Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Distillation methods and improvements.

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Barney Fife
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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:14 pm

UPDATE

I did a spirit run(corn/malt barley) tonight. 12 quarts strip, to which I added roughly 3 gallons water. Came out to roughly 30% ABV in the still. Heated up at 4500 watts, and I ran it at 1500 watts, and collected roughly one quart per 30 minutes. I would collect a quart at 15-20 minutes with my old pot still. The first 3/4 quart was heads, and nasty, and all below 183°F in the column, but she suddenly stabilized at 184, and I switched jars, after tasting what was coming out. I've collected 6 more quarts, and had to quit because I got tired. Will resume on the weekend.

Of those 6 quarts, ALL were between 71 and 73% ABV! Amazing, to me. More amazing is I cannot detect heads in any jar. From that first one(after the throw away jar) to the last, the flavor and smell is consistent. Tonight is the first time I just let the still run, and didn't mess around testing this or that, and I didn't take samples from the old product valve. I just let it run. I did add the packing back to the top of the column, but I didn't put a fan to it. Otherwise, no changes. After I shut her down, I cracked open the valve and what came out was oily as hell! Slickr'n deer guts on a door knob!

My conclusion so far is that this outfit is stripping off the nasties big time, while not stripping off flavor and creating high ABV alky. I'll finish off this run, then do a full taste 'n sniff evaluation, but I suspect I'm done messing with this sucker! She's about all I could ever dream of.

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by WalkingWolf » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:46 am

Great work BF. You've put quite a bit of enthusiastic work into this effort and it appears you have gotten back considerable gain. It will be interesting to see, as others cut away at their columns, what new morphs will emerge.

Pulling off the tails during the run has hit on an interesting thread. I would think some of the retained flavors you are referring to would be enhanced by the tail collections, so to this you would not want to remove too much tails as the run progresses (?) yet at the same time tail removal over a long run would be beneficial I would think. (You will produce a manual on optimization for the new design, right?? :ewink: )
by Fester » Sat Nov 28, 2009 12:02 pm
On a 2" copper column there will surely be an optimum height and number of slant plates for an all purpose (strip and spirit) still .
I am quite interested as well to see how this new "Barney Column" design progresses.

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by rad14701 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:18 am

So, do you have a sketch/rendering of this new design, Barney Fife...??? This is starting to sound like a very intriguing design... I've kicked around the idea of multiple slant plates for a reflux column but not for a pot still... If it works well for high ABV stripping I'd be tempted to build one...

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:16 pm

Sketch? Think Bokabob slant plates, but all of them oriented to capture and old. I'll take a photo of my rig as soon as I can find a backdrop large enough to hide the background. :econfused:

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by rad14701 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:42 am

Barney Fife wrote:Sketch? Think Bokabob slant plates, but all of them oriented to capture and old. I'll take a photo of my rig as soon as I can find a backdrop large enough to hide the background. :econfused:
I'm familiar with your design as I eluded to in my previous post... I was thinking more along the lines of detailing it for others, including distances between plates, the number, etc... Unless the design is a trade secret... :P

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by goose eye » Sat Dec 19, 2009 7:30 am

what the over an under before one of the outfit makers use your design for profit


so im tole

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by pumpman » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:37 am

Barney you got the wheles turnin. What if you put your collumn on a 45 with your plates 90 degrees to the collumn all on the lower side? All the reflux would run straight to the plate below? I think that would stop all distilate from dripping back to the boiler as it probbable would be redistilled before that point Then you could also put a drain valve on each plate and run it to another jar when done to collect the tail oils.
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Angled slant plate pot still collumn
Angled slant plate pot still collumn
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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:08 pm

Instead of angling the entire column, I keep the column vertical, but use the angled(slant) plates instead. Same result. And yes, I have considered placing all the plates on the same side as you did in the drawing, but I'm afraid the vapor may take the easiest route and go up the side of column which has no plates, and not heat the upper plates as much, and not enough to keep them re-distilling. As I have it, the vapor must snake its way up, so it comes into direct contact with each plate, and each plate overflows not into the next one below, but the one after that, with the last two simply overflowing to the column's sides where it flows back to the boiler.

Hmmmm, a thought just occurred to me. My column is offset from its mount, so I could put a tee where I now have a 90° elbow, and add a valve at the bottom of the tee. The final plates' overflow would run into the bottom of the tee, collect there, and be drained off at whatever intervals is necessary, never reaching the boiler. Damn! :idea: :idea:

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Asohosy » Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:43 am

Very interresting.

If I get it correctly, you currently hae 3 plates. If more plates are added and tuned correctly, is it possible to have the top plate collect the head (methanol acetone etc...) and collect the etho from a second, lower plate.

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:55 pm

No. The condenser is separate from the column. Besides, we can't separate and collect fractions like that, anyhow.

