It seems as though every time you provide answers to my questions, it causes me to come up with new questions which is good, it's how I learn. I also find you discussing concepts that I'm unfamiliar with, or might have read something about in another post earlier in my process of trying to learn about this. In any case, it causes me to look up a lot of what you mention to make sure I understand what you're saying. Bottom line is you're pushing me forward in what I've learned and I thank you for that.
I haven't started building yet...still trying to "feel out" the design that will suit best. I'm involved in this with a group of friends, acting as Project Manager (my regular job should be this fun, lol), so I think the 3" column is justified since there will be many mouths to feed!
Since several people are contributing to the build, I want to make sure this is as flexible as can be so that there will be little compromise to quality whether making a batch of whiskey or vodka. So, I'm still open to ideas and would appreciate if anyone can point to any plans that have been posted that might fit the bill. None of my friends are reading this forum - they're looking to me to figure things out to make the design decisions which is pretty overwhelming with so many ideas available. We're looking at this as a hobby that will grow. I see them becoming more involved in future research after we've all actually experienced how this thing will work, which will give a better understanding of what improvements we might like to add later on.
1. You will need to increase your VM port size. You don't have a packed heads column to aid you, so your vapour split will be dependent on the ratio of cross sectional areas between the entry into the reflux chamber and into the VM branch. Most folks will realise by now that I am not a fan of the inline design, the offset condenser version puts a physical obstruction in the vapour path to aid the split.
If you are going to 3" you clearly wish a greater take off rate - so need to look at the geometry of the VM spliting chamber, otherwise you will not achieve the potential of the 3" column.
I'm not sure what you mean by "You don't have a packed heads column to aid you"? You mentioned the importance of the geometry of the VM splitting chamber. I had found an earlier post where you'd given your thoughts on that as well as a diagram that I found interesting: http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=25720#p6943335
(basically more detail to your "B" diagram on the 1st page of this thread). If there's a definite advantage to building this way we can do it.
2. With a 3" column and 3kW you should be able to get 2-2.5 litres / hour from a 40% charge but your run time will not be super fast.
We'll be using either NG or propane so not yet sure how that will equate to your 3kW example. What do you mean by "but your run time will not be super fast"? Compared to what? Sorry if I'm missing something here.
So how quickly do you need to strip The compromise option offered earlier might be enough for some folks. If you WANT to strip faster then a dedicated strip option would suit you better.
I'm not sure how quickly we need to strip as we've never done this before
Can you provide any examples/references to give me an idea of best/worst case scenarios?
If not, consider designing your reflux condenser so that you can remove it and insert it before your liebig to function as a precondenser in the strip mode. An empty column (riser) will help with speed and the length is determined by where you wish the output of the condenser to be.
Not sure I'm following you here...anything more you can add to this could help.
The dedicated pot still head is a better option but do you actually need it.
Are you referring to having the ability to strip faster or better quality whiskey-type product or both? If given a choice of one or the other, a better product is what we're looking for.
Myles, thanks again for all your help. If you weren't on the other side of the pond, I'd pour you a drink when this thing is done.