Intro: Build Your Own Stainless Steel RIMS (Recirculating Infusion Mash System) Tube - Round 2
A while ago I built a portable stainless steel RIMS tube and I published this instructable outlining the process so that others could build their own. As a result a lot of customers asked if we were going to offer a RIMS tube kit. After about 2 months of saying no, I went ahead and started selling kits. I really did not think they would sell but I was wrong and now we sell RIMS Tube kits ob Amazon.com.
My original portable RIMS tube is not without issues, all relating to water and rust. Because the RIMS tube is vertical water can't drain past the bottom barb fitting. This is easy to take care of by tipping the RIMS tube on its side to drain, then once the water is drained you just disassemble the top from the bottom and wipe out the remaining water with a paper towel. But this brings up the second issue - rust. Leave water in your portable RIMS tube too long, as I did, and the surface of the threaded heating element will rust! It took a while but we figured out a potting process with food contact safe epoxy that takes care of the rust issue. This instructable shows you how to pot your heating element to reduce the possibility for rust.
Now I have a three tier brew stand and I wanted to mount my RIMS tube on my brew stand but at the same time I wanted to solve the issues I had with my portable RIMS tube, otherwise why not just continue using my portable RIMS? My new brew stand is made of 8020 T-slot framing, which along with their fasteners makes mounting just about anything a easy task.
I had a set of goals and I believe I achieved all of them this time!
- Mount the RIMS tube about 1/2 way up the side of my mash tun so that it self floods when I add my initial strike water to my mash.
- Self-purge air out of the RIMS tube.
- Make the RIMS tube self draining even though I probably will continue disassembling & cleaning it.
- Make it easily to disassemble for cleaning.
- Mount the RIMS tube in a location that's out of the way but is also convenient for cleaning.
Step 1: Select Mounting Hardware
One nice thing about our electrical boxes is they make mounting our RIMS tube easy.
Also, 8020 has some neat little captive 1/4X20 nuts you just shove into the T-slot frame. They have a little rubber nipple you grab onto when inserting them and the other side of the nipple helps hold the fastener where you want it. I also chose some short 1/4X20 allen head screws to mount the RIMS tube.
Step 2: Drill Mounting Holes
I started with one of the elements I epoxy potted per the directions in this instructable.
Then I drilled two 1/4" holes in the side of the electrical box. You'll notice that the holes are not even - this is intentional, I want the RIMS tube mounted so that it's sloped slightly up to help purge air.
Step 3: Pre-tape and Pre-assemble Fittings
Then I pre-taped and pre-assembled the in / out fittings and the fitting for the thermocouple. This just makes assembly easier later.
Step 4: Assemble Main RIMS Tube
Next I assembled the RIMS tube body.
One fitting I did not use teflon tape on is the threads between the center tube and the outside tee. I used Loctite here instead. I will still disassemble & clean the RIMS and when I do I want to make sure the other end of the center tube unscrews & not this end.
Step 5: Electrical Wiring
I grabbed one of the 6' 240V power cords we assemble for customers and wired up the RIMS tube.
Because the cord is pre-wired this step went by very fast.
Step 6: Cover Box
The last electrical step is to install the water resistant cover.
Step 7: Plug Into My Electric Brewery Controller
All that's left to do is screw the thermocouple into the end of the RIMS tube then plug the thermocouple into my electric brewery controller!
Step 8: RIMS Tube Beside My Mash Tun
And finally here's a picture of my RIMS tune beside my mash tun.
I still need to mount my MARCH pump and run the plumbing but that part will be in another instructable.