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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kegerators and Keezers > Bottling Station for Counter Pressure Filler
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Old 07-04-2012, 03:21 AM   #1
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Default Bottling Station for Counter Pressure Filler

I wanted a good way to fill bottles from the keg. Last year I tried to fill some using the BMBF and it didn't work very well for me (lost a lot of beer to foam). I looked at the Blichmann beer gun, but decided that if I was going to spend the money, I might as well transfer under pressure and get a counter pressure bottle filler. I bought the MoreBeer Deluxe filler which comes with a pressure gauge and flare fittings for easy removal of the lines. After looking at a couple of bottling stations that others have built, I decided to build my own version. The two versions that I had seen were:

http://www.franklinbrew.org/members/sj/cpfiller.html

and here:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/coun...tation-304169/

I tried out my filling station yesterday for the first time and it worked great! I lost very little beer to foam (drank most of what I "lost"), and felt like I was in total control of the process, unlike my experience with the BMBF. I will admit that when I used the BMBF I didn't pre-chill the bottles, and maybe that was a major part of my problem, but I also found the BMBF awkward to use and when I finished I had a sore thumb from squeezing the stopper to vent the bottles.

I designed this to use as many parts as possible from what I already had on-hand (sometimes it pays to be a pack rat).

I decided to mount my CPBF to a flat sheet of metal with tie-wraps and with an L bracket attached to transfer the force from the stopper to the metal sheet. This assembly is mounted on 4 long bolts which are in turn mounted to a large flat sheet of aluminum glued to a piece of 1/4 inch plywood of the same size. I glued a piece of 1/4 inch aluminum channel to the left and right edges of this. The whole assembly moves vertically with the 1/4 channel pieces moving inside of 3/8 inch channels which are glued to the main structure of the station. The movable assembly is spring loaded so that it is pulled down into the bottle. Supporting the bottle on the bottom is a hinged trap door which is latched closed during filling, but can be swung downward to allow removal of filled bottles and replacement with empty ones.

View of front with a bottle in place
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View of front with no bottle - door open
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Rear view
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Close up of CPBF mounted to small metal sheet/L bracket. This also shows the top of the Lexan "blast shield" just in case I get a weak bottle which explodes under pressure (and I wear safety glasses). The blast shield is mounted on 4 long pieces of threaded rod.
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Side - rear view of CPBF mounting
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Old 07-04-2012, 03:22 AM   #2
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Dismounted bottle filler - front view
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Another view showing the L bracket for the stopper
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Dismounted filler - rear view
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Front view of station showing 3 bolts for mounting the filler assembly and 4 threaded rods for mounting the "blast shield"
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Close up of how the 1/4 inch channels on the panel slide inside the 3/8 channels on the main structure
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Old 07-04-2012, 03:22 AM   #3
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Rear view showing how the panel is spring loaded
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Front view showing the door closed in bottling position
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Front view showing the door open ready to swap bottles
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Close up of door latch (and yes, that is a regular door latch which I had in my junk box)
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Close up of door latch with door closed
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Note - I didn't put the wood stain on this to make it look pretty - I wanted to coat it with polyurethane to prevent spilled beer from soaking into the wood. I happened to have a can of combination stain/polyurethane, so I slathered on a couple of thick coats.

I didn't chill my bottles beforehand, but I did make up a couple of gallons of StarSan a couple of days earlier and chilled that. I put my Vinator in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket and dumped in about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 gallons of cold StarSan (almost, but not quite enough to float the Vinator). So when I sanitized a bottle, it would also be cold and wet, both of which are supposed to help prevent foam. The reason I put the Vinator in a bucket with so much StarSan was to have a large thermal mass which would not be warmed up much by chilling a lot of bottles (I bottled 33 yesterday).

So after cleaning the CPBF by running an OxiClean solution through it, followed by lots of water, followed by StarSan, my procedure was as follows (assume a filled bottle is in position):

Grab empty,sanitized, cold bottle from bottling tree with left hand, grasp filled bottle with right hand, pull lever with left hand, then move empty into postion. Remove full bottle and immediately push empty up onto CPBF. Set full bottle down on table just to right of station, then use right hand to close trap door, pushing up empty bottle onto stopper under spring pressure. Close vent, turn on CO2 to pressurize bottle, then open vent to back off about 1/2 psi to flush bottle. While bottle is being purged, cap the full bottle (if there isn't enough foam to cap on foam, tap the side of the bottle to make it foam). Then close the vent to pressurize, turn the valve to the beer position, open the vent to start beer flowing slowly into the bottle. While waiting for the bottle to fill, sanitize another bottle and hang it on the tree. When the bottle in the station is full, turn off the beer with the valve, open the vent a little more to vent pressure, and we are back to where we started.
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:44 AM   #4
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UPDATE: I decided I wanted to be able to easily remove the gauge from the bottle filler for easy cleaning, so I removed the gauge from the stainless T and into the T I screwed a 1/4 MIP to 3/8 barb. I cut a short piece of gas line (5/16 ID, 9/16 OD) and shoved that over the barb and into the other end of the tube I put a 1/4 FFL to 5/16 barb swivel nut. The two barbs are almost touching each other - both secured with Oetiker clamps. Onto the gauge I screwed a 1/4 coupling and into that a 1/4 MIP to 1/4 MFL. So now I can remove the gauge by just unscrewing the swivel nut. This puts the gauge about 4 inches farther away from the T than it was, but that's not a problem. I may get a 30 PSI gauge and attach it to a coupling and MIP to MFL adapter so I can easily swap gauges if I think I may want higher pressure than the 15 PSI that is max. on the gauge that came with the filler.
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Old 07-08-2012, 02:03 AM   #5
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Subscribed. Looks really interesting, but I'm too drunk to make heads or tails of it.
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Old 07-08-2012, 05:36 PM   #6
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pretty cool!
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Old 10-17-2012, 03:16 PM   #7
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Has anyone had a problem with the 3 way valve's leaking. I have 4 of these for my nano brewery and they all have leak by. One leaks so bad you can't use it. others is a very slow but annoying leak.
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Old 10-17-2012, 03:29 PM   #8
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This is pretty intense. I like it! A lot of thought went into this one.
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Old 10-17-2012, 04:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wadefisher View Post
Has anyone had a problem with the 3 way valve's leaking. I have 4 of these for my nano brewery and they all have leak by. One leaks so bad you can't use it. others is a very slow but annoying leak.
Do you have 'L' type or 'T' type valves? I can see where 'T' types could be a problem, but wouldn't expect leaks from 'L' types.
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
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This is pretty intense. I like it! A lot of thought went into this one.
Thanks! Yeah, a lot of thought and a lot of work. I'm sure it could be designed to be easier to build, but one of my objectives was to use as many parts as possible from my "scrap" bin.


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