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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: kohlerbeer on August 05, 2010, 11:23:32 PM

Title: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: kohlerbeer on August 05, 2010, 11:23:32 PM
I am building my system.  I contacted a local brewery, and they gave me a damaged keg.  I intend to use it as a brew kettle.  It is an old style keg with a bung. 

To convert it to a kettle, I am going to cut an opening in the top and seal the bung.  Any suggestions on how I can cut the opening?  Dremel? blow torch?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: IHBHS on August 05, 2010, 11:32:46 PM
I use my 4 1'2" angle grinder with a skinny wheel on it to cut the top out, then i can use the piece i cut out for a false bottom after i drill a ton of holes in it.
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: capozzoli on August 05, 2010, 11:33:54 PM
Dont use a torch it wont cut SS. If you know a welder with a plasma cutter that will be best.

Or you have to use a jig saw or sawsall. But it takes forever and you will use a lot of blades.

Do you have a grinder? You can fix a grinder to some kind of guide using the bung hole as a center point.
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: kohlerbeer on August 05, 2010, 11:35:17 PM
Thanks.  I like the idea of using the top as a false bottom.
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: IHBHS on August 05, 2010, 11:43:47 PM
np, for the guide i just used the safety shield on my grinder and pressed it up against the outer rim of the keg, that gives me the biggest hole in the top and then you can cut down the top to best fit the bottom to use as the FB
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: jeffy on August 06, 2010, 02:19:27 AM
I have used a cut-off wheel on a die grinder with success.  One thing I found useful was to have water in the keg - it cuts down on the noise and heat.
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: abraxas on August 06, 2010, 04:34:13 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EQlMy7x6rM
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: beerocd on August 06, 2010, 05:52:44 AM
$15 for a professional to do it with a plasma torch. I tried DIY, busted a wheel, got a monster welt on my leg, loaded em all up on the truck and paid a pro. Not that I'm trying to talk you out of DIY - just sayin', me and grinders -  :-\
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: riverrat on August 06, 2010, 02:41:41 PM
I've done 5 with a pneumatic angle grinder and cut off wheel.  First one (total of 6) someone else did with a plasma torch, and it took 3 times as long to clean that up than it took to cut out and clean up with an angle grinder.
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: tom on August 06, 2010, 04:23:22 PM
All of the above work. I would recommend using the tools that you already have and saving the $ for ingredients.
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: micsager on August 06, 2010, 08:15:09 PM
Dont use a torch it wont cut SS. If you know a welder with a plasma cutter that will be best.

Or you have to use a jig saw or sawsall. But it takes forever and you will use a lot of blades.

Do you have a grinder? You can fix a grinder to some kind of guide using the bung hole as a center point.

+1 on the plasma cutter.  I'm lucky enough the guy accross the street has one.  It's amazing simple with a plasma cutter.
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: jptheelder on August 08, 2010, 12:43:31 AM
grinder with a cut off wheel worked for me. I kinda suck at it so it's a little jagged in spots.most people would be fine.
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: capozzoli on August 08, 2010, 01:03:10 AM
I've done 5 with a pneumatic angle grinder and cut off wheel.  First one (total of 6) someone else did with a plasma torch, and it took 3 times as long to clean that up than it took to cut out and clean up with an angle grinder.

I think I know why it was so rough. If you cut stainless with compressed air the molten ss at the plasma point gets way contaminated. If you used compressed argon it makes for a much cleaner cut. Shouldn't need grinding at all. Because the argon shields as well as removes the material for the cut.

Also travel speed has a lot to do with the clean cut, you want to go real slow so to blow away all of the slag and molten metal.Move to fast and it back fills and hangs onto the parent metal.
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: denny on August 09, 2010, 03:47:43 PM
Some good info from Skotrat...

