My first Still Design

Many like to post about a first successful ferment (or first all grain mash), or first still built/bought or first good run of the still. Tell us about all of these great times here.
Pics are VERY welcome, we drool over pretty copper 8)

Moderator: Site Moderator

My first Still Design

Postby xthanol » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:59 pm

So I've dabbled in the distant past with simple pot stills and ice buckets with great success, but want to try my hand at a full reflux capable still.

Attached is a design I'm working on. Since I've got zero experience with this sort of still I'd love to hear comments, suggestions, questions and the like from those of you who are "In the Know".

Much thanks,

X

Reflux1.pdf
(7.87 KiB) Downloaded 174 times
xthanol
Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:45 pm

Re: My first Still Design

Postby StillerBoy » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:10 pm

Welcome to HD..

Not one to take wind out of your attempt, but I need to.. where is this design originate from.. that design will not provide refluxing, and your condenser is all wrong/setup wrong..

You need to research reflux designs here on HD which seem to not have be done.. a reflux design such as a boka or a concentric (Rad setup) are two design that are very efficient and simple to build, at least for beginners..

Mars
StillerBoy
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 472
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:27 pm
Location: Ontario

Re: My first Still Design

Postby xthanol » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:23 pm

Hello Mars, thanks for your reply!

Re: Reflux - please note the valve on the output of the collection cone. Closing this valve would provide 100% reflux as the collection funnel would overflow. Opening it various amount should provide varying degrees of reflux down to 0%. Does this help, or am I still missing something?

Re: Condenser - can you please elaborate? I have a lot of questions regarding sizing for such a condenser but plan on using a two-layer coil similar to Boka.

I've actually done quite a bit of reading here and feel I have a decent grip on how a reflux still works, but of course I am (100% intentionally) opening up my design for criticism which I do greatly appreciate - thank you.

Thank you again - Additional input is greatly appreciated / welcomed.

X

p.s. the design originates in my head, based on viewing many other designs
xthanol
Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:45 pm

Re: My first Still Design

Postby Saltbush Bill » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:37 pm

It certainly looks like a reflux still to me , it just has a few small problems, your probably better off looking around here for a slightly better plan.
User avatar
Saltbush Bill
Trainee
 
Posts: 922
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:13 am
Location: Northern NSW Australia

Re: My first Still Design

Postby xthanol » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:43 pm

Hi Saltbush - thanks for taking a look!

I'm really interested in understanding why things work / don't - if you wouldn't mind, can you help me understand the problem areas in the design? Your observations would be super appreciated.

I do also appreciate your suggestions, and I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel - but I'd much rather build something of my own, or at least go through the steps of designing it and then figuring out where things are wrong / could be better as to better understand the mechanics involved.

(For example, I imagine a good even distribution of reflux would be best, but the liquid will spill out of the cone and run along the side-walls, which is why I was considering soldering in some inverted "J" loops of copper wire to guide the overflow to the center of the packing.)

This is just as much (if not more) about the journey for me.

Once again, your input is greatly appreciated - the more the merrier - thanks!
xthanol
Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:45 pm

Re: My first Still Design

Postby bluefish_dist » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:45 pm

The cone would potentially hold a lot of liquid which could cause smearing. It should work, but why go to all that trouble? Why not just make a simple slant boka or a two cup boka? Both designs are proven to work and relatively easy to make.
Or even a ccvm which would require no soldering or welding and can be made from pre made parts.
Blue Fish Distillery
Dsp-CO-20051
User avatar
bluefish_dist
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 324
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:13 am
Location: Cos

Re: My first Still Design

Postby xthanol » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:28 pm

Thank you - this is VERY useful! I was unaware of the term 'smearing' but the concept makes perfect sense. For future reference to anyone running into this, viewtopic.php?f=15&t=22514

Question: I've implemented a cooled "parrot" in this design which will also likely promote 'smearing' as it increases the volume of the output and thereby delineation between heads/hearts/tails will be a problem... but I really love the idea of a parrot for continuous monitoring of performance...

