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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Re-Bending a Copper Wort Chiller
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Old 03-23-2007, 06:32 PM   #1
weetodd
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Default Re-Bending a Copper Wort Chiller

I was able to obtain a standard immersion chiller from a dude that was getting rid of his old stuff for a very decent price. Seeing the price of copper these days I jumped on it because it was a pretty good deal. It is about 25' of the 3/8 copper tubing just like you'd find anywhere

The chiller is made to fit his old kettle which was a wide/low 8 gallon canning kettle. I'd like to rework the design a bit to make sure that it fits my rig which is a little smaller in diameter and taller. I'm not trying to make this thing look perfect by any stretch, it is just that it doesn't fit in my current brewpot.

Anyone have any good advice for bending this tube without fatally crimping or otherwise damaging the tubing? Also, I don't have access to a corny keg which seems to be the preferred form for shaping the tubing.

Thanks for your guidance and lessons learned.

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Old 03-23-2007, 06:39 PM   #2
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If you have something cylindrical that is about the size or a bit smaller, place it inside the chiller coil. Then hold one end of the coil steady and drag the other end around as if you were tightening a spring. An extra hand or two would make this easier.

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Old 03-23-2007, 09:25 PM   #3
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I think filling it with water and sealing the ends should help stop any crimping - not sure how you'd accomplish this though.

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Old 03-23-2007, 09:30 PM   #4
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A spring bender works great for bending copper tubing without kinking it.
spring-bender.jpg

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Old 03-23-2007, 09:33 PM   #5
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either get a spring bender or fill it with salt....the salt will let it bend without crimping

good luck!

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Old 03-23-2007, 09:52 PM   #6
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I did this with a 50' chunk I turned into my CFC. (BTW pulling 50' of garden hose over semi-straight tubing isn't easy) But the easiest way is to find something that fits inside the coils as is. Then as it's coiled around it start unrolling it and stepping on the coils as it comes off. (Your weight shouldn't be enough to crush the tube) In this manner, it only tightens up on whatever you have it coiled around and won't kink. Very easy.
To coil it back up just wrap it around whatever you think will fit inside your kettle. Although why not just bump up to a CFC? You're only about $15 away....unless you need the torch and solder and then you're about $35.
I've found that the spring bender is very helpfull for small tight bends....using it on 25 feet would be a major chore.

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Old 03-23-2007, 09:55 PM   #7
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Copper get work hardened the more it is worked and bent. You can anneal it by heating up the entire length with a torch until it glows cherry red, working yourself around a little bit at a time. This will make the copper very malleable again and allow you to bend it around something cylindrical without kinking. The more you bend it the stiffer it becomes. Hey, I don't like the sound of that!

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Old 03-23-2007, 10:04 PM   #8
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"He said stiff"

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Old 03-23-2007, 10:40 PM   #9
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Thanks all for the responses. I don't have to do much to it as it is at least in a circle, they are just too large and not spread out very much.

One follow up, do you think a standard pail will work or do i need something hard to bend against (which is why everyone suggests a corny keg). I think I probably answered my own question but just not trying to screw it up.

Also, being kind of new to this, on a counterflow, would I need a pump or could I work one off of a racking cane siphon? My current kettle setup doesn't have a valve.

Cheers.

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Old 03-23-2007, 10:49 PM   #10
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Use a big coffee can

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