http://skotrat.com/go/default/brewing-info/keg-conversion-101/?keywords=keg%20cutting&tag=&searchSectionID=
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: giant_macaskill on August 10, 2010, 12:17:31 PM
Rule #1 when using a grinder - full face shield is required. Do not consider that optional.
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: mindar on August 13, 2010, 05:18:01 AM
Meh, I took a piece of string, a black sharpie, my dremel, and my metal cutting discs, and cut the top off that way. Went thru about six discs, then used the grinder on the edges, then the sander, and now it's smooth as a....well, you know. Took me two or three evenings, about an hour each time. And didn't cost me anything, and I didn't have to worry about cutting off a limb or burning anything down.
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: riverrat on August 13, 2010, 02:58:27 PM
Only 6 mini dremel discs?  Or were they the larger dremel discs?  Either way, not bad.  I seem to go through the majority of 1 cut off wheel per keg in an air grinder (3" disc?)  Then just use a buffing wheel to clean it up.  ~20 minutes before work and it's done.  If I leave myself 25 minutes, I can have the holes drilled for the fittings too.
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: kohlerbeer on August 15, 2010, 10:17:18 PM
I used an angle grinder to cut the top, and then I sanded it to get rid of the burrs.  The keg was semi-dented, so the hole is not a perfect circle.  Oh well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  The valve is a Kettlevalve from Willimas. 

I attempted to attach a photo of the finished product, but there was no option to attach a photo.  I guess I do not yet have a high enough level of participation.

I cannot wait to get the first batch underway. 

Thanks to all of you who provided valuable insight.

Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 16, 2010, 05:30:07 AM
I attempted to attach a photo of the finished product, but there was no option to attach a photo.  I guess I do not yet have a high enough level of participation.

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=20.0
Quote from: garyg
To include an image in a post:
1. Image must be linked from a website (such as flickr or photobucket or a private website), you cannot directly upload images to the AHA Forum
2. Put the cursor where ever you want to insert your image.
3. Select the "insert image" icon from the editor tool bar, which will insert "[ img][ /img]" into your post.
4. Insert the URL for the photo you want to include in your post between "[ img]" and "[ /img]"
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: kohlerbeer on August 16, 2010, 09:04:14 AM
Thanks on the photo advice.  Here are one photo of before and two photos of the finished product.

(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4081/4897321488_32e3dc0364_s.jpg)

(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4074/4897321520_d304f2bb73_s.jpg)

(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4099/4896726703_c8a20983bc_s.jpg)
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: mindar on August 16, 2010, 11:56:27 AM
Only 6 mini dremel discs?  Or were they the larger dremel discs?  Either way, not bad.  I seem to go through the majority of 1 cut off wheel per keg in an air grinder (3" disc?)  Then just use a buffing wheel to clean it up.  ~20 minutes before work and it's done.  If I leave myself 25 minutes, I can have the holes drilled for the fittings too.

Yup, the minis. The new EZ lock types. And I didn't just cut off the top around the keg handle, I cut off from underneath so it's completely open (to be used as a mash tun) and the 14" kettle lid I already have will fit on it perfectly. And I won't have to fight the lip in order to clean it. I'm a stickler for getting every spot clean.
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 16, 2010, 05:48:49 PM
So, how do you plan to seal the bung?
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: kohlerbeer on August 16, 2010, 08:06:07 PM
I am going to take it to a local welder and have a stainless steel disc welded over the hole.
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 16, 2010, 08:22:49 PM
Yeah, that'll do it :)
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: bonjour on August 16, 2010, 08:47:50 PM
Did you check the bottom flange that sits on the ground for holes?

Most kegs have them, but a few do not.  get a little moisture in there, add heat and BOOM!!!
I know of 1 case where shrapnel wen flying for this reason.

Fred
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 16, 2010, 09:06:32 PM
Did you check the bottom flange that sits on the ground for holes?

Most kegs have them, but a few do not.  get a little moisture in there, add heat and BOOM!!!
I know of 1 case where shrapnel wen flying for this reason.

Fred

Wouldn't it be best then to drill holes in it, so any moisture that may get in can drain, and any that boils has an easy escape route for the steam?
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: bonjour on August 16, 2010, 09:07:49 PM
That would make it safe.

Fred
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: kohlerbeer on August 16, 2010, 11:12:14 PM
It is a singular piece with no pockets, but thanks for the tip.  The bottom is curled but all one piece.  That would be a hell of a way to kick the bucket.  I could just see the headlines "Local man gives his life for beer, in pursuit of ale he did fail".
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: IHBHS on August 18, 2010, 09:51:21 AM
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kennewick-WA/Ice-Harbor-Home-Brew-Shop/120690037968192?v=photos&ref=ts#!/photo.php?pid=173666&id=120690037968192&ref=fbx_album&fbid=137922496244946

Here's a picture of the new mashtun I just built for the HBS.  Took a little bit to flap the outside.
Title: Re: How do I cut a keg?
Post by: kohlerbeer on August 18, 2010, 03:40:48 PM
Nice!!!!!!!!!  I think I need to add a thermometer.