Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Vapor, Liquid or Cooling Management. Flutes, plates, etc.

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FREAK!
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Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by FREAK! » Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:48 pm

Hi All ,
I have been madly reading everything I can find on the net “free” and just keep coming back to this site coz it has so much information. You guys rock!!! :mrgreen:

I am new to all of this and have been using a friends stillworks reflux still for some months now but I am after a much better product, hence all the reading.

Like many others I started thinking down the LM path and from all the reading on this forum I have switched over to building a VM column with a twist,

Under construction:
Emersed electric heater and voltage supply control in the boiler, Ø3” X 48” column packed with SS pot-scrubbers.
The top of the column reduces to Ø2” and goes to a Tee, one side goes to a 38” long “liebig” down one side using a ½” SS ball valve to control product take off. On the other side of the tee it goes up to a coil condenser for reflux. The condensed reflux then drips down, through a glass viewing tube and back to the top of the column, well above the packing but the height from the bottom of the reflux condenser to the top of the packing is not any higher than if I had have made it inline. I have gone this way for 3 reasons 1, I think the Tee at the top of the column will give an even distribution of vapour to the reflux side and the product side. 2, I really want to be able to see how much reflux is being returned to the column. 3, I think an offset head looks cool (yes I am shallow :lol: )
I hope to have it all finished and running this weekend, I intend running stem through it for a day and then a 50% striped mix through it to hopfully get rid of all the nasties before firing it up in anger a week later

My question is how and when will I know that all the foreshot is out of the head of the still. Then, how do I determine where the heads finish and the body of the run starts? Then how can I pick the tails and stop them from contaminating the body of the run I have read the post’s about taking off product in very small containers and smelling it a day later, is this truly the only way coz if it is I am screwed, my sense of smell is buggered.

P.s. I don’t care if a run takes a long time, I just want the best product I can get.

Thanks for your time FREAK..............................................OUT!

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by Dnderhead » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:12 pm

Can you taste?

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by punkin » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:52 am

Seems funny you'd invent a still different to any others here and then ask us how to run it?

You must have an idea how it's gunna be better and how it's gunna run or it seems you woulda picked one people could give advice on....


Got any pics?

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by HookLine » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:46 am

FREAK!

You talking about something kinda like this?

Offset VM Head.jpg
Offset VM Head.jpg (6.38 KiB) Viewed 6993 times
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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by FREAK! » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:28 pm

Yep Hookline, you got it

I have never run a column still before, will soon though.
I have tried making cuts using my friends small still but found it extremely difficult to pick the changes, I am hoping that it is the still that is not up to the task and not me, maybe it will become obvious to me that I have asked a stupid question once I fire up a 4’ column.

I have attached a hand sketch of the design and can post pics next week if anyone wants. I have seen on this forum that there are many different designs (off set, in-line, angle plate, inverted funnels, little cups inside the head to catch the condensate and so on) and many different ways to do this so I don’t think I am out of line tinkering with a design. I have basically followed “Minime” in-line VM design but put the reflux condenser off to one side so I can see the amount of reflux that is going back to the column.

Thanks again for all the info on this forum, win loss or draw I have certainly learnt a lot from all this reading if nothing else

I will try not to post any more stupid questions untill after I fire it up for the 1st time :lol: :lol: :lol:

[Mod Edit: Rad is right that image was WAAAAY too big. Try again.]
Attachments
Design0003.JPG
Design0003.JPG (18.98 KiB) Viewed 6895 times
Last edited by FREAK! on Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rad14701
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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by rad14701 » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:52 pm

FREAK!, you've got to reduce the size of that sketch to about 10% its current size or a moderator will delete it... Not only is the image too large but it also makes reading the accompanying text too difficult to read... A 50k image that fits within a standard browser window is more than big enough...