Thoughts on this are greatly appreciated.

Note: I'll be running ~15 gallon batches of fairly high wines, how will this effect the prominence of smearing ? I suspect larger batches / stronger wines will help?

My fear regarding slants was being able to solder them in place (honest) - thoughts on this from anyone who's done it? I've seen diagrams but no how-to's - if you could suggest a video or detailed images that would be great also.

Many thanks,

X
xthanol
Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:45 pm

Re: My first Still Design

Postby Jes2xu » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:01 pm

Hi Xthanol,

I completely understand the desire to design your own. I did the same thing (and threw the plans away and went with a CCVM haha).

BUT it helped me understand a lot of things that I may not have understood if I just grabbed plans and made them.

Im interested in the parrot smearing too. I have not built one yet because of this. I have seen arguments and evidence on both sides of the fence. There are plenty of threads around on it so I will let you look those up. The one thing most people can agree on however is the addition of a dump valve.

Basicly a valve at the bottom of the parrot that allows you to dump the entire contents. At the very least it allows you to hit reset on any smearing that is, or is not, going on in the parrot haha.
Jes2xu
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:31 am

Re: My first Still Design

Postby Yummyrum » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:00 am

Hiya Xthanol.

Initally I thought very clever , a water cooled parrot and Product condenser in one . :thumbup:
Sure there will be a bit of smearing with the cup - needle valve volume but its not that worse than most designs so that isn't in my mind that much of an issue .
Reflux centering may help , I'm a bit anally inclined in that respect but others with glass columns recon its pretty pointless as almost immediatey the reflux meets the packing it all mixes and spreads .

My worries are with the water cooled parrot/Product condenser and the level in it . From your drawing the parrot outlet height is about the level of the Valve so the whole fluid path will be full . Any bounce in the parrot will reflect back to the reflux back to the still which will cause surging . I am fairly confident that you should drop the parrot assembly down say 100mm or so and stick an atmoshere vent say about halfway down to break the pressure between the parrot and reflux return cup . Similar issues happen on Flutes with parrots unless a vent above the parrot aren't included . I think that as this is a LM still that the effect will be amplified .

Sorry about the crappy diagram , but this is what I mean . I think you may have seen a similar vent on other stills above the parrot .
Attachments
mod.jpg
User avatar
Yummyrum
Site Mod
 
Posts: 761
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:23 am
Location: Mid North Coast Aussie

Re: My first Still Design

Postby Cu29er » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:37 am

xthanol wrote:... I really love the idea of a parrot for continuous monitoring of performance
...My fear regarding slants was being able to solder them in place (honest) - thoughts on this from anyone who's done it? ...


Slants are super easy to install. Use a hand hacksaw and cut the slot furthest from where you are clamping the pipe in a vice, then cut the one closer to the vice. Cut so the saw is vertical and you can follow the line you mark on the pipe.
Cut and hammer out scrap pipe pieces into plates, notch one with tin-snips for the down bend but keep it flat, sand both sides, sand the pipe around the cuts you made, put flux in the cuts and on the plates, use a hammer to tap the plates into the slots. Bend the tab on the one plate inside the pipe with a long metal rod. Solder the plates, then use a hand rasp or grinder to trim the plates flush with tube. I use a tongue from the lower plate where the output tube get soldered to better support it.

Build a separate parrot. It's a teaching tool. Lately I can make rough cuts just as well by reading the thermometer.

Caution, don't use a packed column for anything but fine second runs. If you run a first one that has any 'debris' in it there is more possibility of it plugging and spraying boiling stuff all over including the operator.

.
User avatar
Cu29er
Novice
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:21 am
Location: Midwest

Re: My first Still Design

Postby Mikey-moo » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:46 am

I quite like this design. You'd need to have a support somewhere as the cooled parrot will be very heavy. But it could well work.

