Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

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Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby Coyotey » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:59 pm

Here goes nothing! I've been researching for quite a while and have decided to attempt building a 2" (54mm) CM / combination /component still. Saying that will never get old :mrgreen:

I understand that the CM design is not the most efficient one and many of you have advised me to try other designs. Among other designs, the majority of your suggestions have been to start with a pot still. Hence the combination still that will give me that option. I just really want to try a CM ...something about it really appeals to me - if not only the look of it?

So I've gathered all the shiny parts:

20171209_115448.jpg


20171209_115511.jpg


20171209_115545.jpg


20171209_115611 (1).jpg


20171209_132907.jpg
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby Coyotey » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:19 pm

A good friend works in a machine shop and helped med to cut out the plates for the deflag:

20171206_163159.jpg


...and tig-weld on the 4" stainless ferrule on top of an old 8 gallon pot:

20171209_233312.jpg


Here are most of the parts loosely assembled (and hopefully it will look like this once I've soldered everything together!

20171206_153806.jpg


I plan to start with what I think will be the most difficult part tomorrow - the deflag. I've never soldered before - ok done some practice-soldering, but never in anger !

There is one detail I'm not too happy about and that is the width:height ratio of the packed column. I have been advised to make it 1:20 but unfortunately the ceiling in the workshop is only 88" high (222cm). The packed coulumn (under the sight glass) will be 1:15 tall. I hope that's not too short?! Believe me, I've considered cutting the ceiling but Mrs. Coyotey gave me one of those looks... :roll:

Following the advice of other forum members, my deflag is 6" tall with 4 18mmOD copper pipes (forgive me I don't know the imperial equivalent). My Leibig condenser is just shy of 32" (80cm). It comprises of 15mmOD inside 28mmOD. I hope this will be sufficient also. I sure hope the calculator on the main site is wrong ! The 2 condensers will have separate intake controls.

Wish me luck - hopefully by next weekend I'll be doing the vinegar and sacrificial runs!

Skål!
Last edited by Coyotey on Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby StillerBoy » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:20 pm

Lots of work has been expense in the project, nice work so far.. and best of luck with your endeavor.. down the road, you will realize that the advise provide was well meant.. the CM is just a little better than a pot still setup or a glorified pot sitll at best with limited control abilities.. but one has to start somewhere, to learn and experience the hobby...

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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby Coyotey » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:27 pm

StillerBoy wrote:Lots of work has been expense in the project, nice work so far.. and best of luck with your endeavor.. down the road, you will realize that the advise provide was well meant.. the CM is just a little better than a pot still setup or a glorified pot sitll at best with limited control abilities.. but one has to start somewhere, to learn and experience the hobby...

Mars


Thanks Stillerboy! I can see my next future upgrade will be to swap out the deflag and drop in a coil from the top!

It's unreal to finally get started though :clap:
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby fizzix » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:45 pm

Beautiful! And there's nothing to soldering copper. Don't fret it.
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby jb-texshine » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:58 pm

It's my personal goal to build as many different types of still head as is possible to attach to a keg. Efficient or not they all make liquor and that's the real goal,that and having fun. I will probably be building one soon to add to the collection. Have fun and stay safe.
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby Coyotey » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:01 pm

fizzix wrote:Beautiful! And there's nothing to soldering copper. Don't fret it.


Thanks Fizzix! I'm not too worried about the ordinary fittings - It's the deflag. I've now watched every single video and article ever made on constucting deflags and they all make it look so easy...lickety-split...bang finished! :wtf:
There is a logical order to which parts to take first and which parts (requiring less heat) come later so as not to melt the first ones...haha...don't know if I can wait til tomorrow! Might just pull an all nighter while the road-runner sleeps :ebiggrin:
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby Coyotey » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:06 pm

jb-texshine wrote:It's my personal goal to build as many different types of still head as is possible to attach to a keg. Efficient or not they all make liquor and that's the real goal,that and having fun. I will probably be building one soon to add to the collection. Have fun and stay safe.
Jbt


Thanks JB! I like your approach to stilling! Swiss-Army Still !

