4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

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4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby DetroitDIY » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:36 am

This thread is for the plans and progress of a flute build I’m starting. Critiques, concerns and guidance are all welcome. I’m still on the steep portion of my learning curve, but having read through the entire Flute Talk and Dan’s Flue threads among others has been extremely helpful. Thanks to all of you who share your opinions and knowledge.

Up to this point, I’ve been running a pot still with an anemic leibig on a beer keg over propane. I enjoy rum, want to try whiskey, and wanted to include options for more clean spirits in my build.

I’ve kept careful record of sources and costs for all the components which I’m happy to share if people are interested.

The design is a 4”Ø, using perforated plates. I’ve drawn up a plate pattern targeting 8% opening on the wet area with 1/16”Ø holes spaced equidistant in a hex arrangement. The column is broken into 4 segments each with a different number of plates (1, 2, 3, and 4 plates) allowing mixing and matching for a column of anywhere from 1 to 10 plates. Probably excessive, but this will allow me to experiment for different degrees of purity vs. flavor.
The plates are 4.75” apart in Z, regardless of which combinations of column segments are used. Downcomers are 0.75” ending with a 1.25” cup that is fixed 0.5” above the plate below. The downcomer extends 0.25” above the plate it’s fixed to, with different lengths of 0.75” couplings to slide over the top and extend the height (0.5”, 0.75”, and 1” heights).

The sight glasses are modified from the 2” Cello sweat trap adapters used by others, 2.25”Ø x 1/8” thick borosilicate glass, sealed with 1/32” musical cork on both sides (perhaps excessive on the outside, but I thought it would look nicer).

All four segments of plates are connected via tri-clamps. Column will be mounted on a 15.5 gal keg with a 9” tall stainless expansion fitting from 2” to 4”.

After the plates, I have a 4”Ø x 6” tall dephleg planned with 19, 0.5”Ø tubes and 3 internal plates for serpentine cooling flow around the tubes. I’m including thermowells above and below the dephleg. After this It reduces to 2”Ø pipe, and loops back down to a 2”Ø x 20” tall condenser of 5, 0.5”Ø tubes and 11 internal plates. This ends with some progressive reducers down to 0.5” where it feeds into a parrot.

The condensers share a 0.5”Ø water supply, split with a “T” fitting and feeding the lower portion of both the dephleg and the product condenser. They are joined again at their output from the top of the condensers into a 3 way, T type ball valve to simultaneously control flow through both condensers. Both sides of the “T” inlet and outlet include unions (as well as the parrot) for disassembly and cleaning. The connections are all rigid, so I’m expecting that they will help to support the cantilevered product condenser.

Most components are copper… a few stainless 304 or 316. The 4” column ferrules are machined brass which I’ll be tinning on the vapor/distillate surfaces. All polymers (gaskets and valve seats) are PTFE. The 4” pipe is DWV, which I understand is plenty strong. The copper for the plates is Cu110 grade… pretty sure this has no Pb based on my research, but if anyone knows otherwise I appreciate the heads up. The plates are only 0.022” thick (16 Oz., 24 gauge). Pretty thin, but I’m planning to solder it to the wall of the 4” pipe. Has anyone else used this thin of material for their plates?
One lesson I’ve learned in the process… 2.5” diameter copper for the loop and product condenser seems cool, but that diameter is difficult and expensive to find. Better to stick to the whole numbers above 2”.

An interesting thought I’ve had… what about designing plates with “snap rings” that are slightly larger diameter than the ID of the 4” pipe so they can be placed in, help to seal against the ID, and are easily removable/replaceable. There are some issues with the idea, so I decided not to pursue it.
Another interesting idea (which I later saw another person mention) is to add a couple of rivets to a perforated plate to allow for the variable flow and have audible feedback when things begin to bubble.

I’m close to collecting all my parts, but haven’t actually built anything yet. So it’s not too late for me to adjust if you see things amiss. I have a number of modifications to my boiler planned too… going electric among other things, but that’ll be the subject of a different posting.
I will be slow in building (too busy), so forgive the quite spells that are sure to come. I also have a few artistic plans for the column and such which will slow me down a bit.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

DetroitDIY
Attachments
Condensers2n4.jpg
Condenser Cross Sections
Perforated Plate_317x4 copy.jpg
Perforated Plate with 417 1/8" Holes
4th Triangle Column.jpg
Assembly w/ All 10 Plates
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby Danespirit » Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:19 pm

This looks like a very nice build..!
I wouldn't say 10 plates are over the top. There are a few members in here that run that kind of numbers, with good results.
Now, for the plates... 0,022" are just 0,55 mm. I foresee a lot of trouble when you are trying to solder them to the column.
They will warp like hell, resulting in a bad performance. Be aware of your heat when you solder the downcomer etc to the plates, or the torch will just melt the plate completely..!
Also, the cleaning will be more difficult than it has to be.
Two solutions for this:
1. Use thicker gauge plate.
2. Stick with the thin ones, but make a removable plate tree.
Everything else looks just fine and will function excellently.
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby Swedish Pride » Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:43 am

I would split the water supply so you have a separate gate valve per condenser.
Adding a 2' packed section would allow you to make a vodka as well, or so im told, I've yet to build a proper plated column.
Last edited by Swedish Pride on Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby cob » Mon Feb 20, 2017 4:16 pm

what is "fourth triangle" ?
be water my friend
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby Saltbush Bill » Mon Feb 20, 2017 4:36 pm

Swedish Pride wrote:I would split the water supply so you have a separate gate valve per condenser.