CCVM would be easier to build though. Good luck!
Best place to start for newbies - click here - Courtesy of Cranky :-)

If you have used this site to save money by making your own top quality booze at home then please consider donating a couple of dollars to help keep this site running. Cheers!
User avatar
Mikey-moo
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 1407
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:54 am

Re: My first Still Design

Postby xthanol » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:45 am

Thanks to everyone thus far for your suggestions and valued criticisms - you've all been super helpful in seeing a lot I have not and I encourage continued feedback should you or anyone else care to.

Regarding specific comments not yet addressed:

Jes2u:
I've seen a few variations on CCVM but I "believe" (perhaps hope is better) I should be able to get better control with a LM reflux design. With that said, the proof is in the pudding as they say. I'm not really sure how different a CCVM differs in operation to a coolant flow controlled VM or LM design as changing the position (correct me if I'm wrong of course) has the same effect as changing the cooland flow, no?
Regarding parrot smear, I can only imagine keeping the additional volume as low as possible is the best way to avoid this. I am now considering adding small marbles and screens above and below the valve (behind the dam and in the spaces otherwise unoccupied by the hydrometer). The same effect could be achieved by using smaller diameter copper, but I was hoping the larger diameter would act to some degree as a support... but since external supports will be needed anyway, I may revisit this.
Regarding removable parrot, I may do just this using copper unions - any thoughts about this or other attachment techniques?
Regarding a dump valve - excellent thought, added to the design (see attached).
Regarding your having thrown away your plans and went with an existing / tested design - we're on the same page! I really want to think it all through first, with as few preconceptions as is practical, and then see why it should/should not be done in a particular way. I want to understand - I know many of you feel the same way, so thanks for that!

Yummyrum:
Indeed the idea to cool the parrot is to keep the product less volitile and make it closer to the desired temp range for reading the hydrometer. I'm also looking now into replacing this with some sort of continuous-readout refractometer (which I'll likely need to design/make/calibrate which should be fun, if not expensive lol)
Regarding smearing in the cup - I think I'm going to add material into the cup and dam area (as well as a screen before the valve to prevent blockage) to miniize the volume / effect... This can be removed easily enough so I can try both ways - thoughts?
Regarding centering - I've considered glass to watch things. It seems a little dangerous to me, but would be very cool to see. I'll try to mock up (off the still) warmed ethanol flow out of the cup and come up with a way to guide it center. So long as it's not elaborate / difficult, it can't hurt (I hope). Another thing I've considered is a simple distribution plate that sits on top of the packing... I don't want to add restriction, but I'd love it if the reflux was centered. Perhaps this is why I try so hard to funnel off the condenser into a center cup in my design. I can imagine two slanted plates causing a waterfall "lipping" effect as it rolls off the edge. I'll need to see more plate deisgns, preferably through glass and in-action to know otherwise for sure (or hear from others who have?)
Regarding level of parrot and venting - this is VERY helpful and makes a lot of sense! I've added additional distance and a vent to atmosphere at this point. I am conserned with the temperature and volitility at this point in the process and may want to add yet another jacketed cooler here... thoughts? BTW - your diagram is perfect - thanks!

Cu29er:
I have sufficient material to play with this and will likely mock up some small sections soon. I will also look for some more videos of people doing it - your description is good, but I can't follow it well enough to feel condident in the process. I absolutely will be giving it more thought, both in the area of construction/installation as well as function (I want to keep product flow in the center during reflux - what are your thoughts on this? Thanks!
Regarding removable parrot - indeed - great idea, I plan on now using copper unions to achieve this removability - thoughts on this or other attchment techniques? Thanks!
Regarding debris - while I've considered this I hadn't given it too much thought - I've added a baffel plate (see new diagram) to the boiler which should help prevent this and be self-cleaning due to reflux - thoughts on this?

Mikey-moo:
Thank you for the kind words. I want to make a stout, reliable and repeatable unit... and more importantly one that lets me learn something. I will be reading more about CCVM for sure - it seems quite popular! Thanks again.

I hope I haven't missed anyone not yet addressed. If I have, please have a shot on me ;) Thank you all for your input (past and ongoing!)

