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Boiler Keg Fittings Advice

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Rubes

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For those who have converted a keg and gone down the welded fittings option would you recommend a nipple fitting, socket or something else as the item to weld in place for the ball valve? Why?

Come to think of it do I really want to weld? I have a welding mate so it won't cost me any extra but I suppose I haven't really considered a no-weld option. My gut feeling is welding is a better long term bet. Agree?

I am leaning towards welding a socket to the keg rather than a nipple going 1/2" all through-out. Mainly it is aesthetic in that I think it looks cleaner but also I figure if I ever want to patch the drill hole up I can cap it easily. Also there are no exposed threads so less chance they get damaged if I dismantle for cleaning and move the keg around. The down side is that I would still need a nipple to connect the ball valve so it would be a tiny bit more pricey.
 

JasonY

The Imperial Metric Brewery
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Just converted a keg last weekend. I used std brass fittings (yes I know dissimilar metels corrode ... but it wont be fast). If I had access to someone who could weld it then I would probably go that way, cleaner solution and you should have no leaks ever (if they are a good welder :) )
 

Hoops

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Rubes

I went for a bulkhead fitting rather than welding for a couple of reasons
Easy - bulkheaad is just 2 washers, 2 orings plus a male fitting and a female fitting to screw together. All you need to do is cut a small round hole (I used a dremmel)
Cleaning - the whole lot can easily be removed and cleaned.
Practicality - If you want to change the fitting to something different later you can.
Skill level - You don't need a welder ;)

Hoops
 

Jazman

Fishweide BrauHaus
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i was luck got a mig welder at work with stainless steel wire so i could weld it my self i cover a hole in mine as it was threaded for the ball vavle so i have stainless fittings but i welded them as it being different sort of threads and welded handles to will post pic soon
 

Justin

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I went the stainless steel socket Rubes, and I'm happy with it. I was going to go a bulkhead but I had access to a TIG welder so if you can get it welded, then weld it.

One thing to watch out for though, I got my uncle to weld it (whether he's a good welder or not I don't really know) but during the welding the socket got very hot and it damaged some of the thread on the inside the socket. Now this wasn't an issue in the way my keg is set up so it's fine. I had my socket welded in so that half was inside the keg and half was outside (probably about a 2" socket), so the thread that got damaged was right in the middle of the socket and so it was ok. This allowed me to easily put a 1/2" nipple/compression fitting inside for a pick up tube and a 1/2" nipple to ball valve outside. Only go for 1/2" fittings as they are easiest to get, but I think you knew that.

Now, if I had tried to weld it so that it was flush with the inside (ie. not half in/half out) then the damaged thread would have caused me all kinds of trouble trying to fit a nipple and then pickup tube on the inside. Now having said that, I don't even have a pick up tube on my kettle. I just drain straight out the hole, works fine I loose maybe 4-5L but it's mostly trub and hot break, I don't worry about trying to filter this stuff out.

Cheers, Justin
 

Trough Lolly

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I'm doing a weldless conversion right now...Sure if you can get a welder then go for it - but I don't think its the end of the world if you don't have your fittings welded...
I have found some good web articles on keg conversions that you may want to take a look at - they gave me some good tips on how to do the job.
This site here is a good overview for converting kegs to either HLT's Mash Tuns or Boilers.
This is a good primer from the Texan Brewers here on converting a keg - I followed this article and had no probs with a De Walt grinder and metal disk (to cut out the top hole - after I relieved the pressure in the keg - it still had some Stella Artois in it :D ). I will buy a metal hole saw for the bulkhead fitting when I can get to the plumbing supplier.
You also need to consider how you are gonna set up the inside of the kettle - ie, are you going to fit a SS screen with elbow and pickup tube or do as I plan to do and fit a SS T piece on the valve and run some SS braided hose around the kettle to pick up the wort and leave behind the trub and goo - like a giant bazooka. A few pictures to help you work out what you want to do are also available on the brewiki website that Sosman has setup here.
Cheers,
TL

Edit - One last thing...Have a look at the Worthog website here. It is a solution for a mash tun but you get to see the principles behind doing this in a kettle - using SS fittings instead of the nylon ones that wouldn't do too well in a 90 min boil ;) ...
 
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