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Old 03-12-2013, 04:49 AM #1
Weird Jimmy
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DIY 5 gallon bucket "vortex" brewer

I don't recall any brewers like this being posted before, so I figured I'd post this one...

We've made larger vortex brewers in the past out of induction tanks, but this one's cool because you only need a (fairly) standard 5 gallon bucket as your tank. A couple of the parts may have to be ordered online (uniseals and 5-way pvc fitting), but most of this shit is either at your local hydro or hardware shops.

The parts list...

1x 5 Gallon bucket (or alternative bucket-like container)
5x 3/4" uniseal bulkhead fittings
1x 5-way 1/2" pvc fitting
4x 45° 1/2" elbow fittings
7x 90° 1/2" elbow fittings
1x 1/2" tee fitting
1x 1/2" ball valve fitting
5'-10' 1/2" pvc pipe
BLACK 1/4" air tubing... it HAS to be BLACK
... then some type of decent air pump (the stronger the better)

The tools list...

pvc shears
cordless drill (or press)
1/4" brad point drill bit
1.25" hole saw
tape measure

The first thing I did was drill and cut the hole at the bottom of the bucket. I used a brad tip bit to start a pilot hole because this particular bucket had a strange nipple on the bottom that I was worried the hole saw bit would slip from. This bucket also had a preformed circle on the bottom that, luckily, the hole saw fit perfectly inside. When choosing your container for this project, make sure you pay attention to both the center of the bottom, and the top side areas. Both of these spots will need to be drilled with the hole saw to accommodate the uniseals, so you want them smooth enough to be drilled, and large enough to accept the hole...





Use your tape measure to find the circumference of the top of your bucket, and divide by 4. Measure and mark the spots for the 4 holes to be cut in the top area of your bucket... Once the holes are cut, put the uniseals in place; the upper holes will have the large side of the uniseal on the inside of the bucket, and the bottom hole will have the large side on the outside of the bucket.


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Old 03-12-2013, 04:56 AM #2
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cont...

(outside/top area of bucket)


After the uniseals are in place, push the 45° fittings (from the inside) into the 4 at the top, and angle them counterclockwise. You might need to use a bit of liquid dish soap as a lubricant for the uniseals.





Then put the 5 way fitting into the bottom uniseal.

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Old 03-12-2013, 05:16 AM #3
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Once the fittings are in their uniseals, you need to measure the lengths of the bottom pieces of pipe, as well as the lengths of the riser peices (I'm not include exact measurements because it changes depending on bucket size and location of the upper holes). When you figure out your two separate lenghts, use your pvc shears (or whatever you're using to cut with) and cut 4 pieces of each length. Put the shorter bottom pieces into the 5-way, and set the longer pieces aside...



Before you can assemble the riser pieces, you need to drill 1/4" holes into the tops of 4 of your 90° 1/2" elbows. These will be the holes that your 1/4" air tubes run down, so drill them as accurately as possible to avoid leaking. Use brad tipped drill bits to avoid having your bit wander.




Next, take a small length of pvc and measure four 1.5" lengths, and cut these pieces with the shears. These pieces will act as couplers, and will attach the top of the riser with the 45° fittings in the upper uniseals.


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Old 03-12-2013, 05:23 AM #4
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assemble the risers by connecting your longer pvc pieces to the 90° elbows (and the one tee fitting). Make sure the elbows you drilled holes in are at the top, along with the coupler pieces you cut. The bottom of one of your risers will be a tee instead of an elbow. This will be where you attach your ball valve for a drain.



When the risers are done, attach them to the bottom pvc pipes and connect them to the top fittings. Cut another 1.5" coupler to attach the ball valve to the bottom of the tee fitting.




almost done....
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:33 AM #5
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Now it's time to measure and cut the lengths for the four pieces of air hose you'll need. The air line has to be the black kind. I've tested this brewer with the clear and the blue air hose, and they both start leaking when you turn the pump on. When the hose is cut to length, run them through the holes in the tops of the risers and down to the bottom, and connect them to your air pumps manifold. Now your ready to fill it with water and turn this bitch on!!! You can use pipe cement on this project if you want to, but I don't. I like to be able to break it all down for cleaning purposes. It might leak on you at first without cement, but the sediment from your first tea will stop any leaks within a half hour or so...





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Old 03-12-2013, 05:55 AM #6
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Wow really nice article, Jim.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:05 AM #7
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thanks man.. I had those pics on my phone for months, so it's about time I put them to use
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:27 AM #8
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Nice.

How much air are you pushing to get that kind of action?
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:31 AM #9
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not exactly sure what the psi rating is, but that's an EcoPlus Commercial 3 pump.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:38 AM #10
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nice detail in your post....thanks for sharing!
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