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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Brew Stands > Stainless vs Aluminum vs Polypropylene Cam and Groove Couplings
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:11 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ImperialLover View Post
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am going to begin building my single tier, three keg system and I wanted everybody's opinion on cam and groove disconnects from www.proflowdynamics.com. Especially you Bobby M.!

My question is:

What are your opinions on the benefits of using one material over another?

I am jealous of the awesome stainless setups that everyone's using; but I'm hung over paying 3x (typically) the price for stainless over aluminum or polypropylene. My opinion swings mainly over price because I haven't seen a huge difference in the capabilities of the three materials. I crunched the numbers and came up with the following based on the need for six disconnect assemblies:

Stainless:

Six type F adapters: $23.52
Six type D couplers: $34.68 which comes to $58.20 without tax and shipping.

Aluminum:

Six type F adapters: $5.10
Six type D couplers: $11.28 which comes to $16.38..

Polypropylene:

Six type F adapters: $2.34
Six type D couplers: $10.74 which comes to $13.08..

I'm honestly leaning more towards aluminum because I'm willing to pay the extra $3 for metal over plastic; but is there an operational reason to pay the $58.20 for stainless? Looking forward to reading all of your replies! Cheers.
I would not use aluminum because aluminum is very soft. Any kind of ding is a potential hiding place for unwanted bugs.
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:30 PM   #12
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FWIW, I use aluminum cam-lock fittings on my RIMS rig with zero issues. I also use hot (160F) PBW exclusively in combination with a CIP spray nozzle.

If I was brewing for a living and turning out daily batches, I could justify the cost of stainless with regard to long-term reliability. As a hobby turning out ~24 batches a year, aluminum is an excellent choice and should easily last for the life of the rig.

If you're going for bling and a bigger whole in your wallet, get the SS. Otherwise, the AL fittings will be more than satisfactory at the homebrew level.

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Old 08-09-2010, 07:37 PM   #13
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I doubt you'll have any practical problems with aluminum. They won't look as pretty after a year of use, but if you don't care then...

Look at it this way though, for $45, you increase the stainless to other metal ratio in your rig and that alone makes you cool. Well, no, but I'm sure it adds resale value to the rig if you ever bail out...

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Old 08-09-2010, 08:07 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
I doubt you'll have any practical problems with aluminum. They won't look as pretty after a year of use, but if you don't care then...

Look at it this way though, for $45, you increase the stainless to other metal ratio in your rig and that alone makes you cool. Well, no, but I'm sure it adds resale value to the rig if you ever bail out...
Oh, I know it definitely scores you cool points!

Bobby M, I think you single-handedly increased proflowdynamics profit exponentially!

One thing that I am worried about with the aluminum (other than the looks) is the heat transfer properties in comparison to stainless. When recirculation boiling wort/hot liquor I don't want to have to use gloves. Does anyone have this issue with aluminum or stainless?
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:29 PM   #15
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I don't think you'll notice much difference in how hot the metal gets. While aluminum moves heat faster, they'll both catch up to the liquid temp by the time you touch them. I always use gloves with an 8" gauntlet anyway when I'm moving the lines around. It's cheap insurance against bad burns.

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Old 08-09-2010, 08:46 PM   #16
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So far I'm tracking the following:

Aluminum: Finish won't handle certain cleaners but is cheaper than stainless.

Polypropylene: Not an option b/c it's not food safe.

Stainless: Not affected by cleaners, looks better than aluminum, costs 3x as much as aluminum but will increase the resale of the brew rig if hell freezes over and I decide to sell it.

Conclusions: If I'm worried about the looks of the brew rig, (i.e. polishing the kegs, painting the stand, not having multi-material ball valves/disconnects/elbows) then stainless is the best option.

If I'm trying to build a bare-bones (aesthetically) rig, then aluminum is the way to go.

Thanks for everybody's time and interest in the thread. I'll let you know what I decide.

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Old 08-09-2010, 09:24 PM   #17
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Their PP couplings aren't NSF stamped, so they can't be sold for use with food, doesn't make then toxic, just not stamped. Whose got a PP bottling bucket?

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Old 08-10-2010, 05:08 PM   #18
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I just purchased SS cam's from www.proflowdynamics.com I didn't really think about SS verses and other sort of metal when I started looking at quick disconnects or clover.

cams - proflow 1 set of the MOST expensive 1/2" SS (type C/F) $5.99 + $3.92 = $9.91
Threaded Stainless Steel Quick Disconnect Set SS - $24.95
Complete Tri Clamp Kit (SS Clover) - $25.00

Why would Al or plastic even be an option. I think the SS cams are a steal.

Can we post what the o-ring replacement is for the 1/2" SS cams?
I know Bobby mentioned it in his youtube video, but said it a little to fast for me.

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Old 08-10-2010, 05:28 PM   #19
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#210
http://www.oringsandmore.com/servlet...ize-210/Detail

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Old 08-10-2010, 07:35 PM   #20
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The reason I'm entertaining other materials is because although the ss proflow disconnects are a steal comparatively, they are (as we've shown) not a necessity. It is cool to have a stainless masterpiece, but one of the best ways to save money in your build is to not buy stainless pieces. $50 extra can buy you all sorts of goodies. You can get an immersion chiller, I bought a set of 5 ss ball valves for $27 on ebay, add more disconnects to your system to make things easier, etc.

It may not seem like a lot of money to save but if you consider that you're going to be spending somewhere close to $1,000 in a short period of time to build a rig, there are a lot of ways to save money and still get quality equipment.

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