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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Chillers and Stir Plates > 1/2" Stainless Steel CFC!!!
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:55 PM   #1
tsb22
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Default 1/2" Stainless Steel CFC!!!

This is actually the first chiller in my arsenal. After about 2 years of brewing 5gal batches using just an icebath to cool, I have just upgraded to a 15gallon kettle and lifting that into a tub of ice was no longer going to work.

After a whole lot of research here on HBT I settled on the ease of a CFC. While plenty of people here use 3/8" Copper with 15gallon batches, I have some plans/dreams to go up to 30-40gallon batches & the flowrate a 3/8" tubing provides probably wasnt to cut it. Im sure this seems overkill to some of you, but I am happy with the results, and it should serve the purpose of chilling beer .
Special thanks to Zach @ StainlessBrewing for helping me with my parts list!



I tried to do everything with the few tools I had, so there is no welding, no grinding, no pipe cutting. If you have these tools, you could probably get away with making something similar for cheaper, but here goes:

Costs so far:
Managed to find a piping distributor for most of the parts, I believe the website may be going online here in near future.
25' of 1/2" 304SS Tubing: $27.50
(2) 1/2" SS Bore Through Compression Fitting: $26.24
(2) 1/2" SS Regular Compression Fitting: $29.00
(2) 3/4" SS Tee: $7.60
(1) 3/4" x 3" SS Nipple - - Cut in Half: $3.44
(2) 3/4" x 1/2" SS Hex Bushing: $3.50
(2) 3/4" Brass MPT to 3/4" Garden Hose $3.75
(1) 1/2" SS Tee: $2.40
Shipping on all this: $16.70

Misc Parts
(2) 1.25" Hose Clamps $1.25
25' of 1" I.D. Heater core hose from Advanced Auto: $39.11

Parts I still need to add (what is missing):
1 Type A Camlock 3.70
1 Type F Camlock 3.99
1 Female Garden Hose Adapter $6.00
8 1/2" ID Silicone O rings (to use instead of SS ferrules) $1.60
1 1/2NPT Thermometer with 2.5" Stem $24

Project Total ~$200.


The picture below has all the hardware laid out.



Usually people here on HBT struggle with bending their SS Tubing, I was "lucky" enough to find a manufacturer that would bend the tube down for me. I say lucky because once stainless is already bent, it makes threading the hose around the stainless a slow & painful process. Using oxyclean water & vasoline, I slid about 4 inches of hose onto the tubing at a time. Once I got a couple rings on, the hose had to be "spooled" or slack had to be built up on the first three coils in order to then un-spool or pull out the slack to continue dragging the tubing down the pipe.
Notice the smaller or tighter 4th ring and the slack in the upper 3 rings here:



If you cant tell from the pictures, the outer hose is then attached to a 3/4" Pipe nipple which has been cut in half. It looks like one of these, only 3/4"
http://www.bargainfittings.com/index...&product_id=79
I used this method rather than an actual barbed fitting as a 3/4" barbed fitting actually has an inner diameter closer to 1/2". I didn't want to bottle neck my outer flowrate here, so I went with the nipple. The tee with nipple attached is then slid through the SS tubing and hose clamped to the rubber hosing at each end.

Now that I am past the bottle neck I can reduce down to 1/2" threads and a 1/2" Bored Through Compression fitting is then slid on the tubing that attaches to the tee. It has to be a bored through fitting as a regular compression fitting is made to only slide onto tubing so far before stopping.



I use this Bore Through Compression fitting to effectively seal the cooling water from coming out the wrong part of the tee.

*WARNING* the slightest bends down the length of the tubing will make sliding compression fittings down them tough.

Notice the bends:



I had to use alot of force & a plumbers wrench to push/twist the compression fitting down to where the tee sits. My tubing ended up looking a little rough by the end:



A second regular compression fitting is then added to the end to attach a camlock, or in my case (on one end) a 1/2" Tee which will allow me to attach a thermometer to measure the temp of the wort going into the fermentor. Currently the 1/2" tee is hanging out there a little further than I'd like, but until i find someone to cut a few inches off the end, it will remain like this.

