4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

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

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Wed May 02, 2018 6:03 pm

I’ve also included a few pictures of the botanical section. This was a late add to the still design, and thus had no etching in store for it. So I left it in a bucket with a good amount of white vinegar and salt on it for a week to develop some aggressive patina. Wish that I had took a few snapshots of it as I first pulled it out… the colors were amazing. Blues, greens, oranges, reds. However much of them were rather powdery layers, and I ended up brushing them off for fear of them screwing up the lacquer finish when I applied it. By the time I got down to a relatively stable layer of material, most of the beautiful colors were gone. After 3 coats of the finish these images are what was left. Pretty, but a pale shade of what is was coming out of the vinegar environment.
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Laquor Finish (8).JPG
Laquor Finish (9).JPG
Laquor Finish (10).JPG

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Wed May 02, 2018 6:05 pm

Here are a few more photos of the parts after applying the liquor finish. Let’s hold it stays solid at 210 F. And a couple interesting shots of the salts left over after I let the etching solution water evaporate. This stuff makes a serious herbicide, so it’s important not to poor the waste down the drain.
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Laquor Finish (1).JPG
Laquor Finish (2).JPG
Laquor Finish (3).JPG
Etching Salts (1).JPG
Etching Salts (2).JPG

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Wed May 02, 2018 6:07 pm

Insert long break, honeydoo home projects, and foreign travel here…

Last weekend I finally got back to the still project. I need a proper base to support the still properly while leaving room for the stillage drain that extends below the bottom of the keg. Made a few measurements about how low the parrot will extend with only one plate in the column… required the keg to be lifted some 10 inches off the ground… a bit less stable and not likely needed as I don’t anticipate ever using only one plate, so I made the base only about 3” tall. The first image shows my quick sketch, the 6 feet I cut out of some scrap wood in the shop, and a nice sheet of plywood to connect the feet. Next image shows the feet laid out on the bottom of the keg. If it wasn’t apparent before, you now understand why I HAD to elevate this off the ground. The last three images are assembling the base, checking fit on the keg, and supporting the keg.
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Boiler Base (1).JPG
Boiler Base (2).JPG
Boiler Base (4).JPG
Boiler Base (6).JPG
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Wed May 02, 2018 6:08 pm

Two more photos of the base, showing the stillage drain projecting out, and the base after I applied a few coats of polycrylic finish.
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by Copperhead road » Wed May 02, 2018 6:10 pm

Detroit I love your plates and artwork, your work is a true credit to you......top shelf
Never mistake kindness for weakness....

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by Worm Food » Sun May 06, 2018 7:21 pm

Copperhead road wrote:Detroit I love your plates and artwork, your work is a true credit to you......top shelf
Most definitely, and I agree. The 'artwork' included is eleventy steps above craftsmanship. I know what I'm not good at. Looking forward to seeing the 'final output'..... pun intended.

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by zapata » Sun May 06, 2018 11:15 pm

Bro.....Bro......um.....
Dayum that's hot shit!

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:25 pm

The systems all together and ready to run, except that I need a heater for it. So I put up a few pics on the 5.5 kW 240 V heater I built at the following link: viewtopic.php?f=85&t=71065&p=7527913#p7527913 . This will allow me to start off with replenishing my rum barrel (great stuff nearing 2 yrs on oak, but the original 5 gallons is feeling close to 1 now. :cry:

In the not too distant future I'll be building a second one, but a bit different. That should allow me to run them at the same time to deliver ~9 kW of power when I'm running my flute with the packed column on top.

Next I need to wire a couple of dedicated 30A, 240V receptacles to where I'll be stilling, and I'll be ready for my cleaning runs.

And then I need to finish the insulation trim I'm working on for the boiler.

And then assemble the radiator cooling loop to my water system.

And then making my first beer for some whiskey, and make some SPP for the packed section, and try my hand at Vodka.

And then, and then, and then. But I get ahead of myself. When I have some pics of the inaugural run and plates in action I'll post a few. :D

Cheers to you all. Thanks for the kind words and good advice along the way. I hope the plans and images are helpful to others of you out there.

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by Nunyo » Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:20 am

I’ve been following this thread for some time and I am absolutely floored by your craftsmanship! That still is a work of art and your attention to detail is 2nd to none! I can’t wait to see the updates once you put it to work!

