Soldering Stainless steel

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

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

fork

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2008
Messages
120
Reaction score
8
I'd like to do this with a one inch half coupler on a keg for a heating element. What would you guys use to cut a hole that big. Im guessing it will be about an inch and a half. Using an inch and a half hole saw in a curved stainless keg sounds like it would go badly. I also don't want to buy an expensive greenlee punch set. Has anyone successfully used a big holesaw with a hand drill on an interrupted cut like this.
 

adivito

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2010
Messages
183
Reaction score
1
Location
Naperville
I did mine with a step bit, and ended up having to take the die grinder in after to open it up a little. For the element I really recommend using boobym's welding spuds.
 

ekjohns

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
1,432
Reaction score
25
Location
NC
does anyone have a video or pictures if using the spud? Also where did you find a step bit that big?
 

ekjohns

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
1,432
Reaction score
25
Location
NC
well I already have a hole that was made via a greenle punch so I could use a weldless. I would like to make it welded so it will need to be expanded to fit the spud and I imagine using a hole saw to enlarge a hole will be difficult.
 

DustBow

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2010
Messages
584
Reaction score
20
Location
Cincy, OH
Not sure if there are any step bits that big, I used a punch - I belive it was 1-5/8"

would your current hole be too close in size to punch a bigger one?
 

ekjohns

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
1,432
Reaction score
25
Location
NC
A bigger punch would probably work. The problem is I am grad student on a budget! Dustbow do you still have the punch and could measure the diameter and that way I can check to see if it would work before I spend forever looking for a deal I can afford.
 

slakwhere

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2009
Messages
762
Reaction score
21
Location
Salt Lake City
well I already have a hole that was made via a greenle punch so I could use a weldless. I would like to make it welded so it will need to be expanded to fit the spud and I imagine using a hole saw to enlarge a hole will be difficult.
does it have to be in that same spot? could you just solder in a coupler or half coupler and use that for something else? thermometer/sight glass/thermocouple/whirlpool port/herms coil/etc ?
 

fork

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2008
Messages
120
Reaction score
8
forget the step bit. use a hole saw. much quicker and cheaper.
Have you personally use a hole saw to drill a keg? Three things that are bad for hole saws are stainless, interrupted cuts (curved surfaces) and sheet metal. I'm just interested if anyone has done this without breaking their wrist or burning up the saw half way through.
 

slakwhere

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2009
Messages
762
Reaction score
21
Location
Salt Lake City
i did my first set of holes with the step bit. seemed to burn them out, certain sizes in the bit would get too hot and get dull. you're basically drilling 8 holes to get to the size you need.

i did all my new HLT and BK electric stuff with 2 hole saws, one for the heating element and one for the 1/2" couplers. faster and easier than the step bit, no question. left the edge just a little rougher than the step bit, but i went and cleaned it up with a file or grinding stone and all is well.
 

DustBow

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2010
Messages
584
Reaction score
20
Location
Cincy, OH
A bigger punch would probably work. The problem is I am grad student on a budget! Dustbow do you still have the punch and could measure the diameter and that way I can check to see if it would work before I spend forever looking for a deal I can afford.
I will check the exact size tonight - I know I went right off of Bobby's site and he lists 2 sizes for the 1" spud, I'm almost positive I ended up with the bigger size, 1-5/8 instead of 1-9/16. I had a really good week on Ebay a few months back and scored several Greenlee punches in useful sizes.

The small size would probably make for an easier solder job since the fit would be more snug, but I managed OK with the 1-5/8 hole.

I will confirm the size tonight, maybe we could work out a deal and I could ship it to you as long as you ship it back. You're not too far away
 

BlackNotch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2008
Messages
136
Reaction score
3
Location
Wilmington, DE
I used the cheap Harbor Freight punch kit with good results. The hole was a tad smaller than the diameter of my welding spud, so I just took a step bit and drilled around the edge of the hole until it fit. The manual says its 1 1/4" but it makes a bigger hole than that. I was able to make two holes with this kit in two different kegs, but Im not sure how many uses you will get from a $20 kit. http://www.harborfreight.com/knockout-punch-kit-91201.html
 

P-J

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Mar 7, 2010
Messages
3,336
Reaction score
296
Location
Charlotte, NC
I used the cheap Harbor Freight punch kit with good results. The hole was a tad smaller than the diameter of my welding spud, so I just took a step bit and drilled around the edge of the hole until it fit. The manual says its 1 1/4" but it makes a bigger hole than that. I was able to make two holes with this kit in two different kegs, but Im not sure how many uses you will get from a $20 kit. http://www.harborfreight.com/knockout-punch-kit-91201.html
Harbor Freight punch sets are "Electrical Conduit Punches" & punch a hole for conduit fittings.

