New Build Questions & Current Design.

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Yoko
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New Build Questions & Current Design.

Post by Yoko » Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:49 pm

Hey there,

I'm new to distilation, so forgive me if I'm not entirely up to speed with things that seem obvious - that said, I think I've understood the worst of it and just want a little clarity on bits and bobs. Feel free to point out where I'm being a moron - it happens, and I'd rather be thought of as ignorant but willing to learn rather than stupid.

First off, If I'm running a 30L (6.5 gal, or so) keg as a still, would one 3000 watt immersion heater suffice? It's 220V, if that makes any difference.
I could go up to a 50L keg, but when I'm brewing, I normally make 23L batches of different things, although I could make two batches of the same and stuff it in the 50L... Yeah, back on topic, would that heater suffice for the 30L? Would it suffice for the 50L? On top of that, how far from the bottom of the keg does the heater need to be? I've seen in a couple of posts about it being too close to the bottom and things scorching, but never the actual measurements for that to not really be an issue.

I'm making a CCVM, which seems to be going well. Getting a couple of meters of 2" copper pipe in the next couple of days & found a spool of 8mm copper piping that should be all good (it was 10m for £15. I was well happy). I'm pretty sure that that'll be all good for the double helix condenser, and I'll probably find out in a couple of days when I go to build it. Wish me luck. And salt. Lots of salt. How densely packed should the pipe be? I know I'm meant to fill the pipe with some type of copper scrubby, or perhaps lava rocks, or steel scrubbies (steel wool work? Think I know where to get a 20 pack of those for a fiver...meh, as long as it's stainless.)

Then the shotgun condenser - one question here, most designs seem to be 2" outer jacket, and 4-5 inner tubes which are about 9-10mm (3/8th of an inch or so?) My question here is, should I use the 8mm pipe I have? Gonna have a lot left over from the reflux condensor, so I may as well use it. I'm pretty sure I'd want a 5th inner tube if I used the 8mm piping instead of the normal 4, but north, south, east, west, center seems pretty easy to bash out.
Another question just popped to mind on the shotgun condensor, the baffles - 90 degree turns on 4 baffles should be fine, right? Or do ya go first, 180 degrees, 90, then 180. What works best? Yes this is probably a daft question but still something I'd like to know more about, is there a best way to do it?

And for the very last question (aren't you glad I'm shutting up now? Heh.) Not even really a question, more of a, I'm thinking of making a 2 inch drain at the bottom and raising the still up a couple inches. Solder in a 90 degree elbow, a valve and a small pipe and should be sweet, eh? Any recommendations on making what I've mentioned on the drain, or elsewhere?

Sorry for the wall of text, everyone! I'll appreciate any response, even if it's "Up your google-fu." Heh :D

Vic

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Berserk
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Re: New Build Questions & Current Design.

Post by Berserk » Fri Apr 02, 2021 1:45 pm

Hey there Yoko,

I'm running 2400W on my 30 liter keg still and it's sufficient, so 3000W will let you strip even faster.

You should be able to breath effortlessly through the column once it's packed.

I think you want bigger pipes for the shotgun. The most common design is 4-5 1/2" pipes. A rule of thumb is to not use anything smaller than 3/8" since it could get plugged if the still pukes.

Baffles!
Space them 2", cut one side of the baffle about 1cm in, and arrange them so the water needs to do 180 degree turns everytime.

I think the 8mm will be great for a reflux coil, but I would not recommend it for the shotgun. If you want to utilize the 8mm however, you could make a Dimroth condensor. Make a second coil (perhaps use 5m for the reflux and 10m for the Dimroth?) and stick it in the 2" pipe you intend to use for your product condensor. It will condense the vapors.

A good drain is very useful and highly recommended (unless you like to handle half full kegs with scalding hot water ;)). If you want to you can flip the keg upside down and use the original opening as the drain and weld a larger ferrule to the bottom (now top) to allow for cleaning etc. Then you use a reducer to connect your column/riser. Common sizes of ferrule for this purpose is 4" and 6".

I'd also recommend just taking a look around in the various build threads, the construction site etc. There's so much to be inspired by, and so many clever solutions just waiting to be implemented!

