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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > Getting rid of dead space in MLT
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Old 10-09-2009, 06:51 AM   #1
ReeseAllen
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Default Getting rid of dead space in MLT

I built an MLT a few weeks ago out of a 10 gallon rectangular Coleman cooler. So far it's worked alright, but it has a lot of dead space. The spigot is mounted high enough that there's about 2 gallons of dead space below it that I'm not able to drain from my copper tube manifold. The manifold is not soldered, so it's easily disassembled and cleaned, but that means I can't siphon with it. And I have no plans to solder it up; I don't have a torch and don't want to blow the $ to buy one just for a quick solder job.

What I would like to do is plug up the existing spigot hole and drill a new hole in the bottom of the cooler. I always set the MLT up on a table when I brew, so hanging it off the edge a few inches to accommodate the bottom-mounted spigot would be easy. I also store it up on a shelf where it'd be easy to just hang it off the edge a bit. I think that I could prop up the other end of the MLT with a half-inch thick piece of plywood, giving all the liquid a nice downhill path to the spigot. I figure if I do both of these things I will eliminate the dead space almost entirely.

I'm looking for tips and suggestions on this undertaking. I have in my tool arsenal an ordinary cordless drill and a small dremel. What tools/techniques would be best to cut a nice clean, round hole through the bottom of the cooler? I'm sure someone's already done this successfully.

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Old 10-09-2009, 07:20 AM   #2
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As for drilling the hole a 1/2" drill bit should do the job well. Do you have any plumber friends near you could probably just borrow a propane torch some flux and silver solder from them to finish your manifold. I just accomplished mine with parts I had laying around the house (Minus the bulkhead and ball valve) after my MT sprung a leak. I'll link a pic of my setup but as it's soldered I only have a few ounces of wort left in the tun, besides what the grain soaks up with a simple gravity drain at around 2.5'

Hope that helps




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Old 10-09-2009, 08:25 AM   #3
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I was thinking a smallish hole saw would probably be my best bet. I need to drill a hole big enough for a 1/2" pipe, so like 3/4" diameter. If I tried to use an ordinary drill bit for that it'd probably end up making a really gnarly hole that's damn near impossible to seal.

I kinda like having the manifold unsoldered because I can break it up and drop the pieces into a bucket of oxy-clean water and clean them really easily. Rinse with hot water and put it back together and it's ready to go.

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Old 10-09-2009, 08:54 AM   #4
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How do you drain off the wort from the cooler? Do you attach a tube and have the kettle on the floor to create some pull?

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Old 10-09-2009, 02:39 PM   #5
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How is the manifold connected to the spigot? If you can get an airtight seal from the manifold to the spigot, you can create enough of a vacuum to siphon out most of the wort. Even if your manifold is not soldered tight, you should still be able to get out all the wort above the top of the manifold just by making the hose connecting the manifold to the spigot airtight.

Are you using some sort of bulkhead in the cooler wall? That makes connecting hoses a lot easier.

Be sure to have the end of the hose on the outside of the cooler set below the bottom of the cooler to ensure the siphon gets as much as possible.

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Old 10-09-2009, 03:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReeseAllen View Post
I was thinking a smallish hole saw would probably be my best bet. I need to drill a hole big enough for a 1/2" pipe, so like 3/4" diameter. If I tried to use an ordinary drill bit for that it'd probably end up making a really gnarly hole that's damn near impossible to seal.

I kinda like having the manifold unsoldered because I can break it up and drop the pieces into a bucket of oxy-clean water and clean them really easily. Rinse with hot water and put it back together and it's ready to go.
You can always use a step-bit. I don't have a pic but it looks like a large triangle and will gradually increase the hole size to 3/4". It's more precise then a standard drill bit, but for drilling plastic I think it's overkill and you'd do fine with just a normal bit if you go slow and drill a pilot.

As for taking the manifold apart I can see your point, I just take mine out run hot water through it then use compressed air run through it the day of brew to blow out any remaining grain. I don't bother sanitizing anything pre-boil it's a waste of sanitizer. I do however sanatize anything used during the boil, IE stir spoon, and everything post boil, CFC, Fermentors, caps, airlocks, etc. That's just me though.
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Old 10-09-2009, 07:48 PM   #7
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That's the Irwin one called Unibit.

You can find them in any hardware store...but I'll warn ya, they are like $50 a pop.


Great if you have the use for it though. I love mine.
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Old 10-09-2009, 08:40 PM   #8
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That's the Irwin one called Unibit.

You can find them in any hardware store...but I'll warn ya, they are like $50 a pop.


Great if you have the use for it though. I love mine.

Or you could get one from Harbor Freight for $7.
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Old 10-09-2009, 09:14 PM   #9
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I rue the day I first entered that damn orange overpriced hardware store...

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Old 10-09-2009, 10:55 PM   #10
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Or you could get one from Harbor Freight for $7.
And it may even last long enough to drill the one hole.
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