If I do most things right while destilling in CM forced reflux mode - what alc % potential do you think my set-up can get up to? 80? 90?
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby The Baker » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:22 pm

Coyotey said, 'I have been advised to make it 1:20 but unfortunately the ceiling in the workshop is only 88" high (222cm). The packed coulumn (under the sight glass) will be 1:15 tall. I hope that's not too short?! Believe me, I've considered cutting the ceiling but Mrs. Coyotey gave me one of those looks... :roll: '.

It is possible to sit the column on the floor (to gain height). But I cannot advise you of the technical details, of how it will work....That is out of my pay grade.

Of course it would be fairly simple to connect it up that way and see what happens.....(What would it take? Two or three or four bends, a short and a long piece of tube, a roll of plumber's tape to put on the joins....?)

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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby Coyotey » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:32 pm

The Baker wrote:Coyotey said, 'I have been advised to make it 1:20 but unfortunately the ceiling in the workshop is only 88" high (222cm). The packed coulumn (under the sight glass) will be 1:15 tall. I hope that's not too short?! Believe me, I've considered cutting the ceiling but Mrs. Coyotey gave me one of those looks... :roll: '.

It is possible to sit the column on the floor (to gain height). But I cannot advise you of the technical details, of how it will work....That is out of my pay grade.

Of course it would be fairly simple to connect it up that way and see what happens.....(What would it take? Two or three or four bends, a short and a long piece of tube, a roll of plumber's tape to put on the joins....?)

Geoff


Thanks for the idea Geoff!!

The beauty of these component set ups is the flexibility (and relative low cost) of changing out one component! As you say, I'll see what happens first. I am however drooling over some of the 8 gallon kettles for sale over in the US. They are considerably lower than this typically Scandinavian pot (63 cm high) or - 25". Just that change alone will get me to just shy of 1:20.
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby The Baker » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:38 pm

I just noticed you plan to use a deflag.

It is quite possible you could use a cross flow condenser (look it up in hd) which would hopefully do the same job and would save height.

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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby StillerBoy » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:07 pm

jb-texshine wrote:It's my personal goal to build as many different types of still head as is possible to attach to a keg.

So far, I have constructed and operated six different column setup.. from pot to flute to CM to concentric, in different column diameters.. and the concentric in 2" is my preferred.. yet to go is a thumper, which is in the works, looking for a suitable pot/boiler, and the experimentation that go with it ..

That's what makes this hobby so interesting..

Mars
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby jb-texshine » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:38 pm

The Baker wrote:I just noticed you plan to use a deflag.

It is quite possible you could use a cross flow condenser (look it up in hd) which would hopefully do the same job and would save height.

Geoff

But The deflag is more efficient and the crossflow design are known for not being able to go into full reflux though,right? Kinda makes a bad design worse don't it?
Y'all excuse my ignorance, my only experience with reflux is a boka I built and don't like.
Sb, I built a pot head first, then a thumper set up and then a boka that is functional but oh so slow. For my next I'm thinking of a cm two inch with only 36" column under it and a long radius on top to a shotgun,kinda similar in looks to a flute but with packing or marbles instead of plates and no sight glasses either.
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby acfixer69 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:54 pm

jb-texshine wrote:
The Baker wrote:I just noticed you plan to use a deflag.

It is quite possible you could use a cross flow condenser (look it up in hd) which would hopefully do the same job and would save height.

Geoff

But The deflag is more efficient and the crossflow design are known for not being able to go into full reflux though,right? Kinda makes a bad design worse don't it?
Y'all excuse my ignorance, my only experience with reflux is a boka I built and don't like.
Sb, I built a pot head first, then a thumper set up and then a boka that is functional but oh so slow. For my next I'm thinking of a cm two inch with only 36" column under it and a long radius on top to a shotgun,kinda similar in looks to a flute but with packing or marbles instead of plates and no sight glasses either.


The cross flow condenser the baker is refering to is the jackson cross flow not the one with 2 single tubes.
correct me if I'm wrong.

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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby cranky » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:57 pm

StillerBoy wrote:... the CM is just a little better than a pot still setup or a glorified pot sitll at best with limited control abilities.. but one has to start somewhere, to learn and experience the hobby...