If you have any more thoughts or questions - fire away!
Good luck with your build!
Cheers,
Berserk

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Yoko
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Re: New Build Questions & Current Design.

Post by Yoko » Fri Apr 02, 2021 3:54 pm

Thanks for the reply Berserk:D

Alrighty, not too tight then. Small amount of mesh either soldered onto the end of a pipe or... maybe in with the PTFE gasket I guess Would it be tight enough with a thin mesh thrown in over the PTFE gasket?
Any particular type of lava rock recommended? Or just, clean igneous rock from an aquariam?

Okay then, think I can't really get half inch copper pipe here, and after a quick search I can but its for fridges only...? The hell? But pipe with an OD of 15mm is easy and sounds pretty close. 2 Meters of that, ordered.

Ahh, I only have 10 meters of the 8mm pipe. Meant it was £15 I payed for it XD I'm not sure how I'll go about the drain really, I've got a 2 inch holesaw knocking about somewhere, so i might use that. Don't want to add a 2" ferrule on the bottom however, so maybe solder on an elbow joint there and then a short length of pipe with a nice little valve at the end? Eh, doesn't sound too good, want the valve closer to the elbow. But right there means I might burn my hand accidentally... Eh, I'll think of something.

Speaking of holesaws, found a really nice 5" one. Then I found a 5" ferrule, clamp and cap set. Kinda wish it was a glass cap, but it ain't. Ahh well, that got bought immediately, so now I can have a giant hole to clean on the top.

Aye, stumbled onto Zapata's baffles thread earlier and... damn. Really, insanely impressive. Then I saw Twisted Brick's pictures of his easy shotgun design. Doubt I'd be able to pull off something that pretty. Only bit I really need to look into is the SRC electrical stuff now, where I am completely out of my depth. Had an accident doing work with electrical stuff once and swore off it. (Not all that special, had to screw something in and it shorted, got a little zap. Did not appreciate it at all.)

I'll look into the Dimroth, because more builds never hurt anyone. Except for their wallet. God knows I've emptied mine out in the past couple days. Rest of the stuff to be ordered may have to wait a couple of weeks.

Cheers,
Vic

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Re: New Build Questions & Current Design.

Post by shadylane » Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:29 pm

Yoko wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:49 pm


First off, If I'm running a 30L (6.5 gal, or so) keg as a still, would one 3000 watt immersion heater suffice?

I'm thinking of making a 2 inch drain at the bottom
3kw is plenty big for a 30l boiler.
That's about the limit for how fast you could boil a sugar wash before it foams up.
For the 30l immersion heated boiler, a 2" drain would be over kill.
There would never be anything in the boiler thick enough to justify a big drain.
1 inch would be good enough. :wink:

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Re: New Build Questions & Current Design.

Post by Setsumi » Fri Apr 02, 2021 9:26 pm

i do not think you will wind 8mm into a double coil that will fit a 2" pipe. a single 8mm coil will be enough for 2". if you do want a double wind the first coil with large spacing so that the second coil can fit partial into the gaps.
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Re: New Build Questions & Current Design.

Post by Deplorable » Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:12 am

Setsumi wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 9:26 pm
i do not think you will wind 8mm into a double coil that will fit a 2" pipe. a single 8mm coil will be enough for 2". if you do want a double wind the first coil with large spacing so that the second coil can fit partial into the gaps.
Actually, a double helix 8mm coil can be wound and fit a 2" column, but its definitely overkill. The turn at the bottom is the only additional challenge, but there are plenty of videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to successfully wind a double.
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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Re: New Build Questions & Current Design.

Post by Yoko » Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:52 am

Shadylane, it's more that I'll have something like 1 or 2 foot of 2" pipe handy after cutting everything down, so I might as well use part of it for the drain. I could go out and buy 1 inch pipe, or use what I have left over, ain't like making it 2 inch would be an issue, I think? Unless the additional volume sitting in the drain pipe is an issue, I s'pose?

Cool, thanks for the info on the heater. Thankfully finding an immersion heater that strong is easy in the UK, finding anything higher is a problem. Good to know that that's what I wanted anyway!

