Dane – Thanks, I kind of figured it was too thin.
I’ve picked up some 0.065” (16 gauge / 72 Oz.) metal for the plates and some 0.125” (10 gauge / 96 Oz.) metal for the ends of the condensers (thick enough to counter bore the OD of the 0.5”Ø tubes so they can be easily located and the plate position controlled… should have a more finished appearance as well). I’m re-purposing the really thin stuff I already picked up just for the baffles to create the serpentine coolant flow in the condensers. I figure these can be just tack soldered on in a few locations to fix them in place, and so the risk of overheating is reduced, and a bit of warping won’t bother them in this application.
Swedish Pride and Saltbush Bill – So you’re suggesting to completely separate the two lines… why is that? I’ve seen plenty of designs as you suggest, but had also seen a few use the combined 3 way T valve to simplify control (at the sacrifice of independent control). I hadn’t seen any negative reports regarding the 3 way valves… do you know that solution has a flaw? There’s ton’s I haven’t read, so I may just not be up to speed with the latest lessons learned on this.
Regarding the packed section, I’ve seen a lot of talk about what you describe. You got me thinking and I agree that there's not much benefit of having 7, 8, or 9 plates, if a packed column will do the same more effectively. I think I just liked the symmetry of the 1/2/3/4 plate sections. OK, I guess that’s stupid.
I’ll search for symmetry and beauty in other forms.
Considering your feedback, I’m planning to adjust to a set of 1/2/3 plate sections. I have a 10’ pipe, so after the 3 segments and some for the dephleg, I’m left with 26” of 4”Ø pipe for a packed column, and another 5’ section for a friend. I see that you recommended a 2” diameter, so I’m guessing my roughly 2’ of 4”Ø column may be excessive, but I picked up the 4” pipe at such a good deal that it would be cheaper for me to use that than pick up more 2”Ø and choke the 4” to 2” for the packed section, and then re-expand to 4” for the dephleg.
Cob – Considering the 1/2/3/4/ plat sections, I kept thinking of 4! (4 factorial). But that’s really 4x3x2x1 where I have 4+3+2+1. Truth be told I had to look it up… what was the mathematical formula for what I had. I learned it was called the Nth Triangle. Think of a triangle of stacked pipes: 1 at the top (n=1), 2 below that supporting it (n=2), 3 below that (n=3), and 4 below that (n=4). I thought this nicely summarized this flexible design… that is until Swedish Pride and Saltbush Bill’s feedback lead me to just a 1/2/3 arrangement. So now I guess I’ll have to re-badge my still the 3rd Triangle. Sorry for geeking out, but I like that kind of junk.