Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

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Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby rad14701 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:09 pm

I'm sure some folks around here have been wondering about my apparent absence over the past few months... My life was getting somewhat hectic with everything that was going on last year and I was already starting to lag a bit behind... Then, a week and a half before Christmas, my female companion of 22 years and I split up... I am now in the process of moving into my fathers house which has sat empty ever since he was stricken ill back in May of 2012... And I am anticipating my new special someone to join me in the near future...

Now that I am staying here I am feeling much better, overall... I was dying being all cooped up in an apartment without being able to do much of anything... But things are looking better... I am getting to tinker day in and day out because there are so many things that need attention... But I'm also able to use some of my bigger carboys and have washes waiting to be run...

One night around 10:00pm I headed down to the basement and finally built my concentric pot still I have been intending to build for a couple years now... I was basking in the heat coming off the wood stove and working frantically to get the prototype built... I finally got to put the copper sent to me by LWTCS to good use... I'm not sure if anyone else has done this but my still head uses no reducers... Instead, I make copper rings out of 12 and 10 gauge wire... And I leave the deformation lip caused by the tubing cutter to help keep the rings in place during trial assembly prior to soldering... And I add 3/4" pieces of the same gauge wire evenly vertically spaced around the vapor inlet tube to keep it centered during assembly as well as to reduce stress when in operation...

I now have additional heating options as well... I can use the gas range in the kitchen, the wood stove or three burner utility stove in the basement, 120V electric just about anywhere, or 240V electric in the basement and barn...

I have done several runs both in pot still and reflux column mode using different length packed column sections... Todays run was done using only a short packed column section... I ended up with roughly 1.75 liters of spirits that averaged out to be 128 proof... After airing for a short time and blending I ended up with a liter of 140 proof, with the rest dumped in the feints jug... The 140 proof with be diluted to 100 proof for drinking...

Just a few quick pictures... I'll try to take some with better details of the head when I get a chance...

concentric_still_head_1_sm.jpg


concentric_still_head_2_sm.jpg


concentric_still_head_3_sm.jpg


concentric_still_head_4_sm.jpg


One thing to note is that when the pictures were taken the lower cooling hose, which is the return, had not yet been raised to above the input line at the top...
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby bellybuster » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:05 am

neat looking design, I'm interested, I have yet to do a spirit run on my valved reflux and am already looking to change it. Look forward to more detail
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby Pyewacket » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:01 pm

Glad you finally got around to doing this. It was you and a few others that discussed this years ago that inspire me to build one -- you hashed around a lot ideas and turned the concept into a nifty and safe still. It never occurred to me not use reducers...I wouldn't have found it possible when I built mine. Damn, now I want to build a 2inch version without reducers...to put on my keg set up.
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby bellybuster » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:48 pm

do you have any photos of a reducerless connect? I think I get it, the wire takes up the space between the smaller pipe and the larger??
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby rad14701 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:29 am

bellybuster wrote:do you have any photos of a reducerless connect? I think I get it, the wire takes up the space between the smaller pipe and the larger??

Just took these to give a better visual...
concentric_still_head_5_sm.jpg


concentric_still_head_6_sm.jpg
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby bellybuster » Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:06 am

Thanks
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby Pyewacket » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:05 am

dang, that looks clean. I'm gonna have to experiment with this on some scrap pieces...see if I can pull it off.
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby Odin » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:26 am

Good to see you back, Rad! And up on your feet, it seems.

Not sure I quite understand your new design though ... Do you have a reference to the build? Of a quick comparison to your appartment style still?

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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby Pyewacket » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:28 pm

Heya Odin,

Rad can correct me if I'm wrong but it is an amalgamation of this still viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8046

Concentric design (tube inside of a tube inside of a tube), think vertical liebig. I made one using reducers etc...He was able to pull it off avoiding the cost of those. Here is the one I built: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=31411&hilit=concentric+still

There is something neat about the concentric design...
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby Odin » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:45 pm

Okay, thanks. I will have to look into that! Some reading to do.

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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby Prairiepiss » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:56 pm

Glad to see you finally got to build it. :thumbup:

And sounds like you will get to stretch your legs out in the new pad.
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby southern traditions » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:04 pm

Looks Good Rad, a interesting design.. Good to see you back as well!!
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby Mayor Orden » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:10 pm

Hey Rad.

Dig the concept. Love how compact everything is.

I'm wondering if you see any benefit in this design over your "apartment" still design? They both seem compact and relatively simple to build and operate. Is it cheaper? Easier to build? You don't have to wind a coil with the concentric design, so maybe that's a plus?

Thanks for your time. Great idea with the wire rings to eliminate the reducers.

