Step 1: The Jist
My solution to these problems came quite clear to me after a couple of delicious home brews. Why not build a multi-purpose cooler.
So heres how I did it.
Step 2: The Parts
60 Feet 3/8th Inch Outer Diameter Soft Copper Coil $53
2 each 1/4 inch by 2 1/2 inch Brass Nipple $6
4 each 1/4 inch Quick Disconnect Coupler Set $12
4 each 3/8th inch Inner Diameter Hose Barb $6
6 each Hose Worm Clamps $6
There are ways to do this for less. I just bought everything new since I didn't have a surplus of, well, any of this stuff.
Step 3: The Coil
What you are going to need for this is, a soup can, and, a coffee can or small metal garbage can. Emphasis on metal. You need something solid to wrap the copper around.
Since copper is a soft metal it is easy to work with and bend by hand. This is also one of its weakest points. When bending the tubing you have to be careful not to kink it. If you do, its almost impossible to get it back to the original shape by hand. I know. I tried.
You have to take the tubing and wrap it around the the soup can. To do this, you have to take one end of the tubing and roll it around the soup can. The easiest way I found to do this is to, leave the tubing in the box, press the tubing round the can with the palm of your hand, and rotate the can, firmly pressing the tubing against the can.
Once you get about 6 wraps, you'll have to push the can down so you can do more wraps. Once you have about 8-12 inches of wraps you can move on to the garbage can wraps. This is much easier than the soup can. Use the same technique as the can but this time you need to wrap in the opposite direction. This way you'll have both ends of the tubing end at the same place.
Why did I do it this way? Well, I wanted more surface to ice exposure. If you do it in one big coil, you are wasting a lot of ice surface in the middle.
Step 4: Finish the Coil
Use some plastic or rubber beverage tubing(you can get this at a Home Brew Shop) and slide it on to the copper tubing. If you're having trouble sliding it on because it's too tight, put the beverage tube in some hot water. This will soften it up, making it easier to slide on.
Now clamp it down so it wont leak or come off.
Attach the Hose Barb to the other end of the beverage tubing, clamp it down also.
That's it! The hardest part of this build is done. Pat yourself on the back, have a beverage of your choice. Or some celebratory bacon.
Step 5: Customizing Your Cooler
You however, can put it were you want. I know a lot of people who have put theirs through the side. That's fine if your NOT using the cooler for a Mash Tun. I do use my cooler as a Mash Tun so the lid was the best logical place to put connections.
Step 6: Time to Drill
Take your Brass Nipples and find a drill bit that just barely fits inside it. If you are building your to my specifications then you will need a 3/8th bit.
Once you drill the hole, you are going to have to wiggle the drill while its running to widen the hole just enough to barely squeeze the nipple through.
Step 7: Time to Pound
If you drilled your hole correctly, you should barely be able to push the tip in. This is where you'll need to pound it down to where just the threads are showing.
I got a nipple that matched the thickness of my cooler lid. You need to do the same. This way you wont have excess nipple surface area.
Step 8: Quick Disconnects
So the connection won't leak you need to use teflon tape to seal the threads. Wrap it around the threads at least two times and no more than 4 times. This will ensure that there will be no leakage of beer or soda if that's your thing.
Next attach the quick disconnects. You'll need two pair of pliers for this. One to hold the nipple in place, the other to tighten the quick disconnect.
Step 9: Decision Time
If you are only using this as a Jockey Box(Beer dispenser) then I say leave it like I have pictured. Don't forget to put teflon tape on this side of the nipple also. I would hate for you to loose precious beer because of poor planning.
If you are going to be using this like I am, I suggest doing quick disconnects on the inside also. This will let you take out the coil and use the cooler for a Mash Tun, or as a regular cooler with out having a coil of copper taking up valuable cooler space.
The quick disconnects give you the freedom of quickly taking off a piece of the system without taking it completely apart.
Step 10: Options
Step 11: Some Action Shots!!!
It took 40lbs of ice to cool the wort to around 40ish degrees F. So much less water than it would have taken if we would have done it any other way.
I'll post an action shot of some beer coming out when I've got beer to use.