Build a relatively inexpensive Tri-Clover RIMS Tube?

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Sawdustguy

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A lot of you have read my "RIMS for Dummies Thread (https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/rims-dummies-114997/) and built a RIMS Tube very similar to the one I had diagrammed in the thread. That tube seems to work very well in all aspects except one. It is a bitch to clean well. I have noticed that no matter how well I flush after a brew session, when I sanitize before a brew session, I always see a few flakes of grain flow out of the RIMS Tube. If you are like me, this is bothersome.

I remembered a post by Derrin, where he posted an image of a Tri-clover RIMS Tube that he welded up. He posted that the tube would be about $160 each. This seems like a reasonable price, but alas when I open my wallet, flies pop out. Even though I would love to buy one from Derrin, by necessity, I have to find a less expensive alternative.

I sent a few PM's to CodeRage to bounce a few ideas about RIMS Tubes off of him and with his help, I think I may have come up with something that would cost only about $110 if you bought everything new. You could save some coin if you caught some of the items on Ebay.

Enter the Tri-Clover RIMS tube. Mind you, I have just put this idea together and it's possible, almost probable someone had this idea before, so if I stepped on your toes or stole your thunder, I'm sorry. I have not tried it yet but based your feedback on the idea I wouldn't mind shedding some coin and being the first.

Below is a drawing of the RIMS Tube. There is no welding and anyone with the proper parts can make it in five minutes. I plan to use a Chromalox 1500 watt, 120 vac, low density, 7 3/4" element and 4" temperature sensor. If you need a longer tube you could add a 1.5" Tri-Clover Union or another 1.5" Tri-Clover tee in the middle with a 1.5" Tri-Clover Plug to be used as a drain. It consists of two Tri-Clamp tees, some 1.5" Tri-clover to 1/2" FNPT adapters, a 1.5" Tri-clover to 1" FNPT adapter and some 1.5" Tri-Clamps and gaskets. I priced it out with brand new parts from KLG Stainless and it comes to roughly $110 but it is extremely easy to disassemble and clean. What do you guys think?

 

paledragon

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i've toyed with the same idea. the only potential issue i see is there might be some dead space on the element side (i.e. minimal or no wort movement). figure 2" of the element is in the triclamp to NPT adapter, then another 2-2.5" to reach the flow inlet on the tee. with a 1.5" threaded tee and a bushing, those distances are much shorter.

p.d.
 
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Sawdustguy

Sawdustguy

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i've toyed with the same idea. the only potential issue i see is there might be some dead space on the element side (i.e. minimal or no wort movement). figure 2" of the element is in the triclamp to NPT adapter, then another 2-2.5" to reach the flow inlet on the tee. with a 1.5" threaded tee and a bushing, those distances are much shorter.

p.d.
Dead space should not be an issue if the tube is mounted below the kettle or keggle. I don't think you would want to be running the RIMS with low or no flow as it will boil the wort in the tube in no time.
 

pickles

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I love it Sawdustguy. It's simple and I like that. I've been looking at a lot of tri clamp fittings on eBay lately and this can definately be built for less. Very cool!
 

GreenMonti

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What about using pipe fittings and then a tri-clover on one end. This way you save weight, it will be easier to mount, the element will come out easily, and cleaning will not be an issue. Just a thought.

On a lets make it better approach. I see a hop back when the element is not in use. An insert made of screen filled with hops to replace the element and a blank plugging the end, presto changeo. A hop back is born.
 

cascadia

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bendavanza, are the blank caps thick enough to drill and tap? I guess you only need a couple of threads since the element will have an o-ring. Perhaps do that at both ends to accommodate the element and the temperature probe.
 

samc

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I always see a few flakes of grain flow out of the RIMS Tube. If you are like me, this is bothersome.


I close my eyes during that part of the process!
 

GreenMonti

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bendavanza, are the blank caps thick enough to drill and tap? I guess you only need a couple of threads since the element will have an o-ring. Perhaps do that at both ends to accommodate the element and the temperature probe.

The ones I drilled and tapped I got about 3 threads.
 

cascadia

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Is three threads enough? I am very interested in this, I have been tossing around the same idea for a while now-just haven't had the funding to carry through. Threaded caps could have applications elsewhere as well.
 

