Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

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Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

Postby MmmPeace » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:14 am

Hi all, I have never soldered before so I figured building a parrot may be the perfect intro project. I modeled it out in blender and would love feedback on the design. My only concern is the bottom section, it is a T (so I can mount to a wood base) I will cap it off but is it a waste of liquor or issue to go down into it or am I overthinking?

I am using a 1" to 1/2" reducer for the collection cup (big enough?)
Then 1/2" tubing for liquor to travel, which will connect to the 1" tube by way of a 1"-1/2" reducer for alchometer to sit in.
The overflow will be a 2" to 1" reducer. Any thoughts welcome, thank you!
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Re: Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

Postby Danespirit » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:34 am

Looks fine to me.
Remember the physics of corresponding vessels.
The inlet has to be higher than the part your alcoholmeter is sitting in. Otherwise, hydraulic laws will prevent the parrot from filling all to the top.
The volume of it should be kept as small as practically possible, but the alcoholmeter should still be able to move up and down of course.
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Re: Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

Postby rgreen2002 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:50 am

+1 to Dane. Make it as low volume as possible to let the alcoholmeter move freely. Too much volume increases smearing (which is going to happen)

Another thing to think about adding as a release valve at the bottom. This will allow you to dump without interrupting collection. Not as important when it is free like that but very useful when inline.
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Re: Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

Postby Deerhunter » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:16 pm

+1 on the drain valve.......I leave my drain valve open for collection of fores. Then close and fill parrot. Open again to collect tails. Also keep in mind you really don't use the parrot when or if doing stripping runs. Then again in my case my parrot is piped to the still. I don't use a stand. So in my case a drain valve is needed to drain remaining spirit when my run is finished. 1" riser tube is perfect. 3/4" in my opinion would be to small.

Tip: Put some copper mesh at the bottom of your parrot so when you drop your alcoholmeter in it won't bottom out and break.
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Re: Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

Postby The Baker » Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:15 pm

So it looks as though if you extend the lower outlet of the tee a bit you can put a drain valve on it.
If you have your base board a bit wider and support that on maybe six inch fixed runners (depends a bit on the size of your hands, mine are big), then;
the tee through the hole in the base board will support the whole thing upright, and;
you will have a place for your drain tap and room for your hand to operate it, and room for a low receiving vessel (maybe the runners should be higher to allow for a bigger vessel).
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Re: Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

Postby still_stirrin » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:08 pm

I don"t use a parrot. But if I were to design one, I would put the input midway into the tube that holds the hydrometer. I would do this to reduce the volume of the inlet piping, without using too small of tubing.

The problem with using 1/4"OD tubing on the inlet is that it would be subject to capillary action, that is, the flow would be subjected to additional resistance because of the small diameter of the pipe relative to the viscosity of the liquid flowing through it.

For this reason, I would want to use 3/8"OD (1/4"ID) tubing as the minimum size of soft tubing. And I would also prefer NOT to use 1/2"ID (5/8"OD) rigid copper because of the volume of liquid it would "hold up". The 3/8"ID rigid copper would be quite acceptable for this duty, but it is sometime more difficult to source.

You don't need any fittings for a side inlet into the hydrometer tube. Just drill a hole the size of the OD of the inlet tubing, insert the tubing, and sweat it in place. Use a rattail file to clean up the inside edges so the hydrometer won't hang up on the side inlet.

Also, keep run lengths of the inlet piping as short as possible too. Small pieces of split pipe, or even copper wire, will work great for reinforcement of the tubing. They can be soldered onto the hydrometer tube as well.

