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Old 01-17-2011, 03:24 AM   #1
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Default Aluminum RIMS tube

I was just on my other favorite web site (McMasterCarr) and apparently they sell aluminum threaded pipe and fittings in all the same sizes as SS, for about 1/2" the price. Could AL pipe be used for a RIMS tube. I don't know if I am comfortable with AL and pipe threads in the same application, but it should be ok? right?


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Old 01-17-2011, 04:30 AM   #2
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Sure it'll work! Maybe insulate it, since it'll conduct more heat away.....


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Old 01-17-2011, 02:19 PM   #3
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The only things I could see as a problem is heat conduction which as Steve suggested could be solved with insulation and mucking up the threads which can be solved by being very careful when threading on a fitting. I think it would work just fine unless there is a problem I did not think about..
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sawdustguy View Post
The only things I could see as a problem is heat conduction which as Steve suggested could be solved with insulation and mucking up the threads which can be solved by being very careful when threading on a fitting. I think it would work just fine unless there is a problem I did not think about..
My only worry would be stripping the threads. I know the brass coupler I use wont seal around the element until the rims tube is heated and another half turn is put on it. It really requires a bit of torque. I would be more worried about galling the threads up and the threads seizing. If the price is right it certainly is worth trying.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:04 PM   #5
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The aluminum nipple is cheap, but once you add the aluminum Tees the price goes up.

Might as well go with two Sanitary Tees.

My $0.02 anyway.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:29 PM   #6
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Aluminum forms a protective layer, without that it's not a good choice for food use. With a kettle it is easy to see the layer and monitor the condition of the kettle. I'd worry a bit about the inside of a tube, unless you set it up to remove the end frequently to check it. Chloride from what I've read can attack the aluminum and cause pitting and early failure. So you might save up front but lose in the long run vs. SS or Copper. Do some searching on Aluminum boilers for espresso machines, which is a similar concept (closed water boiler).
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:10 AM   #7
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Just watch for galling as you are fitting it up and use a good thread lube/sealant and you should be good. You won't be able to clean it with some cleaners, but it's on the hot side, so super clean isn't really an issue in my mind.
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Old 01-18-2011, 11:14 AM   #8
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It looks like I could also do a sweated copper piper tube for about the same price. I would not be able to take it apart for cleaning though, but the sweated connections would be much smoother than threaded pipe. So in my mind its a trade off.
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:37 PM   #9
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I just discovered the same thing- a basic RIMS tube design with a 12" pipe, two tees, and appropriate reducing bushings (two to 1/2" for fluid I/O, one to 1" for the heater element and one to 1/4" for the thermocouple) works out to range from $204 in 2" stainless to $84 in 1.5" aluminum. The 1.5" stainless is $149 and the 2" aluminum is $139. Seems like I'm going with 1.5" aluminum. I'm not a big fan of cheaping out, but I'm also not a big fan of overspending.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:30 PM   #10
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Well, if you don't want to strip your threads by manhandling the fittings, I've had good luck with food grade silicone adhesive. It'll seal the threads up better than teflon tape and you don't have to crank things down in order to get the threads to seal.


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