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Counter-Flow Chiller build
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085
    I finally decided to build a pipe in pipe counter flow chiller when I saw Lakewood's heat exchanger.
    I like this design for a couple of reasons...
    No concern about hop material or possibly break material as with a plate style heat exchanger
    I can use this to heat the wort by running hot water through it unlike a typical rubber hose around a copper pipe counter flow chiller.
    Here is a picture of the parts. Not included, (2) 10' sticks of 1/2" copper and (2) 10' sticks of 3/4" copper pipe.
    IMAG1014.jpg
    2560 x 1440 - 221K
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085
    This is how I laid out the fittings. I decided to go with 3/4"x1/2"x3/4" tees on all but the wort and water connections so that I could use the excess 3/4" pipe for those little connections.
    IMAG1015.jpg
    2560 x 1440 - 533K
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085
    I popped 7/8" holes in a 2x6 to hold it all together. Hindsight, that made assembly a pain. To do over again I would do something after the fact to tie it all together.
    IMAG1016.jpg
    1440 x 2560 - 506K
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085
    Here's where the whole project got a little sidetracked. The fitting on the left is unaltered, the right has been filed. See that little stop in there? Yeah it ruin my day. I tried to make a little jig (block of wood with a hole) and drive the fitting on. One worked like that. The next one crushed the pipe in. So I bought a 10" course round bastard file and went to town. That worked like a charm and took maybe 2-3 minutes per fitting. During this I noticed a large variance in the size of that stop between each individual piece.
    IMAG1027.jpg
    2560 x 1440 - 296K
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085
    monkeys
    IMAG1029.jpg
    1440 x 2560 - 589K
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085
    Here is a really bad picture of it all sweated together.
    IMAG1030.jpg
    2560 x 1440 - 892K
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085
    All hooked up.
    IMAG1031.jpg
    2560 x 1440 - 578K
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085
    A little different angle. A close up of that tiny little hose would show it almost kinked. The shorter the better in this case. A longer hose wanted to kink worse.
    IMAG1032.jpg
    2560 x 1440 - 584K
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085
    Finally pumpin'!
    IMAG1033.jpg
    2560 x 1440 - 685K
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085
    This was the pump output. I even had two of those Kendt Disconnects inline. I'm not too worried about those now.
    IMAG1034.jpg
    2560 x 1440 - 744K
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085
    A few notes about the build...

    The blocks of wood really tied the unit together. Nicely. I can pick it up with one hand and I'm not afraid of putting too much pressure on the fittings. It did make it a bit tricky to put together, not impossible.
    I cut the 1/2" in half (5' length) and build the rest of the chiller around that dimension to minimize waste. I also left 5/8" of the inner 1/2" pipe sticking past the fitting in case I want to change the return design at a later date.
    With the hoses on the end I love the accessibility of pulling those off and running a brush or something through the wort tube if I'm feeling extra OCD.
    One other important factor with this design... All of the sweat fittings are contacting chilling water, not wort. So If you're unsure about your soldering skills, the only leaks you can cause are from chilling water, out. No chance of contaminating wort with chilling water.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085
    Thoughts on cleaning it the first time? I put five gallons of water in the kettle and added a half scoop of OxyClean. The turned on the pump and heat. I recirced at least 15 minutes until it was nearly boiling. Then after testing it I rinsed with cold water.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 74,370
    Is there a PVC fitting that will cover a standard copper pipe size with out leaking really bad? I want to make a shotty one for cheap.
    "Again?"
    CurlyFat's 60,000th post
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085
    5 gallons or 210* water to 180 in 1 minute.
    Then to 160 at the 2 minute mark.
    then 120 around 4 minutes.
    Total chill time to get 5 gallons from 210* to 80* (that's when I stopped caring) >>>>> 8.5 minutes.

    This was with both the wort and chilling water running full bore. In the future I'll throttle back the wort to reduce turbulent flow in the kettle and run the chilling water wide open until I'm under 170. Then throttle back the chilling water to minimize water usage.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085

    Is there a PVC fitting that will cover a standard copper pipe size with out leaking really bad? I want to make a shotty one for cheap.



    You could use pvc no problem. With tees and all that. I want the option of running near boiling water through the jacket to heat the wort also.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 74,370
    Yeah, I made a shitty little one out of all copper it was nice how it was copper.
    "Again?"
    CurlyFat's 60,000th post
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    nice build. i like the wood block stays.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • jeepinjeepinjeepinjeepin
    Posts: 17,005

    Is there a PVC fitting that will cover a standard copper pipe size with out leaking really bad? I want to make a shotty one for cheap.

