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-   -   DIY Sight Gauge (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/diy-sight-gauge-110185/)

ghack 03-23-2009 05:43 PM

DIY Sight Gauge
Friday I put together and installed a DIY sight gauge for my new keggle. I wanted it to be able to survive bumping and dinging without damage so I went with a full attachment at each end.

Materials were as follows, and ran about $25 total (I had the copper pipe)...And I know the regular black o-rings are not the best to use with boiling liquids.


Each of the keggle attachments is:
1/2” copper street elbow
1/2” to 3/8” reducing pipe to male threaded connection
Two 5/8” I.D 1/8” o-rings
two 5/8” stainless steel washers (note photo only shows one, I added another)
3/8” to 1/2” female threaded to pipe connection

The 1/2” to 3/8” reduction provides more material at the connection to bear on the washer and o-ring. The pipe was sweated to the elbows and those to the threaded connections.

The sight glass portion:
12” 3/8” O.D. Borosilicate glass tube
3 3/8” I.D. ½” O.D. silicone o-rings
1/2” copper pipe with 11” slot cut into it

The o-rings were slipped onto the tube, two at the bottom (security), and one at the top, an inch or more from the end. The tube was slipped into the slotted copper and the o-rings were pushed down into the copper pipe. I had to work at it a little to get the ½” of the glass inside the pipe evenly at each end. I used a short piece of split vinyl tubing to work the o-rings along.

I drilled the holes and installed it next to the weldless faucet fitting from Bargain Fittings.

Saturday I calibrated it with measured amounts and it has a clear three and a half to about twelve gallon range. It needed some tightening…

Sunday I fired the whole up for a maiden voyage with a Scottish 60 Shilling ale. Some drips at the faucet and sight gauge, but as things expanded they stopped. Here is the inside view which includes the 3 cups of trub left behind.

McKBrew 03-23-2009 05:47 PM

Very nicely done, I like the copper look/old fashioned brewery aspect of it. I had visions of putting copper lids on my keggles until I saw the price.

Couevas 03-23-2009 05:53 PM

Nicely done!:mug:

Might I ask where you got your glass tube?
I have been wanting to DIY some sight glasses, but the tubing has always been the roadblock.

Drifter 03-23-2009 06:21 PM

I have used polycarbonate tubing from McMaster p/n 9176T28 it is $10.08 for an 8' piece.

I use a 90 deg compression fitting and run the tube(cut to length) to the top. I use a s.s. eye bolt to hold it at the top.

Very simple,durable, and inexpensive. The poly tubing is good to 250 deg F

McKBrew 03-23-2009 06:24 PM

Bobby_M sells a decent weldless sight tube (link in his posts) for $25 + shipping. Far cheaper than anything else on the market.

ghack 03-23-2009 06:36 PM

The glass tube was from McMasters-Carr for less than $5.

I've looked a number of inexpensive ones, but most have the tube fairly exposed. I tend to bang things around so I wanted the tube protected.

McKBrew 03-23-2009 06:39 PM

I like the copper look, so I'm going to steal it for my Sight tube protector instead of using the Sanke tube. Hope you don't mind.

mmb 03-23-2009 07:10 PM

Agreed. And copper is easier to work with than the stainless sanke dip tube for me.

drunkatuw 03-23-2009 07:44 PM

I bought two of these last week and they look like a pretty cheap alternative. I'm still waiting for my step bit to be delivered, so I have not had a chance to connect them to my keggles yet.

Bargain Fittings

ghack 03-23-2009 07:58 PM

Just a tip I left out...

Cut the slot in the copper pipe and drill the holes in the keg before you cut the pipe to length. You can then locate the glass portion where you need it and size the pipe on the actual fittings sitting in the holes.

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