My New Small Scale Combo Still

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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby LWTCS » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:15 am

He tried to shed that avitar ,,,but the mob made him keep it...Damned if he do and damned if he don't
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby Frosteecat » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:40 am

ThE only way that avatar jives in my mind with Rad is that he would be obstinate and utilitarian enough to take a dump that way if his house had burned down around him while nature called.

"I AM TAKING THIS DUMP! It would be inefficient to pinch it off at this point! GO TO THE READING LOUNGE!"
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby rad14701 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:05 pm

emptyglass wrote:And to think, you are only 21 years old.

Not sure where you got that idea because my youngest son is 25... :lolno:

Yeah, I did try changing it and got bitched at so it stays as-is... :ewink:
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby lampshade » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:40 am

Life can be a bitch for an HD god.... For those who think Rad is a cranky, recluse desert dweller, look up his zip code, 14701. He lives in upstate New York. Those pesky Thumpers (from the cult-film Tremors http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100814/ ) don't bother Rad. Although, I'm sure if they did, ole Rad would give them a piece of his mind. :lol:
Old Chinese proverb: Fool who kisses donkey's ass gets stinky breath. Fool who kisses donkey's and horse's ass gets stinkier breath.
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby Charles_Marlow » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:36 pm

I'm sorry to revive an old thread, but I read through everything and didn't see any measurements. I need to be as short as functional. How tall did you go on your parts?

I'm looking to build a stove top piece and this looks like a winner. I'm trying to find 2inch pipe, but might use your design at 1.5 inch diameter pipe.

I like that this could be taken down and because of it's modular design could be used for as a potstill or a reflux set up.

Would 2 inch be more difficult to attach to a pot lid using a sink basket? And I see everyone avoiding the rubber in the sink basket, would the silicone that's used in those silicone baking dishes impart a flavor to the finished product?
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby Samohon » Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:34 am

First off, Welcome to HD Charles_Marlow...

I used Rads excellent design for a friend of mine last year who stays in an apartment. He lives 200 miles from me, so visiting was not practical.

I asked him to measure the distance between the stove-top and the ceiling in his flat.
I then deducted 4" (100mm) from the size he gave me, to allow for fitting things together.
Taking the height of the 25L boiler into account, he was still left with a column 37" (940mm).
The stoves extractor hood was a problem, but since he has the ability to remove it on brew day, it was soon over-come.

He makes some great neutral using Rads All-Bran recipe and Odins Special K recipe. I substituted 2" pipe and fittings instead of Rads original diameter. I have plenty of space here so having a tall still is not a problem, but if I were really stuck for height, Rads apartment still would be my first choice.

I failed to take some photos of his still when I was putting it together, but next time I'm in contact, I'll get him to take a few. Rad has given a great starting point to anyone who is stuck for space, but what works for Rad, doesn't necessarily work for everyone, and if that is the case, then you will have to adapt/modify the design to work for you.

Assuming that you have studied distillation theory and the safety aspects afforded to the discipline, Rads Small Scale Still should be very easy to modify to your own needs.

Hope it helps on your future build and please do keep us in the loop with lots of piccies... :ewink:
♦♦ Samohon ♦♦

Beginners should visit The New Distillers Reading Lounge and the Safety and Related Issues among others...
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby rad14701 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:45 am

Charles_Marlow, as Samohon has pointed out, the overall design is intended as a proof of concept rather than an exacting blueprint... And, as you will learn during your research here, column diameter controls take off rate and vapor speed whereas height controls purity...

At some point I need to do some more experimenting to validate what I recall as numbers... With my shortest column section I seem to recall being able to run as a reflux column with pot still results because the %ABV hangs in the 80%/160 proof range throughout the majority of the run... And with the column at its maximum height I have no problem dialing in 95%/190 proof... Pot still mode yields ~65%/130 proof right on down to ~30%/60 proof, or even lower...
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby Charles_Marlow » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:15 pm

rad14701 wrote:Charles_Marlow, as Samohon has pointed out, the overall design is intended as a proof of concept rather than an exacting blueprint... And, as you will learn during your research here, column diameter controls take off rate and vapor speed whereas height controls purity...

