Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby cranky » Sat Jan 23, 2016 7:36 pm

Good job, I saw your post about leaks a few minutes ago, One thing I do with copper tubing is flare it a little bit so it fits tight inside a piece of pipe then solder it into the pipe, then the pipe will fit a valve pretty easy. I also switched to a gate valve for the dephleg but a lot of people use needle valves it doesn't take much flow. I have no problem getting my product to come off as it should and with the dephleg you really don't really need a gradient like you need with a product condenser. I'm sure you will understand when you bet to running it.
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby rumBum2 » Sat Jan 23, 2016 7:56 pm

Nice work so far! 8) Subbed... i like your dephleg. nice and easy. I'd like to do the same with my flute project. I paid Broken Oar a visit today and picked up a five plate flute section (used). Think i got a good deal... Waiting on your parts list as well. :thumbup:
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby raketemensch » Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:34 pm

rumBum2 wrote:Nice work so far! 8) Subbed... i like your dephleg. nice and easy. I'd like to do the same with my flute project. I paid Broken Oar a visit today and picked up a five plate flute section (used). Think i got a good deal... Waiting on your parts list as well. :thumbup:


Damn, that's a great score. Got ferrules on the top and bottom?
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby rumBum2 » Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:28 pm

rsz_1rsz_1rsz_dsc00234.jpg
sure does.. here's a pic.

was thinking i could also use the top plate section and turn that into the dephleg, not sure if that's an option might be to small?
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby bearriver » Sun Jan 24, 2016 12:40 am

raketemensch, this is a great post. Thank you! I certainly learned a thing or two. :thumbup:
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby raketemensch » Sun Jan 24, 2016 3:20 pm

Well, this has been a hard-working weekend, but well worth it. I got my water/vinegar/sac runs done despite a few setbacks.
IMG_6495.jpg

The only garbage can I had that wasn't in use was a galvanized one. It developed a slow leak as the weekend went on, so on top of dealing with leaks and learning to control the dephleg and liebigs for the first time, I also had to run a shop vac every 10 minutes or so to clean up the floor. I miss air-cooling already...

But it's really nice to be able to knock down the full 5500 watts, and it's even nicer to turn ~6% wash into something past the 80% limit on my refractometer! I'm only running with two plates to start, since I'm going for flavor. Watching the bubbling is likewise awesome.
IMG_6496.jpg

IMG_6497.jpg

But damn, does that water ever heat up fast! I had ~30 gallons, and I had a few gallon jugs frozen to cool it as time went on, but it still wouldn't be enough for a 3-hour run. I could just run water from a spigot the whole time, we live in wetlands and have a ridiculous water table, but it still seems wasteful, so I'm trying to sort out something better now. The easiest thing to do would be to drain some water as it heats and add fresh cool from a spigot that I plan to add anyway (I re-filled the 30-gallon barrel 3 times this weekend by carrying 5-gallon buckets up and down the cellar stairs), but I don't have an easy means of draining the barrel yet, so I need a better plan until I can afford a sink drain pump. Those things are crazy expensive. In the meantime I'm keeping my eye open for a cheap pump to just drain some water out of the barrel so I can replace it. Two pumps, and a fill line? Is this still just a hobby, or am I getting obsessed? I wish it was Summer, so I could just pump in/out of the pool.

So, everything's working, but as always I have improvements in mind already. One of the first will be handling the way the doubled-up CSST goes in and out of the liebig. It's pretty wild to get away with only 24" of PC on a 4", 5500-watt column, but the CSST doesn't want to stay bent up, and wants to always be getting into the product stream. I think what I'm going to do is notch the 1" pipe, making the notch 7/8" wide to accommodate both pipes. Then I'l bend them up into the notch and put a 1" to 3/4" or 1/2" reducer on the end to collect from.

I'm also planning some more permanent plumbing, as it's pretty rickety and drippy (but effective) right now. The ball valves are just in-line with the hoses and not mounted to anything. Most of the elegant solutions that I've seen have had copper tubing soldered to a copper column, but this thing is all stainless, so I need to come up with something different.
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby cranky » Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:31 pm

Nice :thumbup:
I run 2 reservoirs with about 25 gallons apiece in them and 2 pumps. The PC res stays plenty cool but the RC res can just barely handle a full run but it can handle it. I have upgraded the RC res to 32 gallons. I found a pond pump at goodwill for $5 or something like that it has something like a 23 foot head lift. Currently I can't use it because it has so much pressure if you could find something like that it would be able to pump water wherever you wanted it to go.

