VM head variations

VM CM LM Flutes Plate

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Re: VM head variations

Postby mepete » Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:51 pm

Thanks
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Re: VM head variations

Postby stilldistillin » Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:17 pm

I know VM configurations are usually only one valve. However I wanted to have amazing control over ABV and reflux, and the ability to put the still in 100% pot still mode when needed.

Makes for a fine drop of whiskey at whatever ABV you want. I usually go for 55% to 65% for flavour.

This configuration works great, and using the two 1" SS VM valves I can dial in any ABV from 20% to 90% without issue. Yes I know if you close both valves you have a safety issue... but lets assume the operator is not half retarded :P

[REMOVED PICTURE FOR SAFETY REASONS]

The picture originally showed a T on the head with two 1" SS valves to control vapour going to the reflux condenser, and to the product condenser. In this configuration it is possible for an amateur operator to close both valves and create too much pressure in the system, and this is the safety issue people are talking about. However if you are experienced and don't drink while distilling, it gives you amazing control over the vapour path.
Last edited by stilldistillin on Wed Aug 05, 2015 5:13 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: VM head variations

Postby Danespirit » Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:14 am

I don't assume the operator is retarded..
But you know that you'll have a serious situation at hand..especially on a spiritrun and both valves closed..?
Imagine hot vapor, that is very flamable, shooting out under your lid.
As you distill in your kitchen, you got to ask yourself one question... "Do i feel lucky today?". :roll:
You should at least think about some kind of pressure release..
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Re: VM head variations

Postby Yummyrum » Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:41 am

Stillstillin ...I hate all the safety bashing ,I realize you are a sensible fellow and would run the rig correctly .

But there are a lot of Dumb fucks and those who simply can't read ( and that's not their fault ) that might look at this pic and copy it but not understand the implications .

What about a tee off to a water filled blow off trap or a mechanical interlock between the two valve handles . The Later would give a visual indicator that when one is on , the other is off :?:

BTW .nice job :D
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Re: VM head variations

Postby still_stirrin » Wed Aug 05, 2015 4:50 am

stilldistillin,

+1 to Yummyrum and Danespirit.

Safety is the responsibility of the distiller AND the forum. What gets posted here lives into perpituity. We must be dilligent with what is posted for the safety of all.

So, please consider this with your build...and what you post.
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Re: VM head variations

Postby stilldistillin » Wed Aug 05, 2015 5:04 am

Yep, safety is always number 1, I agree.

The pressure release in my design is done at the boiler level. You'll notice that the point of failure is the lid, where it is only held on using book clips. It is easy for liquid, steam to come through there if there was too much pressure in the system. If this were a keg, I'd put multiple pressure release valves on the keg.

The great thing about this design is that it allows pure pot still mode and really allows you to dial in the perfect ABV and reflux. I originally had one valve and noticed that it was impossible to get the results I used to have with my pure pot still head. Some vapour always wants to go to the reflux condenser. Doesn't matter how you design it, with a one valve VM system, you'll never have less than 50% reflux and for whiskey making, this is a no no. The only other solution would be to use a 3-way valve instead of the T.

PS - you're right about people seeing a picture and not reading. I removed the picture for safety reasons. Now all they can do is read :P
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Re: VM head variations

Postby still_stirrin » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:07 am

stilldistillin wrote:....it was impossible to get the results I used to have with my pure pot still head....

Different tool....for a different job...
stilldistillin wrote:...Some vapour always wants to go to the reflux condenser. Doesn't matter how you design it, with a one valve VM system, you'll never have less than 50% reflux and for whiskey making....

Different tools needed for different products. Are you starting to "get it" yet?

If you want potstill function, build a potstill, or at least a potstill head for your column. With a modular solution, you can have both solutions.

My reflux still has a combination LM/VM reflux head allowing to compress heads and draw off the fores and heads through the liquid takeoff (needle valve). Then, with reflux stabilization utilizing the concentric reflux condenser, I can open the VM valve to the shotgun product condenser. Modulating the VM valve regulates the reflux ratio (my minimum RR is 4:1) and produces a very high quality distillate. The nice thing about a VM reflux head is that the tails are compressed to the point where the output all but stops when you get to the tails. Once I get there, I can open the VM valve "full open" and turn up the heat and finish collecting what tails there are left.

