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Old 10-05-2012, 01:06 AM   #1
wasabifan
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Default Immersion Wort Chiller Design

I have picked up some copper tubing to build a DIY immersion wort chiller. In looking at some plans and commercial products online, I noticed some run coils all the way up from the base, but other leave a gap. Is leaving the gap an attempt at not cooling the bottom of the kettle, but only the hot wort? Any comments on if creating this gap is worth it?

Second, I have never used an immersion cooler, but from the looks of most, I would think they might tip fairly easily (too heavy from the tube connectors). Is this the case? Would it make sense to make the lower coils wider than the upper coils?

Also, on strength of the chiller. I thought it might be worth running the inlet and outlet tubing flush but perpendicular to the coils and possibly tacking them in place with solder to make it more solid. Would that make any sense to add some strength in holding its shape?

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Old 10-05-2012, 01:22 AM   #2
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I'm not sure what you meant by leaving a gap, the chiller will reach the bottom of the pot so maybe I'm not just understanding that part. You don't have to worry about it tipping, the weight of the wort is heavy enough that it would be nearly impossible for the chiller to cause it to tip.
I think leaving a gap between the coils is best because it's more surface area for the wort to touch and be cooled by.
Mine isn't soldered and holds its shape fine.
I hope this helps.

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Old 10-05-2012, 01:38 AM   #3
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Thanks earwig! I may start working on my chiller tomorrow.

If you are interested in understanding what I meant by "the gap", if you look at these chillers they seem to all have one or two tight coils at the bottom...then a very loose coil (what I was calling a gap), and then they go back to tight coils again the rest of the way up.

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Old 10-05-2012, 01:54 AM   #4
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Oh ok, I'm not sure if mine was like that new or not lol. It isn't now and if it ever was, the weight of the other coils probably made them sink down. I don't think it matters one way or the other. Good luck with yours.

Edit: I know I said that it holds its shape fine but sometimes the coils get very close or even touch. When I clean it after brewing I pull them apart a little bit to make sure I get it as clean as possible.

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Old 10-05-2012, 02:39 AM   #5
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I wouldn't bother intentionally putting a gap in the coils like some of those shown in the linked page. For the best results, you need to stir the wort anyway, so if that gap was intended to put the most cooling up in the top thermocline, it's a waste of effort...

Cheers!

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Old 10-05-2012, 03:58 AM   #6
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I made my own. Here's what I did:
Found a pot that was the right size to use as a "mold" (to wrap the tubing around, and come out the size I need).
Wrapped 45 feet of 3/8" tubing around it with the coils tight.
Grabbed a hand full of nails, and used them to equally space the coils apart from each other.
Used a couple pieces of copper wire (stripped from some Romex house wire) and made 3 "straps", and soldered all the coils to the strap so that they would hold the spacing.
Did this at three even places around the coil.
Pulled it off the mold and tested it in a pot of boiling water.
With it hooked up to my garden hose, it will cool 5 gallons of boiling water to 80F in 6 minutes... I was impressed.

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Old 10-05-2012, 11:27 AM   #7
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That sounds nice acidrain. I am only coiling 20 feet for my first cooler, but I think I may use the small gap between all coils and solder the inlet and outlet tubs to the coil (as my strapping) to maintain the gap. Is there any particular solder and/or flux I should use?

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Old 10-05-2012, 01:37 PM   #8
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I put a gap at the bottom of IC by simply installing a couple small SS hose clamps. I also used the SS clamps to hold the two ends where the hose connects to - no solder.

As stated above, the IC is heavy to stay where you put it while in the wort, nothing else is needed.

Here's a copy of my DIY IC:





Good luck!

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Old 10-06-2012, 05:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wasabifan View Post
That sounds nice acidrain. I am only coiling 20 feet for my first cooler, but I think I may use the small gap between all coils and solder the inlet and outlet tubs to the coil (as my strapping) to maintain the gap. Is there any particular solder and/or flux I should use?
Great question, yes, there is a specific flux and solder... use the water soluble flux, and lead free (silver filled) solder.
After soldering, clean everything with soap and water, and then again with vinagar and a scotchbrite pad.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:36 AM   #10
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So here is my chiller so far. I haven't soldered the coils to the output tubing yet, and 20 feet didn't go as far as I had thought it would. I also found some old copper in the barn I can use for strapping to make it sturdier.

forumrunner_20121008_203330.jpg

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