GreenMonti

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Is three threads enough? I am very interested in this, I have been tossing around the same idea for a while now-just haven't had the funding to carry through. Threaded caps could have applications elsewhere as well.
I would think in this application, yes. It would be just fine. PM sent.
 
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Sawdustguy

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Threading an end cap would be cheaper but if you had the adapters, I don't think would be any caveats either. the opening in the adapter is 1.1".
 

ScubaSteve

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I had also considered this.....you could probably use an 8" extender in the middle, with a tee on one end and a cross on the other. I figure if you're making it identical to the pipe version, you could have a drain valve on the bottom of the cross (the cross fittings can be pricey though). The benefit would be that it would be shiny, match your other tri-clover stuff, it would be shiny, and you could take it apart in 30 seconds flat.
 

ScubaSteve

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What about using pipe fittings and then a tri-clover on one end. This way you save weight, it will be easier to mount, the element will come out easily, and cleaning will not be an issue. Just a thought.

On a lets make it better approach. I see a hop back when the element is not in use. An insert made of screen filled with hops to replace the element and a blank plugging the end, presto changeo. A hop back is born.
I like this. Like a "hot swap". Could get messy.....

I got a good price on a millipore filter housing that has triclover ends. It accepts a screened gasket. This will be my modular hop back.
 
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Sawdustguy

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I had also considered this.....you could probably use an 8" extender in the middle, with a tee on one end and a cross on the other. I figure if you're making it identical to the pipe version, you could have a drain valve on the bottom of the cross (the cross fittings can be pricey though). The benefit would be that it would be shiny, match your other tri-clover stuff, it would be shiny, and you could take it apart in 30 seconds flat.
Steve,

Not too worried about being shiny (I am not into Bling as much as Pol ;)) but it is nice to be able to take it apart easily to clean it well. An extra tee could be put in the middle with the center pointed down as a drain the tee would only cost another $24.00. Put an end cap on it and you are set.
 

ScubaSteve

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Guy-

So, you're saying that in order to drain, you'd just loosen the clamp....maybe take off the end cap and let 'er drip dry? Seems like it'd be easier than tapping an end cap and threading in a petcock drain valve......

:off:If you did put your RIMS in a horizontal orientation below the kettle, you'd be preventing dry firing of the element, but you'd also be able to create a central drain for all of the lines in your system. I think this might have been mentioned...not sure.
 
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Sawdustguy

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Well this morning I purchased all the parts for the Tri Clover RIMS Tube from KLG Stainless. It came to $112.00. BK turned me on the KLG Stainless. Other than his bad english, Kevin at KLG Stainless is a great guy to do business with. I will post a picture when I get the parts (They shipped the order this afternoon).
 

BadgerBrewer

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Has there been any new developments on this build? I am researching building a RIMS tube and came across this one and wondered what happened...



ah...I found the other post where you conitued this thread. Will follow it there..


Carry on.
 

bendavanza

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88Q:
I have not personally used that but I was seriously considering it. Other parts I've bought from them were top notch.
 

88Q

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Well, I bit the bullet and just ordered it. It was going to cost way too much to build one out of stainless pipe and fittings (as I have seen), and wouldn't be nearly as easy to clean as this one, besides this one is Tri clamp, like my other hardware and conical. And it looks very well made!

I'll let you all know when I get it (and use it):mug:

Dual Digital PID Temperature Control and 40 amp SolidStateRelay - $47 NEW on Ebay, plus shipping .....this makes for a really cool and affordable RIMS. Should make step mashing and mashout a breeze!
 

Ohio-Ed

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Well, I bit the bullet and just ordered it. It was going to cost way too much to build one out of stainless pipe and fittings (as I have seen), and wouldn't be nearly as easy to clean as this one, besides this one is Tri clamp, like my other hardware and conical. And it looks very well made!

I'll let you all know when I get it (and use it):mug:

Dual Digital PID Temperature Control and 40 amp SolidStateRelay - $47 NEW on Ebay, plus shipping .....this makes for a really cool and affordable RIMS. Should make step mashing and mashout a breeze!
Just FYI...