Mars

That statement is simply not true. I run a CM and take off at 94% at a good clip, and get little if any flavor They are good reflux stills if you have the right packing and put the effort into learning how to run one.
Last edited by cranky on Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby Yummyrum » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:01 pm

Agree cranky

Looks like a great job coyotey :thumbup:
Don't let them put you off a CM . Sure they get a bad rap but so long as you have a constant pressure supply to it and a needle valve to regulate flow through the deflag , you'll be right .

The 20:1 is the point at which there is no further gains but you can certainly get good performance with less . And don't forget you can pack most of the sightglass too :thumbup:
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby cranky » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:39 pm

Coyotey,
My advice is don't obsess about all those numbers, make it as tall as you can, pack as much of it as you can and run it the best as you can. CMs can be fiddly but that's what I like about them but with a shotgun dephleg they work real well.
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby zapata » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:35 pm

Jackson crossflow owner and fan here. 100% reflux easy peasy and low height is why I made it. Though I have a spot with tall ceilings now.

But it's too late for a crossflow now. Or at least for now! The biggest thing I'd do right now is pack the whole sight glass, you dont need to see in there anyway.

20:1 is not even past the point of no more returns, just big returns. I vote to cut a hole in your ceiling, its worth it if you want true neutral. Just finish off to look like an access panel or an air return grate and the missus won't care either. My current 2" rig is probably close to 70 inches over the boiler, and thats with the low height crossflow! (But I've got lots of doodads in there: LM, VM, heads column). Just in terms of the main column, I used to run 36", and definitely prefered it when I stretched it to 42, then 48". I'm sure you'll be able to make good booze nontheless.
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby Coyotey » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:59 am

I couldn't help myself, woke up before sun-up (before Mrs. Coyotey and the little coyoties) stoked the fire in the workshop, put on some toxic ACME coffee and made a deflag. I'm proud to report that it took me only about an hour to make but somewhat less proud to admit that I used an additional 6 hours chasing leaks and berating myself! Went through a half spool of solder and close to a bottle of propane! To have been a fly on the wall in there last night would have been quite entertaining! I'm soon coming to the point where I'll be laughing about the experience - I'll keep you posted on that ;)

It's not pretty but it holds 6 bars of pressure and have learned some valuable lessons about soldering and copper.

20171209_215035.jpg

20171210_120200.jpg

20171210_120240.jpg


My first lesson was to heat both surfaces equally as solder will flow away from the colder surface (basic stuff, sure, but it was rocket-science to me last night)!
My second lesson was more concerning the design and this is what was the source of the theatrics: flush the ends of the vapour-tubes with the plates! I had the tubes sticking out 2mm through the plates (my reasoning was to ensure a larger contact-area for the solder to adhere to). What happenned however was that this prevented the plates from seating snuggly up against the ends of the ferrules. I had a gap here of ....you guessed it...2mm! This was a real bugger to fill up because I needed so much heat that I started melting other things...well you get the picture :roll:

Having said that - I'm so glad that I started my build with the deflag - hopefully I'll roll through the rest of the build without too many hic-ups! I'm also glad that I didn't just buy one to clamp in. Mind you I was cursing that decision a few times last night! I'm convinced that because I made it however, my "heimbrent" will taste much better!

Skål!
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby Coyotey » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:18 am

cranky wrote:
StillerBoy wrote:... the CM is just a little better than a pot still setup or a glorified pot sitll at best with limited control abilities.. but one has to start somewhere, to learn and experience the hobby...

Mars

That statement is simply not true. I run a CM and take off at 94% at a good clip, and get little if any flavor They are good reflux stills if you have the right packing and put the effort into learning how to run one.


