Greatest project ever. The other day I went to Walmart and picked up a 5 gallon drink cooler for 20 bucks. Im not usually one to shop at Walmart, but... the deal was too awesome, and damn am I sick of mashing in a boil pot that loses heat constantly and having to strain my grains into multiple other pots. Its a mess and it sucks, so in this case, I don't care that I supported one of the most evil corporations ever.
Yesterday I went to Home Depot (and by "yesterday" I mean two trips yesterday and one final one today because I kept needing more parts) and picked up all the stuff I needed... a 1/2 inch ball valve, some washers, a 3/4 inch to 1/2 inch converter thing, and some neoprene washers. I removed the old valve from the cooler, screwed in my new parts, and voilà!
A note for anyone that wants to do this... I highly recommend replacing ALL plastic pieces with metal equivalents. The main reason I kept running to the store is the new metal parts were stripping the plastic pieces, and it kept leaking. The cost of the whole rig? 40 bucks. Brew shops sell this for 80 bucks and up, so ya, Im pumped.
DIY OR DIE