Here are the stated sizes and the actual hole size:

Die - Actual Hole
1/2" = 7/8"
3/4" = 1-3/32"
1" = 1-11/32"
1-1/4" = 1-11/16"

So, with that stated, be very careful.

P-J
 

ekjohns

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
1,432
Reaction score
25
Location
NC
Thanks PJ, the spud needs between 1 9/16" - 1 5/8". In other words the harbor freight ones are either too small (1-11/32") or too big ( 1-11/16")
 

BlackNotch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2008
Messages
136
Reaction score
3
Location
Wilmington, DE
ekjohns said:
where did you get yours if you do not mind me asking


image-3894475460.jpg

I got mine from Amazon, I wanted to buy from Bobby, but he was out of 1/2" spuds and Amazon had both. The 1" spud fits a Camco ripple.
 

fork

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2008
Messages
120
Reaction score
8
Where did you get the punch 1-5/8 doesn't seem to be a common size

Edit oops i see.harbor frieght
 

NewBrewB

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
807
Reaction score
47
Location
Pace
Important tip, people:

If you build a keg tool. Be sure you tighten the NUT SIDE, not the bolt side.... I'm sure somewhere in the 26 pages of this thread, this was mentioned and I missed it but I'm posting anyway. If you tighten the bolt, the threads will get destroyed and you will find yourself inventing new ways of leveraging torque to pull it back out again. Then, you'll have to order a new bolt/nut and wait for shipping, to try again.

Thanks for listening.

Edit: speaking of...if anyone knows a good place to buy a 9/16 bolt and nut please pm me (no, hd and lowes dont have that size)
 

fork

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2008
Messages
120
Reaction score
8
You could try ace hardware, true value, or tractor supply. If the threads stripped out you are really stressing th bolt, maybe the fit is too tight. Also try and get a grade 8 bolt or grade 5 at least and put some grease on the threads.
 

NewBrewB

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
807
Reaction score
47
Location
Pace
Thanks for the suggestions on where I can buy a replacement locally.

The real problem is that I was turning the bolt, so the threads got messed up by grating against the washers. The torque was to get the nut back off so I didnt have an unuseable keg. All good now--just wanted to warn others to turn the nut side.
 

allclene

Beer, What a beautiful thing
Joined
Oct 18, 2011
Messages
236
Reaction score
2
Location
payson
I baught my bolts at ace and I actually baught the bolt called for here and the next shorter size. I find it easier to press the coupler in with the long one and make the demple with the shorter one due to threads on the bolt being shorter than the ones people order. It works pretty good.
 

NewBrewB

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
807
Reaction score
47
Location
Pace
I just soldered my last coupling into place.... a half-coupling for my temp probe. Unfortunately, I didn't test-fit it so I didn't realize that only one side works. With a 50/50 chance of getting it right, I soldered it in backwards.

What do I do now?

Toying with a few ideas, including using my step-bit to drill out the inner edge of the coupler from the outside, hoping that I can get the probe threads to line up (and that the act of drilling will not torque my solder too much). Also considering blasting it with the torch and then banging it with a hammer until it comes loose, sanding it all down, and re-soldering it in place. A last idea is screwing a stainless steel plug into the coupler from the inside and making a new hole for the temp probe, but then I'm going to be short a coupler. Help!

Arrgghh.. Why don't you guys live next door to me to help protect me from myself!??!
 

starman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2011
Messages
457
Reaction score
26
Location
Chicago Burbs
I just soldered my last coupling into place.... a half-coupling for my temp probe. Unfortunately, I didn't test-fit it so I didn't realize that only one side works. With a 50/50 chance of getting it right, I soldered it in backwards.

What do I do now?