Cheers,

X

reflux1_1.pdf
(8.63 KiB) Downloaded 20 times
xthanol
Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:45 pm

Re: My first Still Design

Postby Jes2xu » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:43 am

To be honest I can't comment on the accuracy of what is essentially a Boka vs CCVM. Im still a newb dude. and have not operated both yet. Let alone really dialed in my operation on CCVM.

I went CCVM for 2 reasons, reduced cost and complexity and a "true" pot still option.

Good luck with the build, planning and learning my man!
Jes2xu
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:31 am

Re: My first Still Design

Postby still_stirrin » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:37 pm

xthanol,

Here's something to consider during the "design phase"...vapor managed reflux heads are easier to operate.

With a coolant managed (CM) head, you have to continuously adjust the cooling water flow to the reflux condenser to maintain the proper reflux ratio. It constantly lowers as the run progresses because the boil temperature rises and the coolant must be adjusted to compensate. Without adjusting the coolant flow, the reflux ratio will fall as the run progresses, slowly moving towards a potstill in operation (though it still maintains some refluxing).

With a liquid managed (LM) head, you adjust the reflux ratio by the rate you collect the product (condensed, of course) from the plates or cup or whatever you have to capture the liquid in. What you don't remove, spills back into the column to reflux again. So, the reflux ratio depends on the volume (rate) of liquid removed from the still. It is a little easier to operate than the CM head, but still needs adjustments as you progress through the run, especially towards the late hearts and early tails.

Of note, the LM head is exceptional at compressing the heads. It allows you to stack the foreshots and early heads and collect them early on in the run. Closing the liquid valve for destabilization after removing the fores and early heads will again stack the column with your early hearts and mid-hearts.

But the vapor managed (VM) head is the easiest to operate. You set your reflux ratio by the opening of the valve which allows some vapor to advance to the product condenser. Since, the product is in the vapor phase as it moves to both the reflux condenser and the product condenser, it is easy to establish the reflux ratio as the ratio of opening of the valve to the full open path to the reflux condenser...it is simply a ratio of the flow areas.

The nice thing about the VM head is that it will keep the product proof high all the way to the tails. It is very good at balancing reflux as you draw off the product. Once you get to the tails, the product flow will all but stop as the proof takes a "nose dive". I like the VM for this reason...it's steady and when you get to the end, it signals the end by reducing the output automatically. You can increase the heat input (and balance it with coolant flow to the reflux condenser) and squeek out a little more high proof product too. Easy to run.

My reflux head is actually a combination LM/VM head. I use the LM to compress the fores and heads, and then open the VM valve very slightly (after restabilization for 10-15 minutes). The LM utilizes a concentric liquid cup (see Rad's apartment concentric LM design). And the VM uses a conventional ball valve on a side branch (Tee). I use a secondary Liebig condenser to cool the liquid take off and I have a 7 x 3/8" ID x 24" shotgun product condenser to knock down the vapor on the VM outlet. The reflux condenser is a concentric with a cold finger above the liquid (concentric ring) cup. Operation is easy and very stable. Performance is quite predictable..as it will easily draw off azeotropic product.

As others have said, using a parrot can and will cause smearing between the cut points. But, when running a reflux column, especially one that will produce high proof, smearing is not as critical because the separation of fractions is much more distinct. But then again, I don't use a parrot. I simply measure the proof of each of the collection jars, knowing that the proof of the jar is homogenous within the jar....rather than a "running average" of collected purity. And I don't need to watch the hydrometer (alcometer) throughout the run because there are other things to pay attention to...labelling the jars with relevant data, etc.

In summary, comparing a LM (Bokakob) vs CCVM is a tradeoff in build difficulty and what you plan to produce vs how you intend to run the still. In some ways, one is better...yet, in other ways, the other prevails.