This is the WORT IN (water out) Side with a nice/small spacing between compression fittings:



You may ask why I didnt just buy a chillzilla or chillus convolutus at this price. Well, for one I didnt realize it was going to cost quite so much. But secondly there actually is no CFC I know of that is Stainless Steel, unless you consider a plate chiller, but thats a whole different animal.

Keep in mind, the camlocks, & thermometer add on would also need to be added to a chillzilla Also my chiller is 25' as compared to ~12. The disadvantage of full flow through 1/2" tubing is the amount of contact time with the chiller, Im assuming by doubling the length I have doubled the contact time.

Overall In hindsight, I would have gone with the chillzilla considering the following:

Compression Fittings:
1) Dont slide so well on bent tubing = wrestling with SS on your day off
2) $$Expensive = would have been vastly cheaper to use copper tubing & regular sweat fittings, BobbyM did a great job on the wiki, http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/ind...r_Flow_Chiller
Im sure this could be easily adapted for 1/2" Tubing & 3/4" Fittings/Tees

Heater Core Hose:
1) Black rubber seems to rubs off on your hands = kinda worried about the life of this stuff.
2) not rigid = sides of SS may be in contact with parts of tubing not allowing ideal cross section
3) Its not food grade = using the water going through the outer jacket should not be used for cleaning, or brewing a second batch.

Thanks for all the DIY Chiller threads here on HBT. It helped me decide the type, size & material for this whole build!

[Finished Photo to come]

Hope this was educational. I will post the results when I get to brewing with the beast. I am hoping for a full 1/2" flowrate of wort into the fermenter. Although I still have a few modifications to make to my 1/2" silicone transfer hoses in order to make the whole flow 1/2" bore

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Old 03-22-2012, 10:56 PM   #2
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*** Results post***

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Old 03-22-2012, 11:13 PM   #3
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Looks good, and if you dont mind where did you get the ss tubing? Thats a pretty good price.

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Old 03-23-2012, 01:41 AM   #4
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Very nice looking chiller you made.

The SS coil can be cut with the same small tubing cutters used for copper pipe and tubing. You should be able to pick one up for a few $ at your local hardware store, and they are always handy to have around.

If you find you need further turbulence, you could always insert a SS wire through the center, which would help to keep things agitated.

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Old 03-23-2012, 01:59 AM   #5
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As far as the Heater hose is concerned, and from experience, it will degrade over time with heat and petroleum, just as the hoses in your vehicle will. given that you introduced Vaseline into the hose during the fabrication, the hose may soften and blister over time as the inner layer degrades where i was incontact with the vaseline. regardless, your design is awesome, and i bet it will chill wort @ full flow down way below pitching temps if you have well water. when i built my CFC, to lube the ruber hose i simply made a solution of dish soap and water and soaked thehose for a few minutes. windex also works well to lubricate petroleum rubber. we used to use it to repo cars with a ramp truck by dousing the wheels of the vehicle with windex.. we could then drag the car in gear up the deck of the ramp truck without any resistance. Cheers to your build!

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Old 03-23-2012, 04:40 PM   #6
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Either way it's still a beauty and should serve it's purpose. I got nervous when I saw the nuts all the way down to the body but noticed on another thread that you might have used orings instead of the ferrules.

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Old 03-26-2012, 08:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adivito View Post
Looks good, and if you dont mind where did you get the ss tubing? Thats a pretty good price.
I dont think the vendors website is up & running yet, should be soon though. http://www.stainlessbrewing.com/

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Originally Posted by DevilsCreekBrewing View Post
Very nice looking chiller you made.

The SS coil can be cut with the same small tubing cutters used for copper pipe and tubing. You should be able to pick one up for a few $ at your local hardware store, and they are always handy to have around.