    With a threaded adapter, yes. PVC pipe->slip/thread PVC coupler->thread/slip copper fitting.

    Sign here______________________________
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 74,370

    Is there a PVC fitting that will cover a standard copper pipe size with out leaking really bad? I want to make a shotty one for cheap.

    With a threaded adapter, yes. PVC pipe->slip/thread PVC coupler->thread/slip copper fitting.



    Right good call. I don't feel it's worth the 15% savings the more I think about it.
    "Again?"
    CurlyFat's 60,000th post
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085
    Lakewood said:

    nice build. i like the wood block stays.



    Oh right, a note about these... from the mock up to the final soldering I managed to not pay attention to these. So now the whole thing has a slight twist to it. Cosmetic, but annoying.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    C_B said:

    Lakewood said:

    nice build. i like the wood block stays.



    Oh right, a note about these... from the mock up to the final soldering I managed to not pay attention to these. So now the whole thing has a slight twist to it. Cosmetic, but annoying.



    No big deal. We always knew you were a little warped anyway.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 74,370
    So based on testing, do you think it would work as well if it was a little shorter? And if so how short?

    On another note, though a sani nightmare, it would seem that you'd get more cooling if the wort was in the jacket as the air would eat some. Just a thought.
    "Again?"
    CurlyFat's 60,000th post
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085

    So based on testing, do you think it would work as well if it was a little shorter? And if so how short?

    On another note, though a sani nightmare, it would seem that you'd get more cooling if the wort was in the jacket as the air would eat some. Just a thought.


    I thought about that and agree with you. Sanitation is why I didn't do it. All the fittings in there would provide a heck of a place for nasties to grow. I think a better bet would be a smaller inner pipe. but jumping down to 3/8 adding fittings, so I didn't do it.

    I think it would work fine shorter. Just work slower. You probably have good cold ground water? That would help take those last couple degrees off. If you use it as a one pass chiller rather than recirc you could get away with 10' with cold water and a slow drain. But that's mearly a guess.
    It took 30* off 5 gallons in 60 seconds.


    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 74,370
    C_B said:

    So based on testing, do you think it would work as well if it was a little shorter? And if so how short?

    On another note, though a sani nightmare, it would seem that you'd get more cooling if the wort was in the jacket as the air would eat some. Just a thought.


    I thought about that and agree with you. Sanitation is why I didn't do it. All the fittings in there would provide a heck of a place for nasties to grow. I think a better bet would be a smaller inner pipe. but jumping down to 3/8 adding fittings, so I didn't do it.

    I think it would work fine shorter. Just work slower. You probably have good cold ground water? That would help take those last couple degrees off. If you use it as a one pass chiller rather than recirc you could get away with 10' with cold water and a slow drain. But that's mearly a guess.
    It took 30* off 5 gallons in 60 seconds.




    Did you touch the cooling jacket enough to get an idea of where it got super hot?
    "Again?"
    CurlyFat's 60,000th post
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,085

    C_B said:

    So based on testing, do you think it would work as well if it was a little shorter? And if so how short?

    On another note, though a sani nightmare, it would seem that you'd get more cooling if the wort was in the jacket as the air would eat some. Just a thought.


    I thought about that and agree with you. Sanitation is why I didn't do it. All the fittings in there would provide a heck of a place for nasties to grow. I think a better bet would be a smaller inner pipe. but jumping down to 3/8 adding fittings, so I didn't do it.

    I think it would work fine shorter. Just work slower. You probably have good cold ground water? That would help take those last couple degrees off. If you use it as a one pass chiller rather than recirc you could get away with 10' with cold water and a slow drain. But that's mearly a guess.
    It took 30* off 5 gallons in 60 seconds.




    Did you touch the cooling jacket enough to get an idea of where it got super hot?


    It didn't really. I ran both the pump and the hydrant balls out. Next step it to make it more efficient.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,385
    The only way to make this design really efficient is to reduce the volume of each flow chamber while maintaining the same surface area. But that's really hard since there isn't a good way to use up the outer bit of the jacket cross section. The cooling performance is dependant on the speed of the flow across the heat exchange surface (inner pipe wall) and given a constant cross section, the speed is dependant on the flow rate. A shorter design will make it less efficient.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny