes could be used for mash tuns then (after modifying and insulating of course)?

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Damn, where's my arm?.

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Old 12-16-2010, 11:15 AM   #9
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I have no idea about the food grade issue, but why do you want to make the entire vessel? Are you going for a larger size than what's available? Kegs are already SS and can be found fairly cheap ( I paid $30 for each of mine from a real brewery that had decommissioned them) and can be insulated, or coolers can be had in a huge variety of sizes and dimensions. I'm all about DIY, I just built my own 2 vessel ebrew rig, just wondering what you're going for.

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Old 12-16-2010, 12:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r8rphan View Post
Rubbermaids website says their roughneck totes and stackable totes are made from polethylene.. They say their coolers are also made from polyethylene...

Am I safely able to conclude that their totes could be used for mash tuns then (after modifying and insulating of course)?
Not all polyethylenes are suitable food grade plastics. You have to remember that food grade plastics use a different polymer structure and chemicals than say the plastic in a tote. This goes back to my OP here. If you have the wrong plastic, then you will end up leaching out chemicals that are very undesirable. I admire you for wanting to DIY. And it sounds like you have good enough experience with soldering to be able to convert some kegs. While a keg wont be too customizable, you can still configure it in the correct way you want with thermowells, valves and insulation. I mean a keg is 15.5 gallons. Thats big enough to do anything you are looking for unless you are looking to brew more than 10 gallons.
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