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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > Idea for all copper heat stick design...
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:44 AM   #1
Dgonza9
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Default Idea for all copper heat stick design...

I often have ridiculous ideas at this time of night, figured I'd share this one. I was considering buying a tap and die set like this one from harbor freight for a number of projects.

http://www.harborfreight.com/6-piece...aps-42432.html

I could then buy a 1 1/2 inch copper cap, tap it with the drill tap sized for 1"npt, screw in my wired up heating element, then solder some pipe to the cap. If I finished up the other end I'd have a water tight heat stick.

Anyone tried it? Can boil temperatures melt lead free soldered joints? I googled it a few times. Looks like most of them melt above 212, though some only by like 5 degrees or so. Another concern is soldering temperatures from attaching pipe to the cap melting wires or warping the element.

I'm not likely to try it right now, but was wondering what other people think of the idea.

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Old 08-16-2010, 07:58 AM   #2
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That's a great idea!

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Old 08-16-2010, 11:29 AM   #3
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Great idea, my concern with an all copper (or all metal) heat stick would be how hot the non-business end (i.e. the part outside of the kettle) would become. Most of the heat sticks I saw in this thread seem to have a PVC plastic end outside the kettle.
I'd say try it out and if it does get too hot then I'd add some non heat conducting material.

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Old 08-16-2010, 12:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvdilts View Post
Great idea, my concern with an all copper (or all metal) heat stick would be how hot the non-business end (i.e. the part outside of the kettle) would become.
less then 212f
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:22 PM   #5
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The cap may not be thick enough to hold any threads. But maybe you can just find a reducer or fitting that is the right sizes? Also, if you have water in a sealed container, and then heat it to boiling it can cause an explosion. The expanded water and gas has to go somewhere. It goes out.

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Old 08-16-2010, 03:31 PM   #6
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You would need a 2" Cap. The hex nut on a water heater element is 1.75" from point to point on the widest part of the hex nut.

The inside diameter of 1.5" cap is 1 and 5/8"

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Old 08-16-2010, 04:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by RegionalChaos View Post
Also, if you have water in a sealed container, and then heat it to boiling it can cause an explosion. The expanded water and gas has to go somewhere. It goes out.
he's not going to boil in a sealed container, he's talking sealing the heatstick end.

you would actually never have a state of boiling in a sealed container anyways. It would turn steam and water and then flash to steam (instantly) upon explosion
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:57 PM   #8
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Default Copper heatsticks

Hi,

I recently built two heatsticks using copper. I'll post pictures later to give you an idea of how I did it. In order, from the top down, I used a 1 1/4" test cap, a length of 1 1/4" cooper pipe, a 90º elbow, a 1 1/4" to 2" reducer, and a 2" cap. I drilled a 1" hole in the cap for the element, and used a stainless nut to affix it. Inside the heatstick I used armoured wire, thinking it could sustain the high temps of soldering (and boiling) better that regular wire. I sweated the whole thing together with lead-free solder.

The biggest caveat is soldering such large pipe/fittings with a standard propane torch (which was all I had). The last fitting to solder should be the 2" cap with the element and wire installed so they are not exposed to all of the heat required while soldering the other fittings.

I used the heatsticks last Monday for the first time; they worked very well. I must admit though, this is not a cheap alternative to the more common heatstick. I choose copper because the chromed 1 1/2" drain pipe others use is exceedingly hard to come by in my area.

I'll attach a few pics later this evening, just don't laugh at the amateur solder job.

Brian

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http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo...eat=directlink

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Old 08-16-2010, 11:33 PM   #9
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Looks great!

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Old 08-17-2010, 01:58 AM   #10
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Great job! I have a few questions before I replicate them as I've been wanting an all copper heat stick for some time.

1) Did you use a gasket between the stainless locknut and the element?

2) I take it you soldered the cap and reducing fitting, then inserted the element and welded this last to the 90 degree bend?

3) Any jb weld at all inside or liquid electrical tape?

4) No problems with solder melting at boil temps?

5) When you say "armored wire," do you mean bx cable?

Great job on these and thanks for sharing your technique.

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