After a home brewer learns the basic premises of mashing and fermentation, and that brewer has honed in his brewing techniques, a natural progression is to streamline and automate their brew day to gain efficiencies. The best way to begin that progression is to have a purpose-built brew stand that is customized for the brewers specific gear.
Brew stands truly come in all shapes and sizes. I've used a never ending list of configurations with tables and chairs and racks that I've had laying around my house and garage in the past, so I thought it would be a good idea to hunker down and build something that will make my brew days more streamlined.
There are certainly commercial brew stands available, but they can be quite expensive. But they're also super solid, made out of metal, and can support an impressive amount of weight, and won't rot or rust over time, and are fireproof. For my brew stand, I went with a wooden solution. For starters, my equipment seems to change as often as I change my underwear, so I didn't want something I had to live with no matter what. Second, I wanted something that was a bit more affordable than a commercial brew stand. 2x4's are cheap, and my stand is nearly 100% made from 2x4's. Finally, I wanted to build something. I think getting out in the garage and using my power tools is fun, and I'd rather figure a design out for myself than follow some assembly instructions for someone else's commercial offering.
Here's a Google SketchUp file of the stand that I built. If you are familiar with Google SketchUp, then this should be a pretty basic plan to follow. This plan accommodates a square-style cooler for a Hot Liquor Tank, a Round Style cooler for the Mash Tun, and a Keggle as my boil vessel. Because everyone uses different sizes and types of equipment, it's hard for me to tell you how to build your stand, since I would strongly recommend that you adapt any plans you find to fit the size and style of your equipment. Further, I have a pump, so if you don't have a pump, then you'd need to build a Three Tier style brew stand.
I guess the point of this post isn't so much a how-to, but more of a source for inspiration regarding how I built my brew stand, and hopefully, will give you some great ideas so that you can build your own! Cheers!