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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > Drilled my keggle...
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Old 12-11-2007, 01:18 AM   #1
Funkenjaeger
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Default Drilled my keggle...

I just thought I'd speak up and mention that I drilled my keggle tonight, just to provide my experience for anyone who's thinking about doing so - I know it's not a big deal for many people, but I was rather worried about it, since holesaws can be kind of nasty, and I don't have a lot of tools to fix it in the event that I somehow screwed up. I used a 3/4" holesaw and a big corded drill. The holesaw was a Ridgid brand (from home depot) bimetal holesaw, cost about $7, and I already had a mandrel for it.

I was pretty worried about it as I know holesaws aren't exactly precision equipment and like to bite in and yank the drill around, etc... But everything went pretty well. It was surprisingly easy and fast, really. It took a couple of minutes to get the pilot bit through the metal with the drill speed quite slow, and then less than a minute for the holesaw to get through the keg. The holesaw itself cut very nicely, much smoother than I expected, and at the end it just popped through without binding or tearing or anything.

It did leave a somewhat jagged, sharp edge on the hole, but nothing a little dremel work can't handle. As it is, it's not quite big enough for the 1/2" NPT pipe nipple that needs to go through it, but it's big enough that I can sort of start to thread it in, which means by the time I get done cleaning up the hole it ought to be just about the right size.

So hopefully in the next couple of days I'll get the hole cleaned up, install the valve, and throw together a dip tube for it, and finally have a finished keggle!


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Old 12-11-2007, 01:59 AM   #2
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I have been working on a few of these myself over the last few weeks, and if I can offer some advice...

Get a 1" bi-metal hole saw, and have a 1/2" NPT coupling welded in. This has all of the threads inside, and gives less chance for damage. You can then thread the nipple you have into that, and a ball valve onto the nipple. This also gives a nice profile to weld from the outside of the keggle, as well as inside around the coupling, if you desire.


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Old 12-11-2007, 05:18 AM   #3
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I've seen 1/2 inch NPT SS full couplings in three OD sizes: 1-1/16th, 1-3/32, and 1-1/8 inch. You should buy the couplings before you drill the holes.
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Old 12-11-2007, 05:20 AM   #4
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As much as I'd prefer to have a welded coupling, I don't know any good place to get it done affordably so at present I will be sticking with weldless. if it causes trouble down the road I'll worry about it then.
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Old 12-11-2007, 05:40 AM   #5
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Weldless will likely work fine.

If you ever decide you want to find a weldor, try calling (or even better, stop by) your nearest welding supply and gas store and ask them if they know a good TIG weldor who does side jobs. Or ask their gas delivery truck driver. He will know.

For that matter, your LHBS might know someone.
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Old 12-11-2007, 06:47 AM   #6
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I have been eyeing a set of step drills to add some sight glasses. Dam they are pricy.
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Old 12-11-2007, 02:55 PM   #7
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Yeah, that's the trade off. The step bits make a much cleaner hole but you pay for it. I got an entire bimetal hole saw kit that goes all the way up to 3" for the price of a small step bit. I've found consistently that you should go 1/8" smaller than your desired finished hole size because you want it to be a nice snug fit after cleaning up the hole. Making the hole too large for a weldless setup is a good way to make them leak.
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:27 PM   #8
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperiorBrew
I have been eyeing a set of step drills to add some sight glasses. Dam they are pricy.
You shouldn't need a step drill for a sight glass set-up. 1/4 NPT fittings will do the trick, and you can get standard size drill bits for that.
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrShake
I've got a set just like that that I got on ebay for about the same price. They're definitely handy, but they're not extremely high quality so I doubt they'd last long if I used them on a keg. And perhaps more importantly, they only go up to 3/4" - and unlike a 3/4" holesaw, they leave a pretty clean hole that's just the right size, so they'd require quite a bit more enlarging after.

All the step drill bits that I found that went up to 13/16" or 7/8" were a whole lot more expensive.


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