You have no idea how nice it is to hear something positive about CM set-ups. I respect everyone's opinions but I have learned to take most things with a "pinch of salt" and read a little between the lines. I have a number of "technical" hobbies and it is nothing new that people who are very satisfied with their own rigs can overly critisize other set-ups. Sort of like a BMW-man saying that a Mercedes is utter garbage. Now, i'm not saying that my set-up will be a Mercedes (probably not by a long shot) but even an old Pinto got you and your girl to the dance on Saturday night (most of the time) ;)

Skål!
Last edited by Coyotey on Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby fizzix » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:32 am

My Brewhaus PSII CM still was producing 95% when I was making Birdwatcher's some few weeks ago.
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby Coyotey » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:57 am

Yummyrum wrote:Agree cranky

Looks like a great job coyotey :thumbup:
Don't let them put you off a CM . Sure they get a bad rap but so long as you have a constant pressure supply to it and a needle valve to regulate flow through the deflag , you'll be right .

The 20:1 is the point at which there is no further gains but you can certainly get good performance with less . And don't forget you can pack most of the sightglass too :thumbup:


cranky wrote:Coyotey,
My advice is don't obsess about all those numbers, make it as tall as you can, pack as much of it as you can and run it the best as you can. CMs can be fiddly but that's what I like about them but with a shotgun dephleg they work real well.


Thanks for chiming in guys! I really purshiate it. Your feedback is certainly not wasted on me (especially when you state that a CM build is not an excercise in futility) :wink:

I must be an odd duck! To be honest, one of the main reasons I chose a CM as my first build is because they have a reputation of being quirky and fiddly. I'm way too fidgety myself to be able to sit through an entire run without constantly tweaking and messing around with my new contraption!

I love restoring old European cars and they are notorious for being temperamental and fidgety. The satisfaction of being able to successfully tune an old twin-carb set-up to perfection is enormeously rewarding. They scream like banshees - even though family minivans pass them on the highway like they were standing still :)

Yummyrum wrote:And don't forget you can pack most of the sightglass too :thumbup:


That's fantastic! I didn't think of that...thanks for the tip!!!

Skål guys!
Last edited by Coyotey on Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby Coyotey » Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:05 am

fizzix wrote:My Brewhaus PSII CM still was producing 95% when I was making Birdwatcher's some few weeks ago.


I don't think I'll ever tire hearing good things about CM's! Well done fizzix! Them's my kinda numbers ;)

Skål!
Last edited by Coyotey on Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby Coyotey » Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:18 am

zapata wrote:I vote to cut a hole in your ceiling, its worth it if you want true neutral. Just finish off to look like an access panel or an air return grate and the missus won't care either.


Cutting the ceiling in my case is opening a can of worms, I'm afraid. I live on the latitudinal equivalent of Anchorage Alaska here in Scandinavia and our temperatures regularly drop to -35C (-31F) and that's not mentioning the monster storms off the North Sea that beat the crap out of us in the winters. I need every last bit of insulation in the ceiling of my workshop - towards the attic. I would need to build an insulated box up there (or not - new method of condensing haha). In other words...I just want to start destilling now :)

You made me start thinking though...why not go the other way in the future. Dig down a hole through the foundation and pour a concrete box...sink the whole pot down there - and then add onto the column!

Damn I love this forum....invaluable advice and research!!!

Skål!
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby The Baker » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:13 am

'The cross flow condenser the baker is referring to is the Jackson cross flow not the one with 2 single tubes.
correct me if I'm wrong.'

Thanks, acfixer69. Right on.

I was on one of the original forums when Harry first described it. BEFORE dephlegmators became popular. It looks like a dephlegmator set sideways.

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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby acfixer69 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:09 pm

The Baker wrote:'The cross flow condenser the baker is referring to is the Jackson cross flow not the one with 2 single tubes.
correct me if I'm wrong.'

Thanks, acfixer69. Right on.

I was on one of the original forums when Harry first described it. BEFORE dephlegmators became popular. It looks like a dephlegmator set sideways.

Geoff


I got one I built way back when 2010 was a shell and tube style vapor in the shell water in the tube. Works great. Will be building a 4" vertical soon will make a thread if there is interest.
Anyway glad I got that right back on topic

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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby zapata » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:18 pm

Coyotey wrote:
Yummyrum wrote: To be honest, one of the main reasons I chose a CM as my first build is because they have a reputation of being quirky and fiddly. I'm way too fidgety myself to be able to sit through an entire run without constantly tweaking and messing around with my new contraption!

