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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > Cut / Weld Two Kegs for Increase Capacity?
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:27 PM   #1
thegreatgumbino
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Default Cut / Weld Two Kegs for Increase Capacity?

The boil over on my 10 gallon batch yesterday got me thinking...
Anyone ever tried cutting two sanke's and welding them together to get a 20 or 25 gallon kettle? Seems like it could be done fairly easily. Anyone see any problems with this approach?

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Old 02-21-2010, 03:32 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by thegreatgumbino View Post
The boil over on my 10 gallon batch yesterday got me thinking...
Anyone ever tried cutting two sanke's and welding them together to get a 20 or 25 gallon kettle? Seems like it could be done fairly easily. Anyone see any problems with this approach?

I think the biggest problem is getting the cut ends square. Every thing else IMO is pretty easy if you have the patience. If you had the kegs laser cut you would be a lot further ahead. A few passes with a nice new file and then prep the outside and inside. Use a large hose clamp with holes in the band to hold things together and tack it up. You'll have the spigot hole to feed the inside with the purge gas. I would not cut the top off of the top keg until it was all welded up. This will help you in just needing to cover up a small section for the purge. Just a small hole at the top is all you'll want.


Edit: It might be a bit top heavy when it is full. A good solid base will be needed.
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:01 AM   #3
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I don't think that is a good idea. However, try it anyways and post the pics while I wait in anticipation.

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Old 02-21-2010, 05:08 AM   #4
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IMHO it seems like a lot of work/time/expense for a problem with a simple solution. Grab yourself some fermcap.

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Old 02-21-2010, 05:14 AM   #5
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It's a bit of a pain in the ass. I've welded Cornelius kegs together, and I didn't enjoy the process one bit. Squaring the cut is terribly tedious, as GreenMonti says. I also found that butt welding thin stainless is not an easy task.

By the time you buy two kegs, cut them, square them, purge them, and weld them, it will have been worth a few extra bucks to just buy a bigger kettle (or use foam control drops like lackey suggests).

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Old 02-21-2010, 06:21 AM   #6
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It's a bit of a pain in the ass. I've welded Cornelius kegs together, and I didn't enjoy the process one bit. Squaring the cut is terribly tedious, as GreenMonti says. I also found that butt welding thin stainless is not an easy task.

By the time you buy two kegs, cut them, square them, purge them, and weld them, it will have been worth a few extra bucks to just buy a bigger kettle (or use foam control drops like lackey suggests).
+1 - Totally agree with Yuri_Rage and GreenMonti.
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:25 PM   #7
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to help with getting the cut square take your measurements around the keg and use tape to make a cut line. then follow the tape around with a cutoff wheel.

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Old 02-21-2010, 02:05 PM   #8
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A keg is already a little too tall and skinny for good heat transfer and that would only make it worse. I'd buy a 20 gallon aluminum kettle before I asked a welder to do a 50" long TIG bead. You can seal up your drains on the top skirt to contain some boil overs.

Of course, I'm just one of those dream killing naysayers so don't listen to me.

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Old 02-21-2010, 04:21 PM   #9
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I had another thought about this. Sanke kegs are not true in diameter all the way down. I am not just talking about the obvious places where there are bulged out bands. In between those bands the keg measures different diameters. On the one keg that I measured I got a difference of about .030" in diameter. That's a lot when your trying to weld them back together, with material that is only .040" thick to begin with. Trust me, purge/sanitary welding with miss match is a real PITA to make the inside nice and not get linear indications. If you happen to have a pie die handy (There is no way.....plus the shoes cut for the diameter) you could negate this problem.

When I measured the diameter of the keg I used a pie tape. This way I was absolute in the diameter measurement. If you happen to have a set of calipers that big you will get close but not dead on. After all the manufacturing process, the kegs aren't round anymore.

On the heat transfer, IIRC boilers are made tall and narrow cause it is a better design. I can't remember exactly why at the moment........I guess it also depends on how you plan to fire the kettle.

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Old 02-21-2010, 05:39 PM   #10
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try aiming a small fan at the boil to help with boilover

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