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Old 10-14-2007, 07:58 AM   #1
Yorg
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Default Drilling a hole in my new Blichmann Conical!?

I have a new Blichmann conical.
I am missing an arm and a leg.
No point having it, if I can't temp control the fermentation.
So I bought myself a thermowell and RTD probe to hook up to a PID controller.
I will go weldless.
A pic of the fittings is enclosed?
A pic of the fermenter also.

The hole saw is in the cordless drill.
The drill is in my hand.
My hand is shaking.

Where sis the best place to drill this hole?

Cheers
Yorg

temp-probe-1.jpg   temp-probe-2.jpg   blich.jpg  
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Old 10-14-2007, 08:38 AM   #2
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I should add:
Here is another pic that gives an idea of relative sizes.
It is still a little deceptive in the pic I think, but essentially the fitting is a 1/2 bsp (npt)
The tip of the probe extends almost to the centre of the fermenter.
It is the 14.5 gall model - which is notional, since you would brew a max of about 10 Aus gall, and 12 US gall, given head space.

I would like to be able to do both half as well as full capacity. I haven't measured volumes yet, but I believe half capacity would be above the conical segment.

One issue I suppose is for half and full capacity, the fixed location of the probe would deliver temperature measurements from the top of the ferment and the middle of the ferment respectively. If there is significant temperature gradient, then this would affect repeatability between different sized batches, since the average temp of the ferment would be different.

Hm. There is more to everything than at first apparent.

Cheers,
Yorg

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Old 10-14-2007, 08:48 AM   #3
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JESUS MAN!! that sounds like a great way to ruin your new conical! maybe you're a bit more experienced with things like this, but i'd have to say that if you have even a little doubt as to what you're doing i would spend the couple hours on the phone monday calling around to welders/machine shops to find someone who will say that's no problem, bring it on over. i know it's just a hole for a weldless fitting, nothing fancy, but what if the bit catches funny and you marr the hole?

from a placement standpoint, again with no experience, i'd guess maybe about an inch above where the cylinder meets the cone. probably not on the front, maybe on one of the sides so the wires hang out of the way.

good luck if you try it, you have much larger cojones than i!

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Old 10-14-2007, 08:54 AM   #4
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the points you outlined in your second post are why i was thinking JUST above the point where cylinder meets cone, so you'd still be in the wort even without a full batch. your concerns about temp gradient i think are justified. your head is in the right place on this. regarding volumes, IF the height of the cone is equal to the height of the cylinder, than the volume of the cone will be half the volume of the cylinder, or 1/3 of the total volume, less than 5 gallons for you.

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Old 10-14-2007, 01:36 PM   #5
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First of all, dang I'm jealous. I could never justify a conical no matter how much disposable income I have laying around. Nice dedication.

This is just my opinion but I would avoid weldless in this case. It's fine for boil and preboil vessels but the gasket to conical joint will be a difficult to clean and sanitize nook. There's also the fact that the probe connection housing (nice, is that explosionproof?) is probably a bit heavy and might flex the seals a bit. I would suggest finding a competant TIG welder and have him prove his sanitary weld abilities. If he has no on-site stainless weld samples, have him do one. You'll probably pay the hourly minimum for the conical anyway so there should be no extra charge. He might be mildly insulted but explain what you paid for the conical to clear it up.

For location, I agree with previous posts. You'll want it submerged for your smallest batch size (even after blowing off the trub).

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Old 10-14-2007, 06:11 PM   #6
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I think you'll be ok with the weldless fitting. My racking arms are pretty heavy once the valve is attached, and they seal just fine.

I'd say drill the hole just above the conical portion as well. Be sure to leave yourself enough flat surface for the seal (i.e., the hole needs to be slightly above the angle in the fermenter, or the seal may not have anything to compress against).

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Old 10-15-2007, 12:02 AM   #7
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Thanks guys.

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Old 10-15-2007, 02:30 AM   #8
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Dang. I have no advice, but I see that the forum resident experts in such matters (Yuri and Bobby) have already responded.

I just wanted to say that freaking thing is awesome!

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Old 10-15-2007, 10:00 AM   #9
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You are fine weldless. I personally prefer gasket type material to the o-rings. Gore-tex sheet gasket is the best stuff out there. Keep the hole size to a bare minimum to maximize the sealing surface. I would suggest drilling in a sheet of something disposable before drilling your fermenter.

You may also want to consider getting rid of the thermowell altogether. What you can do is just use the same compression fitting (although I would probably go to 1/4" tubing 1/4" pipe drilled out to clear RTD), but use teflon ferrules. What this will allow you to do isi set the rtd to any height you want. You can get rid of the head altogether so it's not too much weight on an extended rtd.

Also, can you just go in through the top? I drill many of my bungs to allow 1/4" for thermometers, rtds and tubing. works really well.

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Old 10-15-2007, 10:01 AM   #10
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double post

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