The “Doghouse” Brew Rig Build – Part One
|April 14, 2012||Posted by 2nobledogs under Equipment, The Doghouse|
So it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to spew a little madness. I have been busy building what my wife affectionately dubbed the “ Doghouse”. What is the Doghouse you ask? Well…it’s a single tier brew stand based loosely on the Brutus 10 and like the Brutus it is a fully automated system. This post is the first of a series posts discussing the entire build. I do want to acknowledge and thank everybody that helped throughout this whole process. Plenty of ideas and help came from the folks at www.homebrewtalk.com.
I had several design goals in mind when I started. First, it needed to be fully automated (duh…). Second, it needs to be fully self contained when stored away. Third, it needs to be maneuvered easily. Fourth, it needs to fit in my truck. And lastly, it needed to have adjustable burners.
So, what do you need to know about automated brewing before you start building a brew rig? Nothing. I didn’t know a thing about it when I started. Everything you need to know is on the internet. You just have to look for it.
All automated brew rigs have four basic components/systems. 1) Frame, 2) Gas, 3) Plumbing, and 4) Electronics.
My frame is primarily constructed out of 1 ½” square steel tubing a got from a welder friend of mine. The steel I used is “mild” steel. It is relatively inexpensive and easy to weld. It’s also fairly easy to find. The design allows me to store all my keggles underneath when not in use. It also has pneumatic wheels on one end so it can be maneuvered like a wheel barrow from the storage shed across the yard to the driveway where I brew. The burners are also mounted on a separate rack that can be adjusted easily.
I had never welded before so this was a learning experience for me. I picked up a simple wire feed welder from Harbor Freight for about $100 and started making sparks. I was happy to learn that welding is not that difficult. Don’t get me wrong…making pretty welds is very difficult but if you’re not too concerned about what the weld looks like it’s pretty simple. Keep in mind that I used mild steel not stainless steel. If you use stainless you’ll need a different type of welder. Make sure you cut all your pieces square and clean up the burrs before you start your weld. It also helps if you grind a small bevel on the ends. If you have one, use a right-angle clamp. This will insure that your rig goes together straight and true. Once you get done with a weld you will want to clean it up and grind it down as you go. Doing this will keep you from having a very long day when you get ready to paint. You will also want to prime your steel immediately. If you don’t it WILL rust and you’ll have another long day of cleaning and scraping when it comes time to paint. I know this from firsthand experience.
(8) 1 ½”x1 ½”x18 ½” Square Tube
(5) 1 ½”x1 ½”x57” Square Tube
(2) 1 ½”x1 ½”x35” Square Tube
(2) 1 ½”x1 ½”x31 ½” Square Tube
(12) 1 ½” x 18 ½” Angle Iron
(2) 1”x60” Angle Iron (Burner Mount)
(2) 1”x13” Angle Iron (Burner Mount)
(2) 1”x11 1/8” Angle Iron (Burner Mount)
(2) 1”x1”x6” Square Tube (Pump Mount)
(2) 4”x8”x1 1/8” Steel Plate Bent to 90° (Furnace Valve Mount)
(2) 1”x1”x30” Square Tube (Removable Handles)
(2) 1”x1”x12” Square Tube (Removable Handles)
The panel box mount is made from 1” angle iron to fit my control panel.
That’s all I have for now. I don’t want to bore you too much. The next post will go into building the gas system. Stay tuned.