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by FREAK! » Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:28 pm

sorry, pic re-posted above.
:oops:

I have also used ferrel joints at the top and bottom of the column so I can rip it down and put the head straight on the boiler to get my low wines, with an added ferrel joint on the product side of the Tee I can have the Laibig vertical or on an angle like a pot still. I dont know much yet but I did pick that bit up from this forum :D

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by minime » Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:35 pm

FREAK! wrote:Yep Hookline, you got it

I have attached a hand sketch of the design and can post pics next week if anyone wants. I have seen on this forum that there are many different designs (off set, in-line, angle plate, inverted funnels, little cups inside the head to catch the condensate and so on) and many different ways to do this so I don’t think I am out of line tinkering with a design. I have basically followed “Minime” in-line VM design but put the reflux condenser off to one side so I can see the amount of reflux that is going back to the column.
MiniMe really likes your plan.............if you're determined to have both VM and LM it looks like a very elegant solution!
Why didn't I think of that :shock:
I'm always looking for ways to keep the column well balanced. This is an excellent solution that allows superior flexibility. Well done!

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by HookLine » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:13 pm

Thanks, F.

Not quite sure why you want to go through the hassle of adding the glass section in the reflux line, can't see any real advantage. But good luck if you go ahead with it, and shows us some pics or video of it in action.
minime wrote:MiniMe really likes your plan.............if you're determined to have both VM and LM it looks like a very elegant solution!
Why didn't I think of that :shock:
I'm always looking for ways to keep the column well balanced. This is an excellent solution that allows superior flexibility. Well done!
I agree. It can also be run left or right handed, which is always a plus.

I am actually pretty sure that somebody put this basic idea forward a while back (year or so?), but it never got much attention.

Another couple of variations of an offset VM design are:
45º VM reflux tube.jpg
45º VM reflux tube.jpg (26.51 KiB) Viewed 6876 times
45º VM angle cut.jpg
45º VM angle cut.jpg (23.73 KiB) Viewed 6869 times
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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by FREAK! » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:08 pm

Thanks guys,

I don’t think I have any LM control though, I don’t have any way of controlling the amount of reflux liquid being returned to the column, I think it is still a full VM, I mean in an in-line head the condensate forms a liquid and is returned to the top of the column as droplets off the end of the condenser, this way the droplets are still returned to the top of the column without interruption or metering it just goes through a glass tube so I can see it and how much of it there is.

Or am I missing something……AGAIN :lol:

Will this column make getting my cuts easier than my friends little reflux still with the marble in it??? I hope so coz that’s why I am building it :lol:

Tips on cleaning it all out before the 1st run would be great too :wink:

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by billy_bob_95 » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:33 pm

Interesting design. If you want to see the reflux returning back down the column might try something like this. Just a thought.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 0049702251" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
2" Copper Reflux Rig
15.5 Gallon Boiler

3" Copper VM Rig

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by Freedave » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:41 pm

FREAK! wrote:Thanks guys,

I don’t think I have any LM control though, I don’t have any way of controlling the amount of reflux liquid being returned to the column, I think it is still a full VM, I mean in an in-line head the condensate forms a liquid and is returned to the top of the column as droplets off the end of the condenser, this way the droplets are still returned to the top of the column without interruption or metering it just goes through a glass tube so I can see it and how much of it there is.

Or am I missing something……AGAIN :lol:

Will this column make getting my cuts easier than my friends little reflux still with the marble in it??? I hope so coz that’s why I am building it :lol:

Tips on cleaning it all out before the 1st run would be great too :wink:
__________________________________________________
I think you are right that it is not a LM design.
But i don't think its VM either. for vm you need a valve between the condencer and the column, to control the amount of vapor that gets over to the condenser. it looks to me like cooling management. you will have to vary the amount of condenser flow to get more or less reflux. what isnt condensed/refluxed will then find its way down the liebig.

I'm no expert here but thats my take on it. next.
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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by HookLine » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:53 am

Freedave wrote:I think you are right that it is not a LM design.
But i don't think its VM either. for vm you need a valve between the condencer and the column, to control the amount of vapor that gets over to the condenser. it looks to me like cooling management. you will have to vary the amount of condenser flow to get more or less reflux. what isnt condensed/refluxed will then find its way down the liebig.

I'm no expert here but thats my take on it. next.
VM does not require a valve between the column and reflux condenser, only between the column and the product condenser. Freak's design is VM.

