Polycarbonate sight glass

Discussion in 'Beer Brewing "How-To" Guides' started by cnelsonplumber, Jun 30, 2011.

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  1. Jun 30, 2011 #1
    The following is a guide for a simple to build sight glass.

    You will need the following:

    Masking tape
    Spirit level
    hacksaw
    Adjustable grips or spanners
    20mm cutter
    2 X compression tank connectors (Screwfix part no. 82376 2.24 ea)
    2 X Conex brass pushfit street elbows rl](Screwfix part No. 54152 2.49 ea)
    polycarbonate tube 15mm X 11mm (2mm wall thickness) (One stop plastic shop 2m length was 16.21 plus carriage)

    With a bit of luck you will end up with something like this:

    [​IMG]

    First of all place a piece of masking tape in the position you want the sight glass. Then use the level to true up the pot and scribe a vertical line.
    Decide how far from the top and bottom you want the tank connectors, i think mine were about 35mm (there's no point having a glass that goes out of range) then mark the vertical line to give the positions for the tank connectors.

    I was cutting through a stainless stock pot so I centre punched and cut out the holes with a 20mm 'Q Max Cutter'

    Fit the tank connectors using your choice of washer, I used 1/2" poly washers as I had some on the van, these have been my choice of seal as you can really tighten them up without them 'spreading'.

    [​IMG]

    Next insert the street elbows into the tank connector but don't tighten it up yet. The elbows have an 'O' seal so there is no risk of damaging the poly tube.

    [​IMG]

    Measure the distance between the two elbows, making sure you allow for the tube to go fully home into the elbow. Measure this at least twice as once the tube is cut and inserted into the fitting it is there for ever.

    Cut the tube to length and debur the ends with a craft knife or file

    [​IMG]

    Remove the elbows from the tank connectors and fit the tube.

    Install the sight glass and elbows back into the tank connectors and tighten up the nuts onto the olives. The glass works really well but I have only tested it with clean water so far.

    There may be more to come on this as I am experimenting with a Chevreon/ stripe/ chequerred backing for the tube to make the level super obvious even if it discolours in the boiler due to the hops.

    I took the photos after I had finished the build so apologies for the lack of them .
     
  2. Jun 30, 2011 #2

    BarnsleyBrewer

    BarnsleyBrewer

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    Thx, looks great. :clap:
     
  3. Jun 30, 2011 #3

    Sean_Mc

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    Nice How to with good detail :thumb:

    I'm currently using a copper dipstick, but once I sort a CIP system I'll look at sorting a sight tube
     
  4. Jun 30, 2011 #4

    unclepumble

    unclepumble

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    Excellent post just what the doctor ordered, :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:


    Now to adapt the build so it goes through 50mm of insulation for me :D


    UP
     
  5. Jun 30, 2011 #5
    No problem.

    Screwfix supply the same fitting that has a pushfit 'O' seal on either end so that you can use 50mm copper tube from the tank connector to the elbow.

    Try this
     
  6. Jun 30, 2011 #6

    unclepumble

    unclepumble

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    Thanks for that I am liking this better though got to save those pennies :D :D

    UP
     
  7. Jun 30, 2011 #7
    HI UP

    The copper ones will work well but they are a fraction of the weight of the brass ones. They are formed form bent copper tube and VERY thin on the outside of the elbow, they are also subject to very high stresses around the seal due to the manufacturing process.

    The brass ones are machined from a casting and bomb proof.

    If you think there is any chance the fitting might get a knock, I would recommend the brass type.

    Good luck with the build
     
  8. Jul 1, 2011 #8

    unclepumble

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    I went with the copper ones & will try to mount in between the vessels where it won't get Knocked, I have all the stuff minus the polycarb tube, & I tried quite a few places in Burton this afternoon to no avail :( will have to order off the net and wait delivery.

    UP
     
  9. Jul 1, 2011 #9

    Vossy1

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    A great addition to the 'how to' forum, thank you cnelsonplumber :clap:
     
  10. Jul 14, 2011 #10

    graysalchemy

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    I have just found that one of my suppliers now stocks polycarbonate tube.

    clicky

    A bit cheaper than that mentioned at the start of this thread. :thumb: :thumb:
     
  11. Jul 23, 2011 #11

    stevetk189

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    Great post! It has answered a few issues I've been pondering about making a sight glass. It is also the post that brought me to this forum via a bout of Googling.

    Cheers! :cheers:
     
  12. Oct 2, 2012 #12

    mhewitson

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    Good clear How-to.
    I'v just ordered the parts today to give this a go.
    I have a 55L Blue barrel as a boiler (just finished), and this is definately needed to help me with volumes etc.
     
  13. Oct 2, 2012 #13

    Springer

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    Yes good how to. :thumb: if you need one or want one, or want to get rid of twenty quid. :lol:
    The easy and simple way could be to use a dip stick. ;)
    I have a sight tube on my HTL cos it high up, top near the low ceiling, but I use a dip stick on my bench top standing boiler and mash tun. :D
    You don't normally see sight glasses on saucepans. :)
    S
     
  14. Oct 2, 2012 #14

    piddledribble

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    yea and I thought I was alone in this thinking....
    good ol dip stick...

    in a similar vein I just bought a 30 litre bucket without tap for wort collecting.... cost .95p with litre graduations on the side 14.05.
    I spent 3 mins jugging 2 litres of water at a time and marking it on side....
     
  15. Oct 19, 2012 #15

    darkonnis

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    Found this which may be better if (like me) you only want to do the 1 pot. 5.20 inc delivery for 15mm OD and 500mm long.
     
  16. Oct 25, 2012 #16

    mhewitson

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    Great how to. Knocked this up in no time tonight, and with the size of my vessels I have enough tube left over for another 2 glasses (hlt and something else)

    Cheers
     
  17. Nov 2, 2012 #17

    Rich747

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    Like it, thanks - have just ordered the bits!
     
  18. Jan 9, 2013 #18

    tazuk

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    i got the 2 fittings today but can not get the elbow to fit in to tank connector has any body else had any problems ????????????????
     
  19. Jan 9, 2013 #19

    Dieseljockey

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    No problem at all..I only did mine a few weeks back ready for the new year.....in and fitted... :thumb: can't think what the problem is...
     
  20. Jan 9, 2013 #20
    Not sure if the tank connector is too small or the elbow too big. Im not at home at the moment to measure the poly tube, but I think the od is 15 mm. ie check if the tube fits directly into the tank connector s. If it doesn't then the connectors are under size.
    Otherwise see if a bit of 15mm copper tube fits in if you have any.

    Hope this helps identify the problem

    Chris
     

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