DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

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chickenfeet
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DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by chickenfeet » Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:59 pm

With help from all the great info on this site, I've just built my first boka still and have had great results.

When I was building it, I couldn't face the cost of a stainless needle valve and didn't want to use brass so I got thinking how I could make something similar myself.
Anyway, after testing it out on two cleaning runs and one spirit run it has performed well so I thought I'd post a pic on here in case anyone is interested in making one.
The flow rate can be adjusted quite accuratley.

Its very simple really, It just comprises of some 6mm copper tube(same as I used for condenser) and a 5mm A4 stainless bolt.

Here is a pic:
Image
Click on the image for the large version

Please shout if anyone would like any more details on how ho make one

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by rad14701 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:03 pm

Nice thinking outside the box, chickenfeet... Can you regulate drips per second with that setup...???

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by LWTCS » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:16 pm

Yes. Really good.

With just a bit more work (if that), I bet you could manufacture a really nice tool.

WTG.
If you continue to refine this valve, I'd say this is a "sticky" worthy topic worth watching.

Very nice contribution.
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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by Husker » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:31 pm

Please post a drawing, better pix, etc.

'good' needle valves are one of the really big expenses of this hobby, and seem to be hard for many people to find. So any quality instructions on how to DIY for considerably cheaper would be very welcome.

Who knows, a good, pretty easy to do design, could be the next 'easy flange' type project, that many people end up going with.

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by kiwistiller » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:39 pm

Has anyone just tried to get away with using the cheap little ball valves? I read that harry had tried one once and could get it to 4 dps without much trouble.
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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by LWTCS » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:43 pm

Got me thinkin now.
I don't really have any use for a valve, but........


Maybe fill a bit of 3/8 copper tubing (or the like) with solder at the top..........cuz I'm good at melting many pounds..........then drill a starter hole an tap some threads through the center. This could help offer a bit more precision for adjustments and perhaps a longer service life.

Or even solder a stainless nut at the top. Less likely to strip out.
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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by maheel » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:19 pm

pure genius :)

I am going to give this a go

i was thinking some sort of brass block / rod, tap a thread right through and solder the block onto the off take like a 3 way join and bolt runs vertical

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by MuleKicker » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:29 pm

Good work. You need to post detailed pics/directions. I like it.
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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by kiwistiller » Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:16 pm

seriously? stainless / teflon ones?
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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by HookLine » Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:35 pm

If somebody could come up with an easy, cheap, reliable and safe alternative to off-the-shelf commercial stainless valves, that would be great.

Though, I gotta say the $100 or so a commercial valve costs is pretty small change for what you get. It will also get paid back very quickly - half a dozen spirit runs and you should be well ahead, compared to buying the same amount of commercial booze.
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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by chickenfeet » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:48 pm

Wow, I didn't think I'd get this sort of response!
In answer to your questions:

Rad: Yes, I can regulate drips really well. Sometimes you only need to turn the bolt a touch but its really easy. The only slight issue is when I close the valve off completley, I still get a drip approx every 30-60 seconds. This was not an issue for me.

Kiwi: I thought about a ball valve but I think it would be much harder to adjust accuratley. I use one to regulate my coolant flow and it is not great. I think they are only really designed to be on or off.

LWTCS: I initially thought of using a nut on the top but I tried without first and I don't think it is required. I just screwed the 5mm bolt into the 6mm tube and it cut its own thread that seems really strong. I doubt you could strip it in normal use.

I will try and describe how I made it step by step.

My 5mm bolt is 40mm long

-Straighten and cut 2 pieces of 6mm copper tube, one a little shorter that the thread on the bolt and one as long as you want to go to your still.

-Take the bolt and screw it all the way into the short piece of tube. I used an impact driver for this as it was pretty stiff but you could use a spanner/pliers. Then remove it.

-Take the longer piece of tube and cut 4 slots in the end using side cutters going about 5mm down.

-Cutting the slots should create 4 tabs on the end on the tube. You need to bend two(opposites) of these out to 90 degrees. see below:
Image

-Now take the piece of tube that you threaded and drill a 5mm hole about 10mm from the end:
Image

-Clean everything and then put the two pieces of tube together, lining up the splayed end over the hole in the other piece. The difficult bit is getting them to stay on place so you can solder them. I got some copper wire(stripped down domestic electrical cable) and wrapped it round. You don't want ti to touch where you are going to solder though. The following pic is pretty rubbish but the best I could do:
Image

-Solder up, making sure there are no gaps obviously.

-You will then need to run a 5mm drill bit down the tube(not the threaded one) to clean out any solder that got in and create a path through.

-Screw the bolt back in and test in water by blowing through. A tiny amount of air leakage seems ok.



You could use any size of tube/bolt I suppose as long as the bolt is a tight fit.
The bolt and threaded tube/bolt cannot be much shorter than I used as the top needs to be above the height of alcohol in the still to prevent leakage.

I'm not good at making instructions but I hope that it is helpfull.

Please ask if there are any more questions

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by crazyk78 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:53 pm

Chickenfeet...you are a pure genius

I think this thread is going to be a ripper...it's definetly going to get some creative juices of our members going.

Before you know it we're going to have a simple refined DIY needle valve.

I'm also going to have a look into it because I think that it's a great simple Idea.

I'm using a ball valve at the moment and can regulate ok...but to get me out the house away from the wife I think this will give me an excuse to stay in the garage longer.

Can't wait to see how the thread goes.

