China made still - thoughts

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

Moderator: Site Moderator

User avatar
gwizard
Novice
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed May 13, 2020 5:30 am
Location: AUS

China made still - thoughts

Post by gwizard » Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:04 pm

So, I've ordered this one:
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/2-Stainless ... 3975232487

"Should" come this Friday. I say should because UPS have been pushing delivery day twice now.

Just looking for your thoughts or reviews. Should I be worried about quality, etc.
Anyone have any experience with this seller?
I was looking to upgrade for awhile now and it seemed like the most economical option after reviewing my local prices (AUS).

User avatar
NZChris
Master Distiller
Posts: 8893
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:42 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by NZChris » Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:09 pm

Searching this site before you hit 'Buy now' can help you avoid making mistakes.

User avatar
Tummydoc
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 698
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:05 pm
Location: attack ship off the shoulder of Orion

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by Tummydoc » Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:30 am

Price looks reasonable. Its modular so you can easily modify as desired. I assume that's a shotgun product condenser in which case it will handle your output easily. In pot mode i think it will be faster with more flavor than your boka. Add some copper scrubbers to the riser. It doesnt look like it comes with packing for reflux so youll have to decide on that, lots of options. I run vapor management rather than coolant management so i dont know how reflux mode is going to compare to your boka in terms of speed or separation. But it will be a fun toy and a learning opportunity. Way better choice than some of the cheap Chinese pot stills.



User avatar
GCB3
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:06 pm
Location: Low Country

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by GCB3 » Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:55 am

Replace any silicone or plastic seals you can with teflon. Any you can't, wrap in teflon tape.

User avatar
Yummyrum
Global moderator
Posts: 3534
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:23 am
Location: Mid North Coast Aussie

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by Yummyrum » Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:58 am

Does it come with boiler too ? I’m confussed by that link .

If it does , its not a bad buy , If it doesn’t , I’d be crying

Edit: just realised its just the Column . .... no boiler .
I’d rather make a copper one for a whole lot less .

User avatar
Tummydoc
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 698
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:05 pm
Location: attack ship off the shoulder of Orion

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by Tummydoc » Tue Jul 07, 2020 5:23 am

They don't really list specifics like are the spools and shotgun 24 inch? Ali Express is much better at listing dimensions on products. I'm not sure you could save more than 100 dollars making it from copper by the time you add up the price of 2 inch pipe from the scrap yard, 8 stainless ferrules, 7 triclamps, harris 8 solder and a bottle of liquid flux, copper tubes and plates for the dephlagmator and shotgun. And then the headache of making the shotgun and dephlagmator. Seems like a reasonable choice premade.

User avatar
NineInchNails
Trainee
Posts: 879
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:12 am

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by NineInchNails » Tue Jul 07, 2020 5:50 am

Yeah building stills can be a lot of work, but it's fun if you're into fabrication and have basic tools. That looks like a decent basic pot still. I'd put just a couple rolls of copper wool in the lower portion of the pipe. I'd hunt for a keg if you don't have one already.

StillerBoy
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 2407
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:27 pm
Location: Ontario

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by StillerBoy » Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:02 am

For a CM style of unit is it on expensive side..

One can build a unit that will operate and be much more efficience that that unit..

But you already have a unit, that with a few modification, would make a very unit..

But a better question to ask would be, why am I chasing/wanting something else, is what I would be asking myself..

Learning to understand how a unit is suppose to work and learning how to operate it, would be a better way to go..

Buying something new without understanding for the fact of upgrading, does not make much sense..

Mars
" I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent. Curiosity, Obsession and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism, have brought me to my ideas "

– Albert Einstein

User avatar
gwizard
Novice
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed May 13, 2020 5:30 am
Location: AUS

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by gwizard » Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:41 am

To comment on prices, it all depends where in the world you are and what material you can source for how much. I'm in Australia, and price of copper is ridiculously high here. It's cheaper to buy SS than copper. I know. Our local manufacturers (pretty sure they source from China too) are quite more expensive then the unit I purchased. There is a question of quality, of course, especially around welds on those shotguns, but other then that those tubes are supposed to be mold cast so I took a gamble and decided they probably can't screw that up too much. Will see soon enough.

I do like to make things myself, but I work primarily with wood. Working with metal requires a somewhat different skill set and tools, which would make this so much more expensive. Just buying a set of decent quality hole saws set me back $130 and that was pretty cheap. I did source a couple of beer kegs, so I would be making the boiler myself (with help from a pro welder).