Now you are making me want to do the cleaning runs on my new condenser just so I can watch everything working. Be careful, sitting there watching it bubble can be addictive but it sure is cool to watch.
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby googe » Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:15 pm

Nice job mate :thumbup: , another bubbler to the club!. Here's my coolant setup viewtopic.php?f=87&t=57687&p=7385268#p7385268
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby Swedish Pride » Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:33 am

nice job lad, here why don't you use your old air cooler setup to cool the water.
Should be enough of a heat transfer to get you through the run
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby raketemensch » Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:53 am

Swedish Pride wrote:nice job lad, here why don't you use your old air cooler setup to cool the water.
Should be enough of a heat transfer to get you through the run


I've been pondering that, but at the moment all of my plumbing is soft tubing, I'm trying to work out the best way to integrate it. I might switch to copper to run through the wall to the outdoors, and use it out there.

googe wrote:Nice job mate :thumbup: , another bubbler to the club!. Here's my coolant setup viewtopic.php?f=87&t=57687&p=7385268#p7385268


Thanks googe, that's genius and exactly what I was looking for.
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby raketemensch » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:37 pm

I picked up a 60-70 gallon cherry pepper barrel this week, thinking that it would probably be enough water, but then we did our taxes and have a return coming, so I'm finally putting the slop sink in the basement.

It'll hold 18 gallons of water, and will be right next to the still, so I can just drain/refill at will. It almost feels like cheating.

Now I've also got this huge-ass barrel... Maybe a 60-gallon rum bucket?
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby Oldvine Zin » Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:52 pm

raketemensch wrote: Maybe a 60-gallon rum bucket?
:thumbup:
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby cranky » Fri Jan 29, 2016 8:22 pm

I saw some 60 gallon olive/pepper barrels at the barrel mans the other day when I picked up a 30 gallon to ferment in. I think one would make a good reservoir. I almost picked one up for a fermenter but was worried I couldn't get rid of the residual flavor. 60 gallons is actually a real nice size for a fermenter.
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby yakattack » Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:25 am

On next year's episode of apples with cranky, " the race is on to see how many 60 gallon barrels he can fill with cider this year, stay tuned "

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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby rgreen2002 » Sat Jan 30, 2016 6:16 am

Fantastic thread rm... I've been following since the start.

Like yourself I don't have a lot of capability for a big build and ever since I saw the 360 degree sight glasses I've been wondering if this idea would be possible.
Keep up the great work and keep posting... I'm interested in your next runs with more sections.
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby cranky » Sat Jan 30, 2016 8:52 am

yakattack wrote:On next year's episode of apples with cranky, " the race is on to see how many 60 gallon barrels he can fill with cider this year, stay tuned "

Yak

:moresarcasm: I've been looking for an old truck lately that can haul more apples than my old Taurus. I've been trying to talk the wife into letting me get this old utility ladder truck
TRUCK - C.JPG

from the Vegas craigslist
http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/cto/5412795691.html
I offered to take her to Vegas so we could pick it up and drive it home, even offered to stop in Reno on the way back and she still said "NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :esurprised: "
I figured I'd make a chute that dropped the apples right in the back and I bet it could hold upwards of 3,000LBS of them. Guess she just doesn't want a trip to Vegas :( , too bad, I like Vegas :D
As far as the I would have to do several washes to verify the olive/pepper taste is out of the barrels too, He also had 55 gallon ones for $5 less that had a soap foaming agent in them and just smell like bleach so those might be better for me.

I'm hoping raketemensch decides to ferment in that one and report back on getting the flavor out.
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby yakattack » Sat Jan 30, 2016 6:37 pm

Hahaha I've been pricing a tow behind cherry picker. 3 axis jointed. Haven't found one used yet...
HDNB wrote: The trick here is to learn what leads to a stalled mash....and quit doing that.
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby raketemensch » Sat Jan 30, 2016 6:42 pm

I've got a pretty bad Craigslist habit, but I've never looked up trucks in Vegas... You're a braver man than I, thinking of driving that thing so far. I love the idea of it, though.