+1
DetroitDIY wrote:The column is broken into 4 segments each with a different number of plates (1, 2, 3, and 4 plates) allowing mixing and matching for a column of anywhere from 1 to 10 plates. Probably excessive, but this will allow me to experiment for different degrees of purity vs. flavor.

I think your causing yourself a lot of work for little gain there, You will probably never use more than 5 plates for flavored spirits.
If you want to make vodkas or Netural 4 plates topped by a packed section will do anything and probably more than 10 plates will.
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby DetroitDIY » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:24 pm

Dane – Thanks, I kind of figured it was too thin. :think: 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.

Thanks,
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby Swedish Pride » Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:27 am

the benifit from seperate feed lines are better control, a gate vale has finer control than a ball valve.
I meant to say 2' (foot) of packed section, so the piece you have left is perfect for it, don't use a 2" packed section on a 4" column, it will severely hamper your stills performance.
Apologies for the confusion.

you lost me with the math stuff :)
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby Danespirit » Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:09 pm

+1 Swedish Pride

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.

A 3-way valve, will also work fine.
However, my wallet seems to be made out of mole skin, as it goes deeper and deeper in my pocket when I look at the price tag. :wtf:
A cheap needle valve like the one on the picture can do the job (not even 3$ on E-bay and free shipping).
Mount it on the return line from the dephlegmator, to get rid of the air pockets.
I'd suggest a 1/4" one with a barbed hose connector attached
Needle valve.jpeg
1/8" and 1/4" are available.
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby Saltbush Bill » Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:27 pm

Keep in mind that the needle valve for the dephlegmator has two job, one is to provide enough water flow to obtain full reflux when needed, the other is to provide fine adjustment of low water flow once your running and bleeding off foreshots and running heads or hearts.
To small a needle valve could struggle to provide enough water for full reflux if you don't have a lot of water pressure.
A larger needle valve will do both jobs with ease.
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby DetroitDIY » Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:27 am

OK. I’ve updated my plans/drawings based on the packed column link. If it’s not obvious in my drawings, coolant I/Os are on the back side, and temp gauges are on the front. The column images are shown in their tallest and shortest configurations. And I’ve updated my perf plate pattern to a sunflower a la Fibonacci pattern… for no good reason other than artistic idiosyncrasies (which won’t be seen). Still working on my design patterns for the copper tubing, so I haven’t started to cut anything yet. I’ve kept the 3 way valve as I had already purchased it.

I’m also attaching the rough steps I plan for the dephleg build segment. I’m doing this largely because there is so much soldering and I want to minimize my opportunity to screw up my previous solder work as I do my next solder work. I’m thinking this will be most critical as I insert and join the tube/baffle assembly into the larger pipes of the dephleg and condenser (with all their reducer and ferrule couplings so close). I’m playing with different types of solder to help accomplish this, and would appreciate any feedback on flaws the community sees in my plans.

I have 3 solders at my disposal:

AlphaFry 95/5 Tin/Antimony with a melting point of 240 C (464 F),
Worthington Premium Silver with a melting point of 227 C (440 F), and
Worthington Sterling Silver with a melting point of 210 C (410 F).

This is my process for the dephleg (product condenser is essentially the same).

Dephleg
1 Cut 4" pipe to length
2 Cut 2" pipes to length
3 Solder 4" brass ferrule onto pipe w/ 95/5
4 Pack 2" pipe w/ Cu sheet out to 2" SS ferrule & solder w/ 95/5
5 Tin inside of brass ferrule w/ Premium
6 Grind coolant I/O fittings to 4.125" arc using pipe OD on lathe
7 Polish pipe ODs & 4x2 reducer on lathe
8 Polish 90 by hand
9 Polish 2" cross pipe on lathe
10 Drill 1/2" coolant I/Os
11 Drill 7/8" thermowell ports, first into reducer, then 4"
12 Sand blast patterns
13 Solder coolant I/O fittings w/ 95/5
14 Cut 1/2" tubes to length
15 Trim chord on 3 baffel plates
16 Countersink drill 0.625" boars half way through end plates
17 Drill 0.5" holes fully through top/bottom plates
18 Loose fit end plates w/ 3 baffels between
19 Solder tubes to end plates w/ 95/5
20 Space baffels and tack w/ Premium
21 Solder dephleg inner into 4" pipe w/ Premium
22 Solder 90 to (2) 2" segments w/ 95/5
23 Solder 2" assembly & thermowells into 4" assembly w/ Sterling
Attachments
Perforated Plate Options copy.jpg
Perf Plates: Closest Cubic & Fibonacci for 8% Wet Area Open
3rd Triangle 4 Posting.jpg
"3rd Triangle" Column w/ Packed Column & Integrated Collection Shelf
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby DetroitDIY » Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:29 am