User avatar
Copperhead road
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 494
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:28 pm
Location: Brisvegas downunder OZ

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by Copperhead road » Wed Jul 08, 2020 4:25 am

That’s pretty expensive just for a stainless steel column, +1 on yummyrums suggestion about making a copper still.
Never mistake kindness for weakness....

erykroom
Novice
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat May 25, 2019 1:59 am

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by erykroom » Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:48 am

Bought from the same seller a 4” flute. The quality is good and the seller answered all my questions and found a reasonable shipping method during the height of corona crisis.

At least for me the price was reasonable and I wouldn’t have gotten anything better for the same money.

User avatar
NineInchNails
Trainee
Posts: 879
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:12 am

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by NineInchNails » Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:34 am

If you ever feel that you need to improve the condenser's performance, you can always drill out the ends of the stainless steel tubes, remove the tubes and silver solder copper pipe in there instead. You can also drill & install additional copper tubes to improve performance. That's a pretty easy task if you have enough room to do it depending on the diameter of the stainless tubes and hole placement.

User avatar
gwizard
Novice
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed May 13, 2020 5:30 am
Location: AUS

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by gwizard » Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:06 pm

erykroom wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:48 am
Bought from the same seller a 4” flute. The quality is good and the seller answered all my questions and found a reasonable shipping method during the height of corona crisis.
Thank you! I feel so much better now :D

User avatar
gwizard
Novice
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed May 13, 2020 5:30 am
Location: AUS

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by gwizard » Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:09 pm

NineInchNails wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:34 am
If you ever feel that you need to improve the condenser's performance, you can always drill out the ends of the stainless steel tubes, remove the tubes and silver solder copper pipe in there instead. You can also drill & install additional copper tubes to improve performance. That's a pretty easy task if you have enough room to do it depending on the diameter of the stainless tubes and hole placement.
Not a bad idea, but I would see its performance first. PC is 45cm length so I think should be plenty of power for a 2000w element (when stripping).

User avatar
Tummydoc
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 698
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:05 pm
Location: attack ship off the shoulder of Orion

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by Tummydoc » Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:13 pm

NineInchNails wrote:If you ever feel that you need to improve the condenser's performance, you can always drill out the ends of the stainless steel tubes, remove the tubes and silver solder copper pipe in there instead. You can also drill & install additional copper tubes to improve performance. That's a pretty easy task if you have enough room to do it depending on the diameter of the stainless tubes and hole placement.
Have you done this or theorizing? I'd be worried that replacing the vapor tubes with copper would cause a problem. The coefficient of expansion for copper and stainless are different. As the condenser heats, the copper wants to expand to a greater extent than stainless which would constantly stress your solder joints and over time risk a leak. I'm just theorizing so maybe its not significant. But i also doubt you would gain a significant cooling advantage with copper vapor tubes at a hobby scale.

User avatar
gwizard
Novice
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed May 13, 2020 5:30 am
Location: AUS

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by gwizard » Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:53 pm

To my surprise, UPS delivered one day early.
So here is some still porn :D

Assembled view.
About 1 meter high.
2020-07-09 15.25.45-1.jpg

Product Shotgun - 45cm
2020-07-09 15.27.11-1.jpg

Dephlegmenter - 20cm
2020-07-09 15.27.20-1.jpg

Cooling hoses and fittings
2020-07-09 15.27.48-1.jpg

Bottom of shotty - quality of welds is pretty good
2020-07-09 15.28.31-1.jpg

They sent so much extra gaskets
2020-07-09 15.30.40-1.jpg

Overall I am pleasantly surprised by the quality. I could see absolutely no difference between this and stuff I got from my local HBS. Packaging was also made really well, with multiple layers and each part packed separately. I'll do vinegar / SAC this weekend and test under real conditions, but so far so good. :D

User avatar
Yummyrum
Global moderator
Posts: 3534
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:23 am
Location: Mid North Coast Aussie

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by Yummyrum » Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:00 am

I’ve no doubt that condenser can handle 2kw . But IMO its a shit house design . They could have squeezed many more tubes in there . Too much water area , not enough vapour area .
But if it does the job required , who gives a shit :thumbup:

Now all you got to do is replace those silicone gaskets with teflon ones or at least wrap them in teflon tape .