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by panikry83 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 6:19 pm

pretty incredible build there my friend

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by Shine0n » Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:16 am

Wow brother, I'm speechless.

Well done

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:33 pm

Finally got around to my cleaning runs. Ran water last weekend. Ran water vinegar, and then Birdwatchers tonight. (My first time with Birdwatchers... that's a kick ass recepie: OG 1.07 yielded 12% in 8 days, I'm happy).

WOW! I can't believe how fast this system runs. My benchmark was my janky old pot still. That thing took me 4-5 hours for a stripping run and 7-8 hours for a final run. Tonight I ran roughly 6 gallons of Birdwatchers in roughly 2 hrs. My heater's a 5.5 kW on 240V w/ an SSR. It's got some bug I need to fix... I can control the power output initially (volt and ammeter feedback), but after running a while it kicks over to full output regardless of my setting and I can't get control again until I shut it down. Sooo.... I pretty much ran the system flat out at 5.5 kW for all three of the cleaning runs.

Word of caution for the numbers below... I tried to calibrate my temp sensors (months ago) but did a poor job. The two are about 2 degrees F off from one another at room temp, and I'm not very confident that either one of them is correct... I'll have to improve my technique on this in the future... the ice bath worked OK, the boiling water was precarious and fraught with error I fear.

The 6 gallons rose from 78 ambient to 172 F in about 17-18 minutes. I stacked the plates for maybe 3-5 minutes, had all 6 plates plus 24" of column (without packing) above that. Then dialed back the dephleg... a bit too fast. Was pulling it off at a fast clip at 92 ABV. Pulled maybe 1400 ml, then stacked the plates again for another 3-5 minutes and dialed back the dephleg rather slowly until the vapor output of the dephleg was showing about 174. I purged the parrot and when it refilled it was reading about 95 ABV. Can't recall what the distillate temp was, so may not be that amazing, but I was very pleased. I was cooling off a 44 gal bucket that I'de filled with water from the hose at the start of the run. I'm guessing it was about 60-65 F initially.

After a short while I cut off the dephleg cooling all together and ran full out at the 5.5 kW. I timed one jar and pulled off (3) 200 ml portions timed at 82.6 s, 85.6 s, and 83.9 s, successivly. I was eyeballing the 200 ml increments on a mason jar, so plus or minus a couple of seconds on the accuracy. But with 3 in a row (was taking "lap" times, so I essentially had 4 total opportunities for clock error among the 3 total measurements. I'm approximating it a 84 seconds per 200 ml, which puts the flow rate at about 26.5 min / gallon. That's a projection from a few minutes of timing the run, so likely more inaccuracies. And the ABV was dropping reasonably fast as I was running it flat out with no dephleg. But all said and done I am very impressed. Pulled off about 1.5 gallons from that stripping run (didn't measure the final ABV of that strip... and yes, I know, it won't be for drinking), and have 9-10 more gallons of Birdwatchers at 12% to run on the same set-up with Perlite once it arrives.

No vapor leaks from the still. :D Had some minor leaks in the coolant line plumbing where the tiny tri-clamps join together. They showed up at the water cleaning stage, I tightened them with a screw driver for leverage in the clamp handle a few times... the minor leak fell off to a few drops a minute. There are so many different parts to this still that get clamped together... I suspect that in the rigidly plumbed portion that includes the dephleg, two portions to the arch, two portions to the botanical basket, the product condenser, and two rigid cooling lines connecting the dephleg to the product condenser, that there's a fair bit of alignment tolerance sack-up. That's 8 parts that clamp together as a rigid unit, and every one of them is an opportunity for a micro misalignment that could have culminated in the coolant leas I had. I'l need to sort out an assembly process that's accurate and repeatable. I took everything down tonight and gave the parts a plunge in the 44 gallon water bucket. That's a lot of cleaning work, and will be a greater PITA when reassembly time comes. I'll have to research and maybe trial the effects of not rinsing every time, or integrating some CIP feature(s).

I think I mentioned it before... I used KBS Clear Diamond Finish on my still to keep the copper bright. I was very happy with it's performance during the cleaning runs. Didn't get tacky at all. I had tried the same on my older pot still with some average hardware store finish hard coat, but that stuff became tacky during a run and the surface quality was already feeling lousy after 7-8 runs.

