3" 'mini'

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Hawke
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3" 'mini'

Post by Hawke » Tue Apr 22, 2008 6:59 pm

OK, So I finally settled on building a mini style inline with my spare 3" copper.

Is the 1/4" spacing between plates enough or should I increase it to 3/8 or even 1/2"?

Planning on twisting up a double helix with the cold finger for the return. (Thanks Hook)
What length would you recomend? Was thinking 8"

Also, I'm going to add a slip coupling 6" below the bottom plate to make packing the column and cleaning easier. Will figure out final hieght once I have the head built.
It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.
Valved Reflux, 3"x54" Bok 'mini', 2 liebig based pots and the 'Blockhead' 60K btu propane heat

rad14701
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by rad14701 » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:33 pm

My personal opinion would be 1/2 inch minimum for a 3 inch column... Perhaps somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 inch... But, again, that's just me... You need room for the vapor to flow, relatively unobstructed as the purpose of the plates isn't to impede vapor flow but, rather, to catch the condensed distillate... Don't confuse the offset plates with plates in a bubble-plate column where the plates themselves control reflux as they are only there to direct condensed distillate towards the take-off point... But that isn't to say that there won't be a small amount of secondary distillation going on at the lower plate in the reflux reservoir area... If there is, however, it would be better to have a larger rather than smaller gap between the plates to avoid accidental flooding of the packing within the column due to excessive vapor choking...

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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by HookLine » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:37 pm

If you are using a 3" column, I would seriously consider going for triple coil condenser (ie same basic design as the double, just add one more coil on the outside). The extra coil would roughly double the cooling surface area (and hence the cooling capacity) of the condenser. (It would also further reduce the back pressure, making it even more suitable to use with a recirculating system pump.) With that extra cooling capacity, then I am pretty sure you wouldn't need to make it longer, 7-8" should be plenty.

I used a 3/8" centre return tube ('cold finger') for mine in a 2" column, but would go with 1/2" for the 3" condenser.

As to spacing between the plates, I don't think making it larger causes any problems, and it ensures there is no problem with choking or back pressure. But Bokabob is probably the best person to ask about that, seeing as it is his design.
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pintoshine
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by pintoshine » Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:40 pm

How much power are you planning on pushing up the column? That is what the gap is going to be determined by. If you are going to be running 4500 watts then you need at least 1" of gap. Determine you power input and scale accordingly. My 3.5 inch works well with a 1/2 inch pipe but I can only run 2200 watts because the the 1/2 inch pipe will not allow a counter flow if I go beyond that and the liquid separator will flood. So I am running the equivalent to a 1/4" gap. It makes for a long run.

Hawke
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by Hawke » Wed Apr 23, 2008 4:30 am

Thanks for the replies.
Was leaning more toward the larger spacing on the plates, just seemed right, thanks for the confirmation.

Will do the tripple coil, probably have to salt the inside one to wrap it tight enough.

Using a 60K BTU max outdoor cooker for heat under a 15.5 gal. keg. My pot and 2" valved column can only handle 'almost off' :twisted:

Getting better at working the copper with each build, this one should be a work of art... LOL
It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.
Valved Reflux, 3"x54" Bok 'mini', 2 liebig based pots and the 'Blockhead' 60K btu propane heat

Hawke
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by Hawke » Fri May 02, 2008 3:01 am

Ok, she's almost done.
Ended up with a column hieght of 53 inches from base to bottom of the bottom plate.

Question here is....How many scrubbers do y'all think it will take to fill it?
It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.
Valved Reflux, 3"x54" Bok 'mini', 2 liebig based pots and the 'Blockhead' 60K btu propane heat

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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by Rudi » Fri May 02, 2008 4:55 am

More than quite a few less than a shitload :P
Such is life

pintoshine
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by pintoshine » Fri May 02, 2008 5:03 am

Hawke, that is a pretty good sized tower. How far is it to the bottom of the LM section?
Mine is 42 to that point and mine took 32 of the large size, 35g, stainless steel scrubbers.