And, by all means, put a drain in the hydrometer tube so you can easily drain foreshots or tails when needed.
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Re: Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

Postby WIski » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:38 pm

Bellybuster reported he ran an experiment buy putting food coloring in his parrot and it took many liters before it cleared out. This would indicate very heavy smearing with the comingling of your distillate throughout the run. I drain the parrot when the collection jar is nearly full eliminating most of that smearing. :eugeek:
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Re: Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

Postby Rng4 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:22 pm

I collect fores and heads without the parrot. Mine is not attached to the still. When I'm fairly certain that I'm close to the end of the heads, I insert the parrot and begin to collect.
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Re: Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

Postby Truckinbutch » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:05 pm

You are not going to cut the pie in straight triangular slices . Learn to drive the rig you build to get what you want instead of trying to make a 1 rule fits all .
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Re: Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

Postby Swedish Pride » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:56 am

WIski wrote:Bellybuster reported he ran an experiment buy putting food coloring in his parrot and it took many liters before it cleared out. This would indicate very heavy smearing with the comingling of your distillate throughout the run..


What a little nugget that is, good info for all parrot users :thumbup:
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Re: Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

Postby NZChris » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:39 am

WIski wrote:Bellybuster reported he ran an experiment buy putting food coloring in his parrot and it took many liters before it cleared out. This would indicate very heavy smearing with the comingling of your distillate throughout the run. I drain the parrot when the collection jar is nearly full eliminating most of that smearing. :eugeek:


Water is denser than ethanol, so the smearing would be very different to Bellybuster's dye experiment. You can watch what happens in your collection jug, late in a distillation.
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Re: Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

Postby WIski » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:40 pm

NZChris Wrote,

Water is denser than ethanol, so the smearing would be very different to Bellybuster's dye experiment. You can watch what happens in your collection jug, late in a distillation.


Call me stupid or just inquisitive. How would the fact that water being denser than ethanol make this smearing comparison inconclusive? For the sake of better cuts I need to understand this. Folks go to great lengths to avoid comingling heads and tails with there dearly coveted hearts. How is this smearing different? Thanks in advance.
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Re: Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

Postby Lyonsie » Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:13 pm

I don't own a parrot, but surely there must be some way to prove this either way by adding dyed ethanol at a given proof to the parrot during a run.
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Re: Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

Postby NZChris » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:30 pm

WIski wrote:
NZChris Wrote,

Water is denser than ethanol, so the smearing would be very different to Bellybuster's dye experiment. You can watch what happens in your collection jug, late in a distillation.


Call me stupid or just inquisitive. How would the fact that water being denser than ethanol make this smearing comparison inconclusive?

Because during an alcohol run the density rises, in a straight water run, density remains the same, letting the dye mix evenly.

Folks go to great lengths to avoid comingling heads and tails with there dearly coveted hearts.

That generalization is not true for everyone and varies for different products. A 'cut' doesn't have to be a certain cut-off point unless you are an industrial distiller and need to cut on the fly for economical reasons. At an artisan level, 'blend', is a more appropriate word, and a blend may include portions the of heads and tails to make up a desired flavor profile.

BTW, I don't use a parrot and have never had a reason to build one, other than to have one to display on a distillery window sill to impress visitors.
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Re: Building my first parrot, thoughts on design?

Postby WIski » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:15 am

NZChris Wrote,

Because during an alcohol run the density rises, in a straight water run, density remains the same, letting the dye mix evenly.


I think this may be an oversimplification of what happens in a parrot. I really don't think the denser incoming mixture will simply push the captive liquid in the parrot out the top with little mixing (smearing) of the two. The density of the distillate throughout a run changes slowly and sometimes (usually in the best part of the run) stays pretty steady which would make the difference in density theory less plausible. BUT, since I do not have the technical knowledge, nor have I actually done an experiment with dye in an ethanol/water mixture, I will have to disclaim this as opinion. BUT, I will be doing a dye test soon with ethanol/water. Hopefully this will put to rest this ridiculous idea that smearing in a parrot is insignificant and support that design/construction considerations should be utilized if someone chooses to use a parrot.

BTW, It's great that some folks choose not to use a parrot as many experienced members have said they are not necessary and they prefer operating without one. But others, including me, find them not only useful but also a boat load of fun. 8) (Hobby=Fun=Enjoyment) :clap: If managed properly they really are of no harm and passing some construction and operating tips along to others seems harmless as well. :eugeek:
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