That's all for now. I'm sure I'll collect better numbers and share results in the future. Take care.

DetroitDIY

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by Shine0n » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:44 am

I'm still in awe, glad things worked out well with no major faults.

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by googe » Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:32 am

You got some multi skills mate, awesome work! :thumbup:
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:50 pm

Do It again, but better... A list of lessons learned and things that I have or intend to correct from my process and design.

• Design all the major parts of the column so they can be separated from the coolant distribution system, which can be unwieldy during handling of the components. I had to re-plumb the rigid lines on my still to accomplish this (see posting of Feb. 12, 2018). I made the coolant distribution of two rigid sections that attach to the major parts of the column. This keeps the large diameter, heavy parts simpler without any extraneous parts hanging off, and the more cumbersome distribution geometries lighter to avoid accidental banging. However, in operation I have found that all the rigid components have no flexibility or compliance (duh!). When there are few parts to assemble that may work. But when you’ve made every stinking little part modular, adjustable, reconfigurable by hand with all the build variation you would expect, then you get the “it never seems to want to go back together quite right” syndrome that I’m having. Everything will go together, and it looks pretty good. And since I tighten up the distillation line first that’s all good. But the rigid plumbing on the back side never lines up quite right and I’m often fighting leaks when I run the cooling loop. I believe I may have to go back and add in a little compliance so my assembly process is not soooo dang fickle. Another solution may be, that if I can ever find just the right position of all the portions between the dephleg and the product condenser where nothing leaks after I’ve tightened it up, to mark all of the mating sides with alignment scribes so that I can re-produce the magic. I have 8 parts going together in all this, and any one of them off by a degree or two leads to the problems I’m having. Hope that I can chance across the perfect orientation. :roll:
• Design for all types of alcohol production if you can. I started thinking I was interested just in Rum and Whiskey, NOT Vodka or Gin. Changing the design on the fly later to accommodate other things lead to some re-work in my design. Adjusting to include a 24” packed section ilo a 4 plate column segment per a suggestion from Swedish Pride (thanks for that Swede!) I did before buying too much or cutting anything. However I decided to add in a botanical basket a ways into my build. In my case, with the rigid plumbing, that was not easy to slip in (one more strike against rigid plumbing). Anyways, glad I did it. I haven’t used it yet, but I would say that I wish I had an easier way of adding/removing the botanicals. At present, it will require a lot of dis-assembly/re-assembly to swap them out. In the mean time, I just run my spirits with the botanical basket in the loop, but nothing inside of it.
• Also in the botanical basket, I included a manometer type loop that I can fill with water to act as a bow out tube in case the botanicals compressing and forming a plug. The inlet to the blow out tube is above the botanicals, and the outlet is beneath the basket. You can see this design from my post on January 15, 2018. Got the idea from the likes of Shadylane (thanks!). I added a fill cup /valve and a drain valve so I can add in and remove the water plug, however I did not effectively bias the fill side so that I could ensure the water will only go down the side of the loop that I want it to. I should have made more of a “Y” fitting to the fill, rather than the upside down “T” junction that I did. Also, this style of loop results in some of the distillate condensing in the empty loop when I’m not running the gin basket (which I can collect from the drain side). That’s not sooo bad. But when I forget to close the inlet and outlet of those loops (like I did during my inaugural run this past weekend), I can lose a lot of ethanol to the atmosphere in the best case, and create a hazardous vapor cloud in the worst case. Good thing I’ve moved to electric. :oops:
• Use ½” diameter tri-clamp flanges instead of copper unions. Actually, use ¾” diameter tri-clamp flanges. The ½” has an ID of only 0.321”, whereas ¾” has an ID of 0.574”. This keeps the cross sectional area for the fluid flow pretty good, but now you need to couple the ¾” flange with a 0.75” OD to a ½” pipe. To do this I used ½” to ¾” copper reducers (expanders in my case) to increase the ID to receive the ¾” tri-clamp flanges. However something wasn’t quite right in all the ID/OD/spec translation, and it took a few tiny copper shavings left over from previous drilling operations to squeeze in between the ID of the ¾” reducer end and the OD of the ½” tri-clamp end. You can see all this from my posting of Feb. 12, 2018.
• If installing 2 heater elements into your tank, set them perpendicular to one another to distribute the in tank heating better. I placed mine pretty much on top of one another, which may be a bit worse heating distribution. I also placed mine a bit high. After everything was built, I went to the trouble of marking off the gallons of my boiler (marked it on the outside so I could fill and then find the level by reaching into the boiler, finding the fluid level, and then connecting my finger at the fluid level with a finger on the outside of the tank with the fill markings). Anyways, I put the first heater element at roughly 2.5 gallons, and the second one at 4 gallons. Considering I plan to run with 8+ (typically 11) gallons charge, this shouldn’t be an issue, but in retrospect I wish I would have lowered them each a gallon or so in elevation.
• Design your system for CIP, Clean In Place. I have found that disassembling is pretty easy, but assembling and getting just the right fit is a pain in the keister. The best solution I can think of is a CIP solution. To this end, I’m re-designing the top of my column to have a permanently installed CIP ball that I can connect the hose to and flush everything out after a run. I’ll update my build with the modification photos once I have it done… parts are on order now.
• Another minor bit that suffered during my inaugural run… a coolant system that I wasn’t making sure was keeping up. With so much more room for product to flow through this system, and perhaps excessive constriction in the coolant flow portion of my product condenser, I discovered that when my coolant water rises over roughly 110 F, with my 5.5 kW heater running flat out (bad SSR I think), the product condenser was not knocking down all of the ethanol, and ethanol vapor was escaping from the inlet air holes at the end of the condenser. This must have been happening for a bit of time, because when I noticed it, the ethanol (at > 90 ABV) had blistered and peeled away some of the nice KBS clear coat finish I had applied. Oh well, at least now I know the easy way to remove it when I have to solder in my CIP components. :)
• Another thing I wish I had done… I should have known better as I had wanted this in my former pot still as well… I wish I had integrated a nice temperature sensing method into the parrot that clearly only read the fluid temp and not the copper side of the parrot and didn’t impede the buoyancy of the alcometer, and did this all hands free. I’m sure there’s a good solution for this. I just need to think it through. Or perhaps one of you will tell me your good solutions.

