I made some upgrades to my 15g megapot today that I thought I would share. I'm certainly not the first to make these, so I can't take credit. They should make brew days go much smoother, though.
1. Kettle pick-up - I never liked the idea of a copper pickup tube that is bent in a U shape. I just think it restricts flow too much, can clog easily, and could be hard to clean. I was looking for something a bit simpler. I went with a 1/2" NPT street elbow and a 1" nipple. The picture doesn't really show it, but I can get all but the last 1/4" of the kettle without tipping. With tipping, I should be able to get most everything.
2. Hops strainer - I went with the pipe strap modification instead of the PVC coupler. I often have pre-boil volumes of close to 14 gallons in a 15 gallon kettle, so I didn't want anything hanging down into the pot. Also, my drills are at the office, so I wanted something that didn't require any tools for assembly. I still have to bend the ends of the rod down to make sure it doesn't fall into the pot, but that's for another day.
To do it all you need is some threaded rod (1/4-5/16 is fine), 4 washers and 4 nuts, and (2) 3" pipe straps. It couldn't be easier to throw together. I think it took me 10 mins, but most of that was threading the nuts on to the rod. With the frame, I'll be using the 5 gallon paint strainer bags held on by binder clips.
3. Whirlpool tube - I wanted to upgrade my IC to a pseudo-Jamil version, but I wanted the flexibility to pull the IC out of the kettle after chilling and continue to whirlpool. So, I just made up a short piece of copper tubing with a QD fitting on it to hook to the pump. As shown in the pic, I'll just attach it to the side of the kettle with a spring clamp (the rubber handles will probably have to go).
With these simple additions (probably $30 total) I should be able to significantly reduce the pellet hops in the kettle, whirlpool the remaining hops and cold break, and pump just about all the wort out of the kettle. I haven't given them a run through yet, but I'm looking forward to a much easier brew day.