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January 31, 2006

cutting a keg kettle

I've seen descriptions of how to cut the top off a keg for use as a brew kettle, but never one with lots of detail or photos of the process, so when i made our last one back in november i took photos along the way. enjoy.

here's the uncut keg with the line drawn for cutting. Take a piece of string and loop it around the center post in the keg. then grab a sharpie and put it in the other end of the loop. rotate around the post to make a nice circle for cutting. We made the hole the same size as the top on one of our 5 gallon pots, which turned out to be 12 inches, so that we can use the lid on the keg too.

to do the cutting we've been using my dremel with fiberglass reinforced cutting wheels. The regular disks just disintegrate too easy. The fiberglass onces will still wear down if you try to go too quickly, but with patience you can get the keg cut with only a couple disks.

starting the first pass. Don't try to go all the way through right away or you'll burn through the cutting disks in no time. make a first pass about half way through to "score" the cut first. you can see the cut starting towards the bottom and going about 1/4 of the way around clockwise.

bit closer shot. you can kind of see that i'm not going the whole way through yet.

now i've gone the whole way around and i'm starting the second pass, cutting the whole way through now.

same thing a little closer.

this one shows that i'm almost done, just a little left at the bottom to finish.

now that the hole has been cut, it's pretty jagged and sharp around the edges. switch to a sanding wheel and clean that up so that nobody gets hurt.

the finished product after sanding the edges down. you can see all the bits of metal and some water in the bottom. One thing that i didn't do when i cut the keg is fill it mostly full of water. i've heard that this greatly helps deaden the sound of the dremel, which is pretty damn loud. i'll know that for the next time i need to cut a keg...

so that's it. all it needs is a good washing and it's ready to be used as a kettle. you can optionally install things like thermometers and drainage valves, but we just use them like this and siphon liquids out.

Posted by grub at January 31, 2006 7:47 PM

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