$3 Weldless Kettle Bulkhead

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Bobby_M

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Ok, a few bucks, YMMV depending on what tools you have already.

$1 Nibco 604 Copper male adapter 1/2" NPT to 1/2" pipe (5/8" OD actual).
$2.38 for two pack. Hillman 3/4" stainless washers, item 21840 at Lowes

Short piece of 5/8" soft copper tubing but you can do it with a piece of rigid 1/2" pipe with a 90 degree elbow if you have to.

I already had the oring but a #314 is what you'd want to get.

The washer needs to be slightly filed open to get it all the way over the threads. After that, clean up the parts, apply an acid flux and silver solder the washer to the adapter.

The oring then goes on, through the kettle wall, then teflon tape, then the ball valve. If you can't get it tight, add the other washer between the kettle and valve.

 

nicknoty

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nice, i think i might do something like this for my MLY an BK for the returns up top.
 
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Bobby_M

Bobby_M

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Oh, this also works well for the Mcmaster male QD for returns and Herms coil access only the washer and oring goes outside the vessel.
 

chenwood

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what kind of flux do I need to solder the SS washer to the copper? I'm assuming I can't use regular flux, is this correct? Thanks
 

klyph

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So simple. My home depot weldless bulkhead is ridiculous compared to this setup.


Yours uses like half the pieces.
 
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Bobby_M

Bobby_M

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Certainly it's a deal breaker if you don't like the idea of soldering or don't have a local source of the cheap silver solder kit.
 

BrewFiend

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I've got something very similar on my MLT except I spent a whole **** load on other parts before figuring this out. good work, looks solid!
 

samc

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Why not use a Copper washer? Then you could just sweat the pieces together. Saves on trying to do SS - Copper.
 
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Bobby_M

Bobby_M

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Well, yes, that would work too but then we're not talking about sourcing parts locally anymore. Fastenal shows they have a 3/4" ID washer but it's $13 and out of stock online and in stores. If anyone can find a source for cheap 13/16" ID copper washers, it would be awesome and easy to solder.
 

Jud

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Awesome! I am looking into this to use for my chiller. Thought I could mount it inside my kettle. Slowly working my way towards the HERMS. Plus free up some room on my brew cart!
 

BeerCanuck

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$13 for a copper washer :confused:
Could you not fabricate one easily enough from the copper pipe eg;
Cut piece off copper pipe so that it can be banged flat and drilled / shaped appropriately?

I was thinking of using a penny but then I wouldn't of been able to give my 2 cents :D

Cheers;
BeerCanuck
 

BrewFiend

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Do you really even need the washer on the inside of the kettle? As long as the o-ring you have there can take the temps and can form a tight seal. Why not just use that on the interior. Another option is to have a 1/2" copper bell housing on the interior of the kettle. A brass valve can than screw into it from the outside. The large face on the bell housing provides enough to hold an o-ring in place on the inside. SS washers are used on the outside of the kettle. I know SS will eventually rust if used on the inside, mine did very quickly. I apologize for no pictures i'll post a few as soon as I find the old digi camera.
 
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Bobby_M

Bobby_M

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The oring will definitely just squeeze out without the washer. Bell housing? I'm not familiar with the term outside of the automotive usage. Maybe you mean a female NPT to sweat adapter? Stainless washers will not rust on the inside. The whole keg is stainless.
 

ReeseAllen

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Do you really even need the washer on the inside of the kettle? As long as the o-ring you have there can take the temps and can form a tight seal. Why not just use that on the interior. Another option is to have a 1/2" copper bell housing on the interior of the kettle. A brass valve can than screw into it from the outside. The large face on the bell housing provides enough to hold an o-ring in place on the inside. SS washers are used on the outside of the kettle. I know SS will eventually rust if used on the inside, mine did very quickly. I apologize for no pictures i'll post a few as soon as I find the old digi camera.
There are a lot of different kinds of stainless. Some are more rust-resistant than others. A large proportion of brewers use stainless kettles and stainless fittings inside kettles and it's very rare to hear reports of rust.

If you leave a stainless part out in the rain for a few weeks, it'll get some rust spots. But for a part which is wetted once and then cleaned, allowed to dry, and then left dry for weeks, little or no corrosion should be expected for a long time.
 

BrewFiend

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You're right, female NPT to sweat. I use a 1/2" one but would the 5/8" work better for you? My washers must not have been stainless because there was a lot of iron oxide in the water at the bottom after cleaning. I got fortunate because i had a ton of different o-rings around so I found the perfect size that fits between the adapter and the kettle wall.
The valve (sorry i'll get specifics) threaded portion inserts into the kettle and screws into the adapter. Washers are placed between the large portion of the housing and the outside kettle wall. The o-ring does not push in and seals quite well.
 

WIPbrewery

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+1 on this bulkhead design, worked great..no leaks. Little tricky to silver solder the washer to the copper fitting but it was kinda like sweating regular copper, just alot hotter.
 

senoird

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I weld copper to steel a lot in my trade (HVAC/R) the advice I would give you guys is get 55% silver flux rods( the orange ones) from your local a/c or plumber parts house. They are made to solder copper to steel. Make sure to clean the hell out of the area to be welded and use flux plus the flux rods.
 

gwieting

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Looks smart. Would this work with the ProFlow Type A adapter? I want to use this for my BP return.
 

Double-R

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Silver soldered, Washer to Adapter.And a Butt load of T-tape on threads.
Then tighten the B-Jesus out of it.
Only change was i used o-ring that Bar-fit uses for Cam-lock, Q-Disconnects
No water leaks.. Thx, Bobby
 

Irishwrench

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Nice write up. You have inspired me. The item number listed for SS washer comes up as a copper 1/2 fitting. Not sure if things have changed since your original write up. I found item number 137697 to be the Hillman SS 3/4 washers at Lowes. Hope this helps those in their hunt for the needed items.
 
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