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by ct1870 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:44 pm

Great R&D. I have an 18" long 2" pipe I thought I would make a good practice piece. I cut up some 3/4" pipe and began to cut and hammer out to make a plate. I left the tabs on to help with the cooling of each plate. I started with the first plate (plate 1) about 2 in from the top of the pipe and spaced out approx 2.5 in. After the first plate was in place I then turned the pipe and placed another plate perpendicular to the first plate (this is Plate 2) and so on for a total of 5 plates in a 12" part of the pipe. Each plate should overflow into the plates below. (Plate 1 will overflow into plate 2 and 4) (plate 2 will overflow into plate 3 &5) (Plate 3 will overflow into plate 4 and wash) and (plate 4 will overflow into plate 5 and wash). It has been to cold to ferment and the wife does not like buckets in the wash room. So I have a little time to clean the column and do a couple of water and vinegar runs to make sure it has no leaks. Looking forward to see what it will do with a wash. Hope you understand what I am saying and if you have any info would love to figure this out. Thanks Barney.

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:36 pm

Ah, finally a partner in crime! <lol> Keep us posted as you find things.

I added 3 plates today, for a total of 7 now. Here's a picture that shows 5; the other 2 are a good ways above these.
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plates.jpg

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:39 pm

Here's my main column, which was once my Bok. On top of this sits another 14" or so of 2" copper before it turns down to the condenser.
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col.jpg

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by ct1870 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:56 am

Barney yours looks alot better than mine. I must have had one to many when i put the first plates in. I did not rotate as i intended. It is a little short but that is the story of my life (golfing of course). I’m going to start cleaning it tomorrow and hopefully start a wash. What do you think of a rum run for the first time? I have not done rum yet and debating on waiting on ujssm. I'll get some more pic when I have it together. date is wrong on the pics
here is the best i could with the inside
here is the best i could with the inside
I added another plate here
I added another plate here
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101_2429.JPG

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by ct1870 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:44 pm

I'v got a commercial plumber buddy that may have some 3" pipe to donate to the cause. That puts a smile on my face :ebiggrin:

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:51 pm

Barney yours looks alot better than mine.

Thanks! I can get a bit anal with the small details at times, and I have to stop myself from doing the full-on polish-the-copper deal <lol> But mostly, I just don't want to have any edges to cut myself, and filing the plates smooth like that is a sure way to see that there won't be any leaks.

I've done one strip run with rum, and it came out with plenty of flavor, and i have more rum nearly ready to run now. Rum making is this beast's main goal! I hope to get the cleaning run done tomorrow, to be ready to run my rum on the weekend.

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:34 pm

Did my cleaning run today, and just ran it with my Bok condenser instead of the liebig. Which brings a point; it's still 100% usable as a Bok, also! I ran it without packing, and wide open, at 750 watts to the boiler, she pulled 82% ABV throughout the hearts! It was just a gallon of heads and tails and junk(diluted to around 30%ABV) that I had saved for just such a use, but still gives a good indication of efficiency. This same Bok column, when unpacked and run wide open for rums, would never go over 70-75%(if that) before, and I think she ran in the mid 60's most of the time. No clue about flavor, as this was junk anyhow. But my rum's ready, and should go through in the next day or three. Stay tuned; Don't touch that dial...!

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by olddog » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:21 pm

I was inspired by your plated column, and I have been looking at using the same principle to create a sort of Coffey still.
I have completed the rectifier, which consists of a 2" column with six plates and plate drains set a 3/8" above the plate.
I have currently built this to test on the Frankenstill, by removing the condenser from the thumper and attaching the new column to the condenser outlet on the thumper, the condenser is then attached to the outlet of the new column.
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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:53 am

Damn! I hereby pronounce thee as the official "Home Distiller's Coppersmith"!

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by ct1870 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:57 am

:shock: damn!! Ok I'm not going to put any more pics on here until i get the grinder and polisher out :? . I check my ugly a$$ column last night for leaks and looks good in progress no leaks just ugly. Its to cold for me to start a ferment. I run some water and vinager again this weekend and i have some nasty heads I will run some time next week to see how it reacts to alcohol and help get ready for a real run If it ever warms up. 34 F in the shop now :cry: and want to start a rum. Ive got a heater blanket, just dont think it will keep it warm enough. :x

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Husker » Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:31 pm

ct, 'perty' does not make any better shine. Who cares wtf it looks like? It is how it runs. If it is clean, and runs well, then who cares? Most of my copper is passable, but hell, I insulate just about everything anyway, so you pretty much do not see it after it is built anyway. The inside, I never 'clean' hard. Just flush. I WANT it to be old, and have a nice patina. Shiny copper attracts attention, AND causes a metallic taste to ride over in the distillate. A good brown patina job, hidden under cheap black pipe insulation is what I prefer.

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by olddog » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:43 pm

Husker wrote:The inside, I never 'clean' hard. Just flush. I WANT it to be old, and have a nice patina. Shiny copper attracts attention, AND causes a metallic taste to ride over in the distillate.
I totally agree, the inside of my still is a dark chocolaty brown, it only ever get washed out with water. I like to work clean, as its easier to spot leaks etc and easier to fix one.