User avatar
NineInchNails
Trainee
Posts: 879
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:12 am

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by NineInchNails » Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:34 am

Tummydoc wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:13 pm
NineInchNails wrote:If you ever feel that you need to improve the condenser's performance, you can always drill out the ends of the stainless steel tubes, remove the tubes and silver solder copper pipe in there instead. You can also drill & install additional copper tubes to improve performance. That's a pretty easy task if you have enough room to do it depending on the diameter of the stainless tubes and hole placement.
Have you done this or theorizing? I'd be worried that replacing the vapor tubes with copper would cause a problem. The coefficient of expansion for copper and stainless are different. As the condenser heats, the copper wants to expand to a greater extent than stainless which would constantly stress your solder joints and over time risk a leak. I'm just theorizing so maybe its not significant. But i also doubt you would gain a significant cooling advantage with copper vapor tubes at a hobby scale.
I recently built a shotgun condenser, a dephlegmator and the more tube = more surface area = more knock down power. That's why I said, "You can also drill & install additional copper tubes to improve performance".

It is quite common for stainless ferrules and stainless end caps to be used to make stills, condensers and components.

User avatar
gwizard
Novice
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed May 13, 2020 5:30 am
Location: AUS

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by gwizard » Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:29 am

Yummyrum wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:00 am
Now all you got to do is replace those silicone gaskets with teflon ones or at least wrap them in teflon tape .
Why is silicone bad? Almost all HBS sell silicone gaskets for brewing. I have used and still using silicone gaskets for distilling for quite some time now with no adverse effects. Food grade silicone has good alcohol and methanol resistance, according to Cole Palmer index.
https://www.coleparmer.com/Chemical-Resistance

I understand PTFE is better, but that doesn't mean that silicone is not good.

User avatar
Bushman
Global moderator
Posts: 15342
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:29 am
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by Bushman » Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:44 am

We have rule #8 for a reason, it is to protect all members. I realize that some still makers use some silicone gaskets. Like plastic there are a lot of different grades and types of silicone and a lot of them are not safe for distillation that is why we only promote PTFE.

User avatar
gwizard
Novice
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed May 13, 2020 5:30 am
Location: AUS

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by gwizard » Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:21 am

Bushman wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:44 am
We have rule #8 for a reason, it is to protect all members. I realize that some still makers use some silicone gaskets. Like plastic there are a lot of different grades and types of silicone and a lot of them are not safe for distillation that is why we only promote PTFE.
Fare enough.

I'm not promoting anything.
Its a personal choice, like anything else. Also, I may change my mind later on, as I research more and more.
What I will never accept is someone telling me to do something without any actual scientific proof.
I also accept that I may be wrong :D

StillerBoy
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 2407
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:27 pm
Location: Ontario

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by StillerBoy » Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:19 am

What does a shotty mean.. the PC or the RC..

Plus is the total length of the column below the dephlegmator /RC.. that where is important for purity level to be achieved..

Mars
" I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent. Curiosity, Obsession and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism, have brought me to my ideas "

– Albert Einstein

User avatar
NZChris
Master Distiller
Posts: 8893
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:42 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by NZChris » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:53 pm

gwizard wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:21 am
Bushman wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:44 am
We have rule #8 for a reason, it is to protect all members. I realize that some still makers use some silicone gaskets. Like plastic there are a lot of different grades and types of silicone and a lot of them are not safe for distillation that is why we only promote PTFE.
Fare enough.

I'm not promoting anything.
Its a personal choice, like anything else. Also, I may change my mind later on, as I research more and more.
What I will never accept is someone telling me to do something without any actual scientific proof.
I also accept that I may be wrong :D
Rather than follow forum rules or opinions on the net, I use data from the manufacturers of the materials that I'm hoping will fit my requirements. So far, the 'rules' on material safety on this forum haven't contradicted my own 'rules', that I had already made long before this forum existed.

Imad
Novice
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:25 am

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by Imad » Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:34 am

Imad wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:26 am
Hello all I hope you're having a great week, I want to talk your opinion in ordering the right still ( for making vodka and gin), I have contacted several suppliers from Alibaba(China) and they're sending me the info.

Please check the questions that I asked if they're correct, and if their more questions to ask about the still let me know.
I asked :


1.what is the specs along with the price for your still ( volume of the boiler, column diameter, and height)

2.can u add a gin basket for vapor infusion

3.whats the time it takes for boiler with different volume (30L, 50L, 100L) to evaporate all the wash .

4.how we can send you the money if we have a limited spending amount on online shopping



Also, I will send you a conversation I had with one supplier saying that his 50L still takes 2/3 hours to evaporate all the wash! which has made me suspicious, and another dealer told me his 30 L still takes 5/6 hours to evaporate all the wash!! I will send you photos of the each still please let me know what you think and what should I do.