MO
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby rad14701 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:22 pm

Mayor Orden wrote:Hey Rad.

Dig the concept. Love how compact everything is.

I'm wondering if you see any benefit in this design over your "apartment" still design? They both seem compact and relatively simple to build and operate. Is it cheaper? Easier to build? You don't have to wind a coil with the concentric design, so maybe that's a plus?

Thanks for your time. Great idea with the wire rings to eliminate the reducers.

MO

I'm getting some great performance out of this head now that I've inserted stainless steel scrubber the full length from top to vapor throat... I've only run it in pot still mode for cleaning and all wash and feints have been run in hybrid mode using the short packed extension... I can run with the needle valve and gas stove burner wide open and easily knock down all of the distillate vapor produced with a low coolant flow rate... The next one will either have a copper wire wound around the inside of the water jacket or several slotted rings as restricting baffles...

I just ran off just under 4 gallons, 15L, of All Bran and was very pleased with the results... First jar was 184 proof... Last jar was 33 proof... Total collected was 3455ml, with 1750ml of blended 125 proof hearts and 1705ml of foreshots and feints... Very smooth...
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby rad14701 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:04 pm

As a follow up here, I recently ran my old single helix LM head and was shocked at how inefficient it is compared to this concentric LM head... I could barely get beyond medium heat before the wound 1/4" copper condenser couldn't keep up and vapor was escaping out the top whereas the concentric head can take full heat... Now I'm considering a concentric insert for the dual reducer LM section... I'm thinking 1" inside 1.25" with the 1" dropping slightly below the top of the vapor/reflux throat... Damn...!!! Now I have the itch to put solder to copper again... :twisted:
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby bellybuster » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:49 pm

I was hoping this thread wouldn't come back up... I just read the linked thread from the original, very interesting. Now my friggin head is full of ideas again, I still haven't fully run my offset head and am looking at that 2" copper with thoughts of cutting into it.
thanks
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby Pyewacket » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:57 pm

I put a cold finger in the concentric that I built; there is no need to run it with it...has no trouble knocking down the vapors on my gas stove without the extra cooling. I built a smaller boiler for this concentric still, and I plan on running gin essence when I can find the time.
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby rad14701 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:19 pm

The condenser is essentially just a single barreled dephlegmator that is always run in full reflux...

I have an idea I might try... I'm considering making another condenser with slant plate baffles to increase cooling efficiency... Maybe even have the plates protrude into the water jacket for turbulence instead of a coiled wire...
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby Pyewacket » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:20 am

I have an idea I might try... I'm considering making another condenser with slant plate baffles to increase cooling efficiency... Maybe even have the plates protrude into the water jacket for turbulence instead of a coiled wire...



Ok, that sounds awesome. I am curious on your thoughts of scaling this up to 2inches. The issue as I see it is there really are no options for purchasing 1.75 inch copper tube. I thought of going down from 2 inches to 1.5...but, man that is a lot of water with not a lot of extra cooling benefits...Unless maybe incorporating the idea of plates protruding into the larger jacket? That would create tons of turbulence inside the water jacket and tons of surface area and turbulence inside the vapor path.
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby rad14701 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:00 am

Pyewacket, I've been searching around because I thought someone had already made a larger version similar to what you are describing... Haven't had any luck in finding the appropriate topic as yet, however... It should work fine... Might need to use scrubbers in the vapor path for added efficiency but you won't know unless you try...
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby C. Morrison » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:12 pm

This may be a way to reduce the use of reducers. I once made (re-purposed) a device that would roll an internal bead on thin wall tube (think external snap ring grooves (indented) on a normal racing shock-turning it into a coil over shock) Find a decent old galvanized or black steel pipe cutter. Make sure the rollers can be lubricated to roll freely. Temporarily remove the old cutter wheel,and using a small long bolt and nut, carefully grind it in its outer circumference-simply dulling it (don't get it out of round or over do it!). Reassemble the cutter, it's now a bead roller for pipe. The inside diameter of the pipe can be reduced somewhat by slowly turning the cutter on the pipe while tightening the cutter.Annealing with heat, then allowing the pipe to cool slowly will soften the pipe, easing the task. Reducing 2 inch to a solder-able size to a 1-1/2 inserted may be a bridge too far, but worth a try. Try not to start too close to the end of the pipe as the pipe will bend and cause the roller (no longer a cutter!) to "walk" down the pipe. The pipe can be re-cut near the reduction after the desired inside diameter is achieved. The example below will give you an idea what to watch for at auctions,flea markets etc. Be sure to get one that will handle the size ranges you need.

http://www.ridgid.com/Tools/Heav-Duty-P ... /index.htm
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby LWTCS » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:21 pm

Nice and tight.
Glad you finally got to stretch out a bit.
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby Odin » Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:57 pm

Guys, sorry, but this is where my English is failing me. I have difficulty imagining what's going on here. I understand a vertical thru tube as a condensor. Cold finger of a sort. I can also imagine, you controll the amount of cooling and add a take off above the vertical inline cooler. That makes it a CM. But I see a take off at the bottom. No problem. Makes it an LM in my definition (just stay with me, I know I am wrong, but please follow my line of thought). But if it is, why is there another set of cooling tubes heading for the top of the column?

