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the modern distiller • View topic - HeatStick Design

the modern distiller

HeatStick Design

Hubble bubble toil and trouble

HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:05 am

Hey Gang, I am trying to make a Tri-Clamp designed homebrewing 'HeatStick'. A Heatstick is basically connecting a water heating element on the end of a pipe/tube (with the wiring inside the pipe watertight). The lower element end only would be inserted into the brew kettle/mash tun & submerged into the strike/sparge water, beer mash and/or wort, turned on, to be used to assist in heating it to the needed temperature/boil (some indoor stoves don't provide enough heat and/or is very slow).

So here is how I thought of doing it using the StillDragon Element Guard Kit http://www.stilldragon.com/element-guard-kit-and-adapters.html : The heating element would be screwed/connected (with the element's provided seal/o-ring) into the SD Element Guard. I would then place a silicone gasket and a long (12"-20") Stainless TC pipe (http://www.stilldragon.com/triclamp-pipe.html) to the opposite end of the Guard housing and Tri Clamp'd (element sticking out the other end). This keeps the wiring sealed inside, run up through the pipe, connect the ground wire to the grounding lug on the end cap that came as part of the Element Guard Kit, through the provided strain relief connector, cord ran out & attached to a 3 prong plug, and connected to a GFI outlet. I love the ideal of this being all stainless and would allow for easy element maintenance and/or replacement. However, I'm a bit concerned if heat would travel up the pipe and burn my hands?

I would love to hear your thoughts and options! Here is my lousy attempt at drawling the designs, LOL:
Robert

heat stick.jpg


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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby FullySilenced » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:16 am

I think it will work you for if nothing else use gloves.. and turn the power off before you remove it from the mash... or your element will go out...
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:15 pm

Thx FS...Yeah good point about making sure the power is off before removal! Definitely easy to forget after a long brew day and a few home-brews, LOL!

Hope I posted this topic on the right board?
Oh and for a 3rd design option... If I could find a 2" TC Pipe/spool that is say 12" to 20" long already with a 90 bend on one end, it might be cheaper and even less chance of a leak than design #2.

Robert
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby Maheel » Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:29 pm

you can buy them ready to use
halfway down this link is one for $125 AUD

i suggest by a good brand one rather than a very cheap ebay etc one

http://www.beerbelly.com.au/burners.html


i have a Birko one i use in my beer brewing all the time to speed up the getting too boil time
VM / Boka / ?
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50L electric Kegs
and associated shed filling stuff......
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:48 pm

Thx but I'm in USA, plus I don't mind DIY projects ;-)
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby myles » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:11 pm

You can get solid PTFE sheet in various thickness's. I bought a 2mm thick sheet (just a bit smaller than a sheet of A4 printer paper at very reasonable cost) with the intention of cutting sight glass gaskets from it. It would also make an excellent thermal insulation gasket to use between the sections of your heat stick.
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby FullySilenced » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:34 pm

Modularity at work... :grin:


Modularity
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Module" redirects here. For other uses, see Module (disambiguation).
Modularity is the degree to which a system's components may be separated and recombined.
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:57 pm

WOW Fester, exactly the way I envisioned it!!! Thank you for posting it!!!
Do you work for SD? What do you think, will it work?
Good idea on the pipe insulation!

Robert

Fester wrote:That is a really clever idea, revansCAAD8.
Perhaps a small section of pipe insulation to forego the use of gloves?

A quick mock up of your idea:
mockup heatstick.JPG
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:00 pm

Again, Awesome idea and cheap ($6), THANK YOU!

Robert

Fester wrote:A pipe hanger would make a quick and easy way to hook it on the lip of your kettle and adjust the height.

mockup heatstick 2.JPG
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:17 pm

Do you work for SD?

More than I care to admit.


LOL!
Spoke to Larry (US) a few days back but at that time I didn't have a design sketch written down for him to view. This will help a bunch when I place my order for the parts!!

What do you think, will it work?

Yep, Should work just fine.


Fantastic! Any chance you could give me the measurement from the 90 degree bend to the end of the Element? I want to be sure it would fit in my Kettle & mashtun. Though, I guess that could change dependent on element manufacturer, voltage/wattage, etc.

Good idea on the pipe insulation!

I think the insulation I have is too thick, it feels awkward in my hand.


Ah, yeah guess I could play with that. May even change feel when hot or even melt?

