Pneumatic Bottle Capper - Just...because.

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

-TH-

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
913
Reaction score
109
Location
Zeeland, Michigan
Its not like my bench capper was all that slow or required that much effort, but after all I am an engineer and if something can be done with power (or in this case pneumatics) well then it's a must right? I'm also fortunate enough to have access to craploads of spare parts like air cylinders, scrap metal and the like, so that helps too.

The air cylinder is a 2" bore spring-return cylinder with a 5/8-18 threaded rod end, which is perfect because a standard capper bell screwed right on. On the base I stuck on an "alignment" plate that I made out of lexan to make it easy to align the bottles each time. By the way I only use one size of bottle so I built the capper accordingly. Obviously it wouldn't work for very many other sizes. In the video its running at 100 psi.






 
Last edited by a moderator:

slowbie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2009
Messages
641
Reaction score
15
Location
Raleigh, NC
fantastic. i love it. if i bottled id buy one from you. how much does bottle height matter?
Although I'm not the OP, I would think that if you had shorter bottles you could make blocks for each bottle height to put on the base, but if you had taller bottles you'd be out of luck. The real problem is that if you're off by too much in the wrong direction you could end up with broken glass all over, which is less likely to be a problem with a manual capper because you can stop once the cap is on.
 
OP
-TH-

-TH-

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
913
Reaction score
109
Location
Zeeland, Michigan
The cylinder has a 2" stroke and I'd say I'm only using 1" of that with my bottles.

The cylinder is 2" bore (NOT 3" like I first posted - fixed now) so at 100psi I'm getting 100 x pi x (1^2) = 314 pounds. This sounds like a lot but my bench capper has a lever that multplies force by 8 (10 / 1.25), so I can get the same force by exerting 39.25 lbs on the lever. I'm sure people do that all the time without breaking bottles. Just to be safe though I want to make sure my bottles are lined up correctly every time:D. I will probably run it at more like 80-90psi when bottling a whole batch.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2007
Messages
62,016
Reaction score
6,918
very cool man. Nice and simple. the divot in the in the bottom for bottle alignment definitely seems to be key. Do you plan on pinned adapter plates for different bottles or just using one bottle style for simplicity? If I still bottled, I would copy this for sure.
 

Homercidal

Licensed Sensual Massage Therapist.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 10, 2008
Messages
33,310
Reaction score
5,713
Location
Reed City, MI
Hmm... Seems like you *could* build it with an adjustable height and a preset pressure limit. That way you could simply slide the thing up or down for different bottle heights and the auto pressure limit would help eliminate broken glass... Dont' ask me how to do this.
 
OP
-TH-

-TH-

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
913
Reaction score
109
Location
Zeeland, Michigan
Fortunately for me I have only ever collected one style & size of bottle. It’s the real common 9” high long-neck with the recessed area for the label. Lots of brewing co’s use them (RedHook, Victory, FlyingDog, etc.) even the Costco brand. There’s another bottle that’s real similar with smooth sides (no recessed area) but for some reason I never saved those (Bell’s for example). They would probably work too. Anyways since I had no reason to make it adjustable, I didn’t. I probably could have, but it would have gotten more complicated and/or less durable. As far as limiting the pressure, I do that with the regulator on my compressor.

I'm looking forward to doing a whole batch with it this weekend. :D
 

diatonic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
716
Reaction score
12
Location
Boise, ID
Very, very cool. I may have to add one of these to the "someday projects" list. :mug:
 

Catt22

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
4,998
Reaction score
80
Nice! I noticed that you place the cap on the bottle. Nothing wrong with that, but my bench capper has a magnet inside the bell which holds the cap. Does yours not have a magnet like that? Just curious. I'm also thinking that you might be able to rig it to be self adjusting for different bottle sizes by using a compression spring mechanism above the bell like a shock absorber sort of. Don't know if that's clear or not and not sure if it would be worth the trouble to build, but if you need something to work on, that might be it!
 

eharper

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2007
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
Location
Charlotte
If that's the case, and if the bell is steel, couldn't you just throw a magnet on the outside of it to hold the cap? I'll have to try that when i get home just for kicks.
 
OP
-TH-

-TH-

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
913
Reaction score
109
Location
Zeeland, Michigan
Yeah I messed around a bit with magnets. The key to an inside-the-bell magnet is to have it extend down to the cap, but then be able to retract out of the way when capping. The rod end of the air cylinder is solid so there's no room for anything to go unless I hollowed it out some (believe me I thought of it). I tried magnets on the outside of the bell too but couldn't get it to hold consistently.

Now what I really want to make is some sort of automatic cap feeder...hmmm
 

kmack747

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
154
Reaction score
0
Location
Bad Axe, Michigan
I like it and I like the fact that the stroke of the cylinder will allow for slight variances in bottle height.
 

Schnitzengiggle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
2,560
Reaction score
40
Location
Tucson
Bottle capping porn at its best, great job.

Make it adjustable and market that badboy!
 

MacBruver

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2009
Messages
612
Reaction score
7
Location
Orange County, CA
Man, that thing is badass. But...