If you find you need further turbulence, you could always insert a SS wire through the center, which would help to keep things agitated.
Might go pick one up this weekend and give it a try, I just figured with it being stainless, the cutter blade would just dull.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewinBigD View Post
As far as the Heater hose is concerned, and from experience, it will degrade over time with heat and petroleum, just as the hoses in your vehicle will. given that you introduced Vaseline into the hose during the fabrication, the hose may soften and blister over time as the inner layer degrades where i was incontact with the vaseline. regardless, your design is awesome, and i bet it will chill wort @ full flow down way below pitching temps if you have well water. when i built my CFC, to lube the ruber hose i simply made a solution of dish soap and water and soaked thehose for a few minutes. windex also works well to lubricate petroleum rubber. we used to use it to repo cars with a ramp truck by dousing the wheels of the vehicle with windex.. we could then drag the car in gear up the deck of the ramp truck without any resistance. Cheers to your build!
Thanks for the tip, might be the first time vaseline has done me wrong The oxyclean was pretty slick, but it was still rough getting the tubing into the hose, I guess dish soap would have been a good idea. As for making it last, I would hope that keeping the CFC out of the weather will help. Also i figured the hose under a car hood gets way more abuse from dirt, chemicals and heat then this chiller should.


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Originally Posted by StainlessBrewing View Post
Either way it's still a beauty and should serve it's purpose. I got nervous when I saw the nuts all the way down to the body but noticed on another thread that you might have used orings instead of the ferrules.
Thanks, For the picture I actually dont have anything compressing, still waiting on the orings to come in the mail.
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My 1/2" Stainless CFC Build
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by tsb22 View Post
I will post the results when I get to brewing with the beast. I am hoping for a full 1/2" flowrate of wort into the fermenter. Although I still have a few modifications to make to my 1/2" silicone transfer hoses in order to make the whole flow 1/2" bore
Resurrecting this old thread - thinking of building a similar CFC (1/2" O.D. SS inside 1" I.D. rubber hose) - how well does yours work? Do you pump the wort through the CFC or use gravity? If you pump, what pump do you use, can you run full throttle, and how much time to cool a 10 gallon batch?

Aside from alternatives possibly being less expensive, if you were building this again, is there anything you would do differently?

thanks,

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Old 02-08-2013, 10:19 PM   #9
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Ha, guess I never posted results did I. Originally the CFC did not work as well as I had hoped. With my groundwater at 75 I was able to output 80deg wort with a march 803 pump that had the valve barely open, as in maybe 10-15% flow. Once I moved into a place with 60 deg tap water I could run my pump at around 1/3 flow to output 65 deg wort.

My typical process is to cool the entire 10gal batch from 212 down to 180deg. This is when I add my flameout/whirlpool hops. After I let it steep for 20mins I turn the cold water & pump on and chill the wort down to abt 65. It probably takes 15minutes to fill up my fermenters.

Now that I know someone has interest in this I will try to record some more scientific results next time I brew. Hopefully that will be this Sunday.

As for things I would do differently. I would probably buy the pre-manufactured 1/2" SS coil. I can't recall who makes it off the top of my head but it costs around $200 and I could then double batch with the cold water outflow (now heated to 190ish). Second possibility I would consider is a 50' coil to be able to double the contact time with the wort in the chiller.

Hope that helped...

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My 1/2" Stainless CFC Build
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsb22 View Post
Originally the CFC did not work as well as I had hoped. With my groundwater at 75 I was able to output 80deg wort with a march 803 pump that had the valve barely open, as in maybe 10-15% flow. Once I moved into a place with 60 deg tap water I could run my pump at around 1/3 flow to output 65 deg wort.
Wow, so through 25' of 1/2" stainless, you're not able to get to better than 5 degrees above tap-in and only at a very slow flow-rate. Aside from how open or closed the valve is, it would be very interesting to me if you could estimate the two wort flow-rates you are referring to above (barely open and 1/3 flow). Also, can you comment on the water flow rate for the two above examples - was it at max and what would you estimate that to be in terms of gpm? Also, do you know if your SS tubing was 0.02" sidewall or 0.035" sidewall (or tell me where you purchased it and I can figure it out).