The guy I bought the barrel from sells them all the time, and told me that he used to power wash them out and bleach them, but then people weren't certain that they were really food-grade, so he leaves the food smell in them now. I'm not sure I entirely believe that, but he's been selling them for years, which wouldn't work if he only sold one to a person who got frustrated and didn't come back. I was hoping to try cleaning it today, but plumbing in the utility sink took longer than expected because I screwed up the *last* joint. Maybe tomorrow... My wife wasn't especially happy about being without any water in the house for 3 or 4 hours, but she's happy now that we have a sink down there.

yakattack wrote:Hahaha I've been pricing a tow behind cherry picker. 3 axis jointed. Haven't found one used yet...


Ha, that'd be awesome for roaming around picking random trees that would go unused otherwise.

Oh, and thanks for the kind words everyone. Sometimes I think I'm just the village idiot, flailing around drunk.
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby yakattack » Sat Jan 30, 2016 6:59 pm

Even if you were, you'd be in good company eh.

But nah man. You're doing fine. Keep the updates coming. Glad the install is done lol. Back to the important stuff. Make likker.

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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby cranky » Sat Jan 30, 2016 7:09 pm

raketemensch wrote:IYou're a braver man than I, thinking of driving that thing so far. I love the idea of it, though.

In the early 90's I drove my beat up 66 Jeep pickup with all the special hard to find features like ventilated floorboards and intermittent brakes from Minnesota to Oklahoma and then from Oklahoma to Anchorage, along the way I rewired the taillights in a snowstorm in Iowa at midnight, I lost the rear drive shaft and replaced that on the side of the road somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Canada, Blew up the radiator twice, once in Kansas and once in the Yukon and used up all 4 of my spare tires and encountered many other issues, but I got to Anchorage :D It's amazing what an old truck will go through and still get you where you are going.

I've become much more cautious in my old age and prefer to stay close to home or spend the money to ship, mostly because I just don't like endless driving anymore and the wife isn't about to put up with that sort of thing :roll:
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Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby raketemensch » Sun Feb 14, 2016 3:15 pm

I finally got the first real run in with the flute today. After picking up a 60-gallon barrel for cooling water, our tax return arrived and I gave in and bought the sink drain pump for the basement, so I have a constantly-renewable source of cooling water right next to the still now, which rocks. I spent one weekend installing the feed lines (not a whole weekend, I have 2 kids and a now 10 week old puppy), and the next getting the drain set up. It was SO nice to work with simple PVC after all this soldering... The water started out at 52 degrees (so freaking cold right now) and got as high as 74 before I drained/refilled a few times.

My wife stole my jar stand, so I had to improvise. It turns out that it's worth hanging onto your kids' toys as they grow up:
IMG_6605.jpg

Now I'm thinking that the little fridge might even make some handy storage...

Anyway, I also picked up a 1/2" pvc needle valve on eBay for $10 shipped, which I installed right in front of the dephleg. It's pretty sweet, you can pretty much run the whole rig from that one knob. I still need to adjust the boiler on occasion, but it was my first run, and it'll get smoother as time goes on.

I also picked up this 210gph/5.25 foot head lift pump on eBay, and this was the first run with it. My utility pump is WAY overpowered, and this thing is *just* a tiny bit underpowered. So I'm trying to figure out what to do next. I have a couple of unused ball valves, so I may use one of them with the utility pump to feed just enough power to the cooling lines on the flute, and dump the rest back to waste in the sink. Did I mention that the sink is awesome? I love the sink.

The best part of all of it, though, is getting drinkable, high-proof spirits from a single run. This was 9th-gen UJ, and there's SO much flavor to it. In my earliest runs I always saved a jar of the cleanest hearts, and they had a flavor that I hadn't gotten back after doing stripping/spirit runs. They were far from neutral, but they didn't have the same notes. I missed that flavor, and now I've got it back. And it's just so fast to go from wash -> oaking. Even better to go wash -> drinking...

The other benefit, which I hadn't really thought about, is that it makes it a lot easier to do smaller/single batches. The idea of doing an AG has always appealed to me, but making enough to do multiple stripping runs, then a spirit run, made the whole thing seem way too overwhelming. But if I can make a single 12-gallon batch and run it in one shot, a whole new world opens up.

