Spike Brewing 12.5 Conical Fermenter Giveaway - Enter Now!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Homemade Stir Plate - Lessons Learned & Tips

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 04-30-2008, 01:52 AM   #1
MNBugeater
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
MNBugeater's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 979
Liked 7 Times on 5 Posts

Default Homemade Stir Plate - Lessons Learned & Tips

I have read some of these at various locations and finished assembling a homemade stir plate with the common parts people can harvest from old computer parts, old cell phone, etc. This isn't a documented "How to..", there are plenty of them here that are excellent, rather a, "I did this, and heres something to do different, don't repeat my mistakes."

Thought I would put together my experiences while they are still fresh in my head and the blood blister on my finger is still throbbing. But as a side note, remember, this is REALLY cheap and easy and I would still recommend it if you make yeast starters. And if you don't make yeast starters.....start making yeast starters.

So the common parts needed simply put are:

Power Source - Cell phone charger, Computer power supply, or buy one at Radio Shack
Stir Plate - Computer Fan (most common)
Magnets - Computer Hard Drive (Rare Earth magnets)

Stir bar, Flask, Glass container, etc...easy to find online or LHBS

If you have an old computer lying around, you have everything to make this with little to no wiring necessary. The reason i like the power supply from a computer is that it is already wired to plug in fan or fans. No wiring needed, just plug in the 4 pin male to female connectors. Done. If you don't have an old computer, go to your IT department at work or large business. They either have a boneyard of old crap or they throw stuff out routinely. Ask for an old power supply, case fan(s), and a couple hard drives. It is entirely expected that they wont give you old hard drives, but ask if you could take it apart in front of them and get the magnets. Or even offer to drill a hole through the plates. This is what we do before we dispose of them.

The magnets. DON'T underestimate how powerful these suckers are. If you have two they WILL snap together so hard they will pinch your fingers. Like immediate blood blister pinch. The stupid part is I work in IT and I KNOW how strong these these are and despite my careful handling....DAMN...snap...ouch.

I used JB Weld to adhere the magnets to the hub of the fans. Let the JB Weld cure before trying to add another magnet. It isn't strong enough to hold against the force another magnet in near proximity.

I think thats it. Just wanted to tell another example of how easy it is to make these. All the parts are in a scrap computer. Have fun.


MNBugeater

__________________

On Tap: Blonde Ale, Apfelwein, Cinnamon Apfelwein, Amber Ale, Irish Red
Bottled: Porter, Wheat, Barleywine, Cranberry Apfelwein, Amber Ale
Buy Bugeater Brewery Gear

MNBugeater is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-30-2008, 02:37 AM   #2
Cookiebaggs
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Oak Creek, WI
Posts: 555
Liked 5 Times on 3 Posts
Likes Given: 3

Default

The best lesson's I learned were,

1.) One magnet centered on the fan hub is more than enough to grab the stirbar provided you have the magnet close enough to the surface of the enclosure box.

2.) A simple rheostat is all you need if you have an AC power supply that is adjustable to 1.5, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 9 and 12 volts. If you need to slow down the fan, simply switch to a lower voltage. ACE Hardware had this AC power supply for $13. Not bad.

3.) Slide an O-ring from a dip tube on the stir bar and center it. It acts as a spin point and works well.

4.) Find out where people drop off their old PC's in your area. I went to our city recycle yard with a screwdriver and a side cutters and got fans, hard drives, and on/off switches for free.






__________________
Cookiebaggs is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-30-2008, 02:52 AM   #3
Yuri_Rage
Gritty.
HBT_MODERATOR.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Yuri_Rage's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Southwest
Posts: 13,909
Liked 605 Times on 375 Posts
Likes Given: 54

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cookiebaggs
2.) A simple rheostat is all you need if you have an AC power supply that is adjustable to 1.5, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 9 and 12 volts.
Best idea for simple speed control that I've seen to date!
__________________
Homebrewed Blog..........YouTube Channel .......... Shirts, posters, etc
Yuri_Rage is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-01-2008, 12:57 AM   #4
derogg
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Aliso Viejo, Ca
Posts: 164
Default

What works best, spinning the bar faster or slower? Thanks - Dirk

__________________

Bier frisch und gut, schafft frohen Mut.

derogg is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-10-2008, 09:31 PM   #5
ApolloSpeed
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 227
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Default

once again sorry for the noob boob.....but what is this for? Yeast starters? You just mix your starter and let it spin for a couple days?

Is that the only thing its for?

__________________
ApolloSpeed is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-10-2008, 09:37 PM   #6
BarleyWater
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
BarleyWater's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Armpit of Dallas (Irving), TX
Posts: 2,211
Liked 20 Times on 16 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ApolloSpeed View Post
once again sorry for the noob boob.....but what is this for? Yeast starters? You just mix your starter and let it spin for a couple days?

Is that the only thing its for?
Yep, helps the yeast grow by giving them more oxygen and keeping them in suspension. Search stir plate, and you will find more info than you will ever be willing to read through. Including my how to w/ pictures.
__________________

Fermenting: Nada
On Tap:Cran Wit, Dr Pepper Dubbel, Cascadian Pale Ale, Dark Chocolate Stout, Imperial Stout, Brown Mild, Schwarzbier
On Board: IIPA


www.franconiabrewing.com
BarleyWater is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-10-2008, 10:35 PM   #7
jimba009
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Capital City, OH
Posts: 326
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default

WOW! I have been pondering starters. i know what i am doing in the morning!

__________________
jimba009 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-05-2009, 04:18 AM   #8
rshosted
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 123
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts
Likes Given: 3

Default

On lesson I learned is that a stir bar is needed (at least for me).

And two, is that I first used very strong magnets from a magentic nametag. They were likely earth magnets already attached to a plate. Problem was they were not 'reversed' or flipped so it was both positive sides up. My stir bar wanted one side but was 'afraid' of the other. When I replaced it with a hard drive magnet it worked like a champ.

Third, was not to put the magnet too close to the top of the box (on my plastic project box from radio shack). When I spaced it about 1/8 inch away from the top it spun faster and seemed to work better.

Good luck to others building.

__________________
rshosted is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-05-2009, 03:15 PM   #9
Homercidal
Moderator
HBT_MODERATOR.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Homercidal's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Reed City, MI
Posts: 23,261
Liked 2031 Times on 1460 Posts
Likes Given: 1115

Default

For mine, I used a cast-off A-B printer switch for a housing. I mounted the speed control (simple potentiometer) right where the selector was, and the on-off right next to it.

There are likely to be many of these things floating around in IT departments collecting dust since everyone is now networking their printers instead of sharing them. Problem might be finding some that are not already thrown away.

__________________
Homercidal is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-05-2009, 03:39 PM   #10
Zymurgrafi
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Zymurgrafi's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NEK, VT
Posts: 2,453
Liked 10 Times on 10 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cookiebaggs View Post
2.) A simple rheostat is all you need if you have an AC power supply that is adjustable to 1.5, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 9 and 12 volts.
A simple model train transformer works well for me. Had several sitting around.
__________________

sláinte!

Bristle Bros. Brewing

Zymurgrafi is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Lessons learned Gonefishing General Beer Discussion 6 11-17-2008 09:30 PM
My homemade VHS case stir plate RedOctober Equipment/Sanitation 11 11-17-2008 08:25 PM
Lessons Learned Air Pirate General Techniques 8 10-20-2008 01:33 PM
Homemade Stir Plate subwyking Equipment/Sanitation 24 04-11-2006 11:39 PM
Lessons being learned here Dragonfly All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 8 07-01-2005 03:37 AM