BTW I have not fully cleaned this yet, you can still see the work markings on some of the joints. I will post a pic when fully cleaned and mounted on my still. Also I cannot see how a clean outside would cause a metalic taste to your likker :econfused:
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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by kiwistiller » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:49 pm

Olddog, I'm going to move to Australia, it seems to impart magical coppersmithing powers. Seriously, that looks awesome. Can't wait to hear how she runs! any theory behind the amount of space under the drains, or is it guess and check at this point?
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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by olddog » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:58 pm

kiwistiller wrote: Can't wait to hear how she runs! any theory behind the amount of space under the drains, or is it guess and check at this point?
No calculations for the drains, I thought 3/8" on a plate angled at 45 degrees would create a nice pooling.
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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:47 pm

As discolored as the outside of mine is, I'd hate to see the inside <lol> But it is nice to see a nice still head, and while it may attract more attention if spotted, I also believe it would be much easier to convince the authorities that this is a hobby, and for pleasure only, if we show how much pride of workmanship we hold. Someone who just wants to make a quick buck won't give a shit what his rig looks like. Unfortunately, many home distillers don't do this for profit and DO do it for the pleasure of it, AND have rough looking but smooth running outfits, but it's easy to see how the authorities would view it. Mine is nicely trimmed, then left to age to a natural patina, and I wipe and file all solder joints and so forth. Where i have more fun is with my hydrometer cylinders. I have once each in 1/2" and 3/4'", and both are sanded to 2000 grit and polished with jeweler's compounds on a dormet buff. They gleam like my ex wife's rings! Again, a public prosecutor would have a hard time convincing a judge that I'm in it 'for the money' when shown stuff like this. I have the argument that I do it as a pass time, and it's also more sanitary(not really, but, hey, bullshit when you have to) this way./.

Plus, if busted, do you really think they'd want nice, shiny, clean, well engineered and built equipment on the front page of every county newspaper? Not! But give them a rough lookin' and puke-dirty outfit behind a barn, and they'll see to it that it's on every fuckin' first page for a week. If Popcorn would have looked like a New York City Lawyer instead of the last of the real mountain men, and had pro-lookin' equipment, they'd have not paraded him like they did.

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by olddog » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:03 pm

I Totally agree Barney, I like to take pride in my workmanship, also a nice clean unit develops a nice bronze coloured patina after it has been run for a few times.
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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by kol2nas » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:26 am

Barney Fife wrote:
Plus, if busted, do you really think they'd want nice, shiny, clean, well engineered and built equipment on the front page of every county newspaper? Not! But give them a rough lookin' and puke-dirty outfit behind a barn, and they'll see to it that it's on every fuckin' first page for a week.
A little off topic:

I work on a bigest daily news paper... just in a small country :) (not as journalist however). And from my practice, they can bust you even with equipment encrusted with swarovski, and they still put photos with ugly and puke-dirty equipment on newspapers. And they do that on purpose. Because, as they say, nobody will be interested in a small hobyist with nice equipment, producing some ridiculous amounts of shine just for pleasure. Everybody wants to see dirty, underground criminals with vampire eyes standing near a still made from toxic waste barrels :D :D

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by decoy » Sat Jan 09, 2010 2:25 am

some time ago i did a post on an simple angle plate bubble column idea i had that was sparked by Bokakobs inline condensoe idea.
very simmilar to what you are trying to do, it might help.

the entire column is copper it is just pictured transparent.
Angled Plate column idea
Angled Plate column idea
Here is a angled view showing the perferated bubble plates, the tubes return the reflux to the lover plate when the preset level is reached preventing flooding of the plates.
Slanted column Buble Plate 2 .jpg

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by kiwistiller » Sat Jan 09, 2010 2:39 am

verrrrry cool decoy. Did you ever make it?
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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by decoy » Sat Jan 09, 2010 2:43 am

These where my takes based on a pistorious pot still and adapted to a pistorious column stil
again similar in what you are trying to do.

the column on the left is filled with trays pictured in the second photo pressed out of thin soft anealed copper sheet that can be purchased from craft shops.
On the right was an earlier design but i disliked the idea of not being able to pull appart the column for cleaning or service.

The theory of opperation:
I like the idea of this design because there is no back pressure.
As each plate level fills with reflux it over flows onto the level below it, same as the bokakob reflux overflow.
both the left and right side plates in the column are angled up to cup a small amount of reflux at each level, they do not create a Air lock or buble plate!
as the vapour travels up the column it condenses on the cooler surface then returning and suspending on the plate below while at the same time it the heat excahnge evaporates the more volatile liquid suspended on the level above it etc.
as i said no back pressure.
pistorious plates 0.jpg
close up of the perferated plates inside the column.
pistorious plates.jpg
hope it helps

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