It is certainly not an LM design, though it could easily have LM added by just adding a take-off line and valve on the reflux return line (at the right place of course).
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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by HookLine » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:05 am

FREAK! wrote:I don’t think I have any LM control though, I don’t have any way of controlling the amount of reflux liquid being returned to the column
In either a VM or LM the amount of product you take off controls the reflux ratio (for a fixed heat input to the boiler).
FREAK! wrote:I mean in an in-line head the condensate forms a liquid and is returned to the top of the column as droplets off the end of the condenser, this way the droplets are still returned to the top of the column without interruption or metering it just goes through a glass tube so I can see it and how much of it there is.
Getting too complicated, and won't add anything to your still that can't be done without it. Really not worth it in my opinion.
FREAK! wrote:Will this column make getting my cuts easier than my friends little reflux still with the marble in it??? I hope so coz that’s why I am building it :lol:
Certainly will. You won't be wasting your time and effort and $ (assuming you buld it right, of course, and learn how to run it properly :wink: ).
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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by Ayay » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:22 am

Freak, if there is a condenser after the 1/2" ball valve then you have a LM+VM design. Very interesting, how you run it is the question? And the answer is entirely in your hands cos we are waiting for some answers!
cornflakes...stripped and refluxed

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by HookLine » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:49 am

Ayay wrote:Freak, if there is a condenser after the 1/2" ball valve
Good point, Ayay.

FREAK, do you have a condenser after the ball valve? If you don't then that design aint gonna work at all.

If there is a condenser after the ball valve, then there is no mystery how it works. As shown in Freak's drawing it is just a straight VM, the way he uses to get the reflux back to the top of the packing doesn't change that. If he adds an LM take-off to the reflux return line, then he can run the still as either LM or VM, but you don't run it both ways at the same time.

Personally I don't see any real advantage in having LM and VM in one still. Pick one or the other. VM is my preference.
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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by rad14701 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:13 am

According to the sketch it's just an Offset Head VM column... He can't regulate the reflux so it's VM all the way... Even regulating coolant to the reflux condenser wouldn't make a difference as far as LM is concerned because it has to knock 100% back down the column anyway...

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by minime » Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:42 am

rad14701 wrote:According to the sketch it's just an Offset Head VM column... He can't regulate the reflux so it's VM all the way... Even regulating coolant to the reflux condenser wouldn't make a difference as far as LM is concerned because it has to knock 100% back down the column anyway...
A simple drain in the elbow or reflux tube would make it a perfectly manageable LM/VM.

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by rad14701 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:42 am

minime wrote:A simple drain in the elbow or reflux tube would make it a perfectly manageable LM/VM.
Sure would - with the addition of a third condenser, a mini liebig, to cool the take off...

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by FREAK! » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:50 pm

Thanks for all the great feedback,

Yes it does have a condenser after the Ball valve (sorry missed that in the sketch)
It has come along a little faster than expected. Well its pretty much finished. I ran it last night with just water to see what would happen and to start cleaning it out.

Great news it didn’t leak and worked as I thought it would well kinda,

When it all got up to temp (running water only) I could watch the reflux going back and it was a slight stream, just more than very fast drops then I opened the ball valve all the way and was expecting to see the amount of liquid coming out of the product condenser and the reflux condenser equalise ( half and half) but this didn’t happen I got maybe one drop evert 2-3 seconds coming out of the product side and a very small decrease in flow on the reflux side :| , I left it running like this for over an hour thinking the flow from the product side might increase as it all settles but it didn’t, I was a bit puzzled and remember reading about people using pot scrubbers to restrict the flow of vapour so I put a single pot scrubber in the Tee in between the column and the reflux condenser and wow what a difference!

The temperature became far more stable and with this restriction in place I had total control over the reflux rate, tap closed obviously total reflux and with the tap fully open I was getting only a drip a second on the reflux side and very fast running drips out of the product side. And with the tap at different openings I could get any reflux ratio I wanted. It was nice to see it work.

