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Old 02-01-2007, 04:04 PM   #1
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Default Mash Mixer that heats!

I have been toying with the idea of moving into the electric route on my mash tun and have read several threads and articles on the likes. I am still not ready to put my mash directly on a heater element that will do nothing but get gunked-over over time. However, I was headed in this direction if I couldn't find anything better and was planning on building a mash stirrer and just "knowing" I was going to be replacing water heating elements when they looked the least bit grungy (cause thats just how I roll, lol). Since I "need" a mash stirrer to get the temperature stable anyway, I thought to myself, "Why not use rigid copper tubing, and standard copper fittings to make the mixer? Why not solder copper paddles to the framework and why not drop a element down inside the now finished mash stirrer and control it with a Ranco ETC and a PWM circuit ran to a SSR to control the temp?" After asking these questions and wanting to know more about something I know nothing about I start this thread to hopefully learn more and get an idea or three.

First off, control I don't think is a problem. I am more worried about what kind of element to use. I know I can't use the standard water heater element because it would be heating air inside the copper tubing and most aren't happy with a dry firing, not to mention the tubing would have to be large diameter 1" or more. I started thinking about a cartridge heater like Mcmaster-Carr carries or similar. I would think this would be the best bet for this style of application, but I don't know. Here's where you guys and those huge brains come in. My design for the mixer leaves me with a hollow rigid tubing coming out of the top of a mash tun lid I will make directly in the center. I am putting the lid opening just off center and cutting it so when open it will miss the gear I plan on attaching to the end of the copper tube. I figure with a motor even more offset of center and it being chain driven around the stirrer gear this will give me a little more lid room than attaching everything right on top of the copper tube shaft. Well since I have a open tube, why not drop in a heating element (cartridge type- small diameter 1/2" or less and as long as I need one 6-10") and kill two birds with one stone. At first the idea sounded like a lot of parts. I wasn't thinking about how the element wouldn't need a turntable connection since it is so much smaller than the copper tubing I would use for the stirrer shaft, and how it would just spin inside giving off its heat. I have no idea what wattage heater I would need, or if I would have to get one with protected leads etc to get me from the element to the top of the stirrer shaft, or if there is a better idea out there I haven't heard yet. My thinking was the all-copper construction of the mixer would be great for heat transfer from the element and I am not worried about scorching after hearing everyone that uses elements in direct contact of their mash tun's contents. So.... after saying all of this, I really hope this becomes a long thread of great ideas. I just think the simplicity of the system after everything is built would be great having everything in the lid. Rev up and spit me some knowledge people.

I love to brew, and like the hands on of hot water step infusion or single infusion, but man what I wouldn't give for a "Ronco, set it and forget it" mash tun, lol.

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Old 02-01-2007, 04:21 PM   #2
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Default Oh, yeah!

I have no idea what kind or how many hp the stirrer motor would have to be either. I would like the entire "unit" lid-controller and electronics-motor to all be on one plug to the wall socket. 110VAC preferably to keep it simple.

Again, any ideas are more than welcome because I need to raise this idea or diffuse it.

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Old 02-07-2007, 02:20 PM   #3
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Default Ok, last post until I get something back!

Hey, I figured maybe a picture of what I have proposed can get some constructive criticism. The only things missing from the picture are the Ranco 111000 and its temperature probe,as well as, the motor for turning the stirrer(Ideas PLEASE on the motor. Everything on this would be sealed with a good soldering job on all joints and bent tubing ends.

I hope this gets some people excited to talk about this, I am hoping to become a gold member here next month or so if all the threads i keep reading are so great and new. Thanks guys, just need a little reassurance/guidence in this matter.

Hope the picture loads ok, like I said I am new to this-not brewing!
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Old 02-07-2007, 02:46 PM   #4
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I'm willing to bet this will do the trick: Motor & Gearbox

70 rpm, but you'd want to offset the motor to the side and use a larger drive gear anyway.

