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Old 02-27-2009, 12:36 PM   #1
Griffsta
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Default Need Opions from you pros: Weldless fittings and homemade siteglass

I am converting three kegs to keggles (yes, legally). I want to do this economically, but have something that will last me forever.

WELDLESS FITINGS - Are Weldless fitting ok? Do they ever leak? What are your experiences (I have access to someone who can weld for me for $$$, but if the weldless are ok, then I wont bother).

HOMEMADE SIGHTGLASS - Does anyone know of a good way to make a homemade sightglass? I was thinking a polypropelene tube inserted into a PVC tube with about 1/3 cutaway along the entire length of the PVC so that I can see the clear inner tube. The PVC is simply to give it rigidity, and a nice place to mark my water levels. Is there a better or cheaper way to do this? I cant seem to find any rigid clear piping at Home Depot.

HOMEMADE FALSE BOTTOM - I plan to direct heat my keggle MLT. From what I have read, the FB is better than the manifold or bazooka tube, etc... But only if it is made right. How do I make one right while keeping costs down? I saw some aluminium flashing at home depot, that with a lot of hard work, I could turn into a shallow-cone-shaped FB. Is the aluminium bad? Any other suggestions? Would a properly designed copper manifold work just as well.

I assume that Im just gonna have to bit the bullet on build-in thermometers. I havent figured out any economical alternative that maintains the convenience of the built in thermo. At $40 per setup, its a tough one...



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Old 02-27-2009, 12:42 PM   #2
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You can still use a handheld thermometer and spot check each vessel.

On the welding thing, I would find out exactly how much it would cost you to weld the fittings in because that would be a big factor in whether or not I'd suggest it. Couplings are like $2 each and if you can get them welded in for $10-15 each, it would be worth it. Plenty of people successfully use weldless but it has more to do with whether cheap welding services were available or not.

I've built sight glasses relatively cheaply using bargain-sniped stainless fittings and polycarbonate tubing. Using local parts, you could use a brass compression fitting but you'd have to buy the polycarbonate tubing online. It's probably cheaper to grab one of mine.

The only DIY solution I know of for a full false bottom is to get some perforated stainless sheet and cut it into a circle.



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Old 02-27-2009, 12:57 PM   #3
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I use all weldless, and my HLT ball valve did have a drip but then I got smart and used teflon tape on the threads. Now I get no leaks from my sightglass/thermometer or from my valve. Don't fall for the teflon goo that is supposed to work as well as the tape.

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Old 02-27-2009, 01:07 PM   #4
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I have found that baby nipples are the perfect weldless silicone washer; you simply cut the nipple off the base and it is a perfect fit around 1/2" threads. It also offers much more surface area than the ring-type that can sometimes twist when tightening down and deform/slip into the hole. Ring-type has much less surface area and is also highly suseptable to tearing if you haven't smoothed your holes out perfectly.

These nipples are silicone, very cheap and are made to be boiled for sanitization. Since converting to the much cheaper nipple solution leaks are a thing of the past. They are also much thicker and act as a great spacer.

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Old 02-27-2009, 01:53 PM   #5
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Default Great idea...

I just so happen to have a 5 month old who has grown out of his newborn nipples. If I decide to go weldless, I will give those a shot. Thanks.

("I have nipples Greg, can you milk me?")

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Old 02-27-2009, 03:00 PM   #6
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Clever thinking hayabusa.

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Old 02-27-2009, 03:08 PM   #7
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Great tip on the nipple!

I just had the top cut off my keg, and I was wondering about the reliability of the weldless fittings. The O-rings that come with them look a little flimsy.

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Old 02-27-2009, 04:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hayabusa View Post
I have found that baby nipples are the perfect weldless silicone washer; you simply cut the nipple off the base and it is a perfect fit around 1/2" threads. It also offers much more surface area that the ring-type that sometimes can twist then tightening down and deform/slip into the hole. Ring-type has much less surface area and is also highly suseptable to tearing if you haven't smoothed your holes out perfectly.

These nipples are silicone, very cheap and are made to be boiled for sanitization. Since converting to the much cheaper nipple solution leaks are a thing of the past. They are also much thicker and act as a great spacer.

Now THAT is a GREAT idea.
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Old 02-27-2009, 04:35 PM   #9
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That is a good idea! I do have some nipples lying around that I can try.

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Old 02-27-2009, 07:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harley03 View Post
That is a good idea! I do have some nipples lying around that I can try.
Good idea, until now I hadn't found a use for these things! Now I just need to find the shears and the neosporin.


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Fermenting:.
Conditioning:[Oaked Cider][ESB]
On Tap.........[The Munchner][Spiced Cider][English Cider][Simcoe IPA][Triple Hops Grooved][Cider'n 'gnac]
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