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Old 12-16-2011, 09:43 PM   #31
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No issues at all. I've done dozens of pellet and whole hop batches for 2+ years now from light lagers with 1-2 oz to heavy IIPAs with 23 oz in the kettle.

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Old 12-19-2011, 05:06 PM   #32
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I just went electric recently and bought my elements at HD, and I know the one by me does not have ULWD in stock, just LWD. I bought the Camco LWD and it works great in my kettle, but I don't think HD normally stocks ULWD elements in the store, so I'm guessing the earlier poster meant LWD?
I stopped by HD at lunch today and discovered the reason for my confusion - the product description on the HD price tag they place on the peg for the Camco element reads that it's LWD, but if you look at the back of the package (see Mux's pic in post 27), it says ULWD.

So, HD is doing its best to confuse people as usual. I am happy to learn that my element is actually ULWD though - if I actually read the packaging I'd have known that all along.
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:50 AM   #33
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Lots of people use the Camcorder 02963 5500W ULWD. That's what I'm gonna use in my setup. ...as soon as I get the balls to punch holes in my Blichmanns. LOL

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Camcorder? Don't you love automatic word completion?

Seriously, I had the same fears about popping a hole in the Blichman. At least I have a drill press and was able to position the pot firmly on it's table. Drilled a starter hole with a 1/4" drill and then used a step drill with lard as a lubricant at about 110 rpm to get it through. I stopped and added more lubricant when I got to the last step that I was planning on using. I spent lots more time psyching myself up to do it than it took to get the job done.

If you don't have a drill press, get someone to hold the pot very steady and go for it.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:58 PM   #34
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I *highly* suggest using a punch to make the proper hole in the kettle. Even with a step bit and a drill press it's impossible to make a hole that is as clean as you can get with a punch.

Here's a picture of a starter hole made with a good quality Greenlee step bit in one of my Blichmann kettles - notice how "messy" it is:



Here's a picture of what you get with with a punch:



Complete step by step instructions can be found here.

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Old 12-20-2011, 01:53 PM   #35
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Kal,

You're right, a hole punch is the best. I was working with tools on hand and fortunately had no problems. I did check the hole for burrs after the first couple of steps, so I knew that my setup was rigid enough and the drill speed was good.

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Old 12-20-2011, 03:35 PM   #36
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Punches are awesome, but expensive. I've always used a hole saw or drill bit, then finished off the hole with my dremel. Takes more time, but if you grind it done with the dremel, (drill the hole smaller than you need, then grind it out to the correct diameter), you get quite pretty holes.

It can take me a good 15-20 minutes to do a keggle well though, so if you are looking for fast, I agree, punch it out.

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Old 12-21-2011, 07:19 PM   #37
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I used a cheap-ish step bit and a cordless drill for my 1.2 (or was it 1.5mm?) thick kettle. I used a bit of cutting grease and the hole is just as clean as with punches. YMMV, but I've gotten nice holes and much more use out of the cheap step drill than I ever would have from a punch. I used it for all holes on my kettle, kettles for friends and various plastic things around the house that needed holes

Build pics of my kettle can be found on www.brew.is/blog - No pics of the actual holes tho, unfortunately.

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Old 12-21-2011, 10:24 PM   #38
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I used a bit of cutting grease and the hole is just as clean as with punches.
Agreed. I can make a perfect hole with a small drill bit and a die grinder. It's not that hard.
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