Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Distillation methods and improvements.

Moderator: Site Moderator

decoy
Rumrunner
Posts: 675
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 4:21 pm

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by decoy » Sat Jan 09, 2010 2:47 am

kiwistiller wrote:verrrrry cool decoy. Did you ever make it?
no i didnt 8)

i look at other peoples designs pick out things i think would work else where and make drawing then study them
its more of a visulisation and discussion thing to help understand how things work etc.

i dislike the idea of having fixed plates in such a way for cleaning and maintenance reasons.

I think the bokakob slanted plate inline condensor is the best design for simplicity, low part count and performance.

kol2nas
Novice
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:41 am
Location: Lithuania

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by kol2nas » Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:31 am

decoy wrote:
i dislike the idea of having fixed plates in such a way for cleaning and maintenance reasons.
Why? Make a third hole in center of a plate, string those plates on a pivot and solder. I think it will be easy enough to clean them.

User avatar
LWTCS
Site Mod
Posts: 11248
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: North Palm Beach

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by LWTCS » Sat Jan 09, 2010 4:36 am

Pumpman inquired about a similar angled plate column and didn't get much encouragement.

BTW Decoy your illustrations are always so friggin good.
kol2nas wrote:decoy wrote:

i dislike the idea of having fixed plates in such a way for cleaning and maintenance reasons.



Why? Make a third hole in center of a plate, string those plates on a pivot and solder. I think it will be easy enough to clean them.
Or, perhaps a complete assembly to be installed during set up. Is that what you just said kol2nus?

I like the perferated plate concecept. I had been thinking along those lines when I finished my thumper.

I ended up using a perferated column segment within my refining orb. This design helped make the remaining column attachment very strong. My double walled condenser is a heavy bastard. It was the only way I could think to do it.

Wish I had the ability to illustraight my orb diagram like you do Decoy.
Trample the injured and hurdle the dead.

kol2nas
Novice
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:41 am
Location: Lithuania

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by kol2nas » Sat Jan 09, 2010 4:57 am

LWTCS wrote:
Or, perhaps a complete assembly to be installed during set up. Is that what you just said kol2nus?
Exactly. Making a third hole in center of a plate gives opportunity to mount it on a pivot. Mount as many plates as you need, leaving gaps between them, and solder them to the pivot. And you can put this assembly inside collumn just like stainless scrubbers.

ct1870
Bootlegger
Posts: 123
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:43 am
Location: Foot Hills of the Blue Ridge Mtns

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by ct1870 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 8:20 am

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.

Heard of a man that got caught one time for bootlegging, didn’t read it in the paper. But the judge let him go because his column ranked high on the goniometric optical scatter measurement. :o Granddaddy told me once, if you want a nice sheen on your column stick it in cider.lol: lol: I was just a little excited for all to see and give more ideas to improve on. I have trimmed the corners off the plates and sanded the solder. Time is not on my side with work, a wife and three children. The ultimate goal is to improve the product with minimal effort. This forum is to me as crack is to a crack head.

pumpman
Swill Maker
Posts: 450
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:43 pm
Location: Halfway up the Fl Turdpipe

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by pumpman » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:33 am

LWTCS wrote:Pumpman inquired about a similar angled plate column and didn't get much encouragement.
Thanks Larry, my point was to angle it maby even a little bit with all the plates on one side so the overflow would travle down the center line of the radius of the pipe directly into the center of the plate below it in succession. Instead of pouring out the sides or dripping from one plate to the 2 staggerd plates below. That way your redistilling from each plate in linnier fashon. Don't know if it would be a bennifit or not and I can understand Barney not wanting to rebuild his collumn again just to test the theory when what he has does such a great job. If I can find another 2" pipe I will build one each way to see the differance. Now I just have to wait and see if my resumes pan out.
Last edited by pumpman on Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
Likker in the front and poker in the rear

HookLine
retired
Posts: 5628
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:38 am
Location: OzLand

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by HookLine » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:34 am

Your drawings are much appreciated, decoy.