At some point I need to do some more experimenting to validate what I recall as numbers... With my shortest column section I seem to recall being able to run as a reflux column with pot still results because the %ABV hangs in the 80%/160 proof range throughout the majority of the run... And with the column at its maximum height I have no problem dialing in 95%/190 proof... Pot still mode yields ~65%/130 proof right on down to ~30%/60 proof, or even lower...


It's a great proof of concept. As I said in the welcome forum, I got some 1.5 inch pipe today at scrap price so now I need the proper mood and inspiration. I like the boka two cups because of it's simplicity, but your design because of it's adaptability. If I get a hot plate I can add a taller column... ANd really, 80% is fine for me to start on...

Going to have to research and day-dream more.
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby BareKnuckles » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:22 pm

Rad. Quick question. Would I get into trouble if I went from 2" to 1" back to 2" on the bottleneck?

Thanks in advance

-BK
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby Oxbo Rene » Fri Sep 28, 2012 1:14 am

Looks nice Rad ! ! !
It is not the matter, nor, the space between the matter,
but rather, it is that finite point at which the two meet,
that, and only that, is what is significant...........
(Of course, I could be wrong) ..........
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby rad14701 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:54 am

BareKnuckles wrote:Rad. Quick question. Would I get into trouble if I went from 2" to 1" back to 2" on the bottleneck?

Thanks in advance

-BK

That would be the recommended sizing if not going small scale... The 1" throat will definitely help reduce the possibility of choking and flooding which can and will occur with a 3/4" throat... I could run my 1.25" small scale rig harder if it wasn't for the 3/4" choke point... The difference in vapor speed increase between 3/4" and 1" is substantial...
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby BareKnuckles » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:12 am

Thanks Rad... I'm seriously considering building one of you design. Going to pick up copper today and going to have it cut so I won't have to. Any recommendations on column length and head length? I'm using 2"

Thanks again
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby bamaspearo » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:39 pm

A newbie that been doing a lot of reading. I originally planned to build a simple pot still and then a boka, but after much thought I have decided to just build a version of your design because it looks like is much easier to build and has great reviews. I plan to use 2 inch pipe with 1 inch reducer with a tee and 3/8 take off.

The main concern I had was that the spirit was coming off at a higher than desired temperature. Was planning on making a coil out of 10 feet of 1/4 with a ½ inch cold finger. Do you think this will be enough??

Am I better off going to 1.25 for the reduction?

Thank you for sharing …. A very good thread!!!!!
8 gallon kettle with a 2 inch "Rad's Apartment Still"
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby ptech » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:45 am

Rad,how exactly do you create a seal between the SS bowl & the stock pot?
Tks,
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby holliday » Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:27 pm

rad14701 wrote:Well, the cold weather is upon us here in the NE US so it's time to hunker down for the winter season... I'll be spending a lot more time here at home, in my apartment, where I also work from... I wanted to be able to do some experimental recipe runs using a small scale still and the photos below show what I built... It still needs some work and a good spit-shine, but I've been happy with the initial results... I don't have any exact figures because the bulk of my equipment is stored elsewhere...

One reason behind this design stems from finding some scrap copper in a barrel at the back of a friends auto body shop... I told him how easy it would be to whip together into a still and he was somewhat skeptical... Now he's waiting for me to perfect this one so I can build one for him... I am currently looking for another 8-10 quart stock pot that will accept the stainless mixing bowl so I can use my 1500W element and controller... Test runs have all been done on an electric range with a metal plate for more consistent heat transfer...

When run in Pot Still/Stripper mode I fill the bottom of the column with marbles... It actually puts out almost the same high ABV in this mode as it does when using the stainless scrubber packed 18 inch reflux extension with a little tuning...

I've been very happy with the overall performance given the relatively small size... It provides me with more neutral spirit than I drink these days so it may end up being my primary still...

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

More Details:

The column consists of 1.25 inch and .75 inch copper... The reflux extension measures 18 inches...

The condenser section measures approximately 9 inches...

I used 1.25 inch couplers to mate components, partly because the local Big Box stores only carry 1.25 X .75 reducers rather than couplers...

The stainless bowl measures approximately 9.5 inches and has a stainless steel sink drain attached... It might look like the rubber gasket is an issue but flour paste between the mating surfaces keeps any ethanol from causing leaching...

When running in reflux mode the upper reducer is calibrated to hold only one ounce of condensate before overflowing back into the column... I use a loose slant plate to deflect condensate from going directly back down the column which allows easy cleaning...

