still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

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still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Dingodog » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:48 am

Hi all.

Im all kinda new to this so please be kind lol. Im planning on building a refulx still shortly. I couldn't really make my mind up on weather i should go LM or CM, so i figured maybe i can integrate both into one. Basically running the water in let about a 3rd the way up of the collum (like a CM), into the base of liebig condencer (like a CM still), then running out the top of the liebig into a coil at the top of the still. (Basically a bobka with CM)

Idea being to make it easier to control and fine tune whilst keeping the tails in the keg making better cuts, if that makes sense.

In saying that iv never owened or built a still let alone done a run before so im unsure if my idea is going to work, if dose seem like a good idea then feel more than welcome to throw in some improvements

Btw i drew this up after about 10 or so beers so plese exuse any spelling mistakes or mixed up aberrations.



1. Ball value
2. Water outlet
3. Glass veiw port
4. Top plate
5. Upside down gate valve
6. Bottom plate
7. Temp gauge
8. Reinforcement for liebig
9. CM condencer
10. Water inlet
11. Ball valve
12. LM cooling coil
13. Liebig condencer



Its going to 48 inches tall and 2 inch diameter (pretty standard), hope it all makes sense. Feel free to ask questions

Thanks for all your time and help
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Last edited by Dingodog on Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby StillerBoy » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:28 am

If you want help, post your pictures here on HD.. otherwise, your're on your own, as off site pictures are not supported..

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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Dingodog » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:34 am

Cheers i tried that before but my photo was to large to upload having difficulty getting below 500kb cause om my phone ill try to figger it out an fix it up. Thanks for the heads up
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby bluefish_dist » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:23 am

First, the temp gauge should be below the lower plate. The cold liquid will throw off the temp. Why split the plates into two sections? Seems like that could cause alignment issues.
Why run the coolant line through the column? That style of cm seems to be pretty inefficient.
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Kegg_jam » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:05 am

Nah, I don’t think I would go with that. Keep checking out idea’s.

The thru tube in the lower part of the column is a known short coming of that CM design.
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby fizzix » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:03 pm

Here's some designs that may help you, Dingodog.
..Making the devil's water since 2017...
"And when you lose control, you'll reap the harvest you have sown." -Dogs, Pink Floyd
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby zapata » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:39 pm

That's a nope, sorry. Still design really works better if you understand how and why proven designs work well.

It is possible to combine CM and LM, but that isn't it. It also begs the question of why. I think it's cool you're excited and drawing up designs after 10 beers. Some good ideas come from such fun, but usually sobriety prevails.
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby still_stirrin » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:43 pm

Dingodog,

You’re proposing a cross tube as your CM reflux enhancer? Ditch it...not worth the solder. If you want a “functioning CM” head, build a dephlegmator to stack above the column. But as already suggested, put your LM collection plates ABOVE the deflag.

And don’t put a modular splice between the plates. It is unnecessary to split the plates for functionality of the liquid collection capability. It’ll only aggravate liquid (condensate) splashing.

And then, if you have a coil condenser (reflux) condenser above the slant plate section, it will knock the vapor back to the plates.

But frankly, I don’t see any advantage to a combination CM/LM reflux head. It will be challenging to build and CM’s are traditionally difficult to operate.

First off, the CM is much more difficult to “dial in” for reflux management. And the product collection would ultimately be off of the LM collection plates. So it seems most logical to simply use the LM for reflux management. (If you don’t understand this concept, then you don’t understand reflux management in general...in other words, you NEED to read and learn more before progressing).

On the flip side of the coin, a combination LM/VM is quite easy to operate and much easier to build. So, dig in...and read some more before commiting to your build plans.
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Dingodog » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:41 pm

Thank you for your replys. Its given me a bit to think about.

The reason for the internal CM tube through the colloum has nothing to do with refulx but more to do with controling the heads and tails. Being a beginner at this, this is whats attracts me to a CM still. I hear this design kinda magicly shut its self down when you reach the end of your heads run (presumably because of ethanol condencing lower down in the tower at a lower temperature). Then again as your entering your tails due to the heavys staying lower in the colum. From my understanding LM&VM dont do this. B the fact you have no real other control over CM scares me away from design. I just like the idea of a the still telling me some what of whats going on and where im at in a run

Hence why i wanted to incorporate into my design but use a different method of reflux to try an achieve better control over the still (i opted for LM) and to be able to reach thise high 90+ abv

From what iv read i think this still might be possible some what. I figured i had some stuff muddled up so thought i better ask some people in the know.

More reasearch an thinking i think.

