I inherited a few ½” braids and set about making a cooler Mash Tun, about halfway through I could not decide on a manifold or a braid, as I read a bit on drawbacks for both. In this case, I wound up with a hybrid design, but also reinforced the braids to prevent crushing and stuck sparges.
Start with a SS braid, trim off the fittings and remove the rubber hose. You are left with a nice braid, but one that crushes quite easily.
In the hardware aisle of your local hardware store, you can find picture hanging wire that’s all copper. I found this at Lowe’s:
Roll some out and start winding it around a racking cane in a coil/spring fashion:
Then, using your heat resistant spoon, wooden spoon or similar, force that into the braid on the opposite end to keep the braid open while gently turning the copper coil. It should ‘screw’ its way into the braid. Use patience and don’t force it, gently turn and feed it all the way in. Use the spoon to hold the braid open as you go. You can also keep the racking cane inside of the copper coil to give it strength while screwing it in
This is a photo of the completed braid being held up to the light:
Horrible pic, but you get the idea.
If you get a stuck sparge, the grain bill will be the cause—not a compressed braid. Happy brewing.