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Old 11-07-2011, 02:22 PM   #1
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Default Some questions about 80/20 for a stand

I've been debating the various directions I could go for building my brew stand, and stumbled on the few threads I found regarding using 80/20 extruded aluminum and was just hoping someone can clear up a few issues I have. I've done a lot of searching and really haven't found much in the ways of single tier builds using 80/20, only about 2 really and I'm still unsure of some things.

To start, I'm upgrading so I want to build a single tier stand to support larger batches. At the moment I want it to fit 20 gallon kettles since that's what I have available (Bayou Classic kettles) but I like the idea of 80/20 because I can expand the rig as my equipment grows, which is good since I want to eventually expand to a larger boil kettle so I can handle 20+ gallon batches eventually (with other upgrades as well). I'm planning to use a Blichmann kettle for the mash tun, but intend to stick with Bayou Classic kettles for the HLT and BK throughout expansions, primarily due to cost.

The benefit I see with the 80/20 is if I build the stand properly, there should only be minimal parts required to expand the rig for fitting larger kettles down the road, but here's where I'm a little stuck. I plan to use BG-14 burners, but how should I mount them, and how should I build the rig so the kettles have proper support underneath of them, but without having the aluminum directly exposed to the burner? I don't know what kind of heat it can tolerate, so I'm not sure if I can use the 80/20 to build a frame around the burner (and wind/heat shield around burner) to hold it in place, or if there is some other method or material that would be recommended.

I've been looking at the pictures of Irrenarzt's build (http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f266/Smoooth69/photo-2.jpg) and have asked him a few questions, as well as dfess1's rig (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/my-new-direct-fire-rims-brew-rig-247214/) and asked questions as well, but neither setup is quite what I have in mind, so I'm just curious if anyone else might have some feedback on the matter. I like the idea of the movable height for the burners, but I'm not so sure how easy it will be to fabricate the supports for the kettles, and compared to Irrenarzt's build, where the 80/20 is in direct contact with the flame to support them, I am assuming the BG-14 would be too much for that to be a good idea over the long haul.

Thanks, any feedback is appreciated! I'm working on some sketches in Google Sketchup at the moment, so I'll try to post some rough ideas I've been playing with here soon. Cheers!

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Old 11-07-2011, 02:41 PM   #2
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I deal with 80/20 at work on a regular basis and the stuff is pretty nice. It does require you to have machining capabilities to be able to cut to proper length, adding features for installing all the connectors, etc. For instance, 80/20 uses an anchor fastener:

This type of fastener requires a precise hole accurately placed. If the hole is off just by a little it can make your life miserable. Not to mention it is impossible to drill by hand.Although 80/20 is versatile product you need to have the resources available to you in order to use it.

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Old 11-07-2011, 02:53 PM   #3
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That's definitely good to know. I have been talking to a few local 80/20 dealers and the one mentioned given dimensions they can cut it all for a cost, but I guess we'll see. From doing some rough math though, it doesn't sound like going that direction would end up any cheaper than going stainless, so that's another area I'm torn. I mostly just want to build something that can grow with the brewery, at least up to a point, but I suppose if done right you could build a stainless stand with the same capabilities.

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Old 11-07-2011, 03:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worstbrewing View Post
I have been talking to a few local 80/20 dealers and the one mentioned given dimensions they can cut it all for a cost, but I guess we'll see.
If you get them cut to size by 80/20, you would need to have your design 100% finalized beforehand. This can be hard to conceptualize every single component of the stand and not oversee any details before ordering.

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I mostly just want to build something that can grow with the brewery, at least up to a point, but I suppose if done right you could build a stainless stand with the same capabilities.
Try and design your stand for the future system you have in mind. It will be easier to have a brew stand made to accommodate 30 gal batches then to build one for 20 gal and try to expand it up. Basically, don't space your burners too close together and give yourself some room.
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerRoss View Post
Try and design your stand for the future system you have in mind. It will be easier to have a brew stand made to accommodate 30 gal batches then to build one for 20 gal and try to expand it up. Basically, don't space your burners too close together and give yourself some room.
Yeah, that's where I'm torn I guess. Ideally I'd rather build the stand for possibly fitting 55 gallon kettles some day, and find some way to accommodate smaller kettles in the meantime, but it seems like it could be major overkill for a while. I have no idea at what pace I'll be upgrading it, but I don't anticipate it will be an immediate jump either. To that point though, I'm almost debating if I would be better off just building a stainless stand if I'm going to build it big to start, sounds like it would be less long-term hassle all around.
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:31 PM   #6
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Go big or go home right?

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Old 11-07-2011, 03:37 PM   #7
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Side note: I have a couple friends who play guitar. One friend would constantly be upgrading his amp when he could afford to. He made a lot of small steps before finally purchasing a half stack tube amp. Where another buddy went from his beginner amp and jumped up to the half stack tube amp without the little steps between. By cutting out the little steps, he saved more $$$ overtime. Granted the initial cost is way more but overtime it was a money saver.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:40 PM   #8
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If you plan on rolling your stand around often on anything except smooth floor, keep in mind the 80/20 stuff doesn't hold up well to being moved in this application.

Have you considered buying a ~$200 MIG welder and using mild steel? Welding really isn't that difficult. Material costs would be $100 or less. You can drive yourself batty trying to future proof a desgin. If you own the welder, you can change it up at will. It is a paradigm shift over nuts and bolts. You could even prototype it until you figure out exactly what you want, and then sell your prototype.

Mild steel will outlast you, and your grandchildren, but if you really want stainless, that requires more than a $200 welder. It may still come out close to buying and shipping a stand, and you would have a stand and a welder.

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Old 11-07-2011, 05:21 PM   #9
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@DangerRoss - Yeah, that has been something I've been weighing in on too, as it would make more sense to just invest now for something that will ultimately do what I want anyway. On the flip side, if I can cut the cost down to a pretty small amount I think it could be more justified to do it in steps, but we'll see.

@cwi - That has been one concern with using 80/20, I feel like while it offers expansion, etc that same flexibility does make it seem potentially lower quality over the long run. I don't know anything about welding, but my brother did basic plumbing just soldering pipes together and another friend of mine did say he was familiar with some kind of welder but I forget which. I suppose it might be worth the investment of a welder if I can find other uses for it. As for mild steel, I'm honestly not familiar. What gauge, size tubing, etc would be needed to build something like I mentioned, even if just on the 20 gallon scale? If we're talking $100 or so in materials, I could almost justify not being able to upgrade it later. What kind of places would I look for to pick some mild steel up? Any recommendations with regards to a MIG welder, brand or anything, any good sources to learn to use it? Thanks, this is a direction I definitely hadn't considered but might just answer all of my problems

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Old 11-07-2011, 06:15 PM   #10
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Did some research, so my question regarding mild steel now is, I see a lot of people seem to use 2x2, or 1.5x1.5 square tubing, but I've seen debate between 1/16 vs 1/8 gauge, any thoughts between the two gauges, two square sizes? I'm gathering that 2x2 and 1/8 would definitely work fine, but is it necessary, is it overkill for 20-30 gallons? I know it seems fine for other 10 gallon batches, just want to make sure I'm not pushing the boundaries too much.

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