Your help is much appreciated.
Screenshot_20200710_132501_com.android.chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20200710_132513_com.android.chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20200710_132714_com.android.chrome.jpg

User avatar
gwizard
Novice
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed May 13, 2020 5:30 am
Location: AUS

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by gwizard » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:04 am

Today was cleaning and trial run.

Soaked all metal parts in water/vinegar solution for 3h. Then rinsed.

Started with both elements (2400w) until column temp hit 50c. Then left only 1900w on. I wanted to see if it can cope with that power under reflux config. This was my first time operating a CM still. So some learning curve and fiddling with the needle valve, but half an hour later I got together and started getting product. Since this was feints run, I got unusual amounts of fractions, which is something I expected. Original alcohol that went in was 2L @ 90% and 2L @ 40%. Total amount diluted 15L @ 23%. Got about 300ml heads then temp dropped at which point I started getting hearts. I actually had to increase power back to 2400w, because even with the needle valve at min setting, it was still too damn powerful. I'll have a look later why water was still flowing when I closed it completely. It still running now, producing hearts. I'll give it 2 more hours and then if its still hearts call it quits.
2020-07-10 16.49.23-1.jpg
2020-07-10 16.49.36-1.jpg

Also, did an experiment with silicone gaskets.
Disclaimer: I'm not advocating anything or promoting anything, just reporting on an experiment that I did, without any agenda whatsoever.

I submerged a few in different solutions, just to see how they would react, and left them for 8h.

From left to right
Teflon in 90%, silicone in methanol, silicone in acetone, silicone in 90% abv
2020-07-10 16.51.27.jpg
I am happy to report that all of them survived exactly as they were before.
2020-07-10 16.51.57-1.jpg
2020-07-10 16.51.54-1.jpg
2020-07-10 16.51.51-1.jpg

Now, obviously this isn't a 100% test, since to do that I would need access to a chemistry lab. BUT, this is good enough for me.

User avatar
jonnys_spirit
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1387
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:58 am
Location: The Milky Way

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by jonnys_spirit » Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:51 am

------ SNIP ------
viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5090

8. These forums take a very strong negative view on the use of plastics and synthetics in distilling. It simply is not safe to use these during any part of the distillation process. HPDE buckets are acceptable for fermentation. There simply are too many types of plastics and a lack of reliable information for us to reliably advocate their use anywhere in the distillation apparatus. Also, from past posting history, this topic seems to quickly boil down into an almost religious flame war. Thus we simply will not put up with it, and posts about any form of plastic use will be edited, deleted or locked. There is a forum for proven info for or against any material (material/safety.)
------ SNIP ------

Thanks,
jonny
————
i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
————

User avatar
gwizard
Novice
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed May 13, 2020 5:30 am
Location: AUS

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by gwizard » Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:32 pm

I'm such a dumbass. Connected needle valve in reverse, so it still allowed water to go through. Explains why I couldn't control reflux temp properly during the run. There is a tiny mark on the side of the valve, with some really obscure sort of like arrow pointing the direction. They should really attach instructions to these things.

emptyglass
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1543
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:59 am
Location: Victoria, Australia.Usually the shed. Sometimes the cellar.

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by emptyglass » Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:09 am

gwizard wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:32 pm
They should really attach instructions to these things.
Couldn't have said it better myself
You design it, I make it. Copper and Stainless. Down under. PM me.

User avatar
Corsaire
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1085
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:20 pm
Location: Belgium

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by Corsaire » Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:12 am

gwizard wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:04 am
Teflon in 90%, silicone in methanol, silicone in acetone, silicone in 90% abv

...

I am happy to report that all of them survived exactly as they were before.

...

Now, obviously this isn't a 100% test, since to do that I would need access to a chemistry lab. BUT, this is good enough for me.
My thoughts on this: hot ethanol vapor may draw out more stuff.
Stuff can leach into your solution but be invisible.

I'm not a very smart person. I've no way of knowing if anything leaches into my product. But when teflon gaskets are cheap, and easily available, I'll definately err on the side of caution.

Back ot. Glad to see your still working. Glad you spotted your needle valve issue as well. How do those condensers look up close? No dodgy welds?

User avatar
gwizard
Novice
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed May 13, 2020 5:30 am
Location: AUS

Re: China made still - thoughts

Post by gwizard » Sat Jul 25, 2020 11:05 pm

Corsaire wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:12 am
How do those condensers look up close? No dodgy welds?
Yeah, they're not bad. Think I posted pics above.
Does the job and doesn't ask for food :D

Post Reply