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Old 03-15-2007, 01:35 PM   #1
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Default Drilling Keggle?

Is there any special equipment or knowledge involved in drilling a SS keg?

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Old 03-15-2007, 01:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cweston
Is there any special equipment or knowledge involved in drilling a SS keg?
I recently drilled my SS kettle and did a lot of reading up on what's needed. You can either use a step bit or a bi-metal hole saw (which is what I used). the hole size you're looking for is 7/8".

You need to first mark out the spot you want to drill. Find a center line vertically, then make a horizontal hatch mark about 1.5" from the bottom. Then drill a pilot hole using a small bit, like a 1/8" or smaller. You'll need plenty of pressure, but don't go full speed on the drill.

After that, coat the area with cutting oil or some 3-in-1 (what I used). Drill slowly. Heat causes SS to harden, so you'll want to keep oil on the area. If you see a plume of white smoke, add more oil.

When you're done, debur with a dremel or a file.
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:29 PM   #3
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ake it slow, use a powerfull drill and lubricate.
If you get the steel to hot it will harden.

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Old 03-15-2007, 02:42 PM   #4
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Ok, so you didn't specify whether you're using a weldless bulkhead or if you're going to have a coupling welded in. This is important in determining which size holesaw to use.

For mine, I measured the OD of a 1/2" coupling and it was 1" exactly so I went out to buy a 1" bimetal hole saw. Drilled slowly, high pressure, cooling oil as Cheese mentioned. I ended up with a 1-1/16" hole that I still needed to debur. Needless to say a sloppy fit. Tried my second hole (for the thermo) and used a 7/8" bit which after a nice deburring hit the 1" perfectly.

Now, if you're going weldless, I suspect the 7/8" with debur might go a little too large. I'd try it on some scrap sheet metal first. You might want to go down to 3/4 and then file it larger.

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Old 03-15-2007, 02:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
Ok, so you didn't specify whether you're using a weldless bulkhead or if you're going to have a coupling welded in. This is important in determining which size holesaw to use.

For mine, I measured the OD of a 1/2" coupling and it was 1" exactly so I went out to buy a 1" bimetal hole saw. Drilled slowly, high pressure, cooling oil as Cheese mentioned. I ended up with a 1-1/16" hole that I still needed to debur. Needless to say a sloppy fit. Tried my second hole (for the thermo) and used a 7/8" bit which after a nice deburring hit the 1" perfectly.

Now, if you're going weldless, I suspect the 7/8" with debur might go a little too large. I'd try it on some scrap sheet metal first. You might want to go down to 3/4 and then file it larger.

Thanks for all the good info, folks.

I haven't decided exactly what I want to do--my keggle currently has a 3/8" valve in a weldless assembly. It works fine but is pretty slow. I have a dremel for de-burring so drilling a size smaller might be feasible.

I wonder what a machine shop would charge for drilling + welding. It might be worth it, since bi-metal hole saws are not cheap (and that's not a tool I'd expect to get a lot of general use out of.)
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cweston
Thanks for all the good info, folks.

I haven't decided exactly what I want to do--my keggle currently has a 3/8" valve in a weldless assembly. It works fine but is pretty slow. I have a dremel for de-burring so drilling a size smaller might be feasible.

I wonder what a machine shop would charge for drilling + welding. It might be worth it, since bi-metal hole saws are not cheap (and that's not a tool I'd expect to get a lot of general use out of.)
Hole saws will cost you under $20 (if you don't have the pilot arbor) or about $7 if you have it. A step drill is close to $40.

I contacted a few places and they wanted about $50-$100 for the welds.
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cweston
Thanks for all the good info, folks.

I haven't decided exactly what I want to do--my keggle currently has a 3/8" valve in a weldless assembly. It works fine but is pretty slow. I have a dremel for de-burring so drilling a size smaller might be feasible.

I wonder what a machine shop would charge for drilling + welding. It might be worth it, since bi-metal hole saws are not cheap (and that's not a tool I'd expect to get a lot of general use out of.)
I've had two done and The first cost me three homebrews and the second a hb bottle of wine.
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:53 PM   #8
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I picked up a bi-metal multi size kit from Mcmaster.com a while back. It's nice to have the variety and I use them all the time. If you're going to have couplings welded, I'm sure the drilling would be a small incremental charge. I was charged $50 for two couplings welded in. I overpaid but he agreed to do it on the spot while I waited so I caved. I was tired of driving around with the keg.

People will always suggest to offer up some homebrew but maybe it's a regional thing. No one barters for beer around here. They just kept looking at me funny like, "if I wanted a six pack, the liquor store is down the street" (read: BMC drinker).

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Old 03-15-2007, 02:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
I picked up a bi-metal multi size kit from Mcmaster.com a while back. It's nice to have the variety and I use them all the time. If you're going to have couplings welded, I'm sure the drilling would be a small incremental charge. I was charged $50 for two couplings welded in. I overpaid but he agreed to do it on the spot while I waited so I caved. I was tired of driving around with the keg.

People will always suggest to offer up some homebrew but maybe it's a regional thing. No one barters for beer around here. They just kept looking at me funny like, "if I wanted a six pack, the liquor store is down the street" (read: BMC drinker).
My hole saw was real cheap: Home Depot forgot to charge me and I forgot it was in my basket till I left (I also bought a $120 work bench and my 10 gal cooler that day. Getting both items was a double-fiasco.)
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Old 03-15-2007, 03:23 PM   #10
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Ear plugs.

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