Setsumi, I'm pretty sure it should fit? 8mm wrapped around about a cm leaves ya at roughly 28mm (should be 26mm, but lets over estimate), a second wrap with 5mm clearance leaves you at 49mm, which would fit into a 2 inch pipe. Granted, it'd be tight, but well, why not. I'll probably make both, seeing as I've got enough piping to do both, and see which one works best for my set up:D

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Re: New Build Questions & Current Design.

Post by NormandieStill » Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:27 am

I have a 2" triclamp on my 30l keg going to a 1" valve and 90 degree bend. I emptied around 12l in a matter of seconds yesterday. If I'd planned it a little better I'd have stuck a 1" triclamp on the keg to get the drain a little lower. In the end it was budget contraints that meant that I didn't go 2" all the way. The difference in price between a 1" ball valve and a 2" ball valve is quite significant.

Having said that, the liquid pretty much sprays out of the 90 bend as it is. I'm not sure that it would have been anymore directional in 2", and I do intend to use my boiler as a water boiler for mashing from time to time which requires me to actually get the water out and into a mash tun... not on the floor and up my legs!
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Re: New Build Questions & Current Design.

Post by still_stirrin » Sun Apr 04, 2021 5:48 am

Yoko wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:52 am
Shadylane, it's more that I'll have something like 1 or 2 foot of 2" pipe handy after cutting everything down, so I might as well use part of it for the drain. I could go out and buy 1 inch pipe, or use what I have left over, ain't like making it 2 inch would be an issue, I think? Unless the additional volume sitting in the drain pipe is an issue, I s'pose?<— Cost. Price a 1” valve and then price a 2” valve. Then you’ll know whether to use 1” or 2” for the drain.

Cool, thanks for the info on the heater. Thankfully finding an immersion heater that strong is easy in the UK, finding anything higher is a problem. Good to know that that's what I wanted anyway!

Setsumi, I'm pretty sure it should fit? 8mm wrapped around about a cm leaves ya at roughly 28mm (should be 26mm, but lets over estimate), a second wrap with 5mm clearance leaves you at 49mm, which would fit into a 2 inch pipe. Granted, it'd be tight, but well, why not. I'll probably make both, seeing as I've got enough piping to do both, and see which one works best for my set up. <— It’s obvious you have never tried to coil copper. Once you have, you’ll better understand the comments others have made. But, good luck.
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Yoko
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Re: New Build Questions & Current Design.

Post by Yoko » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:25 am

Okay, so source a 1 inch pipe for the drain, seems to be the best idea from you guys (and from my wallet, too!)

I have coiled copper, but it was years back, and I remember it being a bitch. Can't remember the specifics of why it sucked, just that it did. I'm thinking it springs back?

Anyone have any specific threads they'd recommend reading about SCR builds and designs? Should I still go for that type (an SCR) or go for another, like the SSR? I've looked through a fair few and other than Cranky's (god, he posts a lot of useful stuff.) most of it goes straight over my head. I'm gonna be honest - I understood pretty much sod all of most of em. The second you get technical in electrical work I jsut draw a bit of a blank. I'm in the UK, so I can draw 240V from the wall plug, with a 13A fuse, which should be fine for 3kW, which my heater uses.

I'm thinking, as simply as possible, plug, then into a simple on/off, then the SCR and then into the heater.

I think I might just buy the components and hire an electrician. Yeah, help wanted, any recommendations welcome. Please.

Cheers,
Vic!

(Sorry this is a rambly mess! I'm good at that though. Ahha)

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Re: New Build Questions & Current Design.

Post by NormandieStill » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:52 am

Your wiring idea is sound. Just make sure that nothing shiny is accessible when in use and you're probably OK. I must confess to being a little wary of the SCR units found on eBay, AliExpress, Amazon, etc. They are often listed as being rated for 4000W but looking at the components and (sometimes) the labelling, they're actually 2000W continuous use with peak tolerance of 4000W. I would classify running a still as continuous.

But in terms of wiring, your switch goes on the L connection, the SCR (generally) goes over the L and N and has an input pair and output pair of terminals. And your heating element has a L, a N and (hopefully) an earth. If it doesn't have the latter then you really need to work out an earth connection because a large steel pot full of liquid that could potentially go live is a much more immediate health hazard than the alcohol poisoning that could result from this hobby! :-)
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