CM is a perfectly valid approach. Much of the bad rep they get is based on old flawed designs, but yours looks solid. But indulging in the need to mess with it is likely to not serve you very well beyond the brief "learn how to run your still" period. Reflux stills work based on steady conditions, cuts are linear and crisp because of steady conditions. You need to mess with it to get it set, and to learn the FEWEST adjustments possible to maintain equilibrium throughout a run (or at least a steady or predictable decline from equilibrium). On any reflux still, the best results come from a hurry up and wait approach. This is likely multiplied by the short-ish column. You mess with it too much and you'll be pushing hearts into your heads, smearing tails into your hearts, and doing it from jar to jar. There was a thread on here not long ago with that very problem, cuts were just all over the place and out of order.

And in fact though they have a rep for being fiddly, if power input and cooling are steady CM can be less fiddly than LM which is probably the most popular approach. With LM the reflux rate steadily drops over the run for a given valve setting, this isnt necessarily the case with CM though it probably depends on your coolant source and plumbing.

I hear ya on the height, and the insulation! I havent been to Scandanavia, but I have been to Anchorage. No wonder you have a fire in your shop, while just last week I was still doing my projects in the driveway because it was nicer than being in the shop. I'm pretty sure there is a thread on here where someone did dig a pit in their shop to gain headroom, anybody else remember that? It actually makes more sense than going through the roof since it doesnt put the top of the still completely out of reach or even out of sight. I'd be too scared to do it myself, I can look at a ceiling or roof and understand how it works, concrete and foundations not so much. After you get everything setup and see how it works, we may well be able to find some other tips to save height depending on your boiler, heating method, and overall motivation.

I know this is more of a build thread, but that seems to be going fine. Just make sure you retest for pressure after a few thermal cycles which tend to break solder that is just sitting on a gap sealing it for now. But what are you planning on for cooling water, flow control and for heating the boiler? Those are areas you can really maximize the stability of your still.

And its off topic, but though yahoo distillers is all but dead, it's good to see we aren't. I still have every msg from a decade or so in my email and will occasionally search through them. Geoff, I certainly "recognize" you from back then. :wave:
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby Coyotey » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:33 pm

acfixer69 wrote: Will be building a 4" vertical soon will make a thread if there is interest.

AC


If the interest my simple build is generating is to be used as an indication - your build would be far more exciting...hell ya there'd be interest!

Skål!
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is the noblest; Second, by imitation, which is the easiest; and Third, by experience, which is the bitterest. - Confucius
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby Coyotey » Sat Dec 16, 2017 5:57 pm

It's been quiet from me but i completed my version of some copper porn. Everything went smoothly. What gave me an awful lot of grief was soldering the ferrules to the 2" pipes. All the normal fittings went together like a dream...ok I used too much solder in some places but a quick massage with a file cleaned all that up nicely.

I did a 3 hour long vinegar run last night and it was really great to see this beast breathe - even though it was vinegar vapour. And much to my amazement - NO LEAKS!

Have to get my cooling figured out. I have good cold well water in the workshop but no drain. I've been considering to hook up all the usual plumbing and even though my water is abundant, cold and free...I just don't want to let it out into the woods out back. I have an IBC tank that I can let the warm water into. When that cools I can use that and perhaps buy a second ibc...so back and forth and well water as a backup.

Hoping to do the sacrificial run in a few days.

I have to ask you guys...i used a 2:1 water/7%vinegar for the 3 hour cleaning run. I pulled everything apart to look inside. There was still soot and crud from the build in there. The cloth I used to clean out as much as possible was pretty black in places. Is this normal? Or will the sac run take care of the rest?

Skål!
Last edited by Coyotey on Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is the noblest; Second, by imitation, which is the easiest; and Third, by experience, which is the bitterest. - Confucius
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Re: Coyotey's ACME Rocket powered CM Still

Postby acfixer69 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:45 pm

Black in places is normal but means you overheated the joint assumeing you soft soldiered the fit. The SS to copper fit is tempermental temperature joint flux is the key to success there.
Rub a white rag on the black stuff in there it shouldn't lift much crud.

AC
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