Even looking at my original idea its cool concept but retardedly inefficient
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby bluefish_dist » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:18 pm

Purity is a function of column height, not head design. The big advantage of a CM is two fold, one it scales well, i.e. Cheap and easy to make really big, two you can run it as a true pot still after compressing the heads. Only one of those really applies at the hobby scale.
VM and reverse LM offer the feature that take off slows or stops when the alcohol is depleted. A combination lm/vm can allow heads to be taken off by the lm section and not contaminate the VM section, so it is clean for taking off the hearts.

Lm can also do close to a pot still, which is not possible with a VM. A VM always has some reflux, so running as a true pot still is not possible. Personally I love my lm/VM setup and would recommend it over a cm for hobby use.
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby zapata » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:50 am

I hear this design kinda magicly shut its self down when you reach the end of your heads run

Is best answered with another quote.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
-Arthur C. Clarke
If you don't understand the science behind the technology, might as well sacrifice a goat and pray to Bacchus. We often use phrases like magic, but there really aren't many mystteries left in existent still designs. Not to say there aren't new things to learn, but that we pretty well understand how the things we already have work. Some things in distilling do happen like magic. Learn WHY and you'll ne able to apply technology appropriately. If not, just copy a known design and revel in the magic, seriously, no shame in that.

For what it's worth, LM or VM stills can magically shut down at tails, LM or VM can magically handle heads, CM can be precisely controlled, and all stills tell you everything you need about what's going on and where you are. Dont want to completely rain on your parade, but I'd stick to reading, or stilling on a proven design a bit more before you go off into the woods.
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Yummyrum » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:48 am

Agreed zapata
I don't know where all this talk of magic heads /tails shut down comes from :crazy:
My VM/LM and my CM all quite happily keep pumping out at what I would say is the same rate long after ( a jar or two ) I have detected tails by simply tasting the output at every jar change ....hell how hard can it be .
Same for heads /hearts ....never seen any startlingly obvious change in output rate :roll: .........Tasting and sniffing are quite important .....I believe they are what you will do when you drink you booze :idea:

Dingodog
Mate I can see the appeal in your design with the Reflux Condenser in a glass tube . It is quite mesmerizing watching the beads of condensate drip off that coil :thumbup:
May I suggest a double would coil ...they are a bit more efficient , albeit a bit harder to make

Also Agree with Blue fish about the thermo being under the bottom plate so it doesn't get splashed .....the condensed reflux will be a lot lower in temp than the vapour you want to measure .

I like what you are doing with the split plates in each module section as it would mean you can solder them inside each easily without having to cut the pipe ....I am taking a guess that you intend to use Stainless steel spools .
The normal approach has been to use copper and cut a slot with a hacksaw and insert the plate , solder and file off the excess crap .....you could still do this with Staino spools .

Yes Piss off that silly CM lower cross tube WTF :wtf: ......the guy that first did that and posted it online should be shot :think: ....OK ...that wasn't very PC :silent:
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Dingodog » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:02 am

No worries.

Thanks for the input, clearly i was heading in the wrong direction. Since i dont have any goats to sacrifice an i have no clue who bacchas is i gotta read some more and probably base a design of something tried an prooved instead of miss matching different parts of different stills trying to create some perfect still.

After ten or so beer's it seemed like a solid idea at time. Guess i let my mind get away a bit.

Think i been bitten buy copper bug before even getting a chance to build it. Its all i can rhink about lately.

I wasn't even thinking about the ease of soldering the plates in at the time i thought up this design, it was more the ease of getting the inlet to the top condenser coil through the side of the two inch pipe as it was at the base of the coil. I know heat likes to travel up, so the idea was to try to make the heat follow the water path easily. Up and out the top.

Stainless spools? As in, im kinda lost there. I was thinking just a couple of copper plates cut to shape

The glass veiw port thingy at the top is just cause it looks cool and at $35 why not. I wanna try and build a sleek shiny nice looking still (figured if it lookd nice it might be more missus friendly) that functions well. Some stills ive seen look like zombie Frankenstein octopus.

Couple of beginners questions tho, firstly what is ment by the term "delfag"? Ive search the fourm to try find the meaning, see it being used alot to describe something just unsure what and google has flipping idea, probably have a better chance using the Oxford dictionary. Second is "dephlegmator" just a fancy word for a reflux condencer, if not how dose it differ?

Thanks again for kicking me in the right direction and your help
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby still_stirrin » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:16 am

Dingodog wrote:...Couple of beginners questions tho, firstly what is ment by the term "delfag"? Ive search the fourm to try find the meaning, see it being used alot to describe something just unsure what and google has flipping idea, probably have a better chance using the Oxford dictionary. Second is "dephlegmator" just a fancy word for a reflux condencer, if not how dose it differ?

