A little re-torted

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

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MidnightThunder
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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:00 pm

More photos of the column, plate, condenser and all.
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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Sun Sep 13, 2020 12:05 pm

Here's a picture of the upgraded condenser. Instead of just a plain boring turbulator through the center of it, I opted to add a CSST-twist connected directly inline with the outer jacket, where cooling water passes through the inner twist first before entering the outer shell, then running up the hose to the reflux coil on top. The twist extends right half way up the inner tubes length. I think Devils' Fingers is an appropriate name for this beast. The water feed follows along the condenser back up to the column then down the boiler so I don't have any free hanging hose swinging around to get caught on, and to keep the hoses better hidden from sight. The plumbing for this also doubles to firmly hold the twist in place.
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Oldvine Zin
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Re: A little re-torted

Post by Oldvine Zin » Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:48 pm

I've been following your build and have to say that up until now it was very artful. That condenser "upgrade??" is not only ugly but i also doubt how well it will work.

Stay safe
OVZ

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by Tummydoc » Sun Sep 13, 2020 5:23 pm

OVZ, that condenser is like a hooker. It ain't pretty but it should get the job done!

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Sun Sep 13, 2020 5:48 pm

Oldvine Zin wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:48 pm
I've been following your build and have to say that up until now it was very artful. That condenser "upgrade??" is not only ugly but i also doubt how well it will work.

Stay safe
OVZ
Ouch, I'm kinda hurt oldman. But I appreciate your compliment before the insult 😁 I strive to make my builds look as pretty as possible, but at the end of the day, this is a functional piece of equipment, so function beats form when it gets down to decisions. I guess you don't like the Devils'Fingers then? Lol but where the build has to sacrifice some beauty, I do like to tidy up as much as I can, thus hard plumbing the cooling lines here and hiding them out of site. . . Maybe I'll make a larger cover out of copper sheet just for your sake then! But let me tell you, this condenser performs better than anything I'm sure most people have here, yourself included.
Tummydoc wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 5:23 pm
OVZ, that condenser is like a hooker. It ain't pretty but it should get the job done!
Hey Tummydoc is fully knocking down 9kw with barely a trickle of water JUST getting the job done? Cause I was beginning to think I was onto something here maybe! 0.o

On a test run with water, it knocked down all the vapor produced from both elements running full blast, and had such good heat exchanger that the water was steaming as it entered my sink.

This thing beat my expectations by a mile! It will be my stripper, not hooker. ;)

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:07 pm

Ahhh I've got it now old one, maybe it was just the lighting. Here she is when the lights dim down a bit
20200913_205938.jpg
She really takes on a whole different look at night. And that's while she is pissing ;)

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by Tummydoc » Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:57 pm

Looks better when the lights dim, yup I'm sticking with "the hooker". A stripper would look more attractive, even with the lights up a bit!

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by Yummyrum » Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:32 pm

MT , please tell me you are only doing a cleaning run there . I see plastic funnels and collection vessels.
Not allowed on HD forum for contact with drinkable stuff .

Edit : I missed the silicone gasket .
Three good reasons to not drink your stuff so far .

Please consider ways to sort this out .Such as wrapping the gaskets in teflon tape, using a copper or stainless funnel and switching to a Stainless or glass collection vessel ... or copper .

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:32 am

Yummyrum, yes this is still just being cleaned and tested with vinegar and water runs so far. For actual runs with liquor, I will collect straight into glass collecting jars. I do like the idea of a copper funnel though on top of my glass carboy so I may give it a try making one.

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:41 am

Also I will probably switch over to all ptfe gaskets now that I've had so many recs for them. I've been distilling for 10+ years and never realized silicone was so frowned upon here on the site, but then again I've also only ever had one small little 2" gasket at the bottom of my previous 2" copper column so I guess it flew by unnoticed. I have bought and used a few ptfe tri clamp gaskets before but had issues with them leaking so I moved away from their use, but since most joints in this column will stay assembled permanently, I think I will buy enough to assemble all connections with them and just crank the shit out of my clamps during setup. Still might toy with copper crush gaskets too for the areas that will seldom ever be disconnected. Thanks for the safety concerns.

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:19 am

20200913_205036.jpg
Here's a pic from the water test run, with the condenser running in pot mode, while producing 3 gallons an hour of water. This should equate to a few more gallons an hour in alcohol during an actual strip run, which is why I'll name her Candy. She puts out. Anybody able to clue me in on how much alcohol vapor oughta be produced by 9Kw of heat so I can account for how long my run may be?