Thanks.

Hook
Be safe.
Be discreet.
And have fun.

User avatar
Husker
Admin
Posts: 5031
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:04 pm

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Husker » Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:09 am

The drawings by decoy are very good, but prolly should be in their own thread. Here I see it as a little thread hijack. This thread was about a pot still (well an enhanced pot still), not a reflux column.

I personally think both designs have good points, but are quite different.

H.
Hillbilly Rebel: Unless you are one of the people on this site who are legalling distilling, keep a low profile, don't tell, don't sell.

Barney Fife
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1249
Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 5:20 am
Location: Mayberry, NC

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:07 pm

Thanks Husker; yes, my goal is a enhanced pot still, more or less an attempt to replicate the benefits of a thumper or second and 3rd distillations, without the fuss, and keeping it all contained within a short lyne arm(my column). Oh, and to do so, easily.

So far, so good! Let's not get too far off track, please.

As for the cleaning issue, as I've said before, there's none to be done in a still head; no amount of scrubbing can match a cleaning run with alcohol vapors. even when I've had a wash puke a bit, I just back off the power and let the vapors clean it all out by itself. The interior is spotless, trust me. Where do y'all get the idea that you need to clean the interior of a still head? If you're worried about varmints getting into between runs, cap it at each end. Mine has a canvas cover that goes the whole unit once it's cooled enough.

decoy
Rumrunner
Posts: 675
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 4:21 pm

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by decoy » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:32 pm

Husker wrote:The drawings by decoy are very good, but prolly should be in their own thread. Here I see it as a little thread hijack. This thread was about a pot still (well an enhanced pot still), not a reflux column.

I personally think both designs have good points, but are quite different.

H.
Sorry husker

this post was actualy instigated as reply to another thread related to a coffe still diagram that had a link back to this one, i felt it was more relevent here as there seemed to be unclear designs posted, it was more so to exaned on erlier posts.

the thread was titled Simple, yet effective 2" plate column, sorry didnt intend to hijak a thread.

decoy
Rumrunner
Posts: 675
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 4:21 pm

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by decoy » Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:16 pm

I went back looking for the old still post tha pictured the pistorious still but i could not find it, altho not the same, it is very similar to what has been taked about here.
pg_0060.jpg
you will notice the concave plates at the top of the doubler water is poured over the outside top of the plates to lower the temp to generate reflux

i have adapted this idea into the last two designes but i used the returning reflux to control plate temperature.

this is a link to harrys tastylime library where there is some good reading on distillig.

http://distillers.tastylime.net/library ... /index.htm

olddog
Master Distiller
Posts: 3618
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: WEST OZ

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by olddog » Sun Jan 10, 2010 2:37 pm

That looks a bit like LWTCS's dog dish adaption with cooling dishes on the column.

BTW welcome back Decoy, I haven't noticed you posting for a long time.
OLD DOG LEARNING NEW TRICKS ......

User avatar
LWTCS
Site Mod
Posts: 11248
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: North Palm Beach

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by LWTCS » Sun Jan 10, 2010 5:47 pm

olddog wrote:That looks a bit like LWTCS's dog dish adaption with cooling dishes on the column.
Kinda tough to see that diagram.
Am I seeing 2 cooling dishes?
Trample the injured and hurdle the dead.

olddog
Master Distiller
Posts: 3618
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: WEST OZ

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by olddog » Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:11 pm

If you save the diagram, and then enlarge it it's easier to see, yes it looks like two dishes, must have two dogs :mrgreen:
OLD DOG LEARNING NEW TRICKS ......

User avatar
LWTCS
Site Mod
Posts: 11248
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: North Palm Beach

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by LWTCS » Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:15 pm

olddog wrote:must have two dogs
Hahaha
Two thirsty dogs :lol:
Trample the injured and hurdle the dead.

decoy
Rumrunner
Posts: 675
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 4:21 pm

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by decoy » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:31 am

i havent been posting much, been busy with work etc..

i pop in now and then and have a peek to see whats going on and somtimes i cant risist and do a post or two..