When I want to strip, or run a big flavored mash, I replace the reflux head with the potstill head. Actually, I swap my 1 meter tall, marble-packed, reflux column with a 12" uninsulated riser to which I tri-clamp the potstill head on to. Ironically, the shotgun product condenser is used on both the reflux (VM) output and the potstill. Modularity is your friend (and cost saver).

I still believe you're safer with a "single VM" valve regardless.
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Re: VM head variations

Postby stilldistillin » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:49 am

I "get it". The idea behind this is to compress the heads in reflux, then put it in almost pot still mode after a few jars of heads. I can dial it down to 60% and keep it pretty constant until the end, then it goes back in to 50% reflux for the last jar, then full pot still mode with 0% to collect the last jar of tails.

I don't mind tails so much.. I think it gives some nice flavour. The heads are too "hot" and give a terrible flavour once cut down to 45%.

I also have CM to my condensers that will allow me to control the temperature of the refluxed liquid. Overall, I'm very happy with all the controls and I'm surprised there aren't more dual VM valves around for whiskey. I think it's a good compromise between legacy pot still and flutes.

The build of this design is expensive though. A lot of fittings, values, and different types of copper sizes... but it was fun to build what I thought was the ultimate pot still hybrid.. probably not, but it's what I thought when building it heheh.

I'm not saying my method is perfect. I'm always looking to try new ideas. I think what I have built here is pretty good. If you have suggestions that may work better for this hybrid pot still type mode, please let me know.
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Re: VM head variations

Postby hoochlover » Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:08 am

DAD300 wrote:The best ratio is always to match the VM takeoff dia to the column dia if possible. It allows the minimal reflux to takeoff ratio of approx 1:1.

If the column diameter is so great that the takeoff must be smaller or only smaller materials are available, I would start thinking CM. As the CM allows for minimal reflux ratio by cutting coolant to the dephlegmator.
PerpenCoilDephleg.jpg


Image

Looking at this pic, couldn't you also do an adjustable VM on the horizontal like this? So if it's in full reflux, you start to pull it out to change the amount coming out to product condenser. Not sure if it makes it any easier or not to build but at least the horizontal placement of the cooling system doesn't have gravity possibly pushing it down. Seems like it would be easier to adjust and completely eliminates potential for smearing build up like is possible with a normal VM TEE junction, even in your vertical adjusted coolant design? I mean if you have a T that isn't on some kinda angle there is always the potential for something to not go back down the column that otherwise would right? A horizontal design would eliminate that possibility, as small as it likely is.

I really wish I had read about manus/your design before purchasing some parts as I like the simplicity and I really dislike my valve. Oh well, money wasted is a lesson learned.
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Re: VM head variations

Postby DAD300 » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:41 am

Here's a solution.
Y Dephlegmator.jpg
Y Dephlegmator.jpg (15.5 KiB) Viewed 3022 times


It still allows movement of the reflux coil. OR adjust water flow and it is a Dephlegmator.
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Re: VM head variations

Postby hoochlover » Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:34 pm

DAD300 wrote:Here's a solution.
Y Dephlegmator.jpg


It still allows movement of the reflux coil. OR adjust water flow and it is a Dephlegmator.


Yep that works to solve the potential smearing problem. I feel like it would still be harder to adjust than the horizontal version though as gravity still is pushing it? I know the cooler you use is kinda squishy so it's not such a problem but I feel like if you had a smooth gliding mechanism for the cooler horizontally it would be easy to adjust. Perhaps I'm just overthinking it anyhow because you probably don't tweak it that much during a run.
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Re: VM head variations

Postby DAD300 » Sat Oct 24, 2015 6:03 am

There is little interference in the CSST coil...only one ring needs to be in contact. It moves very easily.
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Re: VM head variations

Postby hoochlover » Sat Oct 24, 2015 8:21 am

DAD300 wrote:There is little interference in the CSST coil...only one ring needs to be in contact. It moves very easily.


Is this moveable cooler the setup you currently use or are you on something better? :) It's good to know what the most experienced guys are doing and I know you are a keen experimenter.
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Re: VM head variations

Postby DAD300 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:40 am

I use a version of the "T" with reflux condenser on top.

My column is short and I have no trouble reaching the top or moving the coil by hand. I usually move it twice during a run.

The top and coil are never above 130F-ish...
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