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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > DIY Blichmann style sight glass
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Old 10-28-2010, 02:23 AM   #1
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Default DIY Blichmann style sight glass

I really like the look of the sight glasses on the blichmann kettles and I'd like to try to reproduce them for my keggles. Anyone have any ideas?

Obviously I'll start with square SS tube stock. 1" or maybe 1.25". I'll let the internals decide that for me. I want to use the sight glass tubing from mcmaster carr. The biggest problem I'm running into using this is I'm not sure how to attach it to a fitting, or which fitting to use. The "small" tubing is 1/2" OD, so I think I should be able to make that fit inside of some type of fitting, I'm just not sure which. I found some 90 Deg Heater Hose Fittings on eBay that might work for this, but I don't know the ID of the hose barb, and I really don't want to spend $26 to find out. I also had the idea of using a small piece of 1/2" ID plastic tubing that could fit over the end of the glass and sort of suspend it between the fittings. The plastic tubing, being flexible, would slip over the end of a 1/2" FPT elbow. The heater hose fittings on eBay don't come in 1/2" hose, or i'd have this all wrapped up and you'd be reading a build thread.

That's as far as I've gotten in my head with this. If you have something to offer please do. Is there anyone with the Blichmann pots that is willing to do some detailed up close photography for me? That would be amazing!

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Old 10-28-2010, 06:16 PM   #2
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here is my sight-glass



not quite Blichmann style, but it does let the liquid return back into the kettle at the top.

made out of 3/8 compression 90 degree fitting at the bottom
top 3/8 compression to 1/2 T fitting, attached to kettle with weldless o-rings.

hope this helps

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Old 10-28-2010, 06:31 PM   #3
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Blich machines oring glands directly into a blocks of stainless at the top and bottom and the U shaped stainless shroud just sits around them. You can't do it exactly the same way on a keg because the bumped out rings require it to sit away from the attachment points.

The closest you can get in my opinion is two 1/2" tube compression elbows with 1/4" NPT female threads. You won't want to pay Mcmaster prices on these. The shroud can be done with 1" ID thinwall tubing that you slot.

You could just buy a $25 kit from me and call it a day.

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Old 10-28-2010, 09:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
Blich machines oring glands directly into a blocks of stainless at the top and bottom and the U shaped stainless shroud just sits around them. You can't do it exactly the same way on a keg because the bumped out rings require it to sit away from the attachment points.

The closest you can get in my opinion is two 1/2" tube compression elbows with 1/4" NPT female threads. You won't want to pay Mcmaster prices on these. The shroud can be done with 1" ID thinwall tubing that you slot.

You could just buy a $25 kit from me and call it a day.
You got it Bobby! And the minute this little diversion goes south you'll be getting a PM from me!

The main reason I'm looking into this, aside from the bling factor, is that I just took a beginning welding class at a place called Club Workshop here in Denver (Thanks to AlchemyBrewing for posting about it!). The best way to describe it is a gym membership for a fully stocked workshop. I'm going to be joining to practice welding and eventually build the stand for my rig, but I'd also like to take advantage of all the metal working equipment they have there. I've found some better pictures since my OP and wouldn't mind trying to machine a fitting similar to what they're using. I'm not working on this aspect of the build to save money, but to try my hand at making something cool looking and functional in a metal shop. I don't really mind spending a few buck to find out whether or not it will work.
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:52 PM   #5
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When I first saw Blichmann's sight glass on their pots I knew I wanted to try to make something similar. I ended up with something I'm happy with, just finished it today. I still need to calibrate it and clean it up a bit, but it's functional so it'll be fine for now. I wanted glass so I also wanted to protect it, this is what I came up with. its pretty solid and the glass isn't touching anything but silicone o rings. I think it'll take a pretty good hit.









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Old 11-12-2010, 04:11 PM   #6
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Those sight glasses look top notch. Not to hijack this thread, but has anyone posted plans for the smaller flow sight glasses that typically go between the mash tun and grant, to monitor wort clarity and flow? I know there are some different ones available commercially, but I thought I would diy and maybe save a little building my own. I think I have a general idea on the build but just dont know how to put it all together.

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Old 11-12-2010, 04:37 PM   #7
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It's extremely easy to put 12.7mm OD borosilicate tubing into 1/2" tube compression fittings as long as you replace the metal ferrules with #111 silicone orings (2-3 per fitting). Now, if you need large ID, you're on your own but the concept is the same.

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Old 11-12-2010, 04:55 PM   #8
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How about cutting that tubing Bobby?

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Old 11-12-2010, 05:11 PM   #9
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You need to use a glass tubing cutter which just scores the glass around the circumference and then you snap it. However, you really need to flame polish the cut ends to keep them from getting nicked. You can call an art glass shop and have them cut to any specs you want. It will cost you a few bucks more, but you save from buying the cutter and acetylene torch.

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Old 11-12-2010, 05:19 PM   #10
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Cool, thanks Bobby. I didn't just want to start hacking away at it. The site works as advertised and was a snap to install and calibrate. Will be needing another one. Do you have the Thermometer combo and are you able to cut the tube to size if given the desired length?

Thanks again.

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