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Old 12-15-2008, 01:25 AM   #1
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Default How to put fittings on a Chillus Convolutus CFC

Hey all-

I've been slowly gathering parts for my rig build....today I needed to make it so that my high temp hoses with qd's would fit on my Chillus Convolutus.

Here's what it looks like at MoreBeer, selling for $155:



Not to be confused with the ChillZilla CFC, selling at NB for $190:



See the difference with the fittings? I guess the designers of both figured it would be easy to just slip a hose over the wort in/out. In truth, it is, but I use quick disconnects with silicone tubing....so I needed a quick and easy way to use the chiller. They're both pretty much the same chiller, but I think I prefer the B3 version because all fittings are facing forward. This makes for a better interface if you have it on a shelf on your rig and are taking hoses on/off with qd's. Plus it's cheaper


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Old 12-15-2008, 01:31 AM   #2
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Here's the parts and equipment I started with:



I used a basic propane torch with flux and solder, as well as a wire brush. The fittings include:

2) 1/2"FIPxSweat adapters
2) 1/2" x 1/2" couplers with the crimp, or "stop" in the center

Here's a closer look:



NOTE: The inner tubing of the Chillus Convolutus is a really odd size. It's smaller than 1/2", but bigger than 3/8"...something like 7/16". You can't fit a 1/2" coupler over it snugly; it's a bit loose. That's why I was a little nervous about soldering a joint with a big gap. I hope it doesn't leak!


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Old 12-15-2008, 01:38 AM   #3
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Next, I prepped all the surfaces to be joined. I used the wire brush and sandpaper,making it look bright and shiny:



Don't ask me what the chiller was originally brazed with. All I know is that it didn't even flinch when heated. I like to think it's solid gold.

Then, I brushed on some flux on the areas and set the fittings in place.

I heated the joints for a good while with the torch, getting them super hot...and melted the solder in. The 1/2" couplers at the end fit the adapters like a glove, so the joint came out beautiful and didn't require much solder. The chiller outputs were an odd size, so there was a bit of a gap to fill on the inboard side of the coupler. I just kept the joint heated and kept laying in the solder until it was packed. It didn't turn out very pretty...



And yet another jacked up looking joint:



Notice how it turns down slightly? Gravity caused the loose fittings to hang on the tubing rather than fitting snugly in place. When I soldered it, the top needed more solder, so I had to go back and forth and pack it in.


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Old 12-15-2008, 01:54 AM   #4
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Here's the chiller with all the fittings soldered on:



The copper cleaned up nice with a wire brush and sandpaper, but you can see that being liberal with the solder left me with some extra cleanup:



I went to town with a grinding stone drill bit. You could probably get better results with a Dremel. Here's what it looked like after grinding down the solder. I gave up after a while, but I might come back to it (it's tougher than you might think!):


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Old 12-15-2008, 02:02 AM   #5
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And here's the finished product!



See how the bottom fitting turns up a bit? That was the one I mentioned earlier, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The raised angle makes it very ergonomic for hooking a QD to...especially in my brewing rig where things can be hard to reach.

All in all, I have to say it went well. I was worried about ruining an expensive piece of equipment....especially because I'd never soldered any piping before! I could have just used pieces of hose and hose clamps to attach the female 1/2" adapters to the wort in/out of the chiller, but I wanted something a little more aesthetic and permanent. Now, I get to mount this bad-boy in my rig!

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Old 12-15-2008, 02:57 AM   #6
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Nice pics. I will have to follow this since this has been my plan as well.

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Old 12-15-2008, 04:40 AM   #7
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That tubing looks like 1/2" OD or 3/8" nominal so 3/8 to 1/2 reducing coupling would have fit both ends for you.

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Old 12-15-2008, 09:09 AM   #8
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Just a tip (even though it's been awhile since I've done any piping)- The black gunk was from overheating, or holding the torch too close. If you apply more flux on top of this you can normally shine and even it out, save you some elbow greese next time. Looks good, and thanks for the tutorial! (I'm thinking merge this with your unclogging videos and sticky in the DIY?)

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Old 12-15-2008, 10:48 AM   #9
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Nice work, ScubaSteve! Just my $0.02, soldering those on is a lot easier (and cheaper) than using compression fittings and works a hell of a lot better. Don't ask me how I know...

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Old 12-15-2008, 11:29 AM   #10
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Yeah, I tried the compression fittings, and found myself manhandling the chiller. I stopped halfway through and returned the fittings.

Bobby- I actually tried 3/8 first, and I think it was too small. Like I said, this is a really odd size. I guess the convoluted tubing B3 got their hands on was an unusual size.

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