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Old 11-07-2011, 07:31 PM   #11
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If you plan on eventually brewing 20-30gal batches I would go with the thicker gauge square tubing. You don't want the tubing to deflect under the weight.

Besides, think of it this way. You will be less angry to have a brew stand that is over built and heavy versus an under built stand that doesn't handle 20+ gal. batches.

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Old 11-07-2011, 08:51 PM   #12
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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.
If it were me, I would build a stand for the batch size in the foreseeable future (~1 year). I would also build one out of the cheapest stuff that would work. This will be your first crack at welding and designing a stand. Chalking this one up to prototyping will take away a lot of the pressure of making the "perfect" brew stand on your first try.

One guy suggested old bed frames as a cheap source of mild steel angle, as people give them away regularly. Angle is more than sufficient, but the tube is nicer, even for a prototype. It is really just a time and money issue. Even if it starts to sag, you can just weld another brace in. Welding is a game changer- you put the pieces in place, run a bead, and it is like it was all carved from a solid chunk of metal. No hole drilling, bits snapping, bolts breaking, etc.

The building of the stand itself is a matter of hours. Automation is what jumps the labor into man-days.
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:06 PM   #13
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Here's my stand in progress. Part stainless, part extrusion. I'm using 20g kettles (should be here Thursday!). Thought you might want to see a different design, although I really wouldn't use this design for much more than a 15g batch.
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:08 PM   #14
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@cwi - 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
It really depends on what you want it to do, and how much money you are willing to spend. Several of the Harbor Freight MIG welders have even been recommended by some pro welders on HBT as a good value. Miller makes some of the more respected machines, but it is like a Ford vs. Chevy debate.

Craigslist is always ripe with welders, if you want to sort through them and check on the value. The biggest choice is whether you want to use gas (CO2 conveniently) right off the bat, or just use flux cored wire (no gas). Unless you really like collecting tools, and have money to spare, I would suggest getting a cheap portable flux core machine with around 175 amps. A 125 amp machine will work, but ratings are very dubious. If it is only a few bucks more to step up to one that has gas hook-ups for future use, that is a worthwhile upgrade.

Something to consider is whether you have access to 220VAC (dryer outlet, or your elec service panel) where you need to weld. The cheap welders that only take 220v are generally a little better and more powerful than the 110vac units. If no 220v access, look for a 110vac unit, or dual voltage ($$) machine.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:22 AM   #15
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If you're going to go the welding route, I'd get the thicker walled tubing. Having learned how to weld this past spring, I'd want the thicker wall when starting out. Help cut down on blow through when you're learning.

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Old 11-08-2011, 01:18 AM   #16
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I think I'm going to go the learn to weld route

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Old 11-08-2011, 11:46 AM   #17
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I normally jump into a project and then learn the hard (and expensive) way. Instead of that, with welding I would look for a community college that has a night school beginning course in welding. Might as well learn the proper way. Then I would buy a welder with knowledge gained from the class.

Good luck, welding is straightforward if you have the tools and learn technique.

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Old 11-08-2011, 12:30 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the feedback, I think I will go the welding route, using 2x2 mild steel tubing, 1/8" gauge. I don't have 220V service in my garage, so that will make the MIG welder a little tricky, but it sounds like my friend may know someone who used to MIG weld for a living so hopefully we can work out some plans with him, if nothing other than to teach.

If I do go the route of purchasing a MIG welder, any thoughts on this one? http://www.harborfreight.com/90-amp-...der-98871.html It's the only 120V I found on their website, but since I know virtually nothing about welding I have no clue if its even remotely worth purchasing for this type of welding.

I know it's a pretty typical stand, but wanted to see if anyone has any feedback on my sketches so far: http://www.worstbrewing.com/images/brewhouse/
I forget how tall the default model in the picture is, but I'm fairly short (5'5") so one thing I've been throwing around is making the stand a little shorter, any thoughts? Any recommended height for the stand itself? The kettles in the sketches are Bayou Classic 82-quart, which are 18.75" diameter, 17" height. The 122 quart bayou classic kettle measures 21-1/4" diameter, 19" height. I intend to purchase a Blichmann for the mash tun (I'm still throwing around just purchasing the 30 gallon even if I do 10-20 gallon batches for a while, but not sure if that will be too overkill), the 20 gallon one is 17.7" diameter, 20.9" height, while the 30 gallon is 19.7" diameter, 23.6" height. I have to re-measure when I get home later, but I think that the stand should just fit any combination of those kettles, though I may need to make it a little bit wider (I think the stand only comes out to 62" at the moment).

I plan to use BG-14 burners, and heat shields from Derrin unless anyone has any suggestions otherwise? Any feedback on changes to the stand to better fit the burners, recommendations for best ventilation, heat usage, etc would be appreciated

I didn't add them to the diagrams yet, but I have a March pump already, and plan to get another. I may mount them either to the center rail or under the lower front rail, but again, any feedback is appreciated. Especially in regards to any kind of splash shield for them, what material might be best, etc?

I plan to add pilot lights and automation before too long, but haven't really thought that far ahead yet, just been looking through the Brutus 10 plans I have and dreaming at the moment, but again, suggestions are always welcome and appreciated!

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Old 11-08-2011, 01:39 PM   #19
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I know a welder who bought a little 110V welder off ebay for it's portability for when he goes and does little jobs on location. He said that he only expected it to last 8 months and that was 3 years ago. I think he paid $150 and it works pretty good. I had him weld some stainless pipe together and it had no problem.

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Old 11-08-2011, 02:32 PM   #20
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Awesome, worth a shot then. Thanks again for all the advice, this project is working out a lot better than I had originally expected. Far more affordable than I was first expecting, and at this rate I should be able to get things running by December or January if I can get everything lined up. I can't find too many local places for the mild steel but any complaints with metalsdepot.com or onlinemetals.com other than, I assume they are overpriced compared to finding local? It looks like metalsdepot.com wants $244.74 shipped for 2x 24' 2x2 11ga, and onlinemetals.com wants $307.68 shipped for 6x 8' (they don't offer larger), which seems a bit much. Any other good resources? I'm going to keep hunting locally but haven't found too many results, but maybe I'm just using the wrong keywords...

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