Quote:
Originally Posted by tsb22 View Post
My typical process is to cool the entire 10gal batch from 212 down to 180deg. This is when I add my flameout/whirlpool hops. After I let it steep for 20mins I turn the cold water & pump on and chill the wort down to abt 65. It probably takes 15minutes to fill up my fermenters.
Is the cooling from 212 to 180 deg passive, or are you using your chiller? If using the chiller, I'd be interested in any data you can provide on that cooling cycle as well (wort flow rate, tap flow rate, time needed).

One of the reasons there seems to be so much of a focus on 'fast cooling' is to minimize the increase in DMS, which occurs above 140 degrees F. If you are letting your hot wort sit for 20 minutes at 180 degrees, that ought to be a temperature where DMS formation is continuing - have you had any problem with DMS or do you believe the whole concern with that issue has been overblown (at least for your beer styles)??

OK, so 15 minutes to bring 10 gallons (or a true 11 or 12 gallons?) from 180 to 65 through your chiller with 60 degree tap-in, right? So the wort flow rate is about 0.67 gpm (or 0.8gpm if you have an actual 12 gallons of wort) - any estimate you can provide of the tap=in flow rate or the total amount of water used for this cooling cycle would be interesting...

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Originally Posted by tsb22 View Post
Now that I know someone has interest in this I will try to record some more scientific results next time I brew. Hopefully that will be this Sunday.
I'd appreciate it, and hopefully you will get a chance to read this thread before you get to your cooling phase!


Quote:
Originally Posted by tsb22 View Post
As for things I would do differently. I would probably buy the pre-manufactured 1/2" SS coil. I can't recall who makes it off the top of my head but it costs around $200 and I could then double batch with the cold water outflow (now heated to 190ish). Second possibility I would consider is a 50' coil to be able to double the contact time with the wort in the chiller.

Hope that helped...
First, this has been enormously helpful - thank you. Second, I think I am going to be copying/improving your design and would greatly appreciate your help and the benefit of your experience (and existing SS CFC )

I've looked at the SS-in-SS design from Williams Brewing: http://www.williamsbrewing.com/STAIN...LER-P3152.aspx

It is only 12' long (which should be a drawback versus your design) and I don't really see much cooling benefit to the metal outer hose versus the rubber outer hose you are using (ID seems to be about 3/4" or less, so your 1" ID rubber hose should be an advantage in terms of water flow rate). On the other hand, the inner tube is convoluted, which is the only significant advantage I see of this design over yours.

I don't understand what you mean about 'double batch with the cold water outflow' so maybe I have not understood correctly what you are referring to in terms of 'pre-manufactured 1/2" SS coil costing $200' - thanks to clarify.

In terms of doubling the length to 50', that is exactly what I am planning to do. It is clear that you are not getting anywhere close to complete transfer over 25' of SS, and that is at a reduced flow. With a 50 foot length, you should be able to either get cooling down to lower temperatures at the same flow rate of (more importantly), you should be able to roughly double the flow rate to achieve the same cooling.

I was on the fence between 25' and 50' but your data has convinced me to go for the longer length. Your flow-rate is not tube-length-limited (you are throttling back your valve) and your not getting anywhere close to full heat exchange (your existing wort is 5 degrees above tap in), so there will be nothing but improvement from doubling the length of this design (except for the added cost :-(

So I am probably going to try to get 50' of 1/2" SS tubing into 50' of 1" ID hose and here is a question for you: I see that you had your SS tubing recoiled to a smaller diameter (looks like 10" or 12"). The 'raw' coils seem to come in at 24". If you were trying to make a 50' version of your design, would you recoil down again or go with a wider coil diameter? If the size/area involved in the final CFC was not a show-stopper, would you leave the coil at a full 24"? Any other pointer you can give me on how to minimize the headache and time associated with threading the 1/2" OD SS tubing into the 1" ID hose?

Thanks again - your input has been very helpful and I hope to pick up the idea you pioneered and see if I can take it to the next level...

-fafrd
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