[Maybe it's my display, but I can't read anything on your picture except the "monster mash".]

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Old 02-07-2007, 08:54 PM   #5
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Default Ahhhh!

Stupid picture was too small guys, sorry. I am trying to find a way to get it full size but don't have any webpage to post it fullsize on.

Thanks for the info on the motor and gearbox I will check it out.

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Old 02-07-2007, 09:41 PM   #6
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Interesting idea. A lot if people scrounge a windshield wiper motor when the need a slower RPM, but I am not sure if they would have the torque you need.

I’m not sure how much heat would transfer with the air gap between your element and the copper. Consider having your center shaft been a large diameter tube (at least 2”) and just suspend the heater inside. You could then fill it with water to transfer heat. It would be really neat if you could get the hot water to circulate thru the paddles also. Maybe the paddles could connect at the bottom of the big shaft and loop up to the top. They could be flattened as long as the fluid path wasn’t cut off. I think the rising hot water in the center would draw water thru the paddles.

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Old 02-07-2007, 09:56 PM   #7
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how much mash are you using in this future contraption?
And wassamatta with a stnls. kettle with perf false bottom/ spigot/ and stirring spoon?
I brew 18# grain for a double batch in such a thing.
Watch the oil/grease in any mechanism doesnt thin and fall into yr wert else you wont get a head.

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Old 02-08-2007, 12:48 PM   #8
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Default Alright :D

It is awesome that so many have a say. I thought about water/glycol/other circulating but that seems a little more complicated a manufacture. The idea that got me started for what I want to build is the 1500W water heater element directly touching the mash and a separate stirrer powered of course. I think it is CD Pritchard who has the most common page on this. I wanted to really get more protective of my mash (even though I wasn't scared after reading Pritchard’s comments on the products his system produce) and also have all the electronics and probes and moving parts to be in an easy to remove lid. I like the clean construction of a keg top as a tun bottom and figured this would be the easiest (for me). I am curious though if everyone thinks the same about mine being a bit more buffered from the element than Pritchard's, and that "just air" will be sufficient to heat the paddle. This element says up to 800F and it is like 2000W, I was thinking the copper would heat up fast, and cool down fast(water scared me about making steam inside the paddle and overshooting rest). Basically, what if you put a copper "cover" over Pritchard's and ran with it.

I mashed 25# last time and that took a lot of stirring, not to mention the heat loss while the lid was off and me mixing away trying to get the dang thermometer to read what I wanted it to.

I bought a garage door opener motor off the recommended site that will get me going in a circular manner, lol. Glad it is already geared at the end of the shaft, now I just find out what size I want on my stirrer (the mash mixer to come!).

Thanks for the ideas though, and hope to hear more.

Here's to you guys, I am definitely becoming a member next paycheck, you guys rock.

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Old 02-10-2007, 05:16 PM   #9
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Default Ok better Bigger Picture!

I have tried and tried and can't find a way to show you guys a bigger picture.

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Old 02-10-2007, 08:34 PM   #10
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Default

that link doesnt work on the motor / gearbox but 70 RPM sounds reallly fast, thats 1 turn a second... i would maybe think 6rpm would be plenty, 1 turn every 10 seconds. Just me..

I would maybe build this from a drill motor and a few belt pulleys. a cheap drill running 1500Rpm sent through 2 belt pulley setups @ 10:1 ratio would get you 15rpm, then a 2:1 would get you 7.5 rpm's..

You could find a high torque motor and do less gearing but high torque motors are kinda $$$ if i remember.

If i'm thinking of what your wanting to do though, put a heating element inside the stirer, then i think your bigger issue is finding a gearing that will fit the size pipe you require to fit the element. Copper also isnt the strongest metal out there and theres the possiblity of catastrophic failure of the stirrer esp when its being warmed. stainless may be a wiser choice for strength.

BTW check out this mixer!

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