Some advice from what I've learned recently:

1) The needle valve for the dephleg beats a ball valve hands down.
2) Get braided tubing. These things keep bending and crimping, especially once they heat up.
3) Be careful when you buy connectors -- pex connectors look almost exactly like 1/2" barbs, but it seems that they are a tiny bit smaller, which causes leaks.
4) Fill/drain ports would make this whole thing a billion times easier. When I was just running a 2" column it was easy enough to detach and pour the keg out, but with this huge, heavy column on it the very thought of just draining out he bottom, refilling through the top and firing up again is really tempting.
Last edited by raketemensch on Mon Feb 15, 2016 6:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby raketemensch » Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:56 pm

Oh, and one other thing... I'm sure this isn't an original idea, but the only real problem with the doubled-up CSST in a 1" tube for a condenser (it knocks down 5500 watts, even at only 24", easily) is the way the tubing comes out at the end of the PC. It always wants to hang down, which means the product wants to dribble along it. This makes product exit messy, and is a general PITA.

All I did was notch out the end of the 1" pipe, then slip-fit a 1" to 3/4" reducer on the end, like so:
IMG_6610.jpg

It's a simple thing, and I'm sure it's been done before, but I hadn't seen it. You know the OD of your tubing, so you can just slide the reducer on and mark where it fits, then just cut a deeper notch to 1/2", 5/8 or whatever the OD of your tubing is. Make it as wide as your two tubes. It wouldn't take much to make it look nicer than mine, I did it with a hacksaw in about 10 minutes.

Sure, vapor could theoretically escape, but it's so close to the end that if there's still vapor at that point, I would have issues anyway. I only have 48" of 3/8" CSST doubled up in there, and it knocks everything down, as I mentioned.

You could then just solder the reducer on, and set up a parrot if you use one, but I'm leaving mine loose since I just use a refractometer.
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby cranky » Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:14 pm

Glad to see you have everything all up and running.

That single batch thing is why I'm also thinking about an AG and why I made a rum wash. I think it was Dad300 that with the PC. you could double back the CSST and wire it to the outer tube or angle it a little bit and you shouldn't have the problems.
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby Swedish Pride » Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:51 am

good to hear you had a good proper first run, delighted for ya.
do you find it problematic to have the water goingup and down in temp between the filling and draining of the sink, any impact on RC performance?
I use the kitchen sink as well and was questioning its mustard cutting abilities for a flute setup.

+1 on the braider tubing, mine are plastic and keep crimping, been a few times that i got no water to my liebig because of it :oops:
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby raketemensch » Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:13 am

cranky wrote:Glad to see you have everything all up and running.

That single batch thing is why I'm also thinking about an AG and why I made a rum wash. I think it was Dad300 that with the PC. you could double back the CSST and wire it to the outer tube or angle it a little bit and you shouldn't have the problems.


The weight of the water lines kept angling it back down into the stream. Gravity is also a PITA inside the copper, the CSST wants to sit in the bottom of the tube. The wire would definitely work, though.
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby bitter » Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:21 am

If you used a 2" triclamp pipe could the condensor work like the defagimator you made? I'm just thinking out loud as thats what I was wondering abotu doing. Need lots longer ccst... and finding that here is proving a challenge.. with stainless ends most are brass ends here.

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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby raketemensch » Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:53 am

bitter wrote:If you used a 2" triclamp pipe could the condensor work like the defagimator you made? I'm just thinking out loud as thats what I was wondering abotu doing. Need lots longer ccst... and finding that here is proving a challenge.. with stainless ends most are brass ends here.

B


I lucked out -- my CSST said it had brass connectors, but it arrived with SS.

I'm not sure if you could get a tight enough bend inside 2" pipe to get the seal like I have in the dephleg without crimping, but it seems possible. Doubling up works very well, and is far easier, if not as pretty. My crappy skill set favors function over form....
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby raketemensch » Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:41 am

Long-term report on this set up, it's awesome. I don't think there's an easier or cheaper way to build a flute yourself.

In the end the only soldering was the downcomers and cups on the plates and a single joint on the condenser. It has held up extremely well, and puts out a mighty tasty drop. I've considered cutting back to 2 plates, but am very happy with 3, so just haven't messed with it.
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby emptyglass » Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:30 am

3 perforated plates will work just fine. Drop to 2 and you might get some instability issues.

This doesn't happen with bubble plates, they are so linear it will work fine with 2. But you wont be able to run as fast.

Good job BTW @ raketememsch

Not a big fan of SS myself, but you have done a great job of showing how cheap a few SS parts can be cobbled together to make a great still
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Re: Raketemensch's Almost-No-Soldering Modular Flute Build

Postby raketemensch » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:40 am

Believe me, I’d rather build with copper, but it would remain an unfinished project for years.
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