Truly...as they say....YMMV.
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
What is a Proof & Traille hydrometer: Alcohol-meter
Enzyme info: SebStar
HD Google search info: HD Google-how to
All about mashing grains: Braukaiser
User avatar
still_stirrin
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 5253
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:01 am

Re: My first Still Design

Postby Yummyrum » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:10 pm

xthanol wrote: I'm not really sure how different a CCVM differs in operation to a coolant flow controlled VM or LM design as changing the position (correct me if I'm wrong of course) has the same effect as changing the cooland flow, no?

xthanol , neither VM ,LM or CCVM control the reflux ratio by adjusting the coolant flow .
The flow throw the reflux coil remains at a maximum to allow full cooling when in 100% or full reflux . Reducing the coolant flow will cause uncondenced vapour to bypass the coil and escape out the top.

LM (Liquid Management) - all the vapour is recondenced and the Reflux ratio is determined by how much is drawn off through the valve ..the rest of the condensed liquid returns to the packing as reflux .

VM (Vapour Management)- the vapour is split between the take-off port and the column leading up to the Reflux coil . The ratio of the port area to the column area determines the Reflux ratio .What vapour isn't taken off rises and is recondensed and returned to the packing as reflux .The take-off Vapour is condensed in a product condenser .

CCVM ( Condenser Controlled Vapour Management ) - very similar to the VM except that the take-off port apperature area is adjusted by physically moving the reflux coil up or down from fully blocked off (for 100% reflux) to fully open for maximum take off .Again , the take-off vapour is condensed in a product condenser .

CM ( Coolant Management ) - The coolant flow though the reflux condenser is adjusted to a critical point where most of the vapour is condensed and falls back to the packing as reflux but part of it bypasses the condenser and is condensed in a product condenser . Note that in the VM , LM and CCVM , the reflux condenser is above the takeoff port whereas in CM the reflux condenser is Below the takeoff port

Also note that VM and CCVM can not achieve Zero reflux as the vapour when the apperature is full open is at best still split 50 / 50 whereas a LM can achieve zero reflux by opening the valve fully and a CM can achieve Zero reflux by cuttinng off the coolant . The advantage of CCVM is that you can take the condenser out and cap it and it becomes a Pot still for stripping and while you could achieve the same thing in a VM , it is inherantly dangerous because there is a valve on the outlet that could inadvertantly get turned off causing a catastrophy .
User avatar
Yummyrum
Site Mod
 
Posts: 761
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:23 am
Location: Mid North Coast Aussie

Re: My first Still Design

Postby bluefish_dist » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:42 pm

Personally I don't use a parrot, but use head temp instead. Temp is proportional to the abv so I have found the temperature that gives me the abv I want, then run by temp. Note boiling point does vary depending on the weather, i.e. A high pressure or low pressure. Maybe 1-2 deg from a low to a high.
I think still dragon even sells an electric parrot.
Blue Fish Distillery
Dsp-CO-20051
User avatar
bluefish_dist
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 324
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:13 am
Location: Cos

Re: My first Still Design

Postby xthanol » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:08 am

@Je2xu - understood and thanks again!!

@still_stirrin - Thank you for this detailed sanity-check / review... You've given me additional pause for consideration regarding LM vs VM, especially with regards to your personal account of operation and steepness of cuts with VM which sounds VERY appealing to me. This sort of observation is priceless.
Re: Combo design, do you have plans or drawings so I can get a feel for how yours operates (your description is good but I'm having trouble seeing it). Re: Concentric cup - this is SUPER neat / much cooler than a plate IMHO, I just saw one on YouTube if I'm not mistaken, it looks like an upside-down funnel soldered into the wall of the tube, correct?

@Yummyrum - absolutely and my apologies for cobbling together a bad sentence that would make you believe I was unaware of the general mechanisms of reflux management. I was missing a comma and then made a statement about one of the three modes in a way that was very confusing - my apologies! To restate more clearly I should have said "... coolant flow controlled, VM or LM design ..." and then made sure to reference the discrete methods of control for each operation mechanism as in "changing the coolant flow, changing the vapor flow percentage to the takeoff condenser, or changing the takeoff rate respectively." but I must have rushed and it came out all wrong.
Regarding Zero Reflux - to be honest (and this is something I need to reconsider / keep in mind) I'm not really interested in operating in zero or low reflux - I'll just build a pot still if I want to make that kind of liquor (non-neutral) - thank you for reinforcing this fact. Your knowledge and experience here is really appreciated - thanks!

