VM-E-ARC Still

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VM-E-ARC Still

Postby vapor » Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:00 pm

Has anyone build one of these stills yet ? If so how about a little feed back on what your results were .

Thanks Mike !!!
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Re: VM-E-ARC Still

Postby minime » Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:06 pm

vapor wrote:Has anyone build one of these stills yet ? If so how about a little feed back on what your results were .
Thanks Mike !!!

Hi Mike

Check out this thread........
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=7647

I do have more info that I've not posted yet as I'm still verifying results..............
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Re: VM-E-ARC Still

Postby vapor » Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:39 pm

Thank's Minime , What a great set of postings . I am new to all this but as I read on the forum and the main site I have absorbed a ton of info . At the same time things get kind of confusing , just so much info and so much advice . About the time I think this is what I want to build I get lead in another direction . I know read and reread and reread When I first started reading the main site I started making plans to build a Nixon off set head . When I went to his site the PDA-1 was not a offset . So thinking their was some kind of improvement , I keep reading and doing research . After awhile I was lead to Bokakob design , looked like the way to go . Then I started reading the books I had ordered ( Compleat Distiller , Making pure corn Whiskey , Riku's Designing & building Automatic stills ) . So now I am thinking about Riku's still . I think I am looking for the same results as many , shorter run times Not 12 - 15 hrs , 95%+ . I have many irons in the fire so time is really important as well as quality % in the end . As I read the forum for hours some of the concepts and the math clouds my heads , but when someone turns around and demo's it as a practical application in practice , now thats really cool . Thanks !!! Any way this new interest has been habit forming for sure . So I am still in the info and planning stages and hope to do a build before to long .

Thanks again Minme , and I would like to say thank you to all that post here . You are all a fine bunch and my new education is growing every day , Thank You All Mike !!!!!
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Re: VM-E-ARC Still

Postby rkr » Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:30 pm

A typical VM-E-ARC (Thor's hammer) can produce some 3 liters of 95.6% NEUTRAL ethanol from a 25 liters 6kg sugar mash (stripped) in 5 hours using 1kW for heating. My latest test rig does that in 4 hours while using 700W and I think there's still some room for improvement. To those numbers you need to add heating up and stabilization time which may vary from 1.5 hours to 3 hours depending on your gear and procedure.

A thing you should note, not all 95.6% alcohol is neutral - rather a blend of ethanol and higher/lower boiling point alcohols. Making neutral alcohol is slower than making just 95.6% stuff.

And finally, as we know 3 liters from 6 kg mash is not very efficient. In 6 hours (from that 5 I mentioned) we'd be getting 3.3 liters and in 7 hours 3.4 liters. Not very cost and time efficient to squeeze out those last few drops me thinks.

Cheers, Riku
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Re: VM-E-ARC Still

Postby minime » Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:56 am

rkr wrote:And finally, as we know 3 liters from 6 kg mash is not very efficient. In 6 hours (from that 5 I mentioned) we'd be getting 3.3 liters and in 7 hours 3.4 liters. Not very cost and time efficient to squeeze out those last few drops me thinks.Cheers, Riku


I've only been able to run my new still three times so far but the end of the run presents exactly that problem. Once my collection rate drops under 500ml per hour I end the run. It seems like that's a lot of alcohol to give up but the rate of return diminishes in a very linear fashion and the amount of energy and time does not justify continuing. I've not had the patience to exhaust all the alcohol in the boiler yet but hope to do so on my next run. I'm collecting about 25% less alcohol per KG of sugar than the calculators on the parent site suggest I should be able to recover,

Are the calculators on the parent site unrealistic??

BTW............great book Riku
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Re: VM-E-ARC Still

Postby rkr » Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:04 am

Thanks Minime,

There are few factors you need to consider when you calculate how much alcohol you get out from your mash. First of all you do not always get complete fermentation so that 60% is not always achieved. Next thing is the amount you leave to boiler, to estimate this you can check the boiler temperature using calibrated thermometer. The third factor is the amount of alcohol held by the packing. In a 3" column there may well be up to 0.5 liters of alcohol held by the packing - of course depending on the packing and column design.

Cheers, Riku
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Re: VM-E-ARC Still

Postby vapor » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:36 am

Riku , is the Thor Hammerhead you are using a 2" column ?

Minime , If you think you are over refluxing your column , would a shorter column give you more control rather being on the edge ?


Thanks Mike !!!
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Re: VM-E-ARC Still

Postby minime » Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:39 am

vapor wrote:Minime , If you think you are over refluxing your column , would a shorter column give you more control rather being on the edge ?
Thanks Mike !!!


Yes I thought of that but the long column really helps keep the purity/quality high as the run progresses. It's also what makes it so easy to compress heads to such a compact volume so although it may seem like I'm complaining about over-refluxing.......it is only an issue in the first part of the hearts collection. I certainly am NOT willing to risk the quality achieved with 60 inches just to gain a little speed up front. I have a couple of ideas to try on my next run but it won't be for a month or so. I suspect I'm just about at practical limits for collection speed in any case and I'm certainly not disappointed with how things turned out. I'm just one of those people that hates to have a question hanging.

Also Mike, if you're modeling your column as per Riku's VM-E-ARC you may not have the same issues I had. Riku has a considerable length of packed column ABOVE the vapor outlet arm which may very well eliminate the over-refluxing issue I encountered. That was the compromise I had to make to get a full 60 inches of packing before the outlet.
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Re: VM-E-ARC Still

Postby rkr » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:13 pm

vapor wrote:Riku , is the Thor Hammerhead you are using a 2" column ?

Thanks Mike !!!


Aye, 2" it is. Although it has some internal modifications to improve the efficiency. I'm trying to squeeze out as much as I can from 2" column before I continue my research with 3" and 4" columns.

Cheers, Riku
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Re: VM-E-ARC Still

Postby vapor » Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:55 pm

I was reading last night and a couple question came up . # 1 - It was stated that the thermometer is best placed down into the packing . Isn't That going to have reflux returning and giving you a false reading unless it shielded some how ? So would it be better to have two , one in the packing and one at product take off point ? #2 - So it was also stated that the vapor at the top of the column at the condenser is all ready at 96% . So a large port at the top or middle of the condenser for product take off be a better place for it , instead of the take off under the condenser and just above the packing ????

Just curious Thanks Mike !
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Re: VM-E-ARC Still

Postby Nykter » Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:15 pm

#1 In a colum in equilibrium, the reflux and the vapours will have the same temperature. The reflux from the condensor is cold, and wont have the equilibrium temperature until it has traveled a few centimetres down the column and been heated by rising vapour.
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