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Old 03-21-2011, 04:12 AM   #1
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Default One Jig to Cut Kegs and False Bottoms

I’m in the process of moving to all-grain and have been fabbing up a new brew kettle, MLT, and HLT from kegs. I recently cut my kegs and built a custom false bottom … thought I’d post my progress so far.

First, the keg cutting …

To cut the kegs, I built a jig out of 1”x2” wood stock and fit it to a 4” angle grinder. The jig mounts to the grinder handle attachments and pivots off the keg opening. All told, the jig took me about 45 minutes to build and cost around seven bucks. Yeah, probably overkill, but it helped me get really nice cuts …

imag0188-2.jpg

In building the jig, I wanted something that could be adjusted to different cutting diameters. To do this, I let the pivot point of the jig float in the jig, adjusted by a bolt installed in the back of the jig. Once I set my desired diameter (12” for the keg openings), I screwed everything into place.

imag0353.jpg

At the pivot point, I used another bolt to adjust the height of the jig and angle of the blade – this helped maintain the cut-off wheel at 90 degrees to the keg top.

imag0354.jpg

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Old 03-21-2011, 04:14 AM   #2
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The jig pivots on a 2” diameter block built from two stacked plywood circles cut with a 2-1/8” hole saw. This conveniently left me with a 2” diameter block with a 1/4" hole in the center – fits perfectly in the sanke keg opening. The height adjustment screw on the jig fits into the 1/4" hole.

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Prior to cutting, I depressurized the keg and removed the dip tube. I then filled the keg with water to dampen the noise and remove excess heat. During the cut, I took several passes; removing a little material at a time – this resulted in a cleaner, perfectly round cut.

imag0212-2.jpg

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Old 03-21-2011, 04:16 AM   #3
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On my first keg, I used a Harbor Freight cut off-wheel, which cut fine. On the other kegs, I used a Dewalt XP cut-off wheel. The Dewalt cut faster and left me with a cleaner cut … well worth the extra cost.

Once the kegs were cut, I deburred with a flapper wheel. Before …

imag0205.jpg

After …

imag0227.jpg

imag0230.jpg

Overall, cutting the kegs went way better than expected. I couldn't imagine trying to cut a keg "freehand".

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Old 03-21-2011, 04:23 AM   #4
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Now for the False Bottom …

I wanted a full-size false bottom (15 1/8” in my case) so no grain would sit on the floor of the MLT. I settled on a two-piece design that could be bolted together inside the MLT. To fit the false bottom through the 12" opening in my keg, I cut one piece at 12" wide; the other piece accounts for the remaining 3 1/8". I chose to offset the seam to maintain the overall strength of the FB.

imag0363.jpg

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The FB is built out of 16-gauge stainless with 3/32” perforations on 5/32” centers. I picked up the perforated at a local metal company (Howard Wire Cloth in Hayward, CA). A 12” x 48” sheet ran me $66 (about 20% cheaper than onlinemetals.com).

To cut the FB, I drilled a hole in what would become the center of my FB for the pivot point of my jig.

imag0300.jpg

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Old 03-21-2011, 04:26 AM   #5
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I set my jig to 15 1/8” and went to town, cutting the larger section first. I nailed the perforated sheet to my work surface to keep it from moving around.

imag0313-2.jpg

imag0317.jpg

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Old 03-21-2011, 04:30 AM   #6
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After cutting the larger section, I ground the edge straight, matched it back to the perforated sheet, and cut the smaller section.

imag0332.jpg

imag0336.jpg

Apparently, I like to wear striped thremals when I use an angle grinder

imag0344.jpg

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Old 03-21-2011, 04:36 AM   #7
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To connect the two sections, I cut down a 1” wide strip of perforated and fit it to the bottom of the two sections.

imag0356.jpg

Drilled out for #6 by 3/8” SS bolts to hold the whole thing together.

imag0367.jpg

imag0366.jpg

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After everything was cut, I deburred with the flapper wheel.

Overall, I’m very happy with the FB. It fits tight in the MLT and sits approximately two inches from the bottom center (should allow for direct fire RIMS).

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Old 03-21-2011, 04:44 AM   #8
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Very professional looking sounds like you were able to make it pretty cheap too.

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Old 03-21-2011, 04:53 AM   #9
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ONE JIG TO CUT THEM ALL!

Nice work, I have one last keg to cut, will be using this!

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Old 03-21-2011, 12:41 PM   #10
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Nice work!

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