I will be replacing the needle valve and also plan on incorporating a small secondary condenser using either .5 or .75 inch copper because the final product comes off far too warm for my liking...

The primary condenser coil measures in the 7.5 inch range and was fashioned from just under 5 feet of .25 inch copper tubing... Approximately one quart of water per minute is more than enough to knock down all vapor and exits at 82F...



What is the little tab in the third picture for and why kind of marbles do you use?
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby rad14701 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:19 pm

bamaspearo wrote:A newbie that been doing a lot of reading. I originally planned to build a simple pot still and then a boka, but after much thought I have decided to just build a version of your design because it looks like is much easier to build and has great reviews. I plan to use 2 inch pipe with 1 inch reducer with a tee and 3/8 take off.

The main concern I had was that the spirit was coming off at a higher than desired temperature. Was planning on making a coil out of 10 feet of 1/4 with a ½ inch cold finger. Do you think this will be enough??

Am I better off going to 1.25 for the reduction?

Thank you for sharing …. A very good thread!!!!!

With 2" you can have a larger diameter cold finger... There is a calculator on the parent site for sizing... And I have one posted for calculating single and double helix copper length needs...

1" should suffice for the throat...
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby rad14701 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:20 pm

ptech wrote:Rad,how exactly do you create a seal between the SS bowl & the stock pot?
Tks,
Ptech

Flour Paste and Binder Clips...
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby rad14701 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:22 pm

holliday wrote:What is the little tab in the third picture for and why kind of marbles do you use?

That is a deflector plate that I use in place of a trimmed down inverted T fitting... It has been discussed elsewhere in this topic...
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby Burks » Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:53 pm

Edit: I answered my own questions through the Wiki.

Can't wait to try this design. It sort of encompasses everything I want to do all in one design.
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby bamaspearo » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:29 am

Rad,

I have a 2 inch version of your still but used a trimmed "T" on top of the 1 inch neck down. i have only made a few runs and i am a newbee so this may be "normal" but, have to ask the question. I am worrind that it may be refluxing to much due to restricted air flow. I have approximatly a 1/4 inch air/vapor gap on each side of the T. It is connected to the kettle with a 9 inch section of 2 inch pipe (whisky mode).

On both runs I tested the ABV and it started at 85% and after 2 hours it was still at at 25%. I am getting 6 pints out of a 5 gallon (1.065) wash.

The first run was corn and the second wheat, I can smell and taste a diference but was concerned that with a High ABV on the runs I was losing too much flavor.

Any advice or insite would be appreciated.
8 gallon kettle with a 2 inch "Rad's Apartment Still"
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby Copper Thumper » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:37 am

lookin good!
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby rad14701 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:23 am

bamaspearo wrote:<SNIP>

Any advice or insite would be appreciated.

If the gap between the Tee and the reflux chamber wall seems too small you could always trim it down a bit further but I doubt there should be a problem... The Tee's I've trimmed in the past have had ~1/4" overhang at the top and then tapered down to the bottom of the inverted Tee for better vapor flow...

The higher %ABV could be due to needle valve restriction or too slow of a take off rate... I wouldn't worry about what the first spirits out test, I'd be more concerned about the average of the main part of the run from late heads to early tails... My rig yields ~120 proof for that so I either don't dilute or only very marginally dilute down prior to drinking...

Hope this helps even though I'm a bit late in replying...
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby Roundyround » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:46 am

I birthed one of these today for my eldest son, thanks for sharing such a simple efficient design.
I'm going to try a renewable grain based lifestyle. Beer and whiskey count don't they?
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby fisherhahn » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:44 pm

Hi All,
New to the site and this is my first post other than my intro on the Welcome thread. Having been lurking around this site for at least a year, and decided this is likely the design I plan on for my first setup. I think I can answer the question about the deflector plate that I keep seeing...I think the question most are trying to ask, but not really asking, is what purpose the plate serves just lying in place? Why is it there? Same question I had, until I thought about what would happen if it wasn't there...After condensing, the alcohol could just drip straight back down and never get collected...by hitting the plate, soldered in place or just sitting there, it is forced into the collection area and either collected or refluxed. Without the plate you could end up in a coutinuous state of reflux...please correct me if I'm wrong. Great thread thanks to all who contributed!
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby the fojizzle » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:43 pm

I am so new to this and would love to have a set up like this. Anyway I can pay you to build me one? I'm so lost putting one together. Thanks!!
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby southern traditions » Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:51 am

Hey Rad,
A question for you or anyone else that can answer it. I've done my required reading but need to ask, in trying to use the copper I have on hand would it hurt anything to use 2 1/8"OD reduced down to 1 3/8 OD. I've got both on hand along with the needed fittings and really didn't want to have to buy any new fittings or pipe if I don't have to..


