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  • Homemade stirplate for less than $20

    I do some beer homebrewing and I thought you might be interested in my homemade stir plate. I use it to propagate yeast to pitch into the beer. It's a little fun with hardware hacking.

    Parts list...
    2 Potentiometers (one for coarse control, and one for fine control)
    1 Power switch
    1 Power charger from an old cell phone (12V)
    1 muffin fan from an old PC
    1 Rare earth magnet (from an old hard drive in that same PC)
    4 Bolts
    1 radio shack project box
    1 stirplate magnet

    I was lazy and just taped the magnet to the top of the muffin fan with electrical tape.





  • #2
    Re: Homemade stirplate for less than $20

    Cool. I've gotten lazy and just use smack-packs these days. I may have to build one and give it a go

    I return whatever i wish . Its called FREEDOWM OF RANDOMNESS IN A HECK . CLUSTERED DEFEATED CORn FORUM . Welcome to me

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    • #3
      Re: Homemade stirplate for less than $20

      Originally posted by noid View Post
      Cool. I've gotten lazy and just use smack-packs these days. I may have to build one and give it a go

      This is one of my favorite builds. It's fits six corny kegs. Three with outside taps and three with cobra taps inside the fridge. The hops are homegrown in my yard. (And yes those are hops in the freezer, not anything illegal.)


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      • #4
        Re: Homemade stirplate for less than $20

        Dude. Jealous. I want to start homebrewing so bad, but the up front costs are enormous. Nice kegerator. And you grow your own hops!
        "As Arthur C Clarke puts it, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Here is my corollary: "Any sufficiently technical expert is indistinguishable from a witch"."

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        • #5
          Re: Homemade stirplate for less than $20

          Originally posted by g3k_ View Post
          Dude. Jealous. I want to start homebrewing so bad, but the up front costs are enormous. Nice kegerator. And you grow your own hops!
          I sure hate to go too far off topic on this thread. I was showing off my hacking of equipment to do something other than it's intended use.

          However, I find it hard not to help you out. At the risk of going a little off topic of hacking and into homebrewing, I will help you out. I do mostly all grain brewing, but extract brewing can make pretty damn good beers too. There are a lot of winners from the national homebrewing competition that are extract brews. You can get a deluxe extract kit that will get you into homebrewing for about $200. I will provide two options from two different companies so I am not advertising a particular company.


          Option #1
          Morebeer.com

          EVERYTHING IS INCLUDED

          http://morebeer.com/view_product/159...ottling_Deluxe
          Price: $215.00 (Product is part of our Free shipping Program)
          Weight: 68.00LBS



          Option #2
          Northern Brewer
          Deluxe kit

          NEEDED BUT NOT INCLUDED:
          Ingredients - try one of our beer kits, we recommend an extract ale kit
          A Brew Kettle - any pot 2.5 gallons or greater
          Empty Bottles - 48 to 52 pry-off 12-ounce beer bottles.
          (They sell all those at the website too)

          http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewin...arter-kit.html
          Price: $156.99
          Shipping: $7.99



          SO... BRINGING THE TOPIC BACK TO HARDWARE HACKING

          After brewing from extract for a while, all you need to go all grain is a mash tun. You can make one yourself from an old cooler or an old keg.

          Here are a few that I have made over the years. If anyone wants a parts list and directions on how to make them, I could dig up my old notes and post them.




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          • #6
            Re: Homemade stirplate for less than $20

            GImme directions on how you built your metal mash tun. I scored a few beer kegs a while back that i want to cut the tops off of and turn into tuns for a 3 tier all grain setup..

            I return whatever i wish . Its called FREEDOWM OF RANDOMNESS IN A HECK . CLUSTERED DEFEATED CORn FORUM . Welcome to me

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Homemade stirplate for less than $20

              Originally posted by g3k_ View Post
              Dude. Jealous. I want to start homebrewing so bad, but the up front costs are enormous. Nice kegerator. And you grow your own hops!
              Go find your local homebrew store and check the corkboard. Someone is almost always getting out of it or is upgrading their gear. In the last few years I've had several people just *give* me full setups that I've then passed on to others who wanted to get started. So, if you go looking, you can find cheap gear.

              Also, check out craigslist in your area, maybe even put up a 'wanted' post and see how many people come out of the wood work to get you to come pick up their old gear..

              Heisenberg pointed you to a few good websites, but I have to also mention Midwest Supplies. I've been buying kits and gear from them for a long time and have always gotten good service.

              I return whatever i wish . Its called FREEDOWM OF RANDOMNESS IN A HECK . CLUSTERED DEFEATED CORn FORUM . Welcome to me

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Homemade stirplate for less than $20

                Noid,

                Sorry it took so long, but I only had my phone at work, and typing this on my phone would have been ridiculously tedious.