Barney Fife
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1249
Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 5:20 am
Location: Mayberry, NC

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:10 pm

Now, here's something to mull-over!

I ran a 5 gallon rum wash today. Ran the whole thing at 750 watts, and I ran the whole deal with the old BOK takeoff valve open. It ran pretty fast at first, with the first drips at the old BOK takeoff coming at around 161°F, and I collected from there for nearly 5 minutes before seeing the first drip at the product end(the liebig). I kept the valve open and saw a steady drip all the way through, never slowing to under a drip per second or two. But take a look at what the jar looks like! At about the halfway point in the run I knew I had something real here. The picture doesn't show how opaque it really is, as I had to use a flash in my dark shed. There are no floaties like we see in the tails if we push too hard, but instead, it is one nasty looking jar of crap! And this was BEFORE I reached the tails of the run! This was all collected during the foreshots and hearts. When I got to the tails, there was so little left I just shut the old BOK valve and let 'er go at 4500 watts to get the last bit from the wash.

Now, read what I wrote one more time. This was all collected in the foreshots and heart run. The stuff that dripped out in the fores was clear. Very clear. That leaves all the blue/green crap as having come through in the hearts portion. Had I not collected these separately, they would have HAD to go to the liebig along with the hearts. Especially so with a short lyne arm pot still.

I don't think I'll ever run mine as a simple pot still ever again....

Oh, and here's the bonus. I got 2 quarts of hearts in this run! 2 quarts of good stuff(and averaged at 71%ABV) from a single run, 5 gallon wash. No wasted energy with refluxing, a second distill, nothing. And still, I got the full flavor profile. I never got this much hearts when I was keeping the old BOK valve closed, and no way was one run going to give me 2 quarts of clean hearts with my pot still setup in even 2 runs.

Oldog, tap off the return, and get this crap out of your still; no need to re-distill something this bad! I'll check its ABV tomorrow, but I'm sure it's way too low to bother keeping.
Attachments
yuck.jpg

rad14701
Master Distiller
Posts: 20866
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:46 pm
Location: New York, USA

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by rad14701 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:35 am

Does it look that color in another jar...??? I have two jars that you can't notice the blue tint in until they have high ABV alcohol in them... Even water looks clear... When I dump the spirits into another jar they are clear... Go figure...

Not saying that that's definitely the problem... Had you made a recipe change for this batch...???

Barney Fife
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1249
Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 5:20 am
Location: Mayberry, NC

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:12 am

The jar's clear; I reuse the same collection jars all the time(wash between uses). Same recipe as always, a few generations old. This is that slick, oily-feeling stuff I mentioned a few times; I would open the BOK takeoff valve and collect a sample from that plate every now and then, it was always oily and slick. This time, I left the valve open and placed a jar to collect throughout the run, just to see, and to say I am surprised by how nasty it is is an understatement. But the most surprising(and best part) is how clean the product was, and how much of it I was able to collect! By keeping this crap out of the liebig, I got a lot more hearts. Now the question is, how much more of this crap is still gettin' through.

Next run, I'll separate the plate collection after the foreshots have run through; right now, when I smell this jar, the fores are what I sniff out most, but the whole of it doesn't smell nasty, considering its appearance.

This isn't a "problem", it shows what everyone's been drinking all along.

MashMan

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by MashMan » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:13 am

Howdy Barney F, I have been wondering whether the compression of the heads/tails with plate/slant plate colums would give a greater hearts volume as one would assume they should. you answered the question, well done this is inspirational stuff!
I have a question in regards to your Bok take off, have you installed any plates higher in the column than the bok plates or is the Bok take of the top of the stack so to speak?
I have just put together my own slant plate version, 6 plates, each with it's own internal overflow tube feeding the next lower plate with the overflow going directly through the rising vapour. this is a simple build, not much more involved than installing a "standard" plate in a column. will get to give it a run or three next week. But now I'm keen, after your report, on installing some 1/4" take offs as per Bok on a plate or two, think i'll run it first then start playing.