And now for a few things gone right...

• I’m pretty happy with the modularity. I expect it will be fun for experimenting with. I just need to make the assembly process a little more forgiving o avoid the coolant leaks issue.
• I really like the integrated parrot on the column with the self supporting shelf for the collection jar. That’s been great.
• The drain port at the lowest point of the boiler is very handy. I’ve included a shut off valve and a quick connect. I had to build a stand for it to prevent it from being crushed (which has also worked out quite well), but it allows me to quick connect a garden hose to drain the still from where I run it out to a dump pit behind the shop. Gravity is on my side. It’s probably about a 45 foot run to the dump pit, with a total pitch of about a foot, but I just hook it up and everything flows. It’s also nice for the rinsing portion of the cleanup. I plan to do something similar for my cooling reservoir.
• I set a cable system over the top of my still to help support the mass. It may not have really been needed, but it gives me that added assurance. What’s more, It’s great with I have to partially disassemble the still. I can hang the product condenser side via the cabling while I get into the distillation column and remove the packed section (for instance).
• Of course, the design process and artwork was all fun. It allows some folks who have no clue about distillation, nor any desire to know, to appreciate the still anyways. But that said, I can’t imagine every spending so much time beautifying a still in the future. Any future stills will likely just be just a work horse and not a show horse. :wink:

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:16 am

Had my inaugural run a couple weeks back. Ran the rest of a Birdwatcher's ferment. Nothing too great shakes, but I thought I would share a few photos. Clearly I need to learn how to run my flute properly, and getting my heater to run more analog and less binary will help that a lot I expect.

First image is assembling the column. I was running with all 6 plates as this was the follow on to my cleaning run so I wanted everything in the loop.

Next image is my packed section with 2 stainless scrubbies hidden underneath 22" of perlite that I'd rinsed, boiled, and rinsed. That stuff is sooo light and insubstantial, like air. :esurprised: You can crush the stone between your fingers. I always thought that the white bits in potting soil were styrofoam (don't know why... seems dumb now), but they were actually this perlite. Imagine Rice Crispies of a white volcanic rock an that's pretty much what Perlite is like.