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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by Hawke » Fri May 02, 2008 5:33 am

Pinto,
Almost 1 foot taller than yours. 53 1/2 inches to the product tube.
According to your figures, aproximately 9 per foot, so, about 40 of them buggers. :shock:
It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.
Valved Reflux, 3"x54" Bok 'mini', 2 liebig based pots and the 'Blockhead' 60K btu propane heat

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Husker
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by Husker » Fri May 02, 2008 6:28 am

You might be better of using structured copper in the upper 18" or so. You can put SS scrubbies in the bottom, and they will be what removes any puking and other nasties. Then let the copper at the top do it's extra magic. Also, you will find that structured copper has a lot better surface area, and I find it helps greatly to re-evap the reflux material. and also avoid channeling. At 3", you are getting to the size where channeling will start. Pints 3.5" is really getting to that level, and at 4", channeling can become a problem. In the tall 4" I built for a farmer friend, we used crushed glass in the lower sections of the still. In the beginning, we used crushed glass (shattered safety glass from cars door windows, with the tiniest slivers screened out) for the whole column, but did not seem to get the results I was hoping for. We had to slow things down to almost 3.5x reflux return to get 95.5%. In the end, we put 24" of structured copper at the very top, and now he can run with only 50% reflux, and still push 95.7 to 95.5 until the cows come home. For his purpose, he is not drinking it, but putting it into some pickup's and several medium sized grain trucks.

But for you, you would get better quality, better separation, and the copper will also clean up some of the nasties better than SS.

H.
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by Hawke » Fri May 02, 2008 12:21 pm

To get it up and running, I will go with what I can get locally. Got a list started of things I need to order off the net.
Was thinking a 60/40 or 70/30 mix of ss/cu scrubbers.
Wish we had a slug and snail problem in our area. Home stores and nurseries don't carry the structured copper 'slug fence' here, have to order the more expensive version online.
It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.
Valved Reflux, 3"x54" Bok 'mini', 2 liebig based pots and the 'Blockhead' 60K btu propane heat

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Husker
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by Husker » Fri May 02, 2008 12:29 pm

For structured copper, try amphora society. They sell for $15 a pound (which is enough for 36" of 2" copper pipe).

http://www.amphora-society.com/equip_1.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

H.
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by Hawke » Sat May 03, 2008 5:37 am

I'm guessing a pound would do about 18" of mine then? Not really up on my math, but should be about double the volume in the 3". (did the math, actually 2.25 times the area)
Got it running at midnight. Used 120 ounces of aprox 30% abv and a gallon of water for the test/cleaning run. Only had enough packing for about 16 inches of the column, so the percentage was down a bit, expected that. Collected about 3 pints at 86% Didn't get any temp rise until the last 150ml (stayed right around 81.5*C) Stopped for about 15 minutes to equliliberate before the last 150, Came back down to 82* but quickly climbed when I started take-off back up. Let it run up to 100*C and never a hint of vapor out the top. Think I'm gonna like this one.
Here are the Pics:
Tri-coil condenser. sprang a leak, had to hit it with a little flux and the torch on the input side (about a 10 min. setback)
Image

The head piece
Image

The business end
Image

The base, My copper gold pan didn't escape this time
Image

The clamp, I used the 4 holes in the rim of the keg, drilled and tapped them, then bent the ring from 1/2" square tube. Used 1/8x1 strap for the ears.
Image

Finally, ready to run!!
Image
It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.
Valved Reflux, 3"x54" Bok 'mini', 2 liebig based pots and the 'Blockhead' 60K btu propane heat

HookLine
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by HookLine » Sat May 03, 2008 6:05 am

Very nice, Hawke. Especially that clamp. How long is the condenser?
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Hawke
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by Hawke » Sat May 03, 2008 11:16 am

Thanks Hook, I didn't want to drill the keg it's self, and really didn't want to reach in between the hot lid and keg to undo wing nuts. I also made a ring out of 1/4" copper that goes between the clamp and lid to help get even pressure all the way around.

The coils are 8 inches long, the return adds another 1 1/2 to the bottom and there is about a 1/2 inch between the top of the coils and cap for a total length of 10"

I'm going to have to build a tripod to brace this beast, maybe just some bent rods and a hose clamp. Go from the rim of the keg and up about a foot or so to the column, then get it plumb and tighten the clamp.
It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.
Valved Reflux, 3"x54" Bok 'mini', 2 liebig based pots and the 'Blockhead' 60K btu propane heat

Hawke
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by Hawke » Sun May 04, 2008 4:38 am

