As previously posted, I’m looking at coverting my brew stand over to a pump-driven one. I have blogged about the benefits previously, but one of them is a physically smaller stand due to fact that the pump can take over where gravity was the sole force for moving liquids from vessel to vessel.
The last stand I designed on some graph paper and this worked out well – although I did miss a couple of key dimensions along the way, and as a result the stand ended up even taller that I needed it (well only by 15cm or so, but still!) This time around I’ve embraced the digital age and am doing all the design on Google Sketchup. It’s free and pretty easy to use, once you think and design in the google-approved fashion.
Here’s the current gravity-fed frame… (click for bigger images)
As you can see it’s pretty tall (the person has been scaled to my size). Don’t get me wrong – it works wonderfully! But the HLT is a little awkward to fill with a garden hose, unless standing on a milk crate. And although the mash tun is high for tipping in the grain, it is conveniently at eye-level for sparging and cracking the lid to sneak a glimpse inside. As big as it is, I can still fit it in my Honda Civic hatchback after making it break down into three sections!
Here’s what the new frame might look like…
I’ve designed it literally from the ground up – taking note of the key heights that need to match up for gravity feed. The kettle is located such that it can still hot-cube a standard Willow brand jerry can. Next the CFC is positioned so that its outlet can fill both of my fermenter sizes. And lastly the HLT needs to be able to gravity sparge. After creating models of my brew equipment, it was a fantastic design experience to be able to rotate the camera and see how everything lined up and adjust as necessary.
As you can see, with this design the HLT can be peered into, the mash tun is at waist height and the heavy kettle is nice and low. Turning the mash tun sideways has saved a little length, but I’m yet to fully embrace that decision – I worry it may cop a bit of heat from the burner.