@bluefish_dist - I'm sure you're right, but I feel I will be blind otherwise (I'll likely measure temp and ABV / ABW at least until I have a good feel of operational stability...)... Once I know how to operate "by feel" I will consider removing the parrot for improved cuts quality and simplification.
Regarding Electric Parrot - wow. That's a sexy piece of kit! I just read a bit about it but don't see much on mode of operation, though it appears to be pressure sensitive which is interesting. I'll be looking into this more for sure. Thanks!

@All - thank you all again for lending me your thoughts and experience. You've helped me render a few more questions if I may:

Does anyone else have personal experience with both VM and LM operations have:
1) Opinions / observations about the amount of 'fiddling' required during the run on each setup?
2) Observations about the steepness of the cuts on each (how quickly and cleanly the cut happens, and how each setup reacts) ?

What @still_stirrin said regarding his VM setup sounds really appealing to me and has me giving second thoughts about building a LM altogether, but more data points would be helpful for sure.

Thanks again,

X
xthanol
Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:45 pm

Re: My first Still Design

Postby Yummyrum » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:52 pm

xthanol wrote:Does anyone else have personal experience with both VM and LM operations have:
1) Opinions / observations about the amount of 'fiddling' required during the run on each setup?
2) Observations about the steepness of the cuts on each (how quickly and cleanly the cut happens, and how each setup reacts) ?

X


I built an LM/VM combo Yummys LM/VM combo
Only used the LM a few times and now always just use the VM .

The LM is fiddly .....I found I was always fiddling with the valve . We have very unstable power here ( rural ) and as the power would vary , so would the boil rate and subsequently the reflux ratio . These power fluctuations don't effect the VM .
Also I found as the run progressed I was also needing to constantly tweak the LM whereas the VM was very set and forget . I used to bugger around trying to compress tails but now I just shut down as I'd spend another hour or so trying to squeeze drips out to gain another 250-500mls and you could bet you bottom dollar it still was tainted so I don't now . I collect about 300-400 mls at a time ( hearts ) , before I add it to the collection Demi , I sample it .You can sense tails very easily on a reflux still and it coincides with a sudden rise in temp . My temp will stay at 78.2Deg C for the whole hearts run , the moment it rises to 78.3 DegC , I can detect tails . Incidentally I run stripped wash in the bioler at around 30%ABV

Couldn't say catagoricly if one was better than the other at compressing heads but as I collect them in 200-250ml jars first then in reality it doesn't matter IMO.
User avatar
Yummyrum
Site Mod
 
Posts: 761
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:23 am
Location: Mid North Coast Aussie

Re: My first Still Design

Postby bluefish_dist » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:52 pm

I started with a two cups based lm/vm which looked a lot like yummys and now build a much larger lm/vm with a triclamp T. My big one fits on a 6" column.
I also find that I rarely use the lm side. The adjustments seem to be much courser than on the vm. With the needle valve I have 1/4 turn is from almost closed to who. On the vm With a neutral I can effectively set the reflux and then it holds it through the run. Maybe adjusting 1/2 to 1 turn on the valve. With flavored products I adjust 1/2 turn about every 1/2 hr. Overall a nice stable still. I only used the lm side for heads and I have never hooked it up on the big still. I may some day as people say that the lm compresses heads better.
Blue Fish Distillery
Dsp-CO-20051
User avatar
bluefish_dist
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 324
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:13 am
Location: Cos

Re: My first Still Design

Postby xthanol » Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:11 pm

After significant reconsideration and additional searching / reading (specifically surrounding the stability of liquid vs vapor managed mechanisms) I've decided to build a VM based design, but with modular components (tri clamp everything that counts).

New design idea attached, over which I am now debating if I should use a 1x1x1 Tee at the split, or go with a 2x2x1 Tee instead (keeping the column entirely 2 inches, and only have 1" product vapor pathway)

Assuming cross-sectional area of the tubes is directly proportional to the vapor distribution, a 2x1 split would give me:

3.14 / .785 split or (4 to 1) which means I would be able to achive a maximum product take-off of 1/4 total reflux potential... Does this sound correct?