Did you catch the part about it being in beta test?

I am a beta tester and have not received the beta unit yet. I have bought several products from Derrin at Bewershardware.com and have complete faith in him to deliver this product, but wanted you to be aware, as far as I know, it is still in development.
 

88Q

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Yeah, it says 7/25 ... we are emailing back and forth as we speak, and I think it may be sooner. The two piece really looks great tho.
 

klyph

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I wonder if he'll sell just the 1" NPS to tri-clover piece. That could be implemented in other pieces of equipment as well. I'd love to have that as the element mount for my HLT/BK.
 

88Q

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What a great idea.... I shoulda thunk of that. I'll ask next email.

And even if he won't sell it, I bet it'd be a snap to turn one on my lathe!
Ya got me thinking............
 

ScubaSteve

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IF you can find the coupler.....I've looked everywhere for NPSM parts.....they'e hard to find, especially in SS.
 

88Q

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IF you can find the coupler.....I've looked everywhere for NPSM parts.....they'e hard to find, especially in SS.
I was thinking more of machining the whole thing out of one piece of 304. Inside threads isn't too difficult, but it wouldn't look as good as his, but functional.
 
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Sawdustguy

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I was thinking more of machining the whole ting out of one piece of 304. Inside threads isn't too difficult, but it wouldn't look as good as his, but functional.
Why bother? NPSM will mate with a NPT Female but you will have to use the washer that came with the element.
 

ScubaSteve

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I just built a rims tube with NPT female threads, and the threads bind before the gasket seats.
So did you keep going or stop? I have 2 camco limelife 5500w LD elements, and a 1500w LD element. None of them will thread past the first few threads in a 1" coupler. Like you, there is no contact with th gasket.

How are people getting around this?
 

paledragon

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I built the standard 1.5" nipple/tee/bushing rims chamber. The bushing where the element goes is aluminum instead of stainless. I also bought a 1" npt tap and threaded the bushing deeper until the element gasket sealed. Unless you've got the right equipment, I'm not sure you could manually do this with a stainless bushing. I just used a vise and a wrench.

P.d.
 
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Sawdustguy

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A picture is worth a thousand words. Here was my first RIMS tube with an 1" NPSM threaded element threaded all the way to the washer without modification.



Here is a picture of my new RIMS tube with the same element threaded all the way to the washer without modification. Seeing is believing.




I purchase my elements here: http://www.plumbingsupply.com/elements.html
 

paledragon

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Getting an element and bushing to seal is a roll of the dice. Sometimes it works as sawdustguy showed, sometimes it doesn't. Out of 5 elements I have 2 fit into a bushing and 3 didn't.

P.d.
 

Ohio-Ed

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Getting an element and bushing to seal is a roll of the dice. Sometimes it works as sawdustguy showed, sometimes it doesn't. Out of 5 elements I have 2 fit into a bushing and 3 didn't.

P.d.
Guess I won't be playing the lotto, I've used all my luck on elements...
I'm 3 for 3 with successfully installing into bushings.
 

ScubaSteve

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Okay, I take it back :D I tried threading the element into a 1" coupler, and it wouldn't fit. THEN, I tried it in a 1.5" TC x 1" FPT fitting, and it threaded perfectly.

The only complaint I have is that the element will touch the inside of a 1.5" TC rims tube. I'm not convinced that it's going to burn the element out, so it should be fine.
 

klyph

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So did you keep going or stop? I have 2 camco limelife 5500w LD elements, and a 1500w LD element. None of them will thread past the first few threads in a 1" coupler. Like you, there is no contact with th gasket.

How are people getting around this?
I'm just going to use thread sealant and hope for the best. Maybe a fat bead of silicone to fill the gap.
 
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Sawdustguy

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Okay, I take it back :D I tried threading the element into a 1" coupler, and it wouldn't fit. THEN, I tried it in a 1.5" TC x 1" FPT fitting, and it threaded perfectly.

The only complaint I have is that the element will touch the inside of a 1.5" TC rims tube. I'm not convinced that it's going to burn the element out, so it should be fine.
The 1500 watt should fit with no problem. Are you having trouble with the 4500 watt elements being too wide?
 
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