First column build - VM ?'s

VM CM LM Flutes Plate

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First column build - VM ?'s

Postby Ktyler » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:57 am

I'm looking for some feedback on a still design and this seems like a good place to get some constructive criticism!

I've just started distilling, and I have done a couple runs on a borrowed turbo 500. Not impressed with the quality, and I also figured out that having a well with pretty variable water pressure makes it nearly impossible to monitor temps on these things. Also taking 10-12 hours to run a 6.5g batch seems a bit ridiculous.

I'm obviously still learning and reading, but it seems to me that what I want is a VM style column. I'd really like to put something together that does everything well (neutral spirits, pot still option for whiskey, and option to add a gin basket) as well as decent speed. I don't know how realistic that is.

Here's what I'm thinking so far:

Boiler - 1/2bbl keg, propane burner for now, will convert to electric later

Column - 2"x36" stainless pipe tri clamped to keg, copper mesh inside. 2" tri clamp cross on top of the pipe, with a sight glass and Graham condenser clamped to the top. One side of the cross will have a thermowell for monitoring vapor temp. Other side would reduce to a 1" ball valve for regulating reflux ratio. Tri clamp on the other side of the valve to run to an elbow and 36" Liebig condenser and run to product collection. The tri clamp will allow the addition of a gin basket if/when I want to use one.

Hopefully that description makes sense, but here are some questions:
- Are there any inherent flaws in the design? Am I expecting too much from it?
- Will the 1" ball valve to condenser be sufficient or should I go larger?
- Any other suggestions to improve or fix design flaws?
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Re: First column build - VM ?'s

Postby bluefish_dist » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:28 am

What I have found with my vm for reflux ratio or ratio of areas. Neutrals run at a high reflux ratio so a small valve is ok. For flavored spirits you need lower reflux ratios so a valve close to the column size is needed.

With that said, I reduce my vm prior to the valve so you can use a smaller valve and still be 1:1. On my 4" I reduce to 2" then use a 2" valve for flavored and 1" for neutrals. On my 2" I used a boca 2 cups design which reduced the 2" to 1" for take off then back to 2" for the condenser and then a 1" valve for a 1:1 ratio. I might consider a coil controlled vm if I was building a home still from scratch.
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Re: First column build - VM ?'s

Postby Ktyler » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:49 am

Good point, thanks for the idea!
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Re: First column build - VM ?'s

Postby kimbodious » Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:00 pm

consider a modular set up. I strongly recommend a CCVM for ease of operation and an inexpensive build - check the links in my sugnature for how I have used this appriach
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Re: First column build - VM ?'s

Postby ShineonCrazyDiamond » Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:06 pm

+1!

Pot still plus neutral? Ccvm is the tool you want.

Here's my pics

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=65801&hilit=

:thumbup:
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Re: First column build - VM ?'s

Postby Ktyler » Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:32 pm

Alright kimbodius and shineon, that's pretty genius! Haven't heard of the ccvm b uhh t going to read up on that a bit more tonight

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Re: First column build - VM ?'s

Postby kimbodious » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:53 pm

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First column build - VM ?'s

Postby Ktyler » Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:30 am

That is badass!


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