Assembled column with all sections included is next. I'm supporting from above via a rope and pulley. Not really sure if it's needed as the plumbing is all rigid and reasonably structural (as I've lamented previously). Belt and suspenders. :)
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Column Assembly
Column Assembly
Perlite Packing
Perlite Packing
Assembled Still
Assembled Still

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:30 am

Here's my heater, flipped into "all out" mode. Seems the SSR pings to max output when it get's too warm. I do have a fan cooling it, but still struggled. I've since replaced the potentiometer and SSR... hoping that one will allow me more variability.

Next image has the top plate is bubbling away with the system in full reflux.

And the last image is the system in partial reflux. This operation is putting in some 5.5 kW as the heater behaves badly, so I need to eventually be pulling out quite a bit of heat. That heated up my 44 gal water reservoir pretty quickly. I eventually had to draw off some water via a siphon (continuously) and add some fresh ground water in to make it up to keep things running right. Currently I'm making an easy way to drain the reservoir with a quick connect hose connecting to a valve on the reservoir. Radiator and fan in the return coolant loop are in the forecast.
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Stuck at 5.5 kW
Stuck at 5.5 kW
Bubble Bath
Bubble Bath
Still in Operation
Still in Operation

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:17 am

Those top plates (and the middle picture) are flooded. Don't know your results, but that will lower your quality, abv, or both.
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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:15 am

Thanks Crazy Diamond. By flooded do you mean that there's entertainment from that plat to the one above? I have adjustable downcomer heights, and can easily slip on a shorter "collar". I also should be able to control the power input more effectively soon. Is my objective to just have less liquid depth in the top sight glasses? How much? Am I striving to not have bubbles above the top of the site glass? Appreciate the feedback.

With the 6 plates and the 22" of perlite, I was still only pulling 92 ABV, so I know I didn't have things right.

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by Saltbush Bill » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:55 pm

I agree with SCD, the that middle photo window does look to be flooded, that or you have the downcomers up high for a very deep bath depth.
Only speaking from my own experience but as soon as the liquid level (Not including bubbles) is higher than the top of the downcomer you will begin to loose efficiency. Abv will drop and tails can start to pull through if the situation is allowed to get bad enough.
DetroitDIY wrote:Am I striving to not have bubbles above the top of the site glass?
Bubbles above the site glass has never caused me any problem, only to deep of a liquid bed caused by flooding has caused trouble.

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by Yummyrum » Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:53 pm

Absolutely first class work there Detroit :thumbup:

As far as running it ....It's only normal to want to push it in the first few runs to see what it will take , but the reality is that good tasting booze happens way back from there . I'd suggest a starting weir ( riser) height of about 20mm . Like Salty said , the level on the plates will be pretty close to that with the bubbles maybe an 1/2 inch to an inch above . If you start to push it harder you start getting entrainment and nasty tails blow through .

It took me a while to figure out why my Rum was tasting crap . Intuition said to run it harder so it refluxes more and cleans the product but in reality backing off the power was the answer .

you also mentioned your cooling tank starting to heat up and you had to start balancing this with extra cold water .
You probably need to get this sorted . Plated columns are a pain in the arse to run at the best of times even when you have a constant cooling temp available .
Dialing in the Deflag is always tricky due to the lag time of several minutes between adjusting the valve and seeing a change in output .
Try to avoid having to keep fiddling it throughout the run if you can .

As a ball park , try to use only as much power that is needed to JUST keep the plates loaded while taking off about 2 - 2.5 liters an hour . Once you are happy then try playing .
Also avoid washes under 5%-6% ABV , they just don't seem to work in a plated column . Best to strip these washes first .

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by cede » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:09 pm

Nice update Detroit !
As with each new rig you'll have to take some time to get used to the beast.

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:03 pm

Yes, less power. I'm all good with that, just hope that my heater will behave better. I'll be running 4 plates this weekend on a batch of Purgirum... after I do another cleaning run. I changed to top of the column to include a CIP solution. 8)

Regarding the better cooling, my latest fittings came in to make the cooling reservoir manipulation easier. May have to get on adding in the radiator in the coolant loop sooner than later.

A better behaving heater and coolant system should go a long way to improving the operation.

The risers on my downcomers are 25.4 mm at the moment. I can pretty easily pop in a shorter set... but I think I'll try that after getting the power and coolant under control.

Thanks gang.

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Fri Aug 24, 2018 11:40 am

Minor upgrade with a few pics.

