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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: saintpierre on August 03, 2010, 11:10:39 PM

Title: installing ball valve and therm well in S/S pot
Post by: saintpierre on August 03, 2010, 11:10:39 PM
Since making the leap to AG I have been pondering the fate of my old brewpot. 
I have a spare ball valve and brewmometer that I would like to install in this pot.
I have read that I can drill a hole using a step drill bit. Or would finding a friend with the ability to weld be more appropriate?
Thanks for the help.
Title: Re: installing ball valve and therm well in S/S pot
Post by: BrewArk on August 04, 2010, 03:55:02 AM
If you have a friend that'll do a good job for beer, that's best.  I'm not a welder, but I've been told that ss is difficult to weld.  That said, the guy that did mine did a great job for a case of homebrew.

Most of the postings I've seen for the weldless fittings have been positive, so if your friend is a novice with stainless, do it youself & have a beer afterward! :)
Title: Re: installing ball valve and therm well in S/S pot
Post by: wingnut on August 04, 2010, 04:19:47 AM
Drilling Stainless requires a bit of care, but should not be a big issue.

1.) Drill a pilot hole for the step bit, to help keep it on center.
2.) Using plenty of pressure, and going slow to allow the cutting action to work, drill.
3.) After drilling, sand the hole with a bit of sandpaper. (not Steel Wool) This removes the burrs.

4.) You may consider a weldless fitting for your ball valve.  I have been using one for well over two years now and I have had no issues with it. 

Good luck!
Title: Re: installing ball valve and therm well in S/S pot
Post by: beerrat on August 04, 2010, 04:49:44 PM
Drilling Stainless requires a bit of care, but should not be a big issue.

1.) Drill a pilot hole for the step bit, to help keep it on center.
2.) Using plenty of pressure, and going slow to allow the cutting action to work, drill.
3.) After drilling, sand the hole with a bit of sandpaper. (not Steel Wool) This removes the burrs.

4.) You may consider a weldless fitting for your ball valve.  I have been using one for well over two years now and I have had no issues with it. 

+1 - had same experience - I have a drill press so made it easy for me to control step drill pressure.  I added a ball valve and thermometer to a polar ware stainless steel pot and no issues with it for a year of brewing.
Title: Re: installing ball valve and therm well in S/S pot
Post by: narvin on August 04, 2010, 07:27:13 PM
No need to apply excessive pressure, IMO.  Let the tool do the work!

The step bit that I purchased didn't need a pilot hole. Also, I found that cold water from the garden hose worked as well or better than any cutting oil.
Title: Re: installing ball valve and therm well in S/S pot
Post by: saintpierre on August 04, 2010, 10:13:40 PM
Drilling Stainless requires a bit of care, but should not be a big issue.

1.) Drill a pilot hole for the step bit, to help keep it on center.
2.) Using plenty of pressure, and going slow to allow the cutting action to work, drill.
3.) After drilling, sand the hole with a bit of sandpaper. (not Steel Wool) This removes the burrs.


For the pilot hole would you use a standard metal drill bit or does this require a special tool.  I believe my step bit would do the job but I want it to look like it was fabricated not hacked together.
Title: Re: installing ball valve and therm well in S/S pot
Post by: saintpierre on August 04, 2010, 10:15:29 PM
I have a drill press so made it easy for me to control step drill pressure.

lucky  ;D
Title: Re: installing ball valve and therm well in S/S pot
Post by: richardt on August 04, 2010, 11:28:02 PM
Read some the other posts on this forum for the details and opinions you're seeking.
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1079.15 (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1079.15)
and
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=2644.0 (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=2644.0)

Most step drill bits are available online for a lot less than what you'd pay at HD or Lowes.  They are also self-starting.

A hand-held drill and proper orientation (perpendicular to the surface) will work fine.  After taking appropriate measurements, I made my hole in the SS boil kettle from the outside in.

Just make sure your weldless kit is purchased beforehand.  You want to make sure you leave enough room for the washer that goes on the inside, so raise the planned drill hole to an appropriate height.

IMO, you don't need sandpaper or dremels to remove the burrs.  Just use the step drill bit on the inside to remove them--it works perfectly to remove the burrs without scratching the surrounding SS kettle.
Title: Re: installing ball valve and therm well in S/S pot
Post by: saintpierre on August 05, 2010, 04:24:08 PM
Read some the other posts on this forum for the details and opinions you're seeking.
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1079.15 (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1079.15)
and
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=2644.0 (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=2644.0)

Most step drill bits are available online for a lot less than what you'd pay at HD or Lowes.  They are also self-starting.

A hand-held drill and proper orientation (perpendicular to the surface) will work fine.  After taking appropriate measurements, I made my hole in the SS boil kettle from the outside in.

Just make sure your weldless kit is purchased beforehand.  You want to make sure you leave enough room for the washer that goes on the inside, so raise the planned drill hole to an appropriate height.

IMO, you don't need sandpaper or dremels to remove the burrs.  Just use the step drill bit on the inside to remove them--it works perfectly to remove the burrs without scratching the surrounding SS kettle.

Thanks for the information.  Really helpful!  I think I will try to make this happen, this weekend.
Title: Re: installing ball valve and therm well in S/S pot
Post by: IHBHS on August 05, 2010, 09:33:27 PM
I would not recommend step bits for stainless, I had a big problem with mine.  for weldless fittings you should need to drill a 7/8" hole, Which I piloted with a 1/4 and used a hole saw to finish.
Title: Re: installing ball valve and therm well in S/S pot
Post by: vinsthb on August 06, 2010, 01:45:16 PM
Make sure to use constant pressure because some stainless steel work hardens. With that said good luck.