Brutus 10 Build: The Frame
This weekend I’ll brew my first batch of beer on the Brutus 10. I don’t expect everything to go perfectly, but after a few tries I’ll get the kinks out.
Now it’s time to share the story of the build and just what the heck I’ve been doing for the past month.
Rather than write a huge post, I’m going to split it up into a series based around different phases of the build, starting with…
The frame. The backbone of the Brutus. It all starts here.
I decided to make the stand out of stainless steel for its durability, rustproof-ness, and looks. After looking a handful of suppliers I found the best deal through Grainger. I used 1.5″ square stainless tubing with a 0.065″ wall. 42 feet (7 pieces of 6′) cost me $254.
[Click here for the frame dimensions which were adjusted to fit my 15 gallon Blichmann Boilermaker kettles.]
Welding the frame is the one part of the project that I outsourced. Given the fact that stainless steel should be TIG welded and that I’m using a gas beam which MUST be airtight, I deferred to a pro.
The cutting and welding was done by Chris Sulfrian at Generic Cycles. He’s no stranger to beer projects. We met through Nick Nunns of TRVE Brewing and Chris is the man behind of the fabrication of Reeb Cycles, an Oskar Blues project.
In short – Chris did an incredible job. The stand is as badass as it is because of him and his skill. I mean, look at these welds:
Even though I trusted Chris’s welding ability I had to pressure test the gas beam so I could get some sleep at night. Not surprisingly, it passed with flying colors:
I pressure tested the gas beam using a gas gauge and 3/4″ x 1/2″ reducer so the gauge would thread into the coupling. I plugged the other two couplings by attaching ball valves and putting them in the “off” position.
Then I hooked up my CO2 tank from the kegerator (don’t use propane kids) and cranked it up to about 14 psi which it held for five hours. Since I’ll be running propane at only 0.5 psi, we were in the clear.
The tricky thing about the BG12 burners is that there is a single mounting hole in the bottom. We could have run a single piece of metal the length of the stand, but to keep it a little cleaner and take advantage of the scrap tubing, we made “L” mounts by running a piece of tubing straight down from the top and then attached another piece at 90°. This piece had a hole drilled into it for the burner and then I simply replaced the mounting screw with a longer one that would go through the 1.5″ tubing.
It worked great, and we didn’t even need to attach a vertical piece for the middle burner since it was part of the original stand design anyways in order to mount the pumps.
We get some gusty days in Denver and since I have pilot lights on the stand I decided to add wind shields. I didn’t have much of an idea for how to attach them but knew that I’d need some sheet metal.
I found a commercial sheet metal fabricator near Denver and got 10 ft. for $30. It was just scraps for them but gold for me.
I let Chris handle the rest. He cut the metal and tack-welded it onto the stand.
Rather than forming a complete ring, we left the back open to vent the hot gasses. It also left more room for the burner and gas plumbing.
You need a way of attaching the casters (wheels) to the stand. You could weld a plate to the legs, but an easier way it so use a product from McMaster-Carr called threaded tube inserts. You tap them into the holes in the tubing and they lock into place. Then you simply screw the casters into the inserts. Two of the casters have brakes and two do not. You only need brakes on one end of the stand.
The key with buying the casters and tube inserts is to make sure the threads are the same sizes. I went with 3/8″- 16 threads. Make sure yours match up. Part numbers are below.
Next I’ll do a post on the gas system.
Below is a part summary for the frame with costs. Note that I included the diamond sheet metal as part of the frame which I use for pump and gas valve covers. You didn’t see it in this post but you will in upcoming ones.
- 42 ft. of 1.5″ stainless steel square tubing (Grainger part #4YUJ7) – $254
- 10 ft. stainless steel 20 gauge sheet metal for wind shields (sourced locally) – $30
- 12″x24″ diamond textured sheet for pump and valve shields (Grainger part #9077K123) – $50
- Caster with brake x 2 (McMaster-Carr part #2834T28) – $20
- Caster without brake x 2 (McMaster-Carr part #2834T13) – $10
- Threaded tube insert x 4 (McMaster-Carr part #60945K21) – $28
- Labor for cutting, TIG welding, and fabricating wind shields + pump shield – $400
- Total stand cost including labor: $788