Monday, March 28, 2011

Plastic bag dryer tree

We needed a rack to air out the small breast milk bags that were collecting.  Those little Medela bags go for 20 bucks for 50.  At the rate we were going through them we needed to reuse what we could.  The bags were small and needed to be open to dry with a little air flow.  Decided to make something to sit over the air vent.
 Used some readily available 1/2 inch poly irrigation tubing and some 8 inch zip ties to compose the dryer rack.  The tubing is used for watering plants so it is non toxic.
  • Three long tube pieces ~20 inches long
  • Three shorter tube pieces ~ 10 inches long
  • One 3 inch short tube piece
  • 15 - 8 inch or longer zip ties.  They come in assorted colors.  I found a whole bag of them for two bucks.
The three long pieces make up the legs and three of the arms.  The other three short pieces are just arms.  Shorty is the guy in the center.  Just bunch all the tubes together and put a zip tie in the middle.  Once you get them positioned better just add a couple more zips to the middle.  Remainder of the zips are used on the arms to hold the bag more open.

There is no reason this couldn't be used for larger plastic bags.

Cheers, happy reusing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kitten Tamer aka: beer bottle dunker

The "Kitten Tamer" as I like to call it is just a tube with some wire.  This gadget really is quite low tech and anyone can make it with a little time.   What it does is once again cut down on time spent cleaning beer bottles!  I can dunk four bottles at a time and make short work of cleaning them up.

All the bottles need to be washed first with PBW and then sanitized with Iodophor solution.  My tactic is to immerse a set of bottles in a 5 gallon bucket, drain and set aside for the next bath.  I only have the one bucket and the one sink with fairly limited space.

In the end each bottle is dunked twice and each time there is that waiting period as the bottle bubbles out all the air.  This is the what the "Kitten Tamer" was born for, saving time.  This is almost another great argument to switch to kegs but that bridge has already been crossed and money spent on bottles.  I'm committed!

This thing is made from flexible black irrigation tube but any stick or PVC would work. 12 gauge galvanized wire, stay away from stuff that will rust.  You drill two holes perpendicular to each other at one end of the stick and then thread the wire through the holes.  Simple?  To get the loops nice and even try making two overlapping figure eights with the wire first with the proper spacing.  Make sure the ends of the wire meet in the middle:)  Then thread the stick undoing the figure eight just enough to put the loops back in place.  Twist the ends of the wire together and tuck the sharp ends into the tube cavity.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Beer Porter

Beer Porter
Time saving techniques are the ever present quest of the home brewer.  If you have ever washed and sanitized 22 ounce beer bottles for bottling beer you know that it is the dog chore of the day.  A typical batch of 5 gallon beer requires 28 22 ounce bottles.  So there is a bit of lugging cartons of bottles to the sink, washing them and then carefully moving them back to the bottling area. 

I knew that if the bottles were safely held in a group that could be lifted and where individual bottles could be accessed, time could be shaved from bottling.  At the end of the sanitizing rinse the bottles need to be in the draining position too.

 In this composite image you can see the top, side, bottom and two shots of the porter loaded with bottles.  The design is primarily a board with holes evenly distributed.  For the hole spacing dimensions I just put some bottles onto the board and discovered a comfortable spacing.  Hole size came down to the largest wood bit I had lying around about 1.5 inches.  The remainder of the structure creates a platform to both lift and keep the board with holes from warping under load.  I used a bit of garden hose for the handles because it was lying around after the counter flow project.  There is a 3/4 inch PVC pipe that runs the length of the porter to keep the bottles from shifting during transport.   

Cheers, Happy brewing!