Some pics below of my build to date, not pretty but hopefully functional :D
Silver braze the overflow to your slant plate so it does not come loose when soft soldering into your column
Silver braze the overflow to your slant plate so it does not come loose when soft soldering into your column
Cut the slot for the slant plate almost through the column, bend it open to fit plate.
Cut the slot for the slant plate almost through the column, bend it open to fit plate.
Clamp column with plate in correct place and solder
Clamp column with plate in correct place and solder
Top view of top plate with overflow.
Top view of top plate with overflow.
The assembled column, plates can be trimmed flush but how do the fins affect reflux ??
The assembled column, plates can be trimmed flush but how do the fins affect reflux ??
MM.

HookLine
retired
Posts: 5628
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:38 am
Location: OzLand

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by HookLine » Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:54 am

Definitely want to try it with the fins first.

Looking good. 8)
Be safe.
Be discreet.
And have fun.

Barney Fife
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1249
Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 5:20 am
Location: Mayberry, NC

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:32 am

I'd leave the fins, too. Try it as-is, then try it with a fan gently blowing on the column, then trying it with an insulated column, and you can answer for all of us what happens with each version. Even without fins, I can gain well over 5% ABV by having a fan blowing on the column.

Yes, my "BOK takeoff" is the uppermost plate; this way, everything above it is still untouched, and I can still add my condenser coil and use it as a reflux head by pulling out the packing that now resides in that portion. I also have my old pot column over this section, so there's quite a bit of column above the BOK takeoff. I'll measure it later for ya.

You have some seriously clean soldering chops, my friend! Between you and Oldog, I'm ashamed of posting any more pics ;) What did you use to make your plates?

MashMan

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by MashMan » Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:55 pm

Barney Fife wrote: You have some seriously clean soldering chops, my friend! Between you and Oldog, I'm ashamed of posting any more pics ;) What did you use to make your plates?
The plates were made from some 2" scrap tube, 80mm long, open up, bash flat, cut in half and you have two plates. try not to sample too much "product" when making these, that way you will drill the holes for the drains in the right edge of the plates first go :oops:

Will give some performance updates as it happens.

MM.

Barney Fife
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1249
Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 5:20 am
Location: Mayberry, NC

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:35 pm

At the price of 2" copper, I'll keep making my plates from 3/4" couplings ;) I keep hoping someone will find a nice, cheap, flat copper source from something common. hey, I'm an optimist! :)

I forgot to report back on the ABV of that junk; it came-in at 34%. The jar's contents hasn't settled out at all yet, and being left open, the jar itself now smells rather pleasant, though the fores and heads are definitely present, but unlike a fores-only jar, there's also plenty of good molasses flavor/smell along with the chemical-like smell of the heads and fores. I'm thinking the heads and tails that would be present ion small quantities with the hearts were being stripped effectively, and the combination of these is what gives the jar its coloring.

Another rum run soon, followed shortly by a rye(UJSM style)! We'll see if this one was a fluke or not.

goose eye
Master Distiller
Posts: 2799
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 3:19 am

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by goose eye » Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:31 am

barney aint ever seen heads add color but backins sure will. try putin it in the ice box an freeze to see if it gonna settle.
some cheap sun catchers an windchimes from china got them small copper discs.
you got any pre 81 pennys an a train track.


so im tole

Barney Fife
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1249
Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 5:20 am
Location: Mayberry, NC

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:47 am

some cheap sun catchers an windchimes from china got them small copper discs.

Good thinking! I'll keep an eye open next time I'm at the redneck's Macy's; the dollar store ;)

Good idea on freezing it to see if it'll settle; I'll do that right now. Yeah, there was no color to the fores and early heads, but it's all in the same jar right now; I'll switch jars on the ext run and see what happens.

