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Old 10-21-2013, 01:51 AM   #1
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Default Tube & Shell Heat Exchanger

So, after several years of brewing and using a whole myriad of different equipment...I have come to this project. It has been a long time coming, because it requires tools that are beyond the average DIY'er. However, I am not the average DIY'er. Over the last few years, my interests have bounced between welding, machinery restoration, machining, etc. etc. So, now that I have the tools to make big things happen, I thought I would take some spare parts I had laying around, and make them useful.

I had a GEMS Sensors Liquid Level Indicator from about 3 years ago....an Ebay score. These have a magnetic float in the tube that makes the outside "flags" in the sight gauge go red or white based on the position of the magnet. Kept it because it's 316SS and I got it cheap. Plus, it was awesome! The end caps are a burly 3/4" of solid 316SS! And, not to mention, the tube itself is approx 1/8" thick. Doesn't sound like much until you pick it up...this thing was built for a special purpose, and I'm sure it wasn't cheap.











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Old 10-21-2013, 02:01 AM   #2
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I also got a sight glass that I am going to try and incorporate...it is also heavily built and made from 316SS.







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Old 10-21-2013, 02:02 AM   #3
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I had to cut off the ends so I could properly drill the holes; I just didn't have the capability to *safely* drill a 15" long cylinder. Plus, the sight gauge had a pair of stainless steel balls inside (LOL) that I had to get rid of. I have a Rage 2 chop saw that is just awesome, I highly recommend it. The blade runs a bit slower than the standard miter saw and actually machines the metal down, kind of like a cold saw, only this one is affordable I was sure to go VERY slow because of the thickness/hardness of the material.









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Old 10-21-2013, 02:03 AM   #4
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Now that I had the ends off, I had to decide what size and configuration of tubing I would use. I did lots of surface area and volume calculations. On a whim I bought some 3/8" SS tube, thinking it would be the best size to prevent clogs. Later, I changed my mind and thought that 1/4" would give a lot more surface area (but require lots more holes and linear feet of tube). In the end I settled on both, to prevent clogging, improve flow, and because I wanted to use the 3/8" tubing I had just bought

I had to figure out how to drill through the 3/4" end caps. They don't look like much, but they definitely have some heft to them. From my other adventures with drilling stainless kettles, etc. I knew this was going to be a CHORE. I have a drill press, but didn't think I would have the same precision as my mill. SO, here is my milling machine in use! (CLICK FOR VIDEO!)




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Old 10-21-2013, 02:03 AM   #5
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And here is where I am at so far....the holes are pretty concentric...I kind of eyeballed things on the mill and it shows. But hey, I'm a novice If I could do it again, I would have put the end caps together and drilled them simultaneously.....but that would have made a difficult job next to impossible. I used cobalt drill bits, LOTS of cutting oil, and patience. Suprisingly, I didn't break a single bit...a good thing since they're $12 a piece!!!!

Each cap will be welded back onto the main tube, and I will run the thin tubing straight through the small holes...I will then braze them in place with silver solder.










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Old 10-21-2013, 02:04 AM   #6
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And here's what I got done this weekend...I bored out the water in/out with a 5/8 HSS drill bit. The fitting that was in there tapered down to about 1/4" on the inside, kind of like a flare coupler. So, I had to open it up or the heat exchanger would barely cool.





The finish inside was nowhere near what I achieved with the cobalt bits...but the HSS bit was what I had, and it doesn't matter too much since it will only be water flowing through these channels.



So, here are the parts laid out...I put the tubes in place to help with alignment.







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Old 10-21-2013, 06:24 PM   #7
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What kind of tease is this?

And you're holding out!!!

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Old 10-21-2013, 11:56 PM   #8
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How DARE you! You violated my photobucket! Haven't been able to properly roll out the pics with a narrative...
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Old 10-22-2013, 12:35 AM   #9
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Would you rather I post the ones I took from your front bushes???

Keep up the good work!
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:39 AM   #10
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i was going to say, i saw this early and was really scratching my head but now its staring to make sense.
i just have to say that mill is stunning, some of the tools in your shop look like they could easily out live the lot of us.


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