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DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

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DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

Postby ZeroGee » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:40 pm

Having a new 15.5 gallon SS beer keg ready to build into a boiler, I was looking at pictures of some of the builds on this and other forums. Most seem to attach their columns with what appears to be a simple tri-clamp. Is this what I’m seeing or is this a special clamp for this attachment? If it’s special, where do I find it?

Next, I can’t find copper fittings for a tri-clamp rig – just stainless (got a great catalog for SS). That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, just that I can’t find them.

I’m using a 5 gallon SS stock pot for a boiler at the moment, and I just removed the lid’s handle and cut a 2 ¼” hole through the center and, with a through-hull threaded copper fitting soldered on the base of the column, screwed it tight to the lid. I used a pair of “washers” hand cut from an HDPP bucket lid for a tight seal. Works great. I planned on using a wide rimmed SS bowl held down by fender washers bolted down on threaded studs and nuts (all SS) around a big opening cut into the top of the keg like some of the older books suggested, but with a wide HDPP “washer” as a seal instead of sheet cork that needs replacing fairly often.

Looking at the Sankey fitting on the keg, I don’t see a very wide flange. In fact, the flange is rounded and relatively short. It reminded me of a thread I’d read more than a year ago about someone soldering copper electrical wire around the end of a 2” copper pipe to use with a tri-clamp. If I remember wire size correctly, the resulting flange would be almost the same size as the one on the keg.

Is this something so well known that no one bothers to talk about it? Or is it something so rarely done that no one bothers to talk about it? Or did I simply misread (or misremember) the whole thing. Seems like a good idea… and I think I’ll try it as soon as I can locate a 2” tri-clamp.

I feel like I’m wandering around lost out here in left field. Does anyone have any information? :shock:
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Re: DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

Postby punkin » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:48 pm

Its spread all over the forum here and is probably the most widespread use. try searching 'easy flange'. Fester has some castings in the for sale section.
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Re: DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

Postby mort4 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:59 pm

Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right
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Re: DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

Postby ZeroGee » Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:35 am

Looked at the Fester Flanges, but at $27 a pop plus shipping from China, it's a bit more than I want to go, at least for now.

I did find the reference I referred to earlier from eternalfrost in COPPRclay. (I can't figure out how to point to the exact thread message).

Many thanks for your response. I think I've found my answer.
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Re: DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

Postby myles » Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:42 am

You can get complete keg adaptor kits from MileHi for $58. Includes the clamp, stainless adaptor and copper 2" adaptor.

I couldn't find an equivalent item cheaper in the UK so imported 2. They work for me, and you might be able to get something simmilar but cheaper from other sources.
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Re: DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

Postby Aces High » Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:51 am

Fester shipped 100 to his son in the US. You'll just have to pay local freight costs from whereever he is.

Pretty good for a copper ferrule i reckon
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Re: DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

Postby Disobedierudite » Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:42 am

I wish I hadn't posted that shite about COPRclay. It might work but that stuff is so hard to work with (and expensive) that it only makes sense for making jewelry. They call it clay but it's really like wet bread dough. It sticks to your fingers and everything else it touches unless you bathe everything in veggie oil. That lump of shit is still in a ziplok baggie taking up space in the butter drawer of my refrigerator.
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Re: DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

Postby punkin » Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:29 pm

Much better off witha wire made easy flange. Search harder and read more son.
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Re: DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

Postby ZeroGee » Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:31 pm

Not to worry Disobedierudite, I was only referring to the post on the thread. Eternalfrost said something in the post that made sense to me at the time - solder a piece of heavy copper wire around the end of the tube and use that as a flange for a tri-clamp. Obviously there's a bit more to it than that, but it's not rocket science, but it started me looking and reading.

BTW, I'm in faaaar western Canada and shipping/duty fees often cost as much or more as the parts and tools ordered from the US and elsewhere. For example, two 2" tri-clamps, four O-rings and two keg caps from MileHi cost around $18.74 US. Shipping costs $28.25+ US (USPS) plus whatever duty fees are charged. Same in Canada, minus the duty fees.

This is why I try to do it myself, especially when I intend to build different columns for the boiler.

punkin:
Absolutely! I'm trying to experiment (I have a couple ideas), but the holidays keep interfering. :roll:

More on this later... Pictures, mistakes and all. :D
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Re: DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

Postby flasko » Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:40 pm

No need to recreate the wheel. Like punkin says, search harder. Try looking for Rumbull's post, I think he did the first one then someone else came up with the easy flange, which is the wire wrap you referenced. Either way there are detailed examples. If you go either route, I strongly recommend using a large SS hose clamp to hold down the flange as you solder around your pipe. It will save you a lot of solder, propane and general headache.

oh and here's the easy flange thread viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2272 :)
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Re: DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

Postby rockchucker22 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:47 pm

I use 1/4" tubing hardsoldered round and hammered flat. I then apply a generous amount of soft solder sit it on the pipe heat until it flows. Makes a great triclover
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Re: DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

Postby ZeroGee » Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:50 pm

Many, many thanks to everyone! Once again I've been inundated with information and good ideas from all kinds of sources. Special thanks to Disobedierudite for design and application followup and punkin for support over and above the call of duty (on 2 hours of sleep).

I strongly suggest to everyone that this information be disseminated as widely as possible because it represents considerable savings in time, money and energy, especially for mods or sharing parts between different still designs.

Merry Christmas to all!
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Re: DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

Postby Sbeghan » Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:08 am

I picked up some 316L SS 2" clamps and fittings - you'll just have to weld, braze, or solder it to a 2" pipe of your choice. How does $30 shipped sound to you? You could get 2 flanges and replace the sankey flange with a sanitary, though that's not necessary.
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Re: DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

Postby ZeroGee » Sat Dec 18, 2010 8:32 am

Sbeghan wrote:I picked up some 316L SS 2" clamps and fittings - you'll just have to weld, braze, or solder it to a 2" pipe of your choice. How does $30 shipped sound to you? You could get 2 flanges and replace the sankey flange with a sanitary, though that's not necessary.
It certainly sounds good! Contact me via PM and we can talk about the arrangements. Thanks!
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Re: DIY tri-clamp flanges for copper pipe

Postby RumBull » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:43 pm

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