Yummyrums LM/VM

VM CM LM Flutes Plate

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Yummyrums LM/VM

Postby Yummyrum » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:48 pm

A few of you that visit other forums may well have seen this before but I just realized I hadn't done a build thread on HD ....so for those that care , here is how I made my still and why it is what it is .

So a bit of history . I had a Still spirits Reflux still on a 25Liter boiler and was doing Turbo washes for quite some time before I found HD back in about 2011 but I was a closet reader .He's what I had been putting up with complete with plastic hose ( as I did not know any better at that stage ) The upgrade to the 25 liter boiler was a huge improvement :moresarcasm: .......Mmmmm turbo at 70% ABV Yum :oops: ...now wonder you had to filter it before drinking it .

SS Reflux still on 5 liter boiler.jpg



I become interested in the VM but folk were saying that LM was also good to remove fores and heads . I also was reading at the time that the VM was limited to a 50:50 maximum take off so I decided that the bigger the takeoff port the better . This is why I went the dual reducer way with a huge ball valve to match the diameter of the reducer section to get the maximum potential take off in VM mode .This turned out to be a complete waste of a big ball valve and in reality I never cracked it more than a nats dick .....in hindsight a smaller valve would have worked perfectly fine and not been such a twitchy thing to control .

As like all beginners , I thought I was only ever going to make one still so I wanted it to be everything I thought I would possibly need . I had read that the limit for stripping was often the 1/4" pipe and Needle valve on a LM so I went for 3/16" and a ball valve . I only ever used LM a couple of times and found no real advantage over VM which was so much more user friendly .

I was also reading all about LM and RLM ( reverse liquid management ) and though as I might like to experiment with that at a later date , I would make my reflux lines external so I could change them easily if needed .That to this day has not happened .

I never used this still for stripping and I ended up making a dedicated stripping pot head very soon after and that negated any advantage of using the larger sizes for the reflux/take off in LM mode or the Large size take off aperture in VM mode So this was the grand plan .

Plan.jpg


I had never touched a soldering Iron or gas touch bigger than anything needed to do electronic work so the whole building concept was a bit Daunting . I had a few plumbers in the family so I hoped it was in my genes.
The two main things that were worrying me were building the reflux condenser coil and how I was going to attach the column to my boiler .
So the first thing I did was read a few " how to wind a coil " threads here and taking Rads advise to "become one with the copper ", I made a dual helix Condenser straight up . No salt , no freezing ....just the force
I used a 16mm diameter curtain rod for the inner former and wound some TV coaxial cable next to the copper to get the even spacing . Then I placed a piece of conduit ( I think it was 32mm ) over the first layer and wound back .

Reflux Condenser.jpg


The next challenge was to make a flange to fit the column to my Still Spirits boiler lid . This was my first attempt at flaring a flange and it required a lot of annealing as the copper work hardened pretty quickly as I kept forming the flange .
I used a method I'd seen here where you drill a 2" hole in a block of wood and clamp it in a vise to hold while bashing the copper . Unfortunately I didn't take any pics of this.
The flange was attached with some Staino Nuts and bolts with a cork gasket . It leaked around the nuts and bolts so I had to wrap teflon tape around them .

Flange.jpg


Pleased that the worst in my mind was over I started the fiddly stuff .
First the condenser .This was 5 3/16" pipes in a 1 1/2" shell . I ended up twisting them as I figured it would add a little turbulence and I also arranged the in and out connections to be on opposite sides to avoid channeling....all probably way overkill as this condenser is more than capable of the job .

Shot gun condenser.jpg
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Re: Yummyrums LM/VM

Postby Yummyrum » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:08 pm

Brazed the pipes and shell so I could soft solder it all together later without fear of it falling apart.

Brazed the Tube and shell.jpg


Brazed on the coolant line connectors . I used 3/8" female but in hind sight I should have gone 1/2" as I seem to always need adapters when connecting things to them .

