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Old 04-01-2013, 04:38 PM   #1
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Default Copper Manifold for 10 Gallon Rubbermaid Round Cooler

My goal was to build a simple copper manifold for my cooler mashtun based on the design recommended by John Palmer (references below). The cooler is the Rubbermaid 10 gallon round cooler purchased from Home Depot. The exterior valve and bulkhead were built following FlyGuy's Cheap and Easy 10 Gallon Rubbermaid MLT Conversion. I do not solder the copper pieces together. This allows me to easily disassemble the manifold for cleaning.

Parts list:
  • 1 - 5 ft. piece of 1/2 inch copper tubing (type L). Note, this build uses 3.75 ft. of tubing, so you'll have extra tubing in case you make a mistake.
  • 4 - 1/2 inch copper elbows
  • 5 - 1/2 copper tees
  • 1 - Nibco 1/2 copper adapter
  • 1 - Short piece of 3/8 i.d. silicone tubing (I bought a 6 inch piece from my LHBS, but only 1.5 inches were used for this build). My LHBS didn't have 1/2 i.d. silicone tubing which might work better, but 3/8 id does stretch to fit over the 1/2 copper tubing. Alternatively, a 1/2 inch copper coupler could work.

Tools used/needed:
  • Pipe cutting tool
  • Dremel and one 5 pack of Dremel Reinforced Cut-off wheels (426-01) (a band saw or hacksaw with a thin cutting blade would also work)

The copper tubing was cut as follows:
  • 4 - 8 inch pieces
  • 4 - 2 inch pieces
  • 2 - 1 1/8 inch pieces
  • 1 - 2 3/4 inch piece

After the tubing was cut, I noticed some of the pieces no longer fit into the tees and elbows. Perhaps this was due to the really cheap Walmart pipe cutting tool I used, but if this occurs, you can easily sand the ends of the pipe with a Dremel sanding attachment. Once the tubing was cut, I used my Dremel with the cut off wheels to cut slots into the copper tubing. The slot are 1/16 inch wide and extend about half way through the diameter of the tubing (you could probably even go about 1/3 of the way through the diameter). I simply eyeballed the spacing of the slots and the depth to which they were cut. Once the slots were cut, I used the knife sharpener tool from my kitchen knife set to remove any burrs from the inside of the tubing. The slots were cut as follows:
  • 15 slots into the 8 inch pieces. Leave about 7/8 inch of space on either end of the tubing as this portion fits into the elbow or tee pieces.
  • 1 slot centered on each of the 2 inch pieces
  • 2 slots on the 2 3/4 piece each cut about one inch from either end
  • 0 slots in the 1 1/8 inch pieces

To connect to the bulkhead, the Nibco adapter connects to the nipple piece that's part of the bulkhead outlined in FlyGuy's build (I have two ss washers on the inside). Then, the silicone tubing connects the Nibco adapter to one of the tee pieces and the manifold is assembled as shown in the picture below. The 3/8 id silicone tubing I used is a little bit of pain to fit over the 1/2 inch copper tubing. Heating the silicone tubing in hot/boiling water for a few minutes makes the tubing more pliable. When I disassemble the manifold for cleaning, I leave the silicone tubing and tee piece connected to the adapter. I've found it's easier to assemble one side of the manifold first, connect that to the tee piece, then assemble the other half and connect everything together.

Mash/Lauter Specs:
Mash Efficiency about 78-80%. I'm still dialing in my mash efficiency calculations, but I've gotten almost 90% on a few batches (probably the crush and 90-min mash time).

Deadspace is about 1 cup (.06 gallons) (I tip my cooler).

I hope this helps. If anyone has questions, please feel free to ask.

The manifold design is based on the work of John Palmer:
http://www.howtobrew.com/appendices/appendixD-1.html
http://morebeer.com/brewingtechnique....4/palmer.html
http://morebeer.com/brewingtechnique...palmer_sb.html

Note: One tee and silicone tubing are missing from the parts picture


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Old 08-21-2013, 02:09 PM   #2
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How does yours work? Any stuck sparges?


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Old 08-21-2013, 02:25 PM   #3
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It works great for me, absolutely no stuck sparges. If anything, I would either make the slots in the copper thinner, or not extend the slots as far into the copper, as it takes me a little longer than it used to (when comparerd to my experience with a stainless steel braided hose) to get clear wort during the vorlauf.

Overall though, I am very pleased. Yielding about 78-80% efficiency.
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Old 08-21-2013, 05:45 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:42 PM   #5
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Used a hack saw for the slits. Mine are super thin! I'll shoot you a picture when I get it all done. Couldn't hook up mine the way you did because of my bulkhead. Thanks again!
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:10 PM   #6
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Nice, hope everything works well for you

Wish I had smaller slots in the manifold, but fine for now.


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