Hi Everyone - this is my first post on this board... hoping to make a fine impression and to run a few of my DIY ideas by the experts
Lately I've been thinking about building a plate chiller that can be easily disassembled, cleaned, and then reassembled in a a matter of minutes. It has taken me a little while to grasp exactly how a plate chiller works, but now that I have done my homework, I believe that a DIY build is not only possible, but would be really cheap too.
I have never held a plate chiller like the shirron in my hands, but I gather that they are a) built from small gauge stainless steel b) brazed together c) and have convoluted plates to help break apart laminar flow.
I propose to build a chiller having a) alternating aluminum plates and b) sandwiched rubber gaskets controlling the fluid path. The plates would all be sandwiched between two large gauge plates (could be steel), which are wider than the chilling plates. Bolts connecting the top and bottom plate would hold the whole thing together. The top plate would need to be a material making it easy to attach fittings to (i.e. inlet and outlet hoses), or would have to be thick enough to accommodate NPT threads tapped into holes drilled through the material.
I was inspired by the larger HVAC plate heat exchangers, which use stainless steel plates and rubber o-ring type gaskets to seal the gaps between plates.
Sheet aluminum is inexpensive and malleable (easily to convolute). Sheets of rubber, cork, and other gasket material is also available for cheap as well.
Have any of you tried to build something similar to what I am suggesting? Can you see any stumbling blocks that I might encounter?
I don't have much in the way of a workshop...a hand drill and bits, a dremel, etc. Is it difficult to drill and cut thin aluminum sheeting?