Can anyone see any reasons why having a pot scrubber in the still head to restrict vapour would be a bad Idea???
Attachments
Off-set head VM.jpg
Off-set head VM.jpg (33.21 KiB) Viewed 5951 times
Glass reflux viewing chamber.jpg
Glass reflux viewing chamber.jpg (25.67 KiB) Viewed 5949 times

rad14701
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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by rad14701 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:23 pm

Sounds good, FREAK!... The scrubber just helps with sensitivity and shouldn't cause problems, but it may not even be required when running alcohol instead of straight water... I'm sure you'll know soon enough... Congrat's...

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by Ayay » Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:53 am

Sure looks good! I like how you can see the amount of reflux happening, and it is 100% VM. A small addition can turn it into a LM as well but why bother....unless you want to do a side by side comparison and confirm that one is really better than the other :mrgreen:
cornflakes...stripped and refluxed

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by Ayay » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:21 am

This is all you need to make it a LM:
LM mods.jpg
LM mods.jpg (8.81 KiB) Viewed 5689 times
...If you ever feel the urge!!!
cornflakes...stripped and refluxed

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by Adverse Effects » Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:33 pm

you could even try this so you in LM mode you can see your reflux rate V take off rate
untitled.jpg
untitled.jpg (7.99 KiB) Viewed 5652 times
have the take off in the side of the viewing tube
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25Lt old school SS keg as a pot with a prototype Ponu still head

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by HookLine » Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:38 pm

You only need one valve to do this. (I haven't added the VM take-off arm in the pic to save time and space.)
Single valve LM return.jpg
Single valve LM return.jpg (8.48 KiB) Viewed 5701 times
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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by FREAK! » Fri May 01, 2009 6:24 pm

Thanks for all the options but I will be sticking to what I got for now, from everything I have read on this forum Vapour management is the easiest and most stable system to run and it seems to be working well for now. I have run a vinegar – water solution through it for about 6 hours, straight water for another 6 hours and then took out all the scrubbers and washed them out in the dish washer, hehehe misses was happy about that. Then put it all together and ran water again for 4 hours and now I have about 2lt of alcohol in 10lt of water running through it. I plane to throw this away and try my 1st spirit run 1st thing tomorrow morning.
Minime, you would be happy to know that the head is perfectly balanced, you can place the head on the top of the column and it sits dead flat on the flange without the clamp, not that I have run it without the clamp.

Thanks again for all your info on this site, here is a pic of the reflux viewing chamber in action :mrgreen:
Attachments
IMAGE_00946.jpg
IMAGE_00946.jpg (26.94 KiB) Viewed 5563 times

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by Adverse Effects » Sat May 02, 2009 6:44 am

i have to say it

i love the idea of a sight glass and the idea of balancing the head by offsetting the condenser

well done mate
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25Lt old school SS keg as a pot with a prototype Ponu still head

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by snuffy » Sat May 02, 2009 8:15 am

Very nice.

I can see there isn't room for adding a valve. Maybe on the next rev? With a valve that would allow reflux to pool in the bottom of the slant tee, it could function as a heads reservoir.

A+
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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by FREAK! » Wed May 06, 2009 7:18 pm

OK, I now see how silly my 1st question was, when to make the cuts is the black art of this game and is what will make the difference between a good operator and a master. (sorry for being a dumb ass) :oops:

I have only put one spirit run through the column and obviously still have a lot to lean but the column sure did make finding the heads, body and tails much much easier, I really couldn’t tell anything with my mates little still.

I am still using Turbo because I want to lean one thing at a time, I have a lot to bed down with the still, once I am confident with that I intend to try some of the sugar wash’s listed on this site.

So far I have striped 4 X 25lt washes back to 65% using my mates small reflux still,
Then put the 20lt of 65% from that through the column and ended up with about 8lt @95%, 2lt I considered heads and stored for future re-distillation and about a 1lt of what I thought was tails.

I know it hard to tell without seeing, smelling and tasting my product but do my numbers kinda add up from others experience????

P.s. I was so happy to see how high the column was able to get the alcohol content!!!

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Re: Newbee question Foreshot, Heads, Body or heart and tails

Post by Ayay » Thu May 07, 2009 12:55 am

Practise makes perfect an all that. Your rig will deliver the goods and the rest is up to you :D.
cornflakes...stripped and refluxed

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