Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > How to add permanent volume markings to a kettle (illustrated)
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:22 AM   #1
itsgus
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Default How to add permanent volume markings to a kettle (illustrated)

This method uses electrolytic acid etching but requires nothing but cheap household materials! The hardest part is taping off where you want the marks to be. This works by actually removing metal only where the current flows.


10 gallon kettle, completely bare.

Ingredients:

All you need is something acidic enough like vinegar and an electrolyte like salt. A ratio of 1/4 cup vinegar to 1 tsp salt worked for me.

9 volt battery and etching tool


Hook up the POSITIVE lead directly to your kettle.
Attach the NEGATIVE lead directly to a Q-tip, making sure the wires will be touching the vinegar solution.

MAKE SURE YOU HOOK THEM UP IN THE RIGHT ORDER. The other way around would try to ADD metal to the kettle.

Stencils

This was the only part I didn't have lying around. They were cheap at a local craft store. Adhesive and re-usable, perfect for this project.

Etch!

Dip the Q-tip in your salted vinegar solution and touch the kettle. If you hear some sizzling or see some bubbling, you know it is working. It only takes a few seconds of contact to permanently dissolve some metal. I suggest testing it on another piece of the same metal that you don't care much about before etching your kettle.

The Result:

It turned out even better than I expected. No more guessing or relying on a measuring stick.

Again, practice on some other metal first!


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Old 03-03-2014, 05:44 AM   #2
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Default How to add permanent volume markings to a kettle (illustrated)

Very cool! But you only say"1/4 vinegar". 1/4 what? Cup, tsp?
And will this work on aluminum, or just on stainless?


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Old 03-03-2014, 05:47 AM   #3
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That is awesome! Wish I had seen this before I bought/installed my sight glass.
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:00 AM   #4
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Very cool. What did you use to attach the the battery/etching tool (what kind if wire)?


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Old 03-03-2014, 06:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pastorken View Post
Very cool! But you only say"1/4 vinegar". 1/4 what? Cup, tsp?
And will this work on aluminum, or just on stainless?
Approx 1/4 cup vinegar to 1/4 tsp salt worked for me, but honestly I didn't measure, it just worked. Don't worry too much about the ratio. If you know you have a good circuit and it isn't fizzing, try more salt.

In theory it should work aluminum, but it might require a different electrolyte.
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:16 AM   #6
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that is AWESOME!! no more crappy paddle marking!

what kind of wire did you use?
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFBuff View Post
What did you use to attach the the battery/etching tool (what kind if wire)?
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydog2314 View Post
what kind of wire did you use?
Just a spare cord from some old electronics.
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:41 AM   #8
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That is wonderful!

MUCH more readable than my scratched-on markings. Off to Michael's craft store for stencils...
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:06 AM   #9
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That looks great! I could see the same technique being used to add logo's and such to other ss pieces as well.....


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Old 03-03-2014, 07:17 AM   #10
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Nice work - I'm doing mine tomorrow night.


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