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by Oldvine Zin » Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:02 pm

MidnightThunder wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:07 pm
Ahhh I've got it now old one, maybe it was just the lighting. Here she is when the lights dim down a bit


She really takes on a whole different look at night. And that's while she is pissing ;)
OK I'm impressed with how she knocks down the vapors :thumbup: I guess that I was wrong :crazy: about how she would perform, but I still think that she needs an outfit to cover those ugly legs :)

Stay safe
OVZ

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:05 pm

I may do just that, after I have confirmed it all works well in an actual run and I'm pleased enough to not make any modifications. I'm sure I could put my roll of copper to work covering up some areas. But for now it's just more cleaning and test runs until my buckets have fermented dry.

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:53 pm

Here's a size of the stream of water it's condensing at 9Kw using about 1gal/min heating the cooling water to 140° from about 60°
0_0
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I can barely wait for my first actual stripping run with this!

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by Oldvine Zin » Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:01 pm

:thumbup: :thumbup:
OVZ

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:50 pm

Reflux coil
20200914_235839.jpg

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by Chauncey » Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:25 pm

Thats a helluva coil bud
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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:39 pm

Chauncey wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:25 pm
Thats a helluva coil bud
Thanks, just finished it by wrapping it in copper scrubbers to disrupt the vapor and give more contact area to condense on. Still like it?
20200916_223731.jpg
At 9kw before, some water vapor would make it past. Hopefully this mesh slows down the vapors and uses coppers thermal conductivity to provide a larger cooling area

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:41 pm

I should be getting my 18" long trip clamp pipe, to give me 24" of packable area, including my other sight glass to view the top of the packing for flooding. Then I will just have to make more CHP to fill the extra height to have a full 4" VM still for neutrals. More updates to come

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:32 am

Got it all reassembled after adding the copper to the coil and polishing the Devil's fingers condenser. Gotta say if this thing produces half as well as it looks, I'll be in for a treat.
20200917_131930.jpg

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Tue Sep 22, 2020 2:05 pm

Got the 18" section and assembled it all together. Fits under the joists. 😁 Should pump out azeo at 2-3 gallons an hour.
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Re: A little re-torted

Post by NineInchNails » Tue Sep 22, 2020 3:06 pm

What's CHP packing? I don't think I've ever heard of that. That's going to be a monster. Look at that big ass gate valve.

I have an idea for you. I like to make these centering collars because they don't appear to restrict vapor flow. I put one of these on the top of my sight glasses so I can consolidate the reflux to the center so I can get a much better idea of the flow and ethanol doesn't run down the sides of the glass. This design works really good too. It focuses everything right down the center. That's just a Still Dragon Plate Gasket.
Centering Collar.jpg
Personally, I like to split my cooling water line to both condensers then have separate return lines. That way I can control each condenser's water flow. For instance my shotgun condenser doesn't need as much flow as my reflux coil does. I just feel the water that comes out and adjust the flow accordingly. It may not be a big deal, but just something I like to do.
Last edited by NineInchNails on Tue Sep 22, 2020 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by still_stirrin » Tue Sep 22, 2020 3:18 pm

MidnightThunder wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 2:05 pm
....Should pump out azeo at 2-3 gallons an hour.20200922_175537.jpg
With that boiler? If you get 2 to 2-1/2 gallons of azeotropic out if it at all....you’ll be lucky.

12 gallons of 30%ABV low wines only holds 3.6 gallons of alcohol. And after heads and tails, the hearts cut may be 2 to 2-1/2 gallons at best, most likely less, even if the collected proof is high. Not all high proof alcohol is high purity alcohol.

And if you try to run it at 2 to 3 gallons per hour, you’re likely running with a “compromised reflux ratio”.

Perhaps a larger boiler could sustain that kind of production rate at the targeted reflux ratio, but don’t forget you’ll be pushing a lot of vapor into the column which will hold up throughput at higher reflux ratios.

We’ll see if the thing actually runs like you “think” it will.
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Re: A little re-torted

Post by Yummyrum » Wed Sep 23, 2020 1:58 am

NineInchNails wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 3:06 pm
What's CHP packing? I don't think I've ever heard of that.
Copper Helical Packing
Its something Midnight Thumper tried
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=62743#p7426703

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by zapata » Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:49 am

MidnightThunder wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:19 am
Anybody able to clue me in on how much alcohol vapor oughta be produced by 9Kw of heat so I can account for how long my run may be?
In theory 9 kw can produce 47.7 liters of pure ethanol an hour. (rule of thumb, 1kw = 5.3 liters ethanol, 1.6 liters of water, or the relevant proportion based on the output concentration) In practice, not really because:

