Hi everyone, i want to start by thanking everyone who has posted before me, these forums have been a wealth of information and ideas. On that note i thought it would be fun to share my essentially free brew tower build. One of the many benefits of home brewing is the potential cost savings that it may bring over buying ever increasingly expensive commercial beer, i say potential however because there has hardly been a week since i started brewing that i haven't bought something to improve or augment the brewing process. In an attempt to go to a 10g system (and hopefully be more economical in doing so) my cheapo ways are going to take advantage of some scrap and junk to build my tower. Everything except the high-temp paint ($5 a can) was lying around in my backyard. Also i should point out the burners and hardware and pump should run about $150 in addition to the tower, still not bad for a total project cost. also if you dont have a mash tun or kettles thats obviously gonna cost you extra.
I have been trying to decide for some time what type of tower to build, e.g. gravity, pumps, electric, gas, etc. and have decided on a combination of a gravity fed and pump assisted tower. In addition to cheap I am infinitely lazy...that weighed heavily on the decision. There will be two burners, one for dedicated hot water tank (mash, sparge water) and a second for boil. It will be a cooler converted mash tun with a custom built sparge arm (still in design). the pump itself will only come in contact with pre-boil non-wort water as it is fed to the mash and sparge so cleanup will be simple - just hose off the kettle and cooler...infinitely lazy.
This is what i came up with.
The list of materials:
1 sheet plywood, in my case a few scrap pieces
3 8' 2x4's
1 7'x1.25" steel chain link fence pole
~ 25 2" deck screws
1-2 cans high temp grill paint
List of tools:
1.5 inch bit for drilling holes
saw that will cut plywood and 2x4
Cut parts to size:
Base board: 48x24x.5"
Mash tun boar: 26x16x.5"
4 tall posts: 48"
2 short posts: 25"
2 long poles: 20"
2 short poles: 17"
Bore holes in the posts:
2 tall posts get 2 holes each, one at 12" and another at 24"
the other 2 tall posts get only 1 hole each at 12"
the short posts get a hole at 24"
I used a 1.5 inch drill bit for the holes
you will also want to rip some small strips of the leftover plywood to make the supporting "tie" boards that will solidify the legs and hold the poles in place.
Once everything is cut i measured the placement on the bottom board then traced the outline of each leg where it would be installed. i then pre-drilled holes in the board, turned it upside down and supported it on a table, added glue to the legs, and screwed them in place. probably a better way of doing it. turn it back over. To attach the poles, start with the top two (@ 24") and screw on one tie board on the outside of the short posts then slide the long poles in until they hit the tie board. at this point use your level and if your drilling sucks like mine, some small pieces of wood, i used some old cedar shakes designed for just this type of thing, to make sure the poles are perfectly level. glue them in place. screw on the other tie plate to secure the poles in place. repeat for the other two bottom poles.
cut more tie boards to hold the top of the tall post together, then screw them in place. screw on the top mash tun board.
Wait until it drys and paint the whole thing with grill paint, it is resistant to 2000'. it may be overkill but were talking 150,000 btus per burner on a wood structure, the whole damn thing is getting coated - takes 2 cans apparently.
That's as far as i have gotten today. I will post more photos when i get the burners and such in place.