Category Archives: Brewing Equipment

Homer Hopper Part 2 – Homer Bucket Modifications

Homer Hopper Part 2 – Homer Bucket Modifications

Difficulty: level_1

Time Required:

One morning or afternoon (For the entire project)

Background:

This is part 2 in the series documenting how to create your own Homer Hopper.  If you haven’t seen the introduction yet, please check it out.  In this post, we’ll be cutting the required openings in the bucket.

Posts for this project:

Introduction
Part 2: Bucket Modifications (this post)
Part 3: Wooden Base
Part 4: Mill Box
Part 5: Funnel Panels
Part 6: Final Assembly
Part 7: CAD Drawings

Tools required:

Jig saw or oscillating tool
Drill with 3/16″ drill bit, maybe a 3/8″ or 1/2″ for starter holes for saw
Deburring tool (optional)
Transfer punch (optional)

CAD files & Templates:

Homer Bucket Modifications

*All of the drawings and templates will be relocated to a final location after all of the posts are complete.

What we’re building here:

007b-Homer Hopper - front view  007b-Homer Hopper - bottom opening

 

Video of the process:

COMING SOON!

How to do it:

First, print out the window template.  You’ll want to cut out the very center in order to line it up with the center on the bottom of the bucket.

007b-Homer Hopper - Bucket bottom  007b-Homer Hopper - bottom window template

If you have a transfer punch, you know what to do.  If you don’t, just transfer the pattern to the bottom of the bucket in order to be able to cut out the large rectangular window and drill the 4 holes.

Marking the centerlines on the Homer bucket

You’ll want to make sure that you align the side window with the window on the bottom of the bucket.  As you can see, I’ve traced all the lines out with a permanent marker.

007b-Homer Hopper - drilled holes

 

Just inside of the lines, I’ve drilled some larger holes that are big enough to get the blade of my jigsaw through the plastic to get started.

007b-Homer Hopper - side window

Mark out the side window and drill a starter hole here as well.

Once you’ve got all your holes marked, go ahead and start cutting.

A WORD OF CAUTION!:

Cutting this bucket with a jigsaw is not exactly fun, safe or appropriate.  Be extremely careful and keep your hand away from the blade at all times.  If you have a way to secure the bucket while you are cutting, please do so.  Alternately, you may have some other better way to cut the bucket.

Deburring tool

When you are done, you can use a deburring tool to clean up all of the edges you cut and drilled.

Up next…

Creating the wooden base

Missed a post?

Introduction
Part 2: Bucket Modifications (This post)
Part 3: Wooden Base
Part 4: Mill Box
Part 5: Hopper Panels
Part 6: Final Assembly
Part 7: CAD Drawings

Thanks for your interest in this project!

 

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Homer Hopper

Homer Hopper – Introduction

Difficulty: level_1

Time Required:

One morning or afternoon (For the entire project)

Background:

If you are brewing all-grain and want to gain consistency with your efficiency and want to save money in the long run, you should be milling your own grain (assuming you are buying some grains in bulk).  Most grain mills can be purchased without a hopper, which in my opinion is a good thing, because I was not satisfied with most of the hopper designs I have seen.

Posts for this project:

Introduction (this post)
Part 2: Bucket Modifications
Part 3: Wooden Base
Part 4: Mill Box
Part 5: Funnel Panels
Part 6: Final Assembly
Part 7: CAD Drawings

Pictures and Stuff:

007a-Homer Hopper - Entire Setup 007a-Homer Hopper - View 3 007a-Homer Hopper - Into the Hopper

007a-Homer Hopper - View 4 007a-Homer Hopper - Hopper Insert 007a-Homer Hopper - CAD Model

007a-Homer Hopper - Components

Cost:

Less than $20 in materials for the hopper assembly.  The cost will most likely be less, especially since you probably have scraps of material around your garage that can be used.  You’ll also need some mounting hardware that is readily available.

Components:

  • Home Depot Homer Bucket (approx $3)
  • You may want a lid, which will set you back another $1-2
  • 5/8″ plywood, big enough for 14″ diameter. You can go thinner or thicker.  Use scrap wood or find a 24″x24″ square for maybe $10 at the hardware store.  I used some nice birch, but only because I had it around.
  • 4x 1/4-20 x 0.75″ length stainless socket head cap screws or hex head
  • 4x washers for 1/4″ bolts ($1-$5 for screws and washers depending on where you shop) *You don’t have to use stainless for the screws or washers, I just got stainless so they didn’t rust while being stored outside in the garage.
  • 2x 1/4-20 x 1/2″ long Cup Point Set Screws (to replace the thumb screws on the Monster Mill).

Recommended Tools:

Router with 7/8″ diameter “straight bit” or “end mill” type bit
Jig saw
Oscillating multi-tool (safer cutting into bucket)
Drill with 3/16″ drill bit
Table saw or circular saw

Of course you are probably pretty thrifty, so review the steps laid out and you may have a preference for another tool to get each task done!

Discussion:

This is a guide to my hopper design using the Monster Mill MM-2 and an Home Depot orange Homer’s bucket.  The MM-2 is a great mill, but I did make a few easy modifications that I’ll cover in another post**.  This concept could be applied to other mills, but the design would obviously change a little.

I thought I could cover this project in just one post, but it has become clear that it will be a multi-post instruction guide.  I will keep this as the master post to keep modifying and add links to the subsequent posts as they are available.  The final post will include a package of downloadable CAD files that can be printed and used as cut-out templates.

**Please note: Monster Brewing now has a version 2.0 of the MM-2 that partially addresses some of the modifications that I had made to mine.   If you don’t have version 2.0, you’ll want to replace the thumb screws with the set screws I mentioned in the components.