Personally I wouldn't want to have my hand anywhere near that bottle when firing the capper. While it may seem like a reasonable amount of force, it only takes one bad bottle... and that'd most likely be a lot of glass shards jammed squarely into your palm.

In factories, a lot of machines like this have two switches to activate them, meaning you can't physically put your hand anywhere near it when it does its thing.

I think it'd be a good idea to at least figure out some way for it to hold the bottle such that you don't have to have your hand wrapped around it when the capper comes down... but that's just me.
 

Beermaker

The NAVY WALRUS
Joined
Oct 30, 2005
Messages
839
Reaction score
3
Location
Beautiful Beaumont, TX
I think most commercial cappers run about 78 psi, and that should not be too hard to adjust to. How much would you consider selling 1 for? Can it be modified to 12 and 22 oz bottles?
 

demonrichie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Messages
446
Reaction score
2
Location
Kingston Ontario
thats sick. i think one of the ways some1 could make it more versatile for different bottles would be to make it taller and use different wood blocks cut to different heights
 
OP
-TH-

-TH-

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
913
Reaction score
109
Location
Zeeland, Michigan
I appreciate the concerns for bottle breakage, I just think if it were going to happen you would see it a lot more often on a bench capper. I pressed on a bathroom scale this morning with the force approximate to what I use to bench cap, and it read around 60 lbs (it really doesn't take much to get there - try it!). The lever on my bench capper is 10" long, and the distance from the pivot point to the capping point is 1.25", therefore a force at the 1.25" point will be 8 times greater than the force at the 10" point, so 60 lbs at the handle will be...wait for it...480 lbs. And thats not counting the quick spikes in force that might happen since your arm has a hard time of applying a nice even force. My pneumatic capper on the other hand clamps at a nice and even 283 lbs @90psi.
 

mvhsbball22

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2009
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
Location
Philadelphia
There is nothing that's not entirely awesome about that thing.

We of the non-engineering world salute you, my friend.
 

Dwain

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
1,135
Reaction score
7
Location
Hill Country, TX
A couple of things:
First, outfreakingstanding job on the capper.
2nd, I was recently capping a few bottles out of a batch with a hand capper, and one of the bottle tops broke. No shrieking shards of glass, just a small crunch. It was a Beck's bottle, and had never been used since originally bottled. All of this to say, I would guess that this is how the pneumatic capper would fail a bottle. However, for the more safety oriented people, it would be easy to add a short "sleeve" that the bottle would set in to hold it still while it was capped. One regular leather glove to set/remove the bottles with shouldn't be too bad either. - Dwain
 

jezter6

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 1, 2006
Messages
4,287
Reaction score
15
Location
DARLINGTON
That is the single most awesome thing ever.

Something like this NEEDS to be on the market for homebrew bottlers.

I keg, but honestly - if I had an awesome bastard like that --- I'd seriously go back to bottling some of my brews.

If you could make it so that it's interchangeable as a corker and bottler, I would buy one in a heartbeat.
 

jburdett

Active Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2010
Messages
37
Reaction score
1
Location
Exeter
Awesome...


I think i need to build one... any suggestions on where to find an air cylinder? Would a smaller bore work just as well at higher pressure? or should i look just for a 2"? -John
 

oceanselv

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2009
Messages
471
Reaction score
5
Location
Holly Springs, NC
What an awesome machine. I agree with you on the glass breakage will not be an issue. Glass is a fragile material only when you place a sudden sharp change in pressure on a very focused point. Much like a hen can sit on her eggs, yet an eggshell will crumble when you hit it on the edge of a bowl. When a hen sits on her eggs the force is applies evenly over the surface of the egg. Yet when you strike the egg against a bowl you are placing enough force on one very focused spot to break the eggshell. To shatter the bottle you would need to do the same. However as the cylinder descends it is placing pressure evenly along the top of a properly placed bottle the pressure is evenly distributed throughout the bottle. If the bottle is not properly aligned the bottle may still not break. It will initially develop a crack. The crack will develop because glass is a crystalline structure and the unequal pressure has created a fissure in the crystal structure. With enough applied pressure the crack will indeed cause a breakage, but it is in unlikely to cause flying shrapnel.

Keep in mind glass in the correct crystal form is used to cut steel.
 
OP
-TH-

-TH-

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
913
Reaction score
109
Location
Zeeland, Michigan
Well you know I just HAD to model this in CAD before making it...


I don't have a detailed drawing though (but could easy enough :))

The air cylinder is manufactured by American Cylinder, p/n: 2000SN-2.00. I see you can buy it direct from their website for about $65 here: http://www.americancylinder.com/mm5...ode=A&Product_Code=JAA0200&Category_Code=K_SN. Of course you might be able to find it cheaper somewhere else. Other cylinders will work fine too, but the nice thing about that one is it has a 5/8-18 threaded rod end which allows a standard capper bell to screw right on.

Cheers!
 

diatonic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
716
Reaction score
12
Location
Boise, ID
Can that software export to something AutoCAD can work with? I'd imagine it would export to .dwg. That would be rad if you could post a link to a dwg file... I'd even add the dimension annotations :)

EDIT: Also, does anyone know a source for capper bells other than taking one from an existing bench capper?
 
Top