Brazing on coolant connector.jpg


Soldered it all together . OK the reason for the large diameter pipe from the valve to the condenser was again to keep the diameter constant as my reading had lead me to believe this was good also the long vertical drop was something else I had read that it would prevent tails from wanting to fall down :oops: ...Christ knows where or why I decided this was so bloody important . And again in hindsight if I had realized I never needed such a large bore valve I would have done it all differently .
Now also I tinned the inside of the Brass threaded section as I was reading about Lead contamination and wanted to cover my arse .

Condenser soldered up.jpg


So now it was time to start on the reflux collection cup . This had two outlet pipes , one for the LM takeoff and one for the reflux return line and a small section of 1 1/4 " just a bit higher than the top of the reflux return tube . I brazed this up .

Reflux collection cup.jpg


Then the reflux return section . I made a down comer cup sort of like they use in plated columns . I formed it by bashing a piece of 3/4" on the end of a broom handle until it formed a cup with pointy bottom . it was more a fun thing to do rather than for practical reasons but as it turned out the reflux dribbled nicely off the nipple ion the bottom to center the reflux into the packing :thumbup:

Reflux return cup.jpg
Last edited by Yummyrum on Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Yummyrums LM/VM

Postby Yummyrum » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:41 pm

I had been stalling soldering up the head as I needed a flange section to join the column so after my success with the boiler flange I tried to make some easy flanges. No matter how I tried ,they ended up like shit so I thought I would make some flat copper washers and braze them onto the 2" pipe .Well I soon discovered the limitations of a 1 Meter length of 2" copper and a MAPP torch . I succeeded but not before almost emptying a whole bottle of gas on my first end . :thumbdown:
Note I was still pretty green to copper Brazing and hadn't realized that you don't need flux for copper to copper Brazing

Ready to braze.jpg

Brazing on a flange.jpg


I then decided that the method was good but I needed to make small flanges and solder them on with 2" couplings which were cheaper than a bottle of MAPP :ebiggrin:
So now I was at the stage of soldering all the head bits together . This turned out to be a major headache and there was solder running everywhere as I tried to keep it all in alignment .
30 years of soldering as a TV technician ment nothing and this was a whole new ball game .

Making the sight glasses was an interesting exercise . I made them from 2" nipples and end caps cut down and soft soldered to some 2" copper flange sections I had brazed together .
The glass was cut from window glass and ground to shape on my bench grinder . Despite not being Borosilicate they have lasted many years and Runs

made from nipples and end caps cut down.jpg

Sight glasses  back.jpg

Sight glasses dimantled.jpg
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Re: Yummyrums LM/VM

Postby Yummyrum » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:52 pm

This was the completed head . Note that the sight glasses were not soldered in but pressed in with a few wraps of Teflon tape ...it would be many years before I soldered them in .

Head completed.jpg


The completed still

VM-LM finished.jpg


A view through the top window

Top window  view.jpg


A view through the bottom window

Reflux.jpg


So this still worked very well for me for many years . I had to loan it to a mate and that's when I realized it needed a few repairs before I could hand it to him .
Firstly the boiler had been starting to leak .
I dismantled the flange and gasket to realize that the cork gasket I had used was not natural but a synthetic bonded jobby which had started to decompose .OOPPPS :oops:

Leaking boiler seal.jpg
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Re: Yummyrums LM/VM

Postby Yummyrum » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:09 pm

Stuffed cork gasket.jpg


So I decided to soft solder it directly onto the stainless steel dome lid . I used a heat gun to "tin" the Staino before sweating on the copper flange . This lid is so thin that when I tried to use a standard torch it just cooked it ....the heat gun was perfect .

Heat gun on the Staino.jpg


I never liked the "chinese Hat " cover over the riser pipe in the collection cup as I could always see splashes going down it ...not that it mattered ...but I am a pedantic wanker sometimes ....so I changed it to a slightly different design be forw finally soldering the sight glasses in as they tended to weap a bit too .

upgraded Reflux collection area.jpg


While I was pulling it all apart , I was curious to see how the "tinned" brass had lasted all those years and I have to say I was totally amazed it looked as good as the day I had done it . In my opinion , if you are worried about lead exposure then this is the way to fix it :thumbup:

Tinned Brass coupling.jpg


One other thing I thought I would show was how I marked my ball valve handle so I could repeat take off settings with out too much buggering around

VM gate valve.jpg


This is how much open the gate valve is for taking off heads . Its lots of drips per second but before it becomes a broken stream.
The purpose of this is to show how small the actual aperture is and how I could have used a heaps smaller valve diameter .

