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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * Archive through December 31, 2004 * Uni-strut for my new brew rig? < Previous Next >

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Vince Turley
Junior Member
Username: Vince

Post Number: 91
Registered: 05-2003
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 07:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Over the last two years I have cobbled together an AG system that I am quite satisfied with… everything except a stand. Currently I use my “Workmate” to support my MLT (not directly fired), and two turkey-burners to support the HLT and BK (all vessels are converted Sanke kegs). While this works, I would really like to organize everything into a convenient brew stand. I have a clear understanding of how I want the stand to be arranged with regards to placement (vessels, pump, filter, electrical, plumbing, etc.). I originally intended to weld the stand, but am leaning more and more to something like uni-strut (http://www.unistrut.com/product/mframe.html) as this lends itself to being more easily modified. In the spirit of continuous evolution, I have decided that uni-strut is the material that best meets my criteria. I saw a rig made of uni-strut several years ago (back when I thought that anyone who had a stand was being excessive!), and the brewer spoke highly of how straight forward it was to assemble and how easy it was to modify (a big plus factor in my ever evolving system).

I would like to hear from the collective of those that have built and/or had experience with rigs made of uni-strut, and any advice/inputs you can provide. Regarding lay-out, I plan on a basic two-tier design with the HLT up on the second tier, and the MLT and BK on the lower first tier.

TIA,
-Vince
 

Steve Fletty
Junior Member
Username: Cheesehead

Post Number: 66
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 08:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Looks like a nice way to go.

Where do you get uni-strut? Seems a little pricey at McMaster-Carr.

(Message edited by cheesehead on December 21, 2004)
 

Vince Turley
Junior Member
Username: Vince

Post Number: 92
Registered: 05-2003
Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 09:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here in the D/FW area there is a distributor just a few miles from where I live that sells Uni-strut, and I plan to get any fittings etc. that I need from this supplier. For the actual strut material, I hope to find it available at a local scrapyard. I am not too concerned with finish, and figure I can put a little elbow grease into sanding and painting to get the used material looking good.
 

Mike Mayer
Intermediate Member
Username: Mmayer

Post Number: 332
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 12:22 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

That's pretty much what I used to make my stand http://users.adelphia.net/~mmayer13/brewery.htm

I was lucky, I got all of my stand materials for free when we shut down a production line at work.
 

Kent Fletcher
Advanced Member
Username: Fletch

Post Number: 656
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 02:14 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Unistrut, SuperStrut, et al, makes an excellent material for the purpose, it has more strength than you'll ever need, as long as you use the appropriate connectors. I think the main reason more people don't use it is the cost. FWIW, I've never been able to find strut at the scrap yard I do my hunting at, people just don't seem to throw it out. Grainger has the Super-Strut brand, and it's about $30 a 10 foot stick for the non-slotted, $37 for the slotted, so it can add up in a hurry!
 

Kent Fletcher
Advanced Member
Username: Fletch

Post Number: 657
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 02:25 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mike, the aluminum extrusion product that you used is great stuff, much lighter than, but not as strong as the steel Unistrut product. And "lucky" doesn't do it justice, dude! That was a great windfall!
 

Richard Nye
Intermediate Member
Username: Yeasty_boy

Post Number: 397
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 02:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mike, very nice set-up. I wanted to use the aluminum extrusion until I saw the co$t. Did you mill the ends clean after you cut it to length?
 

Kent Fletcher
Advanced Member
Username: Fletch

Post Number: 659
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 03:03 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mike, when I checked out your "Plumbing" page, the graphics were covering most of the text. I wonder if that's due to the Mozilla browser I'm using at work?
 

OverTheHill
Junior Member
Username: Overthehill

Post Number: 81
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 11:06 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Home Depot carries steel Uni-Strut but they call it something else. Located in the electrical section with conduits. Also, cheaper than McMaster-Carrr.

This is what I used, but the cost really did run up by the time I was done (3/8 nuts, bolts, and washers plus many elbows). I used a 4" grinder to cut pieces.
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 1291
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 03:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The little stuff like the spring nuts and bolts really add to the cost as well. I used slotted angle iron and 1/4" bolts and nuts on mine. Not nearly as beefy as Uni-Strut but more than adequate for the weight load. Easier to cut too.
 

Joseph Listan
Intermediate Member
Username: Poonstab

Post Number: 365
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 04:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Nuts, washers and bolts are a lot cheaper when purchased in bulk, are still cheaper than welding, and give the ability to re-configure.

But it does mean you might have to drill a shittload of little holes. Get a cobalt bit and you should be able to do over a hundred before it dulls.
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 1295
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 07:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Heyyy, I got 5 stars and I didn't even vote for myself
 

Mike Mayer
Intermediate Member
Username: Mmayer

Post Number: 334
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 01:24 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kent, I just used a band saw to cut the extrusion to length, no milling necessary. Hmmm, regarding the web page, I think it might be your browser since I have not had anyone else report a problem.
 

Connie
Intermediate Member
Username: Connie

Post Number: 261
Registered: 10-2000
Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 02:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Vance, I think a lot more of us are using the slotted angle iron, it's cheap and available everywhere. Works great and looks just fine.
Connie
 

Kentucky Dan
Junior Member
Username: Kydan47

Post Number: 65
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Saturday, December 25, 2004 - 06:14 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Vince,

I made a uni-strut 3 tier double wide for 2 simultaneous ten gal batches. Cost was unreal and I could have done a lot better/cheaper with bed rails, etc.

We have a place here named Home Depot that sells 10 ft lengths for less than $20.

I ended up cutting it down and making a heavy duty shelf (a 4 1/2 angle grinder makes cutting great).

I found that going to a bigger mashtun and 2 levels made brewing a lot easier. I have since had a breakdown frame like Jon built for portability.

There is a neat mini-scaffold for $89 that folds down, is 4 ft tall and holds 500 pounds. Comes on wheels.

My new (soon 2 b completed) mash tun (100 gal) makes it impossible to consider the tier systems.

My advice, think about it long and hard, do the cost, and then call a welder.

Good Luck whatever you decide.

KD