I got some copper on it's way, but was able to find enough packing to do a real run with it.
This one's a keeper!
Had 5 gallons of wash and 1.5L of 92% that wasn't quite right.
The initial temp spike went to 83*C, then quickly dropped to 79. I let it cook for 30 minutes then started taking the foreshots. Temp dropped to around 78.5 (the thermo I have doesn't do fractions, just jumps between two whole numbers) After the 1st 100ml I closed it off and let it cook for another 15 minutes. The thermo sat on 79*C for so long that I thought it had broke. Pulled another 200ml as definate heads, have another 250ml that needs to air before I decide. Got to what I thought should be the end of the hearts and started collecting in small lots, got close to 700ml after I started watching for the tails. All together I got 2.2 L of hearts @93.5% down to 92% before it went from 'that's pretty good' to 'who threw thier dirty socks in the wash?' and the temp finally started moving. I have read many post where people talk about sharp cuts, didn't think I'd see it. Happened within 50ml and the hydrometer almost jumped out of the parrot.
It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.
Valved Reflux, 3"x54" Bok 'mini', 2 liebig based pots and the 'Blockhead' 60K btu propane heat

rad14701
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by rad14701 » Sun May 04, 2008 11:54 am

Sounds like a pretty good run, Hawke... I'll be interested to hear how consistent your runs are, especially straight mash runs...

By the way, what did you end going with for a gap between the upper and lower slanted plates...???

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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by HookLine » Sun May 04, 2008 3:28 pm

rad14701 wrote:By the way, what did you end going with for a gap between the upper and lower slanted plates...???
Yup, I'd like to know too.
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Hawke
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by Hawke » Sun May 04, 2008 3:30 pm

Rad,
Was shooting for an inch, came up a few thousandths short. :wink:

Looks like it's going to be a pretty stable runner. With over 4 ft of packing, there's plenty of room for it to stack the fractions. I was running about 600ml per hour last night and I think it was getting bored...LOL.
I broke out the second fermenter, so should have enough to fill the boiler in the next week or so.
Should also have my copper from Amphora and the good needle valve by then.
Need to find a little more acurate thermometer, mine only does whole units. I want one that will read 1/10's with a wired probe. 6 to 12 hours of looking up at one of those digital stick type would be a pain in the neck :mrgreen:
It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.
Valved Reflux, 3"x54" Bok 'mini', 2 liebig based pots and the 'Blockhead' 60K btu propane heat

HookLine
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by HookLine » Sun May 04, 2008 4:04 pm

Hawke wrote:I want one that will read 1/10's with a wired probe. 6 to 12 hours of looking up at one of those digital stick type would be a pain in the neck :mrgreen:
I can vouch for that. It's even worse if you got one with a 'battery saving' auto-off function that can't be over ridden, coz then you also have to reach up and turn the f***er back on every 10 minutes. :roll:
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Hawke
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by Hawke » Sun May 04, 2008 4:16 pm

Saw a neat one at Wally World the other day. It is a wireless BBQ thermo. The probe hooks to a base and then you can carry the head around (up to 100ft range), just like a cordless phone. It didn't have any specs other than a min/max temp for degrees F/C though. Probably only reads whole numbers like the one I have now.
It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.
Valved Reflux, 3"x54" Bok 'mini', 2 liebig based pots and the 'Blockhead' 60K btu propane heat

drumkiller
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by drumkiller » Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:50 pm

Saw a neat one at Wally World the other day. It is a wireless BBQ thermo. The probe hooks to a base and then you can carry the head around (up to 100ft range), just like a cordless phone. It didn't have any specs other than a min/max temp for degrees F/C though. Probably only reads whole numbers like the one I have now.
I saw that one too, and bought it. Started using it and couldnt figure out why i never got to temp. Dam thing is off 10 degree's or so :-)
so buyer beware, your accuracy may, and will, vary.

Also, the remote sensor tends to promote leaving the still unattended which is never a good idea. Example A - Dinner time, i figure i can go in and eat dinner and keep an eye on my temps and everything will be fine. But you wont notice that you forgot to turn on your cooling water and have vaporized alcohol filling your garage :oops:
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wombat_831
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Re: 3" 'mini'

Post by wombat_831 » Thu Dec 25, 2008 8:42 pm

i just bought one off the winequip.com.au website its a bit hard to find them now theve updated there website it was like $36 aus incl postage the next one up was like $45 aus and came with a calibration certificate if you send them an email im sure they can help you

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