Here, read this.... viewtopic.php?f=87&t=47263
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Dingodog » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:18 am

Cheers will do
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Yummyrum » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:21 am

Well no wonder you can't find any referance to the delfag :D unfortunately it is some poor member/s attempt go say deflag which is an abreviation for Deflagmator .

A Deflagmator is the Reflux Condenser in a CM ( coolant management still )

VM and LM stills don't have a Deflagmator
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby raketemensch » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:02 am

It’s also a good idea to look up who Bacchus is, he’s your best friend after 10 beers :]
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Mikey-moo » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:02 am

raketemensch wrote:It’s also a good idea to look up who Bacchus is, he’s your best friend after 10 beers :]

For some of us, only after 3! :thumbup: :thumbup:
Best place to start for newbies - click here - Courtesy of Cranky :-)

If you have used this site to save money by making your own top quality booze at home then please consider donating a couple of dollars to help keep this site running. Cheers!
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby zapata » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:00 pm

Dingo, it occurs to me I might have been a bit harsh. Somewhere I have an entire notebook of stilling ideas, designs, processes. Many of them are flawed. Some of them are crazy complicated and while I was super excited about them at the time I eventually realized they were completely based on flat out wrong theories. But some of them had ideas I'm only starting to test years later and there may well be some gems that came directly from stills that would never have worked as originally designed.
In retrospect designing faulty stills on paper is a great way to understand what and how things work.
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Dingodog » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:41 pm

All good zapata no hard feelings hear. Sometimes harsh words are filled with the best intentions. I understand your point.
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Dingodog » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:49 pm

All in all iv already learnt alot just in few comments on hear i now know deflag is just a abreviation for deflagmator so now i can follow some conversations more clearly and that a deflagmator is just a shot gun condencer used in the collum of a CM still. Iv also learnt some roman/greek mythology. Feeling a little wiser now.
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Dingodog » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:55 pm

@ yummyrum

When you were talking about stainless spools, are you referring to the flanges/furrels? If so i was planning to stay clear of stainless as much as can and try and use copper through out the build. Keeping the expansion rates of metal through out the build the same. Was thinking this would save me troubles futher down the track with leaks or cracked solder or brazing.
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby zapata » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:42 pm

Spool is the name of a pipe that has a.triclamp fitting on each end. It's what a supplier would call that thing whether sold for a dairy, a still or a chemical plant.

Couple more details about deflagmators. They don't have to be shotgun style, though that is the most common. The most important detail though is that they are (or can be adjusted to be) partial condensers. A deflagmater which condenses all vapors is no longer a deflag and is now just like any other reflux condenser. Partial condensation is the sine qua non of cooling management, whether it be a coil, shotgun, or even straight through tubes used as a deflag.

Take your typical shotgun deflag for example. It is adjusted to let some vapor through or not depending on distillation stage. Thus it is a deflag. But move the same piece of equipment to the end of a potstill where full condensation is a requirement, and it is no longer called a deflag but rather a condenser. Same physical device but the different applications call for a different name.
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Dingodog » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:28 pm

Cheers zapata makes alot of sense.

Your all legends amongst men

I do apologize if any of my ignorance is frustrating some of you. Im finding it hard to follow alot of terminology for alot of things, some things are the same but called several different names others the name changes as the there functions differ. Im slowly getting there tho.

Kinda reminds of working with my old man. We both knew the same things (tools, parts an whatever else) but use different names for them. Causeing a lot of miss understandings and four letterd words ha ha
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby zapata » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:37 pm

Lol, I was once part of a workshop hosting a really handy bloke from Germany. We spent many hours making sure we had all the tools at the shop he would need based on a list he had supplied. Every single one ended up being something so common it would be in any decent shop, he just called them something different even though he was perfectly fluent in English.
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Dingodog » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:29 am

Ahhhh must a European/uk thing my old man was Scottish lol
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Yummyrum » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:01 am

Dingodog wrote:@ yummyrum

When you were talking about stainless spools, are you referring to the flanges/furrels? If so i was planning to stay clear of stainless as much as can and try and use copper through out the build. Keeping the expansion rates of metal through out the build the same. Was thinking this would save me troubles futher down the track with leaks or cracked solder or brazing.


Dingo , I saw the Staino triclamp sight glass and assumed you would be doing the whole thing out of Staino spools ( as explained by zapata )
Figured that might have had a bearing on your design :think: ....teach me for assuming :roll:

To be honest you are better making it out of copper if you can :thumbup:
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Re: still builder's come and critique my cm/lm still design

Postby Dingodog » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:30 pm

Yeah it was gonna be the only bit of stainless on my build. But after having to rethink my design i dunno if its going to end up being used.
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