Robert
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:19 am

Fester wrote:
mockup heatstick 3.JPG


62 CM is a tad over 2 feet - this is using the 510mm (20") TC pipe section.
39 CM is about 15 3/8". I rotated the clamp to get the least possible distance.
21 CM is about 8 1/4". I bought this 4.5kW element at Home Depot in USA.

Combine all that with a simple element controller and you should be good to go.
It would never get hot enough to affect the insulation.


Great! Thank you so much for the measurements!
Yeah, I think 15 3/8" would be pushing it for my kettle. I will get an actual measurement today.
Element Controller? I never thought about that, I was just going to plug it in and keep an eye on the water/mash/wort temps. Do you have any recommendations?

Robert
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:21 am

punkin wrote:Fester IS Stilldragon mate. :lol:

Without him and Tan we would not exist as a company. 8-)


SOOOO glad I posted this on the board. Fester has been a huge help to me already!
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:39 am

Fester wrote:Robert, there is a way to make the element section shorter but it would need for you to be able to drill a hole in a 2" end cap for the cord grip.
By replacing the element guard with an element adapter and end cap the 39cm is reduced to 34cm (about 13 3/8").

You also save about $22 but drilling a hole through 6.5mm (1/4"+) stainless steel is not usually done with hand tools.

mockup heatstick 4.JPG


Thank you for continuing to think about this idea!
Yes, I even mentioned to Larry about maybe just using the element adapter but I don't have access to a lathe and/or drill press. I like the idea of the Element Guard Kit because it comes with the, end cap, connectors, cord grip, etc. Any chance of an 'Element Adapter Kit' LOL!?
Since the elbow design would be very tight in my kettle, I may have do something like this or look for a shorter element. I was actually looking for a 110v 15000w element since my breaker is only 15amps.
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby Crystal skull » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:45 am

You could buy a 2"-t insted of the 90-bend :!:


http://www.stilldragon.com/2x2x2-tee.html
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby FullySilenced » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:49 am

yep and could use it for something else later if need be... need an extra clamp end cap set.. gaskets... but idea still works
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:16 am

Crystal skull wrote:You could buy a 2"-t insted of the 90-bend :!:


http://www.stilldragon.com/2x2x2-tee.html


Yes, interesting idea but could get expensive that way. The Tee, end cap, element adapter, more clamps & gaskets, and it wouldn't have the other items that come with the guard kit that would be needed.

Keep it up gang!
Robert
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby Crystal skull » Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:26 am

Just add a condenser and a 45 and you got a new stripper! :grin:
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:49 am

punkin wrote:
revansCAAD8 wrote:
Fester wrote:
mockup heatstick 3.JPG


62 CM is a tad over 2 feet - this is using the 510mm (20") TC pipe section.
39 CM is about 15 3/8". I rotated the clamp to get the least possible distance.
21 CM is about 8 1/4". I bought this 4.5kW element at Home Depot in USA.

Combine all that with a simple element controller and you should be good to go.
It would never get hot enough to affect the insulation.


Great! Thank you so much for the measurements!
Yeah, I think 15 3/8" would be pushing it for my kettle. I will get an actual measurement today.
Element Controller? I never thought about that, I was just going to plug it in and keep an eye on the water/mash/wort temps. Do you have any recommendations?

Robert


Have a look at the stilldragon site, hover over boilers/fermentors-for the boiler- power controllers.


Ah yes, I see it. Not sure if it's really needed for what I doing but I will look into them. Thanks

Robert
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:24 pm

Okay Fester & gang, I plan to place my SD order shortly and want to be sure I have everything correct.
Here is my list:
Element Guard Kit $36
2" TC Pipe x 12" $27 Or 20" $38 (haven't decided on best length yet, kinda wish there was a 15" to 18" option)
2" 90 degree Elbow $14
(2) 2" Clamps $15
(2) 2" Silicone Gaskets $0.70
Pipe Holder $6
*Element Adapter $10 (not required but I think I will order so I have configuration options)

More than I wanted to spend on this project but with these items I should be able to setup the heatstick as Straight Or with a 90 degree end, And either way with or without the element guard housing since I would also have the element adapter?

Anything else I should consider?

Thanks everyone for your input!
Robert
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:31 am

Fester wrote:Sorry for the late reply, Robert, I was away all day today.
That configuration looks good and don't fret the costs so much because you can always appropriate parts from it to make something else. Its almost a pot still!
About $120 in parts you listed and every single one can be re-purposed into something else that you will certainly dream up. Except for the gaskets all of the parts can easily last you a lifetime or more. I view every component as simply another tool in my distilling toolkit and I'm never bashful to pull components off of one project to complete another - that's the wonderful advantage of fully modular.