Toying with a few ideas, including using my step-bit to drill out the inner edge of the coupler from the outside, hoping that I can get the probe threads to line up (and that the act of drilling will not torque my solder too much). Also considering blasting it with the torch and then banging it with a hammer until it comes loose, sanding it all down, and re-soldering it in place. A last idea is screwing a stainless steel plug into the coupler from the inside and making a new hole for the temp probe, but then I'm going to be short a coupler. Help!

Arrgghh.. Why don't you guys live next door to me to help protect me from myself!??!
Torch it, smack it, clean it up & start over. RDW
 

NewBrewB

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
807
Reaction score
47
Location
Pace
torched it
smacked it (about 35 times)
cleaned it up
pulled it back in place
TESTED TO MAKE SURE IT WAS NOT BACKWARDS
soldered!

Thanks Starman!
 

slakwhere

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2009
Messages
762
Reaction score
21
Location
Salt Lake City
i like to put a big, black X on the outside (threaded) edge of the half couplings to make sure i get them in the right orientation. glad to hear you got it sorted.
 

CoalCracker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
1,654
Reaction score
106
Location
Macungie, Pa
I don't know if it was asked elsewhere as I can't read through all the pages but I tried to get a good idea of what was going on.

I am going to be doing this with tri clovers. The outside diameter is 1.5" and it looks like a 1 3/8 inch hole would work perfectly. Are people finding that leaving a 1/8in relief between the initial hole and the OD of their coupling is ideal? I would like enough of a shoulder for the solder to fill in and not so much that I split the stainless.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Messages
1,004
Reaction score
238
Location
Las Vegas
I don't know if it was asked elsewhere as I can't read through all the pages but I tried to get a good idea of what was going on.

I am going to be doing this with tri clovers. The outside diameter is 1.5" and it looks like a 1 3/8 inch hole would work perfectly. Are people finding that leaving a 1/8in relief between the initial hole and the OD of their coupling is ideal? I would like enough of a shoulder for the solder to fill in and not so much that I split the stainless.
Should be close, I used a 13/16" greenlee punch for 1" tri-clovers for my keggle, and it worked just fine.
 

CoalCracker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
1,654
Reaction score
106
Location
Macungie, Pa
I did one hole last night. I used a step bit and drilled to 1 3/8 then used the dimpling tool. I did it right on the ridge of the barrel and it didn't quite go like planned. I have about a 1/16" gap on one side i'm hoping the solder will fill in. I can also probably get a block of wood and whack it with a hammer to see if I can close it a bit. I'm hoping the rest of the holes go a bit smoother. Took me about 2 hours to get this one right...
 

fork

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2008
Messages
120
Reaction score
8
I would think you could knock in the area that has a gap with a ball peen hammer or hammer something like wood.
 

CoalCracker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
1,654
Reaction score
106
Location
Macungie, Pa
Yea that's what I'm thinking too.

Has anyone thought of using a bottle jack on blocks? This may not work for everyone but I have a 42g Barrel. Thinking of putting a piece of wood or tow in the barrel, place the bottle jack, then pump it up to the point of the hole, place another block of wood, then the reducer and start pumping. Seems like it would work great.
 

krazydave

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2010
Messages
944
Reaction score
43
Location
Summerton
I would just hit it with a hammer. I accidentally pulled my tool through a bit too far on one of my couplers and the coupler would just fall through. A few quick taps with a hammer and it was all good again.
 

AllanMar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
192
Reaction score
7
Location
Canada
Does anyone have any idea if you could make a dimple for a tangential inlet this way? Would have to modify the tool so it would pull out on an angle rather then straight out of course.

Anyone have any thoughts if this might work, or if the keg might deform in some way? I'm assuming if you made a regular dimple you wouldn't be able to simply hammer the coupler over that much?
 

wilserbrewer

BIAB Expert Tailor
HBT Sponsor
Joined
May 25, 2007
Messages
11,264
Reaction score
2,850
Location
New Jersey
Does anyone have any idea if you could make a dimple for a tangential inlet this way? Would have to modify the tool so it would pull out on an angle rather then straight out of course.

Anyone have any thoughts if this might work, or if the keg might deform in some way? I'm assuming if you made a regular dimple you wouldn't be able to simply hammer the coupler over that much?
I'm sure it could be done w/ the right tooling. It does get complicated fast as the hole would be more oval than round, but someone or something shaped and welded the keg and that is far beyond a simple fitting.
 
Top