MashMan

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by MashMan » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:44 pm

Well gents i have just spent a day and half doing some runs and making some changes to the plate column with internal drain tubes. as soon as i'm finished here i'm calling in the scrap metal merchant :twisted:
an initial cleaning run with some feints watered to about 30%abv had me thinking I was onto a good thing, the heads started at 80% using 1800w element turned down a bit with my controller, then I realised this is about the same as any other spirit run with my usual short column of 200mm, I quickly changed columns in the middle of the run which took about 30 seconds as everything is plug and play, there was only 2% less abv with the short column wtf ??? disheartened I started thinking that maybe it would produce higher abv from a low abv wash than the short column, yeh thats where the difference will really show up. nope no different. I ran an all grain with an 8% potential fores started about 64% hearts started about 54% and tails at about 40% the product is good fairly certain there is less smearing between heads hearts tails and easier to pick. when swapping colums in the middle of a run I quickly inverted the plate column and poured out what the plates held, water less than 10%abv and only a slight smell of what reminded me of tails, clear and not oily like barney found. so the plates are stripping out the water so why am I not seeing higher abv at the fun end of this contraption?

I slept on this, well tried to and all I could come up with was there must be something wrong with how the plates were draining (or not draining) so I decided to add external drains from each plate per side to a common down tube per side going back to the boiler through the bottom of the column with a water trap to stop vapours rising up these. used 1/2" tube and did a quick rough job so I could test this asap, used the same wash with everything collected back in the boiler. The only difference this mod made was the output now surges and splutters a bit everything else the same :esad:

This column is approx 600mm long, the plates are spaced 3 1/4" apart, are at a 45deg angle and they block about 2/3rds of the column.

If anyone has an opinion on this build and why it's not giving a higher % output than straight open pipe I'd love to hear it.

Cheers,
MM

still crazy
Rumrunner
Posts: 706
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:11 am

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by still crazy » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:06 pm

Barney Fife wrote:At the price of 2" copper, I'll keep making my plates from 3/4" couplings ;) I keep hoping someone will find a nice, cheap, flat copper source from something common. hey, I'm an optimist! :)
hey barn
Call you local roofer and see if they have any 8" step flashing. You do have to re-flash the chimney don't ya?
Daddy used, to say " Any landing you can walk away from is a good one"
Calculations don't mean shit when compared to the real world practical experience of many...RAD 9/2010

Barney Fife
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1249
Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 5:20 am
Location: Mayberry, NC

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:18 pm

There's not a roofer within hundreds of miles of where I sit that knows how to spell copper, much less have some :)

Mashman, don't give up halfway through a run and start swappin' stuff. Geeze... There's a learning curve to anything, and panicking and giving up halfway through one run won't learn ya nuthin'. Could be you need more power, maybe less. Very likely less. My last run was at 750 watts, and it was great! Was the column insulated? What was the ambient temp? Air movement? Was this with the plates as in the photo(with fins) or without?

That you plates held low ABV is great! It tells us that they're working, since water would not get up there on its own; the alcohol vapors were re-distilled, leaving low ABV behind. Nobody else seems to be getting the dirty, oily goop that I get, so there may be something I'm doing with my washes, or perhaps with my still itself, that causes it. But fact remains, low ABV in your plates is great news. Remember that the goal here isn't high ABV, but slightly higher ABV with all the flavor, like we'd get on a second run, or with a thumper.

From here forward, don't abandon ship so quick. Finish the run, and try things within the run, like wrapping the column, or blowing cool air on it with a fan, or whatever you think of. Make notes, and try again on the next run.

olddog
Master Distiller
Posts: 3618
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: WEST OZ

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by olddog » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:27 pm

Barney, are you running your column in Bok mode with the coil condenser still in place and working? or did you cap the column a la potstill mode?
OLD DOG LEARNING NEW TRICKS ......

Post Reply