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Aluminium Alloy In A Bar?

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mobrien

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Hi Guys,

So I have just ordered all the stuff for my kegging setup, so now its time to start sorting out the bar!

My plan is to use a bar fridge to hold two kegs (when I find the bar fridge that will suit this purpose!). I also need a font, and I want the font to be air cooled by the bar.

I am also a SCUBA diver, and one of my tanks just failed its test. My idea is to cut the bottom off the tank, which should leave me with a 150mm closed font :D I polished up the side of it last night, and it comes to a nice shine, and all the tank markings around the top are kind of cool. I'll drill two holes halfway up the tank to mount the taps, and mount it on top of the fridge. Inside I'll insulate the tank, and the large hole in the top of the fridge should keep the beer lines cold all the way to the tap.

BUT...

The tank is an aluminium alloy tank. Does anyone think this would be a problem?

I know Aluminium will corrode preferentially over steel (thats why aluminium is used as a sacrificial anode on an oil rig), so my concerns are basically:
1. There could be some corrosion of the tank where the taps are mounted through the tank. Unlikely but possible,
2. The aluminium may not retain a high polish, instead oxidising to Aluminium oxide - but this then protects the aluminium from further corrosion so that could be a good thing. This could be countered by sealing the visual surface with a clear sealant; or rigging up some way to annodise the aluminium
3. I've never seen aluminium in a bar.... is there a reason for this?

So - I'm after ideas - what do people think?!

Thanks!

Matt
 

dicko

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mobrien,

You could possibly get it polished and chromed - mmmm, shiny!!!!!

Cheers
 

mobrien

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So I figure no-one yelled "NO, don't do it because....." so that means give it a go!

Before getting too carried away I cut a hole in the bottom. For this, I drilled a hole all the way through, then used my jigsaw to cut it out. What a long and slow job! 3 blades, 1.5hours later....

font1.jpg


font2.jpg
 

mobrien

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The hole is 120mm across, so there is tonnes of room inside. I plan to use some 100mm poly pipe inside surrounded by foam to insulate it all, but we'll see how that goes when I get to it.

Next job was to file away the neck where the valve screws in, so I get a nice round top. There was a big lump on top for the valve, but a few hours with the file soon got rid of that. I then sanded it with course through to fine sandpaper, then a quick wetdry sand.

I was careful not to sand/buff off the tank markings - I like them - they are cool!

font3.jpg


font4.jpg
 

mobrien

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Now I have to find an engineering place that can weld aluminium - I want to get the valve hole filled. Then I will shape the top to a perfect round, and sand all of it back to bare metal and mirror polish it all. So this is where it stops for now until I can find the aluminium welding place.

I bought some snaplocks with extensions on them to go through the side of the tank, so it will have two taps - DA taps which I got off ebay a couple of weeks back.

I plan to insulate the entire inside of the font, and have it mounted on top of my fridge - this way it will be air cooled (I hope) and look shiny and font like. :D

If it doesn't seem to be cool enough inside (due to heat rising inside it), I will use a coputer fan to blow col air from the bottom of the fridge to the top of the font, forcing the warmer air out. But that is a little down the track!

Stay tuned....

Matt
 

mobrien

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And here it is with the taps held in place!

M

font5.jpg
 

mobrien

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oooh! I like that idea. I could put a bar name there....

something to think about there!

M
 

big d

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top idea mobrien.
ask any boatie that owns a tinnie and they will tell you to watch out for steel in the boat as it reacts with the aluminium.
never heard of aluminium sacrificial anodes.up here we use zinc anodes on everything that touches the sea.eg wharf,sea water pumping station.
maybe some fibre washers between the font and nut will do the trick if the main shaft doesnt touch the aluminium.

cheers
big d
 

mobrien

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righto - so steel on a boat: what corrodes? the steal or the aluminium boat?

And can it be stainless?

I'm thinking I can prevent any probs with thick plastic sleeving on the shaft and some kind of plastic washer

M
 

Wortgames

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mobrien - I'll give you a couple of quick tips regarding that expanding foam space filler:

1. It expands - a lot, very slowly. Makes a big mess.

2. It is sticky as hell and NOTHING cleans it off skin, so unless you want to have disgusting hands for a few days wear rubber gloves :)

3. Don't try to clean or shape it while it is wet - you will make it worse.

These tips courtesy of last weekends chest freezer converting adventures...
 

mobrien

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Oh yeah - expanding polyurethane is messy messy stuff! And the way it makes your skin go black is just cool :D

I've used it a fair bit in the past, so I'm well prepared there. A bit late for you wortgames, but a few pointers:

1. The chemical reaction that causes it to foam is one with water. If your items are dry, and its not a humid day, it will take forever to foam, and the resulting foam will be dense. Conversly, if its a humid day, you will get a faster, fluffier foam. A spray bottle of water is good to have on hand - I spray at least one surface with a mist of water, then the reaction is fairly quick. As an aside, if after 24 hours your foam is still tacky, you can just spray the entire object with water - this will finish of the reaction, set the foam, set the surface, and you can work with it in minutes then. It won't change the foaming as its already foamed! The cool thing about this is that it is waterproof glue too!

2. Getting off the foam is hard but not impossible. The sooner you try the better. but DON'T use water!!! As mentioned above it will just set it harder :D Use a solvent such a metho or turps, then wash your hands with a degreasing soap such as solval (the yellow cake with sand like particles in it).

3. Polyurethane sticks well to everything! Mask off the areas around enterance holes for the foam can or along joins with masking tape and plastic wrap. Then after it sets you can just pull it all off and its clean :D If you so spot rogue foam, remove it while it is wet, then spray with water - this will create the light fluffy foam which is tonnes easier to remove than the hard dense foam

Enough from me - I should get back to the font building!

Matt
 

Doc

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I can't offer any advice on metals etc, but I'm following this topic because from what I can see so far the project results will be awesome.
Just think of all the beers you will have to pour from it to fully test it :chug:
Looking forward to more photos as the project progresses.

My one piece of advice would be to plan the tap placement/spacing so that you can add more later. I started with 2 taps, then three. Freezer upgrade and I'm at four currently but could easily go to five.

Doc
 

mobrien

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thanks for the advice Doc - I initially was planning two taps at right angles, but now am thinking two taps at 120 deg - that way I can fit another one in the middle. I'm actually even thinking about mounting the snaplock now, so down the track all I would have to do is screw the beer line in and snap on a tap :D

I can't wait to keep on with this one - I think I have decided to just go with my original plan to fill the valve hole - it will be a little more timeless and be more likely to still be "cool" in 20 years! The old KISS principle....

If only aluminium welding places were open on a Sunday!!

Matt
 

Vlad the Pale Aler

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Last time I was in Ultimate Air in Perth, they had heaps of secondhand taptops, I picked up a Bass pale Ale for $8.
 

Doc

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mobrien said:
I can't wait to keep on with this one - I think I have decided to just go with my original plan to fill the valve hole - it will be a little more timeless and be more likely to still be "cool" in 20 years! The old KISS principle....
[post="56117"][/post]​
How about something simple on top ?
Get an 8 ball and epoxy it to a large bolt that screws in.

Beers,
Doc

8ball_knob.jpg
 

mobrien

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My wife tells me I should get a scuba reg and screw it in - but have it connected to the beer......

And she says I'm crazy :D :D :D!

M
 

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