Quick connect & valve drain on the bottom of the boiler to discharge the backset to my pit outside the shop (guess I'll have to siphon when I want to save some for dunder and such). Now I added a similar quick connect and valve drain to my coolant resevoire. This allows me to quickly run the hose from the coolant when I'm stilling, and switch it over to the boiler when I'm cleaning. 8)

Still planning on my re-cleaning runs this weekend, and a post about the CIP solution. But it looks like my Pergirum run won't happen yet... didn't ferment right and needs a little TLC.
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Hose Connected to Coolant Resevoir
Hose Connected to Coolant Resevoir
Disconnected From the Coolant Resevoir
Disconnected From the Coolant Resevoir
Hose Connected to Boiler
Hose Connected to Boiler

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by shadylane » Fri Aug 24, 2018 2:59 pm

DetroitDIY wrote:By flooded do you mean that there's entertainment from that plat to the one above? I have adjustable downcomer heights, and can easily slip on a shorter "collar". I also should be able to control the power input more effectively soon.
Liquid can't drain through the downcomer, because vapor is blowing up the downcomer from too much pressure.
Less power, make bigger/more holes in the plate, deeper cups or lower the downcomer
You might be able to prime the cups with water or suddenly turn town the power to fill the cups

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:05 pm

The downcomer cups are a little over 1" deep. The tops of the tube cuts (cut at ~45 degrees with a little of the cylinder tip left) are a little less than 3/4" tall. So I'm guessing fluid level of cups to tubes at about 3/8". The cups are typically about 1/2" above the plates except for where I have a tri-clamp. There the cups end about 1 1/2" above the plate below.

I could certainty prime the cups with water, especially now that i'm adding in a CIP ball above the stack. I'll keep that my back pocket in case power and downcomer height alone doesn't fix it.

But honestly, I have trouble believing that the pressure is blowing up the downcomers once the cups are loaded. It's a pretty dynamic system, so measuring as if the fluid was level may not be faithful. But if the cups were level and full, then the pressure under the sieve plate would have to be at roughly 3/4" water (err... ethanol I guess) to blow back up the downcomer column. Ethanol is 80% as dense as water, so 0.75" ethanol is about 0.6" water. Which is... hmmmm... 0.02 psi, 1/1000th of an atmosphere. Not very much pressure after all. perhaps it could be blowing up the downcomer. But I certainly hope the solution lies in power control. Changing downcomer design and/or sieve hole design (314-ish at 1/16" diameter each) at this point would be... just about unthinkable to me. I'm going to fix this with better control, and better knowledge of how to work my rig.

Hmmm... reading this and your post Shady, I now see that you meant to lower the tops of the downcomers above the plates, not the distance of the downcomer cups above the plates below. Took me a bit, but I'm catching up with you. That change is easy enough. Thanks.

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:41 pm

Finished my CIP (Clean In Place) upgrade today. Very glad for this, as it should prevent me from having to take everything apart every time. :clap:

First shot is of the parts I was starting out with in an exploded view. The two elbows with the tri clam flanges are from the still as I had built it. These were the very top of my column. I am replacing the top center tri clamp with a 2” T fitting. This will be a tolerance variability reduction (improvement) to my design, and an opportunity to solder the bits to help correct the fact that my 4” plate column and my product condenser side tend to bend a little close to one another. Partly due to poor alignment when I first soldered this mess together, and partly due to the bending moment that gravity puts on my system.

The top of the 2” T is capped, and a hole has been drilled into the cap center to accommodate a ½” NPT double sided nipple. Inside the cup, I’ve soldered on a stainless CIP ball system, which is then inserted into the top of the T when the cap is soldered on. This leaves the CIP spray ball about in the center of the cross flow of the 2” arch. Can’t recall the exact cross sectional area reduction by the CIP ball, but it’s not too bad considering the pipe T opens up about where it is. I think all in all the ball cokes it to about 70% of the normal 2” cross sectional flow area.
Then you can see the valve, and a couple of brass fittings which I didn’t end up using. Instead I replaced the brass with a stainless quick connect and added a mating quick connect to my garden hose.

