Looking for a few tips / advice on how to get a ball valve on my shiny new kettle.
I recently purchased an 8 Gallon Tall Boy kettle to transition from 1 gallon small batches, to 3 gallon BIAB. I really want to put a valve on this sucker and I already have a nice 3-piece ball valve that I have on a cooler tun setup that I never ended up using. After browsing forums and YouTube for some guidance on drilling a hole in the kettle I thought to myself, ‘Piece of Cake!’ Well that was hardly the case. The night before my first ever BIAB day I set out to the garage to pop a hole in that sucker. Equipped with two cordless drills (battery packs charged all day), some drill bits for a pilot hole, a step bit, and a hammer and nail to punch a dent to keep the bits from wandering. I also grabbed a bit of WD-40 for lube. Now I have zero to little handywork skills and experience, but the internet made this sound like with the supplies I had on hand, and little elbow grease, I would be able to pop through the kettle in no time. I also have a very limited arsenal of tools, I had to order the step bit just for this project.
Long story short, I now have 3 snapped drill bits, a scratched kettle with a little dent where the desired hole should be, and a nice circular bruise on the base of my palm from adding pressure to the drill (my pride hurts too). As much as I tried, I could not make any progress to get through the darn wall of the kettle. I tried low speed high pressure, high speed high pressure and everything in between with no success. I did my best to avoid building up any heat as to avoid further hardening the steel. I gave up on the hole, hoping that I didn’t just ruin the new kettle with my attempt (Luckily I didn’t and the brew day was still a success!)
Does anyone have any other suggestions to how I can make this hole happen with my available resources OR can anyone suggest some kind of professional that would be able to assist with this? Would a local welder be able to do this with ease? I am not yet a homeowner so I don’t yet know the world of contractors or skilled laborers and have never had the need for any metal work or anything. But now that I’ve been obsessed with homebrewing for the past year, I’ve got a whole list of DIY projects that I want to eventually accomplish. Good thing I do know of this great forum full of friendly brewers who love to help out fellow brewers! I sincerely appreciate any help anyone can offer!