                PARTS LIST:
                • One empty keg
                • One pot lid
                • One ½ inch stainless steel “close nip”
                • Two O rings (½ inch inner diameter)
                • One ½ inch stainless steel bulkhead or coupling (Coupling is cheaper, but no washer needed with bulkhead)
                • One 1/8 inch stainless steel bulkhead or coupling (Coupling is cheaper, but no washer needed with bulkhead)
                • Two stainless ½ inch “inner diameter” washers
                • Two stainless 1/8 inch “inner diameter” washers
                • One 1/8 inch stainless steel “close nip”
                • One 1/8 inch compression fitting
                • Two O rings (1/8 inch inner diameter)
                • One ½ inch stainless steel ball valve
                • Some ½ inch hard copper tubing
                • two ½ inch copper elbows
                • One ½ inch copper male thread
                • Some lead free tubing solder
                • One stainless steel mesh (I used home depot stainless water heater tubing and removed the inner rubber hose. Toilet tubing works too. “From the toilet to the wall”. Obviously purchased new.)
                • Stainless hose clamp


                (Copper can be used in place of all stainless parts, but pickle the parts first to get the lead off of the surface)


                Part I - Cutting the top off
                Step 1: Measure the size of the lid you want to use, and draw a circle “slightly smaller” on the top of the keg.
                Notes: I bought from Salvation Army for a dollar. I found that 8 inches is too small. A 10” or 12” lid works best.
                Step 2: Puncture keg with a drill “Near center”
                Notes: This is to release the air from the keg.
                Step 3: Use angle grinder with stainless steel blade to cut off top.
                Notes: I have used a Dremmel tool before, but it takes forever. I have found that an angle grinder works best. Earplus are almost required because the keg echos a lot. Safety goggle would be nice too to avoid the hot metal. Also do on driveway to avoid catching your shop on fire.
                Step 4: Metal sandpaper the rim of the keg
                Notes: I used pretty coarse sandpaper. Try to just get the edges and not too much surface. Stainless has a protective oxide layer, but rough edges can harbor bacteria. (Bad news for beer)
                Step 5: Try lid to make sure it fits.
                Step 6: Wash out metal shavings

                Part II - Cutting the spout hole
                Step 1: Measure closenip and draw a hole on keg, slightly above the footing weld line.
                Notes: Some kegs may not have a weld line; if there is no line, just go up a few inches until it isn’t curved any more.
                Step 2: Drill a small hole with a standard drill bit.
                Notes: This is just a small starter hole. Also oil helps to avoid broken bits.
                Step 3: Use a hole saw to cut the rest. (I forgot the size, but slightly smaller than ½ inch. Half inch would work in a bind though.)
                Notes: Oil works well here too.
                Step 4: Sandpaper the edges.

                Part III – Installing the ball valve
                Step 1: Assemble the back of the ball valve.
                Notes: I go weldless so I can take it all apart and clean everything really well. I have welded on the ball valves before, and they are not too bad. Just make a clean weld on the inside and sand it down flat. My wirefeed welder works pretty well for this. You have to really crank up the power on it to do stainless though.
                More Notes: Assembly of back is: Closenip -- O ring – Washer – Coupling – Copper male thread
                Step 2: Put close nip through hold from back side
                Step 3: Assemble fron side
                Notes: Assembly of Front is: Ball valve – Washer – O ring – Closenip
                More Notes: Total assembly should now be: Ball valve – Washer – O ring – Closenip
                -- Keg Wall – Other end of Closenip -- O ring – Washer – Coupling -- Copper male thread

                Part IV – Installing the copper siphon
                Step 1: Measure height from copper thread to bottom and center of keg.
                Step 2: Cut copper tubing to reach (subtract elbow length)
                Step 3: Solder copper pieces together.
                Step 4: Attach stainless mesh to copper using a stainless hose clamp.
                Step 5: Close other end of stainless tubing.

                Part V – Installing thermometer
                Step 1 – Measure and drill a hole in keg for 1/8 inch close nip.
                Step 2 – Sandpaper hole clean
                Step 3 – Install back end of Themomerter
                Notes: Assembly of back is: 1/8 inch Coupling – Washer – O ring – 1/8 inch closenip
                Step 4 – Install front end of Themometer
                Notes: Assembly of front is: Termometer – Compression fitting – Washer – O ring – 1/8 inch Close nip
                More Notes: Total assembly is now: Thermometer – Compression fitting – Washer – O ring – 1/8 inch Close nip – Keg wall – rest of 1/8 inch Coupling – Washer – O ring – 1/8 inch closenip
                Even more Notes: I have found that the sightglass is better on an HLT and not really needed on the Mash tun, so I excluded its construction. To make it I just cut the curve off a racking cane, used a tube compression fitting and put an eye screw at the top of the keg.
                Yet even more Notes: The thermometer can be rough to pull out and clean with a metal compression fitting, so I pulled out the inner metal and replaced it with two small o rings. They expand when compressed and make a nice seal that is easy to take apart.
                Last edited by heisenbug; December 20, 2009, 20:21.

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                • #9
                  Re: Homemade stirplate for less than $20

                  Now all you need is one of these http://www.unplggd.com/unplggd/diy-p...-kegbot-104187
                  "Why is it drug addicts and computer afficionados are both called users? " - Clifford Stoll

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                  • #10
                    Re: Homemade stirplate for less than $20

                    Originally posted by AgentDarkApple View Post
                    Measuring the kegs capacitance would no doubt be a lot easier.

                    Measure capacitance when full, measure when empty, apply math, and you have a keg-o-meter.

                    xor
                    Just because you can doesn't mean you should. This applies to making babies, hacking, and youtube videos.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Homemade stirplate for less than $20

                      Easier yes, but maybe not as much fun. Easier still would be to just weld in a spot for a capacitance probe in the keg permanently. You could hook it to a microcontroller to do the math.

                      Heck even easier would be to get a grain scale and put an empty keg on it and zero it off.
                      Last edited by heisenbug; December 23, 2009, 15:35.

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