Second shot shows the original elbows after stripping the finish off with some foreshots, and marking where I need the cuts so they fit right into the T addition.
Next shot is my hack job. Kind of a bummer to re-work the work you just recently did, but those are the breaks with a big project like this. :esad:

Next shot I’ve first soldered the CIP sprayer onto the cup (roughed up the stainless and applied a lot of heat to get a puddle solder joint), then screwed in the double sided ½” NPT nipple to hold the spray ball in place if it got too much heat when soldering the cup onto the T and the T onto the two elbows. I splayed the elbows just a tad wide with respect to one another so they are no longer perfectly parallel as they project downwards. This helps to overcome the bending moment of the rig that I mentioned above.

Last shot, I’ve added the nipple and valve in to give me a feel for it. :eh:
Attachments
Exploded View of Plan
Exploded View of Plan
Cleaned to Cut & Solder
Cleaned to Cut & Solder
Cutting this Spring's Work
Cutting this Spring's Work
Soldering Complete
Soldering Complete
Mocked Up
Mocked Up

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:42 pm

Two more shots, after installing it back onto my flute. These two include the quick connect fitting. It’s now in place and ready for another cleaning run which I’ll be performing this weekend.

Happy, happy, joy, joy.
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CIP Complete Axial.jpg
CIP Complete.jpg

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:43 pm

CIP system is working great. Soooo convenient. It’s a must incorporate feature in my opinion.

Replaced the SSR of my heater system with another brand of the same specs. Now working just fine. Giddy Up!

Replaced the 1” downcomer extensions above the sieve plates with ¾” extension.

Re-ran the cleaning routine to tidy up the shorter extensions and the CIP system. Didn’t see any of the flooding conditions that you all cited me for in that previous image.

I’m definitely fighting cooling temperature control. Beginning on my clean up and integration of a nice evaporator core into the return stream of my coolant loop, and might add a shower head to “rain” into my reservoir to boot. Need to get a handle on overheating coolant. In my ethanol cleaning run, I was pulling off between 93.5 – 86 ABV for most of the run, my water reservoir tem was reading between 96 – 90 F even with all my adding cool water and draining equal amounts from the reservoir. Seriously need to get my thermal management under control.

Took a few pic to share… First one is just a cool photo through one sight glass as I’m shining my light through the one beneath. You can see the shorter (3/4”) downcomer riser in there too, along with the cup of the downcomer from the sieve plate above.

Next pic is about the most dramatic liquid and bubble action I captured through the sights. This one was the lowest of 4 plates. Could have been more action at a later time that I didn’t capture, but nothing quite like the flooding action from my previous run.
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Cool Photo of Sieve Plate
Cool Photo of Sieve Plate
No Flooding?
No Flooding?

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Re: 4th Triangle Flute Design & Build

Post by DetroitDIY » Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:02 pm

Next few few pics are of a mod I made to my parrot. I often drain the parrot (via the bottom drain valve) when I’ve finished off filling a jar with distillate so that I can collect a new parrot full of distillate and get a slightly more accurate ABV reading. This means that the alcoholometer is dropping to the bottom of the parrot as the distillate drains out, sometimes pretty fast with a slam. So I wanted to cushion the landing of the alcoholometer with some stainless scrubby cut off, but didn’t want it to fall into the drain valve and damage the seats or prevent it from closing properly.

First I found a piece of drilled out scrap copper that had a thick portion that fit inside my parrot and a thin flange around it that would have an interference fit. It also had a pilot hole in the center which would help with the distillate draining out the bottom when called for.

Next I took a triangular file to the thin flange in 8 places to make it into 8 tabs that could bend as I inserted the disk into the parrot. Then I bent the thin flanges up with pliers to make the plunge down the parrot’s throat a bit easier.

Next photo has the prepared dist atop the parrot ready for the plunge. A needle nose pliers in the center hold followed by a metal rod worked well to push it down and keep it centered.

Next image the disk has been plunged to the bottom and a bit of the stainless scrubby added on top.

Last image is of the parrot resting on the scrubby below with it reading 100 ABV… still low enough to get all the readings I’ll need.
Attachments
Scrap Disk from my CIP Build - Perfect Find!
Scrap Disk from my CIP Build - Perfect Find!
Filed and Bent Flanges
Filed and Bent Flanges
Plunge Imminent
Plunge Imminent
Down the Hatch with a Stainless Scrubby Scrap
Down the Hatch with a Stainless Scrubby Scrap
Ready to Run
Ready to Run

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