Wedge Measure you kettle free space (space above siphons, plumbing, etc
) to determine how wide/long you want to build it. I choose 10 for a couple reasons. First, I wanted it as big as possible so the hops could freely move around during the boil. Second, my kettle top opening can accommodate up to a 12 OD pipe, but I have fill tube plumbing that sticks out a couple inches from my sidewall.
Once you determine the best size, order up the pipe from your local steel supply or fabrication shop I couldnt find a section cut of 10 at McMaster Carr. 304L is common and you only need a 3 min section to make this work. You can probably get a better deal if you buy your mesh from them as well. McMasters stainless mesh prices are a bit high. One thing to note is that you can make (2) Hopsters per 48 sheet from McMaster- if you order from them go in with someone else and split the sheet. I ordered the stainless studs and nuts from McMaster.
I used 8x8 mesh because I brew almost exclusively with whole hops and I also have a finer mesh screen on my siphon to stop any small stuff. Id recommend a finer mesh if you use pellets or are looking to use this as your only screen. Whats cool about this setup, is that you can quickly pop the hose clamp and switch out to a finer/coarser mesh basket in less then a minute.
The most time consuming part of the assembly is rolling the screen. Finer mesh is easier to roll than mesh with thick wire and lots of open space. Use your pipe to roll/form the mesh sidewall around, until it overlaps about 1.5. Put the pipe clamp on it to hold the screen in place around the pipe at the top. Drill a hole, place a rivet, repeat
all the way down the sidewall. Pay especially close attention to make sure mesh lines up in a straight line all the way down your sidewall.
Before placing the last couple rivets, trace an outline of the circular pipe onto a piece of remaining mesh. Cut it exact or 1/16 larger than the opening because you want it tight. Shove it into the bottom end of the mesh cylinder and stitch it up in there with stainless wire. Roll the bottom of the stainless mesh to eliminate sharp points. Next, drill (3) holes in your pipe to mount the studs and test fit. Hopefully, it fits great, if not, release the clamp and trim off the top if its long. If it ends up being too wide youre pretty much screwed by this point so try not to let that happen ;>)
Hope this helps. If youre interested in building one but need help finding parts or have questions on assembly, PM me, Id be glad to help.