Please post some pics of it being used.


Oh no problem, thank you for all the help and the mock-up pics!
Very good point! Never know what my next project will be and some pieces could come in handy. Although the 'Boss Lady' may not be so happy :mrgreen:
Hey if you still have that mock-up together, would you be able to give me the weight of it?
Yep, sure will post when it's done & working!

Robert
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:01 am

Update:
20130126_000004238.jpg

20130127_000004261.jpg

20130127_000004267.jpg

20130127_000004269.jpg


Very happy, should come in handy my next brew day!
Thanks to everyone for your input & help!
Robert
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:20 am

Thanks Larry, Yeah I'm very impressed with the quality!
Assembly went together just as expected but I had bought an element (water heater) socket http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NPT5L2/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i02 but unfortunately it wouldn't fit into the Element Guard housing. Guess I should have went with the cheapo element wrench at Lowes/Home Depot. So, I ended up using the Element Adapter instead which I could tightened without issue.

Only a couple recommendations on the Element Guard Kit:
Strain Relief - Relief doesn't match the size of the hole in the end-cap. Needs to be slightly larger in Diameter (doesn't cover hole entirely) and in Depth(could only get maybe 1 turn on nut to hold it on). Could be made with better quality plastic or even metal/ss. Maybe something like this:
IMG_5523small.jpg

Grounding Lug - Close to strain relief hole/nut. Maybe change lug design to something like this or thread in the strain relief (without back nut):
IMG_5526small.jpg
IMG_5528small.jpg

Connectors - Could maybe use angled connectors as I had to bend them quite a bit so wires/connectors would not touch surrounding element housing. No biggie, I made it work and used the provided heat shrink tubing to help shielded.

Can't wait to give it a full work out! :obscene-drinkingdrunk: Here's to 'good health', hiccup LOL

Robert
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:39 am

Update: Well Wednesday night was Brew Day (All Grain- Firestone Walker Wookey Jack Clone), the new Heat Stick worked great and had no leaks! It may be a bit long for my boil kettle but also works great in my much deeper Mashtun (sry no pics).
20130206_000004280.jpg

20130206_000004274.jpg

20130206_000004287.jpg

20130207_000004289.jpg


Sure hope my previous 'recommendations' didn't step on toes, it wasn't meant that way. I'm very happy with my SD purchases and hope to bring more homebrew customers your way!

Robert
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby myles » Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:15 pm

Looks good indeed.
On the issue of the cord grip though, I had the same problem on the controller I am building. I just used a few wraps of insulation tape in the vicinity of the grip to increase the diameter of the cable.

A more suitable approach would be to use the bigger cord grip, but provide different compression inserts to cater for a range of cable sizes. You really are getting some impressive options available in your catalogue now. :clap:
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby BadAssBass » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:03 pm

That looks much better than mine!
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby DuckofDeath » Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:48 am

I had to drill out my strain relief for my 5/8 10 awg cable. So an option for a larger one would be great. I would also vote for metal to make it match the rest of my beautiful rig.
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby revansCAAD8 » Sun May 19, 2013 10:50 am

Just to update, build has continued to work great and I have been very happy with it! Only change made was the Strain Relief. I replaced with the Arlington Industries 'LPCG50-1' (bought locally at a ACE hardware store). No issues with wire/cable size either.

Robert
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Re: HeatStick Design

Postby as is » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:28 am

Hey everyone,

I followed revansCAAD8 here from the homebrewing world. I'm planning on adding an element guard kit & 2" ferrrule to my boil kettle and also building revans' heatstick for use in the mash tun & boil kettle. As it has been mentioned, the modularity of these parts is impressive and a few comments have been made about being half way to a pot still. Can we talk some more about that?

I'm considering having two more ferrules welded onto a keg. The idea is that I could take the BK element guard kit and plug it right into the keg. Then I can tear down the heat stick and attach the 2nd guard kit. The TC Pipe and 90 would be the start of a basic pot still column. Then I would add a 2nd 90 or 45, attached to a regular (not short) reducer attached to a stainless/copper adaptor or a stainless NPT adaptor and finally a copper Liebig condener. And of course all required clamps, gaskets and a power controller. I might include a 1.5" ferrule on the bottom for a drain.

Do I have everything covered? Any thoughts or improvements? I am concerned about the lack of copper in the column.
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