1. Reflux ratio, of course.
2. Thermal efficiency. You were making 3 gallons an hour of water? That's... 11.35 liters. 9 kw can vaporize 14.4 liters an hour. You're losing 25% of your power, mostly sacrificed to an opposition to insulation, but, your call.
3. Height. Sorry, I just don't see you making any azeo at all. I'd guess you're a good 5-10 feet too short. Has anybody even made SPP hit azeo from a 4" pipe that short? I've been a bit out of the loop, maybe they have. Last I was looking nobody had, one reason I've stayed with skinnier pipe.
4. Eventually, after you up the column height and fix the short ceiling problem, boiler capacity. You gotta have enough alcohol to load the column and still have some in the boiler. Depleting the boiler through hearts just demands even more theoretical plates from the column.

It's gonna piss, no doubt. But I'll take a shot if it pisses over 94%, if you hit 95% I'll take two :lol: Based on some very scientific hand waving, I'm gonna guess at 9kw you'll see about 11 liters of 92% abv an hour... interesting that's pretty close to your full throttle water output, but that's just a coincidence. You gonna have that much etoh in the boiler, or is she gonna be a quickies only kinda lady?

Also... I was gonna quote it, but I'm lazy. You said something about replacing seals with ptfe because they will stay connected. IME that doesn't really work reliably. PTFE creeps and often needs snugging up after heat cycles. PTFE is the law around here, so yeah, that is what it is. But that is a drawback which doesn't get a lot of attention, and could lead to leaks more dangerous than a fear of platinum cured silicone. Per party platform, I'm not defending silicone, just pointing out something you should keep an eye on when you make the switch. Snug 'em up each run.

I like your still. I like your DIY creativity. I just think you're about to join the fraternity with holes in ceilings, boilers living in a hole in the floor, or reduced expectations. I would love to be proven wrong though, so make that packing and let us know.

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by NineInchNails » Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:59 am

IF you ever feel that you need a bigger boiler, considering the height of your current boiler, you could get an appropriate size stainless steel drum and modify it to be a bigger boiler. Just turn the drum on its side and it shouldn't increase the overall height of your still. In fact it might even make it shorter while increasing the volume. A 55 gal SS drum is about 23" in diameter so that would give you an idea of size. That is what I would do if I was limited on height, but needed more volume.

I know a local guy who welds race car frames among other stuff, does a really good job and doesn't charge much. You may have someone near by too. I'd visit or call your local welding supply store and they should know of someone who TIG welds.

I installed four swivel casters on all of my boilers. Even my fermenters sit on a 2x4 frame that has four swivel casters. I would certainly put casters on a drum boiler or a wood frame with casters. That is unless you don't want it to be able to move. I move my stuff around a lot.

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by Durhommer » Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:18 am

Have you named it yet? I vote for rosie from the jetsons
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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Wed Sep 23, 2020 1:43 pm

Hey all,

Thanks for the numbers and figures above. I've been away from the hobby for a couple years while work kept me too busy and obviously forgot about all the losses relevant to getting the highest quality from any given still. As such, after the first sacrificial alcohol run, I have revised my expectations a bit as to what I may yield in full operation with a 15 gal charge of spirits at 40%. I see that I would probably be lucky to pull off more than a gallon an hour while maintaining the highest purity from this still. My packing gave me good results in the 2" model so it will be interesting to see if it performs sub-optimally to my expectations here. I was thinking that getting this packing near flooding from 9kw would give similarly reported performance of SPP yielding high purity from short columns. Anyways, I figure it will only add more info on the subject of high density column packings in large diameter columns. That said, a part of why I have been away from the hobby was also because I found running the 2" too time consuming for it's output rate. So if this is only proportionally faster at producing, it should supply as much neutral as I could put to use.

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Re: A little re-torted

Post by MidnightThunder » Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:38 am

While running my still with another cleaning run through the 8" of CHP I have made up for the column in a sight glass, at 9kw the packing really loaded up with liquid and looked like a bubbling tower. Anybody familiar with such hi power levels on a 4" column like this.

Just as an aside, with 1/2 gallon of alcohol in a total 5 gallon boiler fill, with only one plate and 8" of packing, the max takeoff rate was 200mL/45sec or 4gal/hr of 80% ethanol. I slowed down and pulled some product at 90% probably closer to 1.5 gal/hr. This should carry some very light flavors through I'm hoping for a barely there rum scent in an otherwise neutral spirit. I guess azeo isn't really the goal on this so much as a nice clean drink. Doesn't have to be the purest but one that will certainly be free from hangovers.
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