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Old 03-28-2008, 02:25 PM   #1
bigben
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Default Making a Custom False Bottom

Ok, I recently got a couple 50 QT Igloo Coolers to use for my new MLT and HLT.



I have been thinking about what kind of manifold/braid/false bottom I wanted to use. I have always batch sparged, but I think I will be fly sparging with this setup. And since I'm fly sparging I'd rather not use a braid...so that's out.

Thought about using a copper manifold...but I don't really trust my DIY skills even though it's probably the easiest thing in the world. Simple projects usually end up costing me double what they should and take twice as long.

So I was thinking...this cooler is 13"x13" on the inside. What if I just got a sheet of perforated stainless steel that was 12"x12". I would get some thick high temp tubing and cut a slit in it to line the perforated sheet, like weather stripping. This would protect the inner walls of my MLT and hopefully provide a seal so no grain gets by. I'd probaby also put something underneath the sheet to prevent it from collapsing and keep it off the bottom.

If I were to do this, what size holes should be in the perforated steel?

Is this just a stupid idea???

Thanks.

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Old 03-28-2008, 02:52 PM   #2
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I am gonna be making my own false bottom for a 1 barrel keg. I have been researching the same thing. I am thinking I am gonna go with what Sabco does:
16 ga. Stainless, 3/32" holes on 5/32" centers.

Check out this link:
http://www.brew-magic.com/ketl_acc_falsebtm.html


And here is a good place to get it:

http://www.onlinemetals.com/merchant...1002&top_cat=1



Good luck, hope this helps!

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Old 03-28-2008, 03:39 PM   #3
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Yea, that helps a lot. I may run to lowes or home depot to see if they have anything close to those specs.

Thanks a lot!!!

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Old 03-28-2008, 03:48 PM   #4
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yuri_rage has a mlt like that with a custom cut false bottom held off the mlt bottom by metal screws. the pic is here

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Old 03-28-2008, 03:50 PM   #5
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None of the big box stores carry anything close to perforated stainless. Heck, they don't even carry other more common stainless metal piece like sheet and angle.

Onlinemetals.com, metalsupermarkets.com, mcmaster.com, MSCdirect.com....

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Old 03-28-2008, 08:04 PM   #6
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I just had a thought.

What if I just take 3-4 SS Braids and put slotted vinyl tubing inside of them. Just like FlyGuy did with his braid...except there would be 3 or 4 of them spread out, all connecting on one end with some elbows and Ts. Like this...

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showpost...4&postcount=62

Would this create a siphon effect if the vinyl tubes are plugged on the other end? Also, is there any worry about the Braids being crushed by like...25 punds of grain?

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Old 03-30-2008, 03:14 PM   #7
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The braids will stand up to the pressure, but honestly if it were me, I would just construct a CPVC (or copper) manifold. They are easy to construct, especially for a nice square cooler like that. All you need is a hack saw.

The braids will work, but it will be a bit more work and more $$ to construct, especially if you have to use a bunch of special fittings to tie-in all the hoses/braids.

If you think you have the DIY skill to construct your own false bottom or multi-braid manifold, then a simple CPVC manifold should be a piece of cake.

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Old 03-31-2008, 01:06 AM   #8
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I have the 12 gallon version of that cooler and i used all CPVC for mine for cash reasons..1/2 inch. I built the manifold and everything out of it.. then have a vinyl tube connecting it to my ball valve. It was a lot cheaper than copper and i was out of cash. I used "How to Brew" to build it mostly.. i spaced them 2 inches apart and put them 1 inch from the inside walls.

The Sparge manifold i used i made of CPVC as well. I just buildt a 9" square piece conneceted to the lide by those little u shaped things and screwed it on either side. then drilled a hole through the lid and put a pipe up through there with a nipple on it to connect to my HLT.. if you decide to do something like that and want to see my pics i can go take some and send them... just PM me.

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Old 03-31-2008, 03:03 PM   #9
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After my brew session on Saturday.....I do NOT recommend the stainless braids. Mine collapsed under the weight of the grain. After one hour of thinking I had the worst stuck sparge ever, I decided to scoop out the mash into 2, 5 gal. buckets and see if there was a problem w/ the braided manifold. Yep, sure enough there was a major problem. The braid was smaller than the diameter of a pencil and had "accordioned" down. After fiddling w/ the braid, I ended up putting in about half the mash, which was not enough weight to crush the braid, collected about half the wort volume, scooped out the first half of the mash, put in the second half, and collected the last half of the wort. Overall a GIANT PITA that added 2+ hrs to my brewday.

Oh well, lesson learned. My new system is gonna have a full false bottom.

My advise - go with the PVC manifold that won't crush or the false bottom! BTW, my mashtun is the exact same cooler as you are gonna be using.

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Old 03-31-2008, 03:16 PM   #10
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It sounds like you used a plastic braid, not SS. They look VERY similar and a lot of people have made that mistake in the. A quality SS braid is very hard to crush, especially if you line the inside with some tubing.

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