Sooner or later most homebrewers who make all grain batches of homebrew will want to make a mash tun - lauter tun. Once you start making big batches of homebrew grain bags become cumbersome. Mash tun - lauter tuns also extract more sugars than the grain bag method. This mash tun - lauter tun is made from supplies available at any home center. It can be made using cpvc parts or copper.
This homebrew mash tun - lauter tun was made from a cooler. Any container will work but the insulation from the cooler will help the mash tun - lauter tun retain the heat better during mashing. The only modification to the cooler or other container is a hole near the bottom big enough to pass a piece of the pipe you are using through. Insert a small piece of pipe through with enough on each end to connect fittings. Then seal around the pipe with food grade silicone sealant. On the outside install the ball valve. All fittings are slip fitted to provide for easy disassembly for cleaning.
To make the manifold assemble the pipe, elbows, and tee fittings to form the shape shown above. The dimensions will vary depending on the size of the container you are using. Using a hacksaw cut slits a quarter of the way through the pipe on one side about every half inch apart.
Install the manifold into onto the pipe sticking through the cooler as shown above with the side with the slits down. To use your new homebrew mash tun - lauter tun, fill the cooler with the amount of heated mash water your recipe calls for. Then add your malt, close the lid, and mash for the amount of time specified in your recipe. Always add the water before the malt or else you may get a stuck sparge. When the time is up and the starches have been converted to sugars, simply open the valve and let the wort drain into your brew pot. In order to completely sparge the grains, use a watering can and sprinkle the amount of sparge water specified in your recipe over the grains as it is draining.
While there are many other types of mash tun - lauter tun designs, this is one of the simplest to build and sparges rarely get stuck. If you would like more info about this design or others check out the book How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time. In the book the author goes into great detail about different designs and their efficiencies.