Does it work like this? Gasses travel up, part of the gasses get cooled down to reflux, the part that isn't is cooled by a top cooler, refluxing in a pipe that is bigger and surrounds the vertical column cooler, thus creating a pool at the bottom of the bigger pipe, ready for take off?

Maybe I am missing the point completely.

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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby rad14701 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:30 am

Odin, like I said earlier, this concentric condenser is essentially just a single barreled dephlegmator that is always run in full reflux... Or an inside out cold finger...

I have all of the copper just about ready to replace the single helix on my original small scale stove top rig with an 8" concentric... I might be able to get it soldered together today and hope to post some decent pictures along the way... But that all depends on whether I can slow down enough once I get started working with my hands...

This is a very viable alternative for folks who can't wind a single or double helix condenser coil...
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby Andy Capp » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:17 pm

I agree with Odin, it was hard to imagine what's goin on with this thing. After doin some diggin i found a diagram on an earlier post that helps to explain the workings. Now that i understand how it works, i realise how simple it is.

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8046
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby rad14701 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:32 pm

Andy Capp wrote:I agree with Odin, it was hard to imagine what's goin on with this thing. After doin some diggin i found a diagram on an earlier post that helps to explain the workings. Now that i understand how it works, i realise how simple it is.

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8046

Yes, that's one topic about concentric pot stills... Member lampshade and I have modified the idea into concentric reflux stills as well...

I got the new concentric condenser made today and will try to post pictures later... I got the condenser cleaned and was able to do a complete feints run with it after that... Stay tuned...
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby bluenose » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:05 am

How do you make sure that there's no pressure build up in this design? yours looks like the top is open, but this one looks like the top is closed http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8046

would it add to the reflux if there were some holes drilled into the innermost pipe about a half inch or an inch above the takeoff? that way, there would be some overflow back into the pot?
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby rad14701 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:11 am

bluenose wrote:How do you make sure that there's no pressure build up in this design? yours looks like the top is open, but this one looks like the top is closed http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8046

would it add to the reflux if there were some holes drilled into the innermost pipe about a half inch or an inch above the takeoff? that way, there would be some overflow back into the pot?

Good questions... :thumbup:

My concentrics are open topped, for safety, but I do make allowance for a slip fit end cap in the event that I want to run in true pot still mode with the needle valve removed... At times I even place the cap, inverted, onto the top and remove it to check for condensation buildup which would indicate that the condenser isn't knocking down 100% of the vapor... This was only an issue when I was running an open inner condenser tube... After adding some SS scrubber into the upper several inches I haven't had any issues...

I don't extend the vapor/reflux throat as far up into the condenser as the originals depict... From memory I'd say mine only extends about two inches which allows for a small yet unmeasured collection pool and then the excess overflows back down the throat as reflux...

Hope this helps answer your questions...
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby bluenose » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:12 am

cool

is there any benefit to having a longer throat? my thinking is that the vapour has to travel further up before it condenses

also, to use your 'no reducer' build style, would you step up your pipe size by 1/4" to allow for the narrow gap between pipes? (that's probably my answer right there)

one last question, can anyone point me somewhere that shows how to solder the small diameter pipes to avoid the need for a T?
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Re: Concentric Pot/Reflux Still

Postby rad14701 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:25 am

bluenose wrote:cool

is there any benefit to having a longer throat? my thinking is that the vapour has to travel further up before it condenses

also, to use your 'no reducer' build style, would you step up your pipe size by 1/4" to allow for the narrow gap between pipes? (that's probably my answer right there)

one last question, can anyone point me somewhere that shows how to solder the small diameter pipes to avoid the need for a T?

As far as the throat is concerned, With my desire to shorten the overall height of the condenser, I have opted to have the throat extend up as short a distance as possible while still maintaining an effective sized collection pool...

With one size step up of the copper tubes it allows 12 gauge wire to be used to fill the gap... Jumping bigger would require wither larger wire or 1/4" tube to be used...

As for soldering the pipes, I have seen sites that have calculators for making printable templates... I'd have to dig around later to see if I can find those resources...
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