Photos of StillMaker style Stills

You can download the StillMaker design for free from World Class Distillation Apparatus
The early designs all have cooling tubes that pass through the column to generate the reflux liquid, but there are many different ways of doing it.

StillMaker's from
Stillmaker Stillmaker Design details available for FREE off Stillmakers site

Height : 3ft (915 mm)
Diameter : 2 inch (50 mm)
Packing : Ceramic Raschig rings (small)
Volume : 10 gallons
Performance : 95% alcohol

Dr M.L's Valved Reflux Still

John V's
herewith my completed project. All copper, 4' column, jacketed condenser - plans from the class distillation apparatus... website. The detail image shows attachment to kettle lid - I soldered a flange onto the base of the column, and then whole thing is attached to lid with wing-nuts and high temp. caulking. Kettle is ~16-18 L, SS, from local hdwe.

The seal between lid and kettle rim is a length of ~1.5 cm tygon tubing sliced lengthwise, and held in place simply with some strips of tape.

Whole thing is fired by a small 1000W hotplate.

In operation, with ca. 8L wash (tart hard cider that I could not face drinking), it takes a touch over an hr to hr and a half to reach 78oC. There seems to be no need to turn down the heat much during actual run. More on that in a following posting. Actual run takes about 2 1/2hrs.

Rob van Leuvens Still
Rob van Leuven Rob van Leuven's still - a modified version of it.

Rob Comments :
1) I've used standard water piping components available to me;
2) The condensor is provided with a screw-on top, so I can easily get a cleaning brush through from one end to the other.
I am currently running the still without packing (when it was filled with 6 mm. glass marbles it choked) and I'm getting approx. 85% without problems, so with appropriate packing, I should even get more. However, as you know, I am quite satisfied with a slightly lower % when I am distilling eau-de-vie and want the distillate to retain some of the flavour of the wash. The beauty of the design is, that column and condenser are in one piece and a very stable construction with a minimum of loose components.

Update from Rob - he's now getting 94% when using stainless steel pot scrubbers as packing.
Update (3 July '00) ... I've been experimenting with several modifications. Most importantly I took your advice to take out the bottom reflux cooler, so the fractioning in the column would not be disturbed. The picture I've attached to this e-mail shows my latest still; it produces 95% practically odourless alcohol and it can be perfectly controlled just by regulating the amount of cooling water. The column is filled with stainless steel scrubbers.

Rays Keg Still

Column diameter = 2" / 50 mm
Column height = 40.5" / 1m
Packing type = stainless (pot scrubber)
Distillate purity = 182 proof (91%)
Distillate flowrate = 750 mL/hr (trails off at end of run, also high water flow used for max reflux during complete run)
Pot capacity = 15 Gal / 57 L
Approx construction cost = $200 some parts were on hand, actual may be a little more
Construction details/tips : I had problems with the original seal, the new one works much better. Mainly due to the convex shape of the keg, and the hole being very near the seal diameter. Centering for a good seal proved to be difficult.
Improvement plans : there are 3 things I would like to try.
1. Would like to go to controlled electric heat
2. a drain valve, and refill method
3. wort temperature sensor, feedback for heat control later

More details & photos on how Ray made the seals etc are on the materials page

NewChum's Stills
Column Dia. is 2" inch copper pipe, Column height is 36" Packing was all the marbles my kids had at the time and then some extras to make up the difference (dad is still in the bad books with the kids) I promised to replace them. The marbles come up to 1" below the vapour take of pipe which is 11\2" Dia.reduced to 11/4" condenser with 1" pipe up the center plans were from Bob Lennons Stillmaker site my condenser is shorter than he recommended but still works fine

Purity of the distillate is between 92% and 96% depending on how slowly I reflux it at 96% it adds another 40 to 60 mins to the time to distill so Im happy with around 94%

Flow rate is not exactly known as in mills per hour but all up its a bit over 4 hours for 4.2 litres including start up. I distill in the open shed at home and the breeze plays havoc with constant flow rate at times.

The small urn in one of the pics was my first still and it was only 2 1/2 gallons approx. with 2 x 1200 watt elements and was quite OK but you had to halve a 25litre wash and that added a lot of extra time The best is the beer keg at 50 litre capacity with the same 2 x 1200 elements from the urn mounted in the bottom with a bit of 1" timber to protect the protuding ends of the elements ( a recess counter bored into timber)

All up cost was minimal as I only had to buy the reducers and tees (under $40) the top dome on the keg was the stainless end of an old pump at the local tip at $2 and the pipe was scrounged from a few mates in the plumbing trade and the keg was donated!! Local tips can be a good source of materials and very cheap to boot.There was a 60 gallon swimming pool filter vessel all stainless steel that could of been had for $15 but way to big for me. I'm an ex fitter machinist with a good workshop so all parts were made at home so no external costs involved.I did have an electrical simmerstat fitted at the beginning but soon found out that it is to slow to switch on and off so wasted $30 I just turn both elements on to start up and cut out one when temp gets close to beginning of run.I have run it with both elements on but had to put PVC pipe around the outside to have a little bit more cooling control and it seems to work fine but down a little in %of alchohol at 90% to 92% but does cut some time off so I sacrifice that little bit.

The only problems I encountered was to get the bloody marbles past the two cooling pipes, I made up a wedge of timber and pinched them together inside the 2" pipe after it was all silver soldered together and no problems now. Have just help a mate to build his one and we squeized his pipes and elongated one side of his 2" pipe so they would fit through and no problems. he runs two 1700 watt elements in his and turns one off at beginning of run. And he's smilin.

Kez's Keg Still email :

Column length and diameter : 1500 x 42 mL
Packing - copper scourers
Heat input - gas burner
Pot size - keg 50L
Distillate purity - 90%
Condensor - half inch tube inside 2 "
Cnstruction tips - go to your local rubbish tip shop for good bits and the keg
Approx cost - AU$80, the keg was $20 and the welding for free

Run your design over the newsgroup list before you build it, this saved me a heap of problems

Jack's Still
Column height 650 mm, diam. 50 mm, with s/steel pot scrubbers(10) for packing.
Pot capacity 6 litres, it takes 55 mins from scratch to distill approx 1150 mls of 85% purity from the wash.
When the spirit is distilled the second time I add 2 litres distilled water with the 85% spirit and it takes aprox 75 minutes to do the run with a purity of 93%.
The heater in the urn is 1500 watts with a controller on the urn that works perfectly to control the heat.
The cost to construct was approx. AU$200 (mainly labour to get welded), the urn I had already.
With this construction it is so easy to clean being s/steel.

Glen's Still
Size : 19 L
Heat : 1700 W Breville heating plate
Column : 70 cm x 2 inch diameter
Condensor : 40 cm long
Purity : 90% at 25 mL/min
Modified design - taller, and with lower cooling tube now at the top as well.

The still is made from grade 316 stainless steel.

The column is 950mm tall, packed with copper pot scrubbers and it is fully insulated; I wrap the cook pot in cardboard as well. The 2 inch union is great for ease of cleaning the column and pot scrubber removal.

The condenser is 550 mm in length.

Distillate flow rate is 500 mls in 25 mins at 93%

I think that some sort of spiral cooling cool must be needed to get better purity rather than the straight through cooling pipes.

With the taller column and the pipes at the top the bath water will stay cold for a good 4 hours now no problem at all, I just use a pond pump for the supply of water to the condenser.     This page last modified Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:51:05 -0800