The one thing to make adjustment easy would be to solder a little T handle on the top of the bolt to adjust the flow as a bolt like that cutting it's own thread could be a little tight.

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by chickenfeet » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:20 pm

Hi Crazy,
Bolt can be a little tight to turn when dry but once still gets going and its warmed up its very easy to turn.
I leave a socket on top of the bolt for a better grip and it makes it easier to adjust accuratley.

Like you say, hopefully I spur someone on to design something even better. This is pretty basic and started with my thinking that you shouldn't need a specialised £50 needle valve for something that has no pressure involved and is just reliant on gravity for flow.

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by Popcorn Fan » Sat Nov 13, 2010 12:47 pm

This is a thread to watch.

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by Chiller » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:43 am

Hey chickenfeet - looking at the design, it seems as though this acts more like a 90 degree gate valve as opposed to a needle (equally as good at fine tuning), could you just confirm that or am I missing something? Thanks :D
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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by chickenfeet » Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:56 am

Hi Chiller,

I guess that would be a more accurate description of it, so I'd say you are spot on!

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by Chiller » Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:28 am

Didn't mean to try to show you up or anything :wink: . Will hopefully be making me one of these if I can find the right bolt soon enough
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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by chickenfeet » Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:50 pm

Chiller, let me know how you get on. After the initial interest, no one has posted to say they have made one themselves so maybe I just got lucky with mine!

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by maheel » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:47 pm

i made one today :) bit rough for a 1st test one but copied your idea

blowing through it and screwing the bolt did seem to give it some control over the airflow

tests and pics later this weekend then refine my build :)

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by Samohon » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:14 am

Hey Chickenfeed, something wrong with your images, try and upload them to HD directly within the posting page...

Great tutorial mate... :wink:
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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by Skoot » Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:15 pm

Just click on the picture and wait a while. It takes a long time to load (20-30 seconds).

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by rad14701 » Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:00 am

Skoot wrote:Just click on the picture and wait a while. It takes a long time to load (20-30 seconds).

Skoot
I must be missing something because I haven't seen any images posted by maheel, but I did read that he would post images over the weekend... Perhaps they will be here when I get back from my out of town trip...

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by maheel » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:02 am

got side tracked and have yet to test....

running my normal boka right now sitting here beside it and right in the hearts :)
but might put this boka on at the end and test
will need to do a slight cool down and switch heads to this one...

like i said very rough "prototype" it's 1/4" bolt section through a 3/8th offtake (soldered back onto a 1/4 offtake on the boka)

#2 will be opened up better as this one will be a bit restrictive on the flow rate...
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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by NineInchNails » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:50 pm

You can use a flare tool to flare the end of the takeoff tube. It doesn't take much to flatten the flare out more. Then find something approx the same diameter/size as the tube you wish to connect it to. Now shape the flared end so that it wraps around the tube. Sand, flux then solder it onto the tube. Doing this gives more surface area for a MUCH more solid connection.

Below is a pic of what I'm talkin about, but it's connected to a much larger tube. This is how I connected a tube to the main body of my Parrot:
Image

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by maheel » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:27 pm

good idea NIN, you can also buy a flare kit at most car part places for as low as $10

as for this valve it was a fail... (for now)

but i think the "untested" boka i ran it on has an issue... i did a swap over of the boka's at the end of a run and i could not get anything out the offtake pipe
had vapour, had cooling, the valve worked a little but it would not come out..

when some heads where tipped down the top of the boka it came out the offtake but no condensed vapour would come out
i even grabbed my pipe cutter and cut the valave off still no liquid ?

it was 11pm sunday night and i said "stuff it" and went to bed ... to late to be drilling and hammering

have another play later in the week and make a better one

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by cradmin » Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:46 pm

I am glad that people are working out new ways of doing things.. I am a big believer in innovation but regarding valves but when you can buy a non lead 3/8 brass needle valve that includes compression fittings for less than $6 Canadian.. why bother trying to re create the wheel..

As far as i know the only reason people do not like brass is the lead content.. but the new brass fittings are non lead.. well most anyway. I can go to Homedepo or Rona and pick them up cheap and no need to bother with more sodder and messing around? am I missing something here?

Watts PB 9106 valves contain no lead.. any Watts numbers beginning with PB contain no lead.. does this not make our job much easier?

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by Rargh » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:04 pm

I have just built a 54 mm 2 plate bok and i have made one of the needle valves described. Blowing through it and adjusting the screw does seem to change the amount of air flow.
Will be doing a cleaning run later in the week so will post results/pics then

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by maheel » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:17 am

wish i could buy a $6 lead free needle valve

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by Rargh » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:36 am

Here is a pic of my DIY valve. Its 6 mm tube
I just cut the end of the tube in two places (as opposed to 4), cleaned them up, wrapped them around and soldered. The hole in the 'other' tube is 4 mm.
DIY Needle Valve
DIY Needle Valve

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Re: DIY Needle Valve alternative for Boka

Post by whiskymonster » Fri May 13, 2011 12:27 pm

gotta try this next time i go for supplies at the hardware store, dont have a ss bolt in the bits box.

in the mean time, i have found an easy way to make cheapass ss ball valves usable.

took the knob off, locked the stub on the valve in the chuck of my cordless drill, and ran it at full speed for a few seconds. drilled a hole in the knob, and put a 50mm bolt in to lengthen the handle.

just makes the valve a lot looser, which isnt a prob under low pressure, and makes the adjustment easier with the longer handle.

not nearly as good as the valve here, but makes dropwise adjustment a hell of a lot easier with the cheapass stuff i have atm.

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