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Old 05-07-2009, 06:28 PM   #1
gchunter
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When I purchased my brew kettle I did not think I would need holes in it for a valve and a thermometer. I would like to keep using this kettle but would like to drill in a couple of holes so that I could make a Jamil style WIC. If I would start with some small pilot holes, going bigger from there would that work?
I realize that I would have to keep the drill as level and plum as possible. I don't want to ruin the kettle as it is a 20 gallon kettle and it would be rather expensive to replace.

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Old 05-07-2009, 06:33 PM   #2
GranillaNutz
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unibit is your answer. if it's stainless, then go slow with a lot of pressure and use cutting oil.
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:30 PM   #3
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unibit, or step bit, is the easiest. Search for drill kettle or keggle you will find lots of answers. I got cheap bits at Harbor Freight, they worked fine, just drill SLOW with HIGH pressure, it will cut up the stainless easily. Pilot holes help, the tip of the step bits aren't that great.

 
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:03 PM   #4
HomebrewJeff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdavanza View Post
unibit, or step bit, is the easiest. Search for drill kettle or keggle you will find lots of answers. I got cheap bits at Harbor Freight, they worked fine, just drill SLOW with HIGH pressure, it will cut up the stainless easily. Pilot holes help, the tip of the step bits aren't that great.
+1, You can get 2 decent step bits at HF for around 10-15 bux, and I believe the big one goes up to 1 1/2". Also, make sure you use some type of cutting oil to keep the bit cool / sharp. I normally use WD40, cause that's what I have on hand. I usually drill a 1/4" pilot hole and then move to the step bit.

 
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:09 PM   #5
Cold_Steel
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I disagree. Do not waste your time with a drill. You spent a lot of money to get a 20 gal kettle. Spend pennies to get it done right. Take it to a welder who has a plasma cutter and get all the holes you will need. Sight glass hole, outflow, thermo hole, it will cost you about 50 bucks and you will have perfection.

 
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:02 AM   #6
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Why is a plasma cutter preferable to a drill bit that would give you a perfectly round hole?
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:33 AM   #7
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I have recently spent a lot of time drilling holes in stainless for my brewstand and my kettles. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/brew...-today-117290/



The Harbor Freight step drill bits work perfectly. For my kettles, I used an old 1/2" drill motor that used to belong to my father. It probably dates from the '40s. Loads of torque. Used lots of WD-40 and everything went fine.

For the thinner gauge stainless I used on the brewstand, a higher speed 3/8" drill motor worked better. Or at least faster. The step drill will dull out after a dozen or so holes, but for the price, they can't be beat. Make sure you score the spot you are going to drill so the bit doesn't walk across your keg. Harbor Freight has an inexpensive, spring loaded, center punch that is great for this application.


 
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:58 AM   #8
Bobby_M
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There's no way a plasma would make a cleaner 3/4" diameter hole than a step bit would.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:33 AM   #9
GranillaNutz
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if u came to me and wanted to pay me just to drill or cut one hole in a kettle, i would over charge the $#!+ out of you. i seriously doubt it would take "pennies" to get a profesional to waste their precious time to cut one hole. they'll prolly just laugh at you and tell you to go buy a drill bit. buy an 8 dollar step bit from harbor frieght and do it yourself. it will raise your confidence and you'll save a lot of money.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:42 AM   #10
HomebrewJeff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crystalcabot View Post
I disagree. Do not waste your time with a drill. You spent a lot of money to get a 20 gal kettle. Spend pennies to get it done right. Take it to a welder who has a plasma cutter and get all the holes you will need. Sight glass hole, outflow, thermo hole, it will cost you about 50 bucks and you will have perfection.
I'll agree that you need to be careful when you drill, using the right tools will make the job easier, but there's no reason why even an average DIY'er shouldn't be able to drill a round hole.

 
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