Of course this also assumes that my 1" take-off valve is a full 1" (which it is not, I suspect 3/4" or so when full open but I might be wrong as I haven't acquired a gate valve yet...

But assuming 4/1 ratio, does this sound sufficient? Would I be better off reducing with a 1x1x1 thereby getting a theoretical maximum of 50/50 split reflux / product?

Would this reduce the reflux capability of the column to some degree (eg making a 2" column function as 1" due to the choke point, or some approximation of the same?)

But it would also lend itself to greater granularity of control I suppose, as each turn of the valve would change a smaller fraction of the whole... but what level of control is needed in actual operation?

Your input is greatly appreciated.

X

(Two attachments, note diameter different at "Tee" - which is better and why?)

Reflux_VM_4.pdf
1x1x1 Tee
(9.62 KiB) Downloaded 14 times


Reflux_VM_3.pdf
2x2x1 Tee
(9.53 KiB) Downloaded 19 times
xthanol
Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:45 pm

Re: My first Still Design

Postby still_stirrin » Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:55 pm

xthanol wrote:...Would I be better off reducing with a 1x1x1 thereby getting a theoretical maximum of 50/50 split reflux / product?

Would this reduce the reflux capability of the column to some degree (eg making a 2" column function as 1" due to the choke point, or some approximation of the same?)

But it would also lend itself to greater granularity of control I suppose, as each turn of the valve would change a smaller fraction of the whole... but what level of control is needed in actual operation?

I use a 2"x1-1/2" DWV Tee...that has 2" on the ends and 1-1/2" on the branch. In addition, the DWV has a radius which drains any condensate back to the column (just like in your waste plumbing in the home). From the 1-1/2" branch, you can reduce to 1" as close as possible to the ball or gate valve (1" seems to be the best price point option). And a DWV fitting is slightly less expensive than a water pressure (straight line) Tee.

As you said, your goal with this reflux head is purity, so minimum reflux ratio is not a requirement (as you said, you can build a potstill if you need to eliminate reflux). So, getting to a 4:1 reflux minimum is acceptable, which is what you get with a 2" column and a 1" VM valve.

And keeping it modular will allow you to use the product condenser on your potstill head (when you do decide to make one...which you will).
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
What is a Proof & Traille hydrometer: Alcohol-meter
Enzyme info: SebStar
HD Google search info: HD Google-how to
All about mashing grains: Braukaiser
User avatar
still_stirrin
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 5253
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:01 am

Re: My first Still Design

Postby bluefish_dist » Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:49 pm

4:1 won't be an issue for neutral spirits. I use a 1" valve with 2" column and maybe open it 4-5 turns max for a neutral. I have a 2" valve as well so I can run 1:1, but rarely run it that far open.
Blue Fish Distillery
Dsp-CO-20051
User avatar
bluefish_dist
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 324
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:13 am
Location: Cos

Re: My first Still Design

Postby Yummyrum » Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:02 pm

I agree with bluefish and still stirrin that 4:1 will be fine .
If you look at the end of my build tread I think I posted some pics of how small the open area is while collecting heads and hearts . This was on a 1:1 branch and it makes adjustment really critical .
In hind sight I would use 4:1 branch . ( 1" off a 2" ) as it will give better control IE less critical adjustment .

I like your last design . :thumbup:
User avatar
Yummyrum
Site Mod
 
Posts: 761
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:23 am
Location: Mid North Coast Aussie

Re: My first Still Design

Postby kimbodious » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:36 pm

I have used CM, VM and CCVM. The CCVM is by far the easiest to operate. :thumbup: My still is a modular "triclamp it together" style using a 2" diameter Still Dragon Big Baby shotgun condenser for my product condenser (PC) - pics below
kimbodious
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 319
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:57 pm


Return to My First .....



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ibfestus, NZChris, rad14701, Yummyrum and 2 guests