I spent a few hours putting the brewery to be back together after painting the stand last night. I'm getting very close to the first real brew day on the full setup now. Never mind the remaining insulation and drywall that needs to be done in the garage.. that can wait!
Fully painted stand, in position and ready for action.
New boil kettle ready for its first brew. Once I get the new MLT cut and drilled, I'll remove these fittings and polish this one at the same time. The return port uses a 45º elbow to create a 'straight out' cam lock connection off to the side. This is another idea I pilfered from JonW (though others have done it). I really like the way the hoses connect in this configuration, and the kettle has a balanced look to it with the sight glass at the opposing 45º position.
Inside the boil kettle. I went with Jaybird's excellent false bottom and stand in here, so that I can use free range hops. Looking forward to trying this out and ditching the hop bag/spider, though I will likely still use them for pellet hopps when I use them (I prefer whole leaf if have the option).
Curing the paint (round 2.) I put a few inches of water in each pot and cranked up the heat to cure the paint as described above (see the heat gun picture.) The flat bottom kettle worked well for this, but the keggle seemed to have concentrated the heat too much on the 'ring' where it contacts the stand, causing some paint to scratch and burn off. Only a few very small spots and not a big deal, but I was a little disappointed to have lost some paint already before even brewing on it. It looks like I'll need to keep a can of this stuff handy for touch ups.
That's it for now. More updates to come! Thanks for your kind words and questions.