Thanks for the article, put mine together last night! I followed your parts list and it all went together very well. I went to Lowes for my project, and the grand total was right at $75. Lucky for me the 10 gallon cooler was on sale for $38 as opposed to the listed price of $44.99.
I used it for a cream ale last night and all went well. I added four gallons of 165 degree water, then the grain. The temperature stayed at 155 for the entire hour. My only complaint is that it drains pretty slow. But seeing how my LHBS wanted $145 for the same thing, I don't mind waiting a couple extra minutes.