Here are the advantages of this hopper:

  • Uses a commonly available bucket
  • When you are done, you can put a lid on the bucket and have it all self-contained
  • Low dust design while milling
  • Design utilizes the entire roller area, instead of just a small section like with funnel based hoppers
  • With the mill inside the bucket, it allows the bucket to sit flat and gives more stability
  • Allows for using a power drill to drive it
  • Holds an entire grain bill for most 5 gallon batches (19-20 lbs)
  • Mills that grain in just under 2 minutes*
  • Low cost
  • No shaking involved to get grain to rollers

How it works:

  1. Get a fermenting bucket or another HD/Lowe’s bucket as the receiving bucket
  2. put a bag liner into the bucket (reference post: Fermentation Bucket Liners)
  3. Place hopper assembly on top of the bucket and connect your drill*
  4. Pour grain into the hopper and get milling
  5. For clean up, I usually just use my shop air and blow all of the dust and uncrushed grain out.  OUTSIDE OF COURSE!  AND CLOSE YOUR EYES!

007a-Homer Hopper - grain dust 007a-Homer Hopper - Air Nozzle

*Drill Power:

I personally chose a corded drill due to the higher torque they generally have.  My only corded drill however was a Makita hammer drill and it is definitely overkill, but I used it on normal drill mode.  DO NOT USE HAMMER DRILL MODE!  The speed of this drill is pretty fast, so when I mill, I pretty much have to modulate it to the lowest speed possible.  I can’t tell you exactly what that speed is in RPM, but it is the slowest I can go without stalling the motor.

007a-Homer Hopper - Makita HP1501 Drill007a-Homer Hopper - Makita HP1501 Drill Label

Action Sequence:

Here is my Homer Hopper in action. This particular batch was for my Rye PA and consisted of 17.66 pounds which took 94 seconds (5.3 seconds / pound)

Since I utilize the BIAB technique and don’t have to worry about stuck sparges, I use a smaller gap of 0.035″.

007a-Homer Hopper - Crushed Grain 0.035 inch gap MM2

 

Cleanup of the hopper is simple.  Especially if you have compressed air.

I’ll be breaking the construction into a few posts:

Introduction (This post)
Part 2: Bucket Modifications
Part 3: Wooden Base
Part 4: Mill Box
Part 5: Hopper Panels
Part 6: Final Assembly
Part 7: CAD Drawings

Thanks for your interest in this project!

All files have a 2″x2″ square on the print so that when you print out on paper, you can measure to make sure your printer was printing to scale and at the correct aspect ratio.

The intention in making these files downloadable and free is for people to make this themselves or modify/improve the design to suit them.

This download is available through the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial license.

If you are interested in this for commercial purposes (i.e. you want to make money on my effort), I’m flattered, but please contact me first.

Be excellent to everyone!

Click on the download icon to agree to these terms and enjoy!

[wpdm_package id=’781′]

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Easy Fermenter Labels

Easy Fermenter Labels

Difficulty: level_1

Time Required:

As long as it takes you to tear off a piece of tape and write on it

Background:

This is my method of keeping track of what is what by labeling my fermenting buckets that allows you to re-use the label when you transfer to a secondary then your keg.

Required:

Gaffer’s tape
Marker

Gaffer’s tape (aka “racers tape”, “hundred mile an-hour tape”)

*”mile an-hour” is the colloquial way to pronounce “miles per hour”

I was first introduced to this tape when I started working in IndyCar racing as a DAG (Data Acquisition Guy).  When setting up the pits and timing stands, we would use it to tape down the various cords we would need to run along the ground so that people wouldn’t trip over them.  It is a cloth-like tape that can be easily torn by hand and comes in different colors.  The best thing about it though is that after sitting outside for 3 days in the sun, when you pull it off, it doesn’t leave the sticky residue that you get with duct tape, electrical tape, masking tape, etc.

It got it’s name from gaffer’s in the entertainment industry using it for pretty much the same purpose.  You can also see it on NASCAR racecars when they go out for qualifying.  They tape off the grille and other inlets when they do a qualifying run to reduce aerodynamic drag, at the expense of cooling.

Where to buy Gaffer’s tape:

  • Amazon
  • Hardware store
  • Racers supply store (most variety of color and best price)
  • Music store (the instrument kind, not the CD kind. If those still exist??)

*It’s typically about 3x the cost of duct tape, but in my opinion, much more useful.  And keep in mind that sometimes, it the rolls have a lot more length of tape on them than duct tape or masking tape rolls.

Process:

Straightforward really…

005-Fermenter Labels - gaffers tape label

Peel off a piece of tape, stick it on the fermenter and write on it with a marker.

Be careful however, the tape doesn’t absorb the marker fluid immediately and if you wipe across it, it could get on your fingers.

N. or S.” is my Christmas Ale, Naughty or Spice.  Cheesy name, but tasty brew!  It should be carbonated in time for Thanksgiving!  38 is the batch number.  Just a habit of mine and how I name them in my brewing software.

005-Fermenter Labels - pulling gaffers tape off

Peel off and re-apply

When transferring from your primary to your secondary, just peel off and re-apply to the secondary.
*Apply to a room temperature vessel. If you try to apply it to something cold, it most likely has condensation on it and the tape will not stick

005-Fermenter Labels - gaffers tape - no line

No unsightly residue

“Can’t see the line, can you Russ?”

Keg labels

005-Fermenter Labels - Keg

 Same thing when transferring to your keg.

005-Fermenter Labels - Keg in keezer

Visible enough in your keezer

**I do sometimes just write on the top of the keg with a Sharpie and wipe if off with acetone when I am cleaning the keg

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