Thanks,
Martin
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby buckwild1 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:35 pm

could this be done using only 1 reducer? Say run 2" to a 2x3 reducer to a length of 3 inch with the cooling coil in the 3"

Edit: I figured it out. both would be needed
Last edited by buckwild1 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby desertshiner » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:22 pm

This is my first response in the post, besides the welcome...
My question moves back to the details of running the "combo" in combo still. Just when I think I understand the differences between a pot still operation, and a column still operation, the two became a bit confused with this build. I've read thru this thread multiple times, and understand the construction, to the point I've drawn my own set of plans for my own 2" version. I've put together a Liebig for the take off, and used that construction as a primer and lesson in soldering.
So could I get a breakdown of how the two sections work independently, or intradependently? My understanding was that in pot still mode, the longer extension would be in place, with no packing, but would the reflux extension be there? I guess I didnt' connect the dots with how the vapor is knocked down in pot still mode? Would the top need to be capped in this mode? And then in reflux mode, my understanding was that Rad took out the longer extension and used it in this manner.
Please set me straight!
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby rad14701 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:22 am

Sorry about the delay in replying to questions here in this topic... I'll do my best to address them now...

@Roundyround

Keep us posted on how your sons version of this design is working... :thumbup:


@fisherhahn

You are correct in your interpretation that the deflection plate is intended to keep any reflux from falling straight back down through the vapor throat... The plate works so I've never changed to using another method, like a trimmed down T fitting...


@the fojizzle

PM me... I am in a position now to be able to produce parts or entire stills...


@southern traditions

One nice thing about this design is that you can mix and match copper sizes without effecting performance... I am pondering making a run to pick up some larger copper in the near future... I had a larger similar design that I used years ago...


@buckwild1

Yes, both reducers are needed... It can also be made with two cups/caps, or thinner test caps, instead of reducers to save a small amount of money...


@desertshiner

What I currently have is the condenser head, a short packed extension, and a long packed extension... For pot stilling I either run with no extension, or the short packed extension, with or without packing, if I want to monitor temperatures for statistical purposes when testing... In reflux mode I use both packed extensions, with the short one at the top for monitoring temperatures... I see now that none of the pictures posted show the thermometer port which is directly below the coupling on the short extension... When doing a pot still stripping run I remove the needle valve and use a butt connector in its place to eliminate unwanted reflux due to the small orifice in the 1/4" needle valve...


I hope this addresses everyone concerns... If not, ask away and I'll do my best to answer any remaining questions...
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Re: My New Small Scale Combo Still

Postby buckwild1 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:27 am

@buckwild1
Yes, both reducers are needed... It can also be made with two cups/caps, or thinner test caps, instead of reducers to save a small amount of money...
[/quote]
My thoughts when I first ask this was if you used 1 1/4" or 1 1/2"for the column then went to 3" for the condenser and collection head you could just use 1 reducer. But after thinking on it some, I realized the reflux would just run down the walls instead of dropping to the packing.

I would like to build this in 3" and 1 1/2" or 1 1/4" with a 1/2" take off. My goal is to be able to take it apart and have it look like some pipes stacked on a shelf. Also a liebig for pot use and product cooling

If building this with 3" how much wattage would be needed? 120v is all I have at this time. So I may end up using propane till I get a place to go with 240V

Would 2 55 gallon barrels be enough water for cooling? Running a 15 gallon pot. Was thinking 1 barrel for the coil and 1 for the liebig. I think adding a fan and radiator may be needed.

Also going that large would a double coiled cold finger be better? I have a couple thoughts here. Just a double coil with a cap in the center, at the top, to make sure the vapor gets directed at the coils instead of through the center. and wrapped in copper mesh. Also a cap added for just pot mode.
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