Heads take off.jpg
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Re: Yummyrums LM/VM

Postby Yummyrum » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:12 pm

And here it is actually making some good stuff all wrapped up in a sexy blanket :D

VM-LM running.jpg


For a while it become a CM but I eventually decided I preferred it as a VM partly because the little RC was too small and I couldn't run it at as higher power as I could because the RC was overpowered . I think If I did this again I would make the RC twice as long at least

Reflux Condenser.jpg


CM.jpg
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Re: Yummyrums LM/VM

Postby stillcolo » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:30 pm

Nice work. I dig the sight glass on the reflux return!
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Re: Yummyrums LM/VM

Postby StillerBoy » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:30 pm

Thanks for posting your journey in the expansion of your knowledge in building and understanding of the hobby.. it's nice to reminis on our journey of experiencing the hobby..

In the late 2009, started researching distillation, and after building a huge file of data, started on the road of construction.. starting with little experience in soldering, built a 12 liter pot with 1.5" column, to making a stove top hot plate from an old stove, evolved over the years to building many different boilers and still configurations..

Thanks as this hobby is never ending in evolution..

Mars
Last edited by StillerBoy on Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Yummyrums LM/VM

Postby Yummyrum » Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:15 am

Thanks stillcolo . I'm pleased I did the Sight glasses too . I've spent a lot of time Crystal gazing :D .

StillerBoy .....couldn't agree more . :thumbup:
You can read and read until your head hurts but finally you have to make decisions on what you want and need . Its interesting to see how those wants and needs change with time and experience .
I am my own worst enemy when it comes to making descisions as I know in time it will not always be the best one but we can't not do anything ....or nothing would ever happen :lol:

I wouldn't change things for the world . The evolution for me has been a wonderful experience . ......If you don't change and grow , you are stagnant .
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Re: Yummyrums LM/VM

Postby emptyglass » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:48 am

Your first picture takes me back too Yummy, reminds me of my days with one of them things.

I remember freaking out if the toilet was flushed and the coolant rate altered, but I dont miss the plastic collection bucket.

I also dont miss the banana smell from those horrid turbo ferments.

I hope we see the next stages of your journey :thumbup: (stay tuned folks...)
You design it, I make it. Copper and Stainless. Down under. PM me.
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Re: Yummyrums LM/VM

Postby googe » Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:17 pm

You've certainly come a long way yummy, your builds today are some of the nicest anyone will see, always look forward to seeing what you've done :thumbup:
Here's to alcohol, the cause of, and solution to, all life's problems.
"Home J Simpson"
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Re: Yummyrums LM/VM

Postby Yummyrum » Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:46 pm

emptyglass wrote:Your first picture takes me back too Yummy, reminds me of my days with one of them things.

I remember freaking out if the toilet was flushed and the coolant rate altered, ........

I know exactly what you are talking about Empty . :thumbup:
Being on tank water I also had the pleasure of a pressure pump to deal with .
Eventually I ended up using a fermenter on the pantry cupboard as a gravity feed and had a hose going into it to keep it topped up .... you can magine the fun and f#%k ups I had with that :ebiggrin:

Thanks googe . The inspiration for building is waining a bit these days . Perhaps you need to get us inspired again :clap:
I do miss your cunning ideas .
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Re: Yummyrums LM/VM

Postby der wo » Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:31 am

Great read and great still.
An example of someone who has walked with his brain and his experience through all the possibilities. The result is a unique mix from tried&true designs and own ideas.
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Re: Yummyrums LM/VM

Postby Yummyrum » Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:44 pm

Thank you der wo ....coming from you , I"ll take that as a serious complement .
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