Beer as a hobby is an escalating condition. Understanding it's complexities, history, tastes and craftsmanship induce a serious addiction. Over the past couple of years I've been cobbling together enough parts to brew 5 gallon batches of all grain brew with a little extra leg work. It's been fun but now I'm at that stage where it's time to go 10-15 gallons worth of goodness at a time. It's time to get some real deal kettles fitted with bulkheads so I can go easier and bigger all at the same time.
Why build your own brewing kettles?
Buying stainless steel brewing pots costs serious money. You can buy manufactured kettles with all the bells and whistles for around $400 and up depending on what you're using it for. The Blichmann Engineering pots are awesome and do it all. Or if you're like me and own a garage full of tools then you can build a kettle out of empty beer kegs you pick up.(I got 2 for $25) You'll spend around $20-$100 per pot options depending on what you want to do with it and spend a day working on it.(hours if you're handy) If you want welded fittings you'll spend a little more. So for an upper end of $150 per pot you'll have a fully functional 15 gallon brewing kettle. A great place to start before you spend thousands on manufactured pots. Easily less than $500 for a full blown 3-tier stainless steel setup. So how to create a kettle?
Empty the keg & Cut It Open
There is an excellent Youtube video on cutting open the keg using a wooden jig, a 2" holesaw, an angle grinder and a couple of clamps. If you had to purchase everything to build it you're talking less than $50 from harbor freight plus you get some new tool toys. The title of the article is something like "keg to kettle" and it shows you exactly what he does.