Oops. The left plate is a closest hex packed, not a closest cubic packed...
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby Danespirit » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:27 pm

AlphaFry 95/5 Tin/Antimony with a melting point of 240 C (464 F),
Worthington Premium Silver with a melting point of 227 C (440 F), and
Worthington Sterling Silver with a melting point of 210 C (410 F).


I'd say, fry the Alpha Fry :lol: ...and stick to one of the other two you mentioned.
The Alpha Fry also contains Antimonium, the other two don't. (see pdf for the Sterling silver product).
STERLING-Lead-Free-Solder-COC.pdf
(90.46 KiB) Downloaded 4 times
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby DSM Loki » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:36 pm

Glad to see I'm not the only one with an appreciation for complex patterns and designing my hobby still in CAD.

I'm in the kzoo area, let me know if you're ever out this way and we can grab a drink
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby corene1 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:54 pm

Just a quick thought. The math and design is way above my ability to process. The 3 solders you mentioned. I am assuming your plan would be to use a progressively lower melting temp to try and insure not ruining the previous connection. In my experience it would be nearly impossible to detect a 24 degree change in heat input using conventional torch setups. As was mentioned in an earlier post make a check on the compounds of the solder you are planning on using. I have had good luck with Harris products but even they are very similar in flow temperatures. They seem to vary from the mid 460 degree range to the mid 700 range . You also need to know the setting temperature where the solder becomes solid. This can vary with the compounds of the solder also. You may find one that flows at 600 degree but not set until it is in the low 300 degree range while another compound may flow at 525 degrees and set at 460 degrees . You may consider doing your first assemblies with silver braze which flows at 1125 degrees and do your sub assemblies with a standard lead free solder. Any copper to stainless connection you plan on should be a silver bearing solder at minimum to insure a good joint. Just some thoughts to think about.
Quick edit, here is a link to Harris solders to look at. http://www.harrisproductsgroup.com/en/P ... ering.aspx
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby Opdog » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:26 am

+1 to everything Corene1 said. I used these on the water side of my shotgun condensers. https://www.acwholesalers.com/Sil-Fos/9 ... AtWQ8P8HAQ

They require at least Map gas to get the cooper hot enough, but they work very well and are reasonably inexpensive. You might be able to find them cheaper on EBay.
Cranky's Spoonfeeding Thread: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=52975
Just read it.
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Postby DetroitDIY » Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:28 pm

Loki - Nice name. I would be happy to connect sometime. I'm big on the patterns and artwork. I'm at a slow phase right now as I'm fine tuning the beginning of some sand blasting some patterns into portions of the copper pipe. I generally burn a lot of time in the planning phase of a project. For these designs I'm not using CAD, the scale drawings are done in Adobi Illustrator, which also suits my projects for sand blasting (and a bit of laser etching on the sight glasses) as both require some raster files to get going. It's my first time playing with Illustrator. With some luck, I'll begin cutting the 4" pipe to length this weekend and solder the ferrules and prep the surface by turning them on the lathe. I like the controlled, finished look that Dan got on his flutes via his hill billy lathe (I think that's what he called it), but I have an easy out with a regular wood working lathe.

Corene and Opdog - Yes, I was thinking to use the different melting temperatures of the solders as you describe Corene. I know the temps are close, and I work with MAPP gas, so it'll be easy to overshoot temps. But I'm thinking this plan gives me a better shot than no plan, and I'll work (heat) as carefully as possible. I don't actually intend to measure any temps, just keep gently adding heat until the lower melting solders begin to flow and hope it works out. I was thinking your braze temperature would be too high, but I just looked up MAPP and it burns at 2,020 C, so I guess it's plenty capable of handling those braze temperatures... and that copper melts at 1,085 C... so I gather your 1125 degrees is F (607 C).

Regarding your recommendation for silver bearing solder for the primary structural elements... I see the Worthington Premium Silver has <1% silver, but their "Silver Bearing" solder has the same amount. Are they the same in your book (other than that the wide pasty temp rang that you cautioned)? Forgive my ignorance, but why is the silver important for the SS joints? I actually only have 1 location with Cu to SS joints, but it's at the "180" on the top of my column and so will have a bit of a bending moment once fully assembled trying to mis-align the copper pipe with respect to the stainless ferrules. Looking up the silver braze options there seem to be many options (pretty expensive), and I'm not so sure which I would need and what the benefit is.
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