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Old 04-07-2009, 04:10 PM   #1
xxdcmast
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Default Keggle - Welded or Weldless

I recently scored myself 3 kegs for my brew setup . I have already cut the tops off of them with my angle grinder. I am now at the point where I need to decide on wether to try to get the couplers etc welded on or use weldless bulkhead fittings.

If I decide to go the welding route I will need to find a good welder who can do stainless welding correctly. This would probably cost a little bit more money and would probably be longer than weldess.

If I go the weldless route I could order the bulkhead fittings, ball valves, thermometer ports, sight tubes, etc online and have them in a few days. It would probably be a little cheaper and faster but there it could leak or be be a pain in the arse in other ways.

Im very much interested in doing this the right way the first time. So should I go welded or weldless? Am I overreacting to the issues I have read about weldless fittings leaking?

If it makes any difference I am ultimately working up to a single tier system.

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Old 04-07-2009, 04:14 PM   #2
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I went with the weldless initially but it is a pain and I am having fittings welded in to my kettle today. The nice thing about the weldless (at least mine) is once I got sick of it I just had the coupling that came with the set-up welded in, so it's not all lost money...

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only the $500,000 strippers can handle the load.
<Insert list of brews planned, fermenting, or being consumed here>
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Old 04-07-2009, 04:20 PM   #3
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Greenwood Rover - what's a pain about weldless fittings? If you install them right where they don't leak, you should never have to touch them again. I've got 3 on each of my kegs I use and they've been no hassle whatsoever. I've never had to mess with them since they were installed a few years ago.

That said, if you've got the extra $$, I think welded fittings (if done right) are a better solution.

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Old 04-07-2009, 04:28 PM   #4
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The kit I bought did not have/come with method for keeping the o ring from squishing out. I usually had to play with each fitting for 5-10min to get a leakfree seal. I had one that came with just flat washers, a nipple, a coupling, and a standard locknut. I have seen washers and locknuts that were machined out with a groove or recess for keeping the oring in place, that seems like it would have solved my frustration. If i were to do it again that would be the type I would look for.

I initially went weldless because I had a hell of a time finding someone to weld them (I'm challenged in that regard) but I recently found a guy (via craigslist) who said he'd sanitary weld 3 couplers into a keg for $20 total. IMO The price looked too good to be true so i asked for samples, sent photos of nicely welded keggles here and even asked him to watch one of the you tube videos (I think it was Yuri's). His work looked good and confirmed the process. I'm dropping one keggle off today, if it looks good, I drop the other keggle off when I pick up the first.

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only the $500,000 strippers can handle the load.
<Insert list of brews planned, fermenting, or being consumed here>
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Old 04-07-2009, 04:30 PM   #5
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$20/3 fittings is a great deal if he does a good job.

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Old 04-07-2009, 05:02 PM   #6
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If you guys were going for the weldless fittings would you go with the zymico weld-b-gone kits

Weldless valve bulkhead fittings, the original Weld-B-Gone™

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Old 04-07-2009, 05:03 PM   #7
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Those will work fine. I think their locknuts have a groove milled in for the o-ring.

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Old 04-07-2009, 05:12 PM   #8
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xxdcmast,
I am a fan of welded. Although growing up in a family of welders (I'm NOT one), I'm probably biased. However, the welded will take more bumps and bruises. I've seen prices from $20 per keg to $75 per hr., 1hr. minimum and was told that for all 9 welds (3 on ea. keg) that it would take about 1.5 hrs. I got frustrated enough that I bought the wire, tips, and trimix and made some gruesomely ugly welds. they don't leak but they sure hurt your eyes! All of that said, look around for a welder and ask. The worst case is you'll lose a day of production while looking. You can always use weldless and many have successfully. Luck - Dwain

P.S. it probably would have been cheaper to pay the $20 per keg. But then I wouldn't have aquired more toys. Which as we all know, life's all about!

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Old 04-07-2009, 09:46 PM   #9
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3 for 20 good price. Myself I charge 12.00 a coupler and furnish the coupler. I turn down half the length of full coupler to inch in dia. and drill a one inch hole in the keg. I back flow all tig welds.

If your welder knows about back flow no problems


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Old 04-07-2009, 10:40 PM   #10
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Sorry for the quasi thread hijack....

I just got back from dropping the keggles off. The dude was a little apprehensive on the phone/email, but when I showed up and explained to him it was for beer and not Meth or Distilling he was pretty cool. I was going to hold back a keg until I saw his finished work but It turns out he did a lot of the inplace welding for 2 of the local Rock Bottom brew pubs, both on their full batch and experimental equipment. He said 25% of his work was for the food service industry.
I actually had a total of 2 kegs, and 7 couplers, plus I asked him to clean-up the jaggedness and de-burr my Bier Muncher-esque top cuts. In the end we agreed upon $60 for the whole thing.
I think I got a good deal, I'll post pics in another thread of the finished product.

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only the $500,000 strippers can handle the load.
<Insert list of brews planned, fermenting, or being consumed here>
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