First build - 2" Modular CCVM

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Maple_One
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First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Maple_One » Sat Jun 13, 2020 4:25 pm

A few months ago I came upon the site and started reading. I have no distilling experience and learn more and more every time I stroll through the threads. My still is not unique, but I tried to build one that provided me with flexibility to make flavored spirits and neutrals. One that gave me the opportunity to build as much as possible myself and also change and improve it as I learned more about this craft. I see a lot of great finished still pictures uploaded, but thought I'd share some of my experiences based on my build. Everything about my build has been covered somewhere in the site so I'll give credit to all those posting for my results and thanks so much for sharing. I think its nice for those new to the craft to see they can do it, and its nice for the more experienced to see their recommendations taken seriously and applied. Don't want to bore anyone with TMI, but happy to share more detail on any part of the build.

So I started the still experimenting with 1/4" coil winding for my Graham condenser. I couldn't wait to try it. It seems so cool and after reading DAD300's comments on VM, I wanted to try it out. I tried coiling empty, with water and crushed ends, but settled on salt as the best option. I saw a few comments/questions about how to get the salt into the coil. I filled an 8oz water bottle 1/2 way with salt, drilled a 1/4" hole in the cap, attached a 1" clear tube crimped to the bottom, hung it from the second floor and it filled easily like sand through an hour glass.
01-salt.jpg
You can see the top of the coil in the bottle and the salt went right in, no problem.
02-salt.jpg
Next step was a simple jig to help me wind it. 1/2" tube, (2) 3/4" sleeves screwed down through some spacer blocks. A couple screws on the body of the tube to hold the 1/4" in place once i started turning and the screwdriver to make turning easy.
04a-coil.jpg
As noted elsewhere on the site, I connected the coil to an outdoor hose with an adapter and 20 minutes later water was jetting out the other end. It worked out pretty well.
04-coil.jpg
Next was the Liebig. 1/2" with copper wire wrap for turbulence inside of 3/4". Jacket is 32" long.
05a-liebig.jpg
Tacked the wire wrap at the top, middle and bottom. Hard to see but they held the wire perfectly.
05-liebig.jpg
Part II coming.....

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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Maple_One » Sat Jun 13, 2020 4:44 pm

Part II:
Next was soldering the 2" column with copper to SS ferrules. I did a 22" first section and a 16" second section. I have done some soldering in my life, but not with liquid flux and not with the technique I read about on the site. I started with my bench vice with a 1" socket facing up to keep the piece from sliding off if bumped. I cleaned the SS ferrule very well with steel wool and emery cloth. Cleaned and then placed over the socket. I applied a light coating of Stay-clean and then placed a ring of 1/8" silver solder on that. Another light coat of Stay-clean. Finally, applied Stay-clean to the cleaned 2" copper pipe and placed that on top of the silver solder. You can see I used a basic propane tank and it worked great. Heated the copper pipe (not the joint) until the Stay-clean bubbled, then some quick moves underneath/inside the the SS and then back to the pipe until the solder melted and the pipe seated itself down on the ferrule.
07-ferrule.jpg
I might look to a thinner silver solder next time as I ended up needing to brush the silver solder away from the edge of the ferrule as it kept the tri-clamps from attaching the way they should. Just too much excess silver solder.
08-ferrule.jpg
09-ferrule.jpg
Next up was my parrot (design copied from online) with some minor changes made later.
10-parrot.jpg
11-parrot.jpg
Part III coming:
Last edited by Maple_One on Sun Jun 14, 2020 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Chauncey
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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Chauncey » Sat Jun 13, 2020 4:52 pm

Looks good man. Nice work on the coil
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Maple_One
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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Maple_One » Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:04 pm

Part III

I purchased the milk can, glass sight, tri-clamps but fabricated the rest of it myself.

CCVM with copper packing.
13-ccvm.jpg
Coil, T, Liebig connection. I ended up placing some copper packing in the center of the coil, but it works great.
13-top.jpg
Modified to a Pot design
15-pot.JPG
Final Parrot
16-parrot.jpg
Please excuse the thermometers on the can and product output. I am listening, smelling and tasting intently. I may end up placing the sight glass and coil under the T (because I would like to see the reflux and no flooding) and adding a six inch section above the T for the coil to sit at when taking off product.

Finished my cleaning runs and my sacrificial run. I just started a UJSSM and will see how that goes.

So that's where I am at so far and thanks again everyone for sharing...

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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by kimbodious » Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:19 pm

wow, great build skills! Yes you’ll get useful visual clues with a sightglass below the offtake.
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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Saltbush Bill » Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:53 pm

Nice work Maple :thumbup: its so much better to build than buy in my opinion. You have a still there now that you can be proud of for many years to come. The best bit is that you know now exactly what you have and how it works, and can modify it any time you like if you want.
Also a helpful post for anyone else wishing to learn about building.

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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Twisted Brick » Sat Jun 13, 2020 7:22 pm

Maple_One wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:04 pm

I might look to a thinner silver solder next time as I ended up needing to brush the silver solder away from the edge of the ferrule as it kept the tri-clamps from attaching the way they should. Just too much excess silver solder.
I had to special order it, but Harris makes a 3/32" 6% silver solder that Corene1 recommended and is a joy to use.

Great-looking build.

Twisted Brick
Last edited by Twisted Brick on Sat Jun 13, 2020 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by OtisT » Sat Jun 13, 2020 7:28 pm

Nice work. Thanks for sharing the build. Otis
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Maple_One
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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Maple_One » Sun Jun 14, 2020 1:49 pm

kimbodious wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:19 pm
wow, great build skills! Yes you’ll get useful visual clues with a sightglass below the offtake.
Thanks Kimbodious, We'll see how it goes....
14-top.jpeg
Last edited by Maple_One on Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Maple_One » Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:01 pm

Twisted Brick wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 7:22 pm
Maple_One wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:04 pm

I might look to a thinner silver solder next time as I ended up needing to brush the silver solder away from the edge of the ferrule as it kept the tri-clamps from attaching the way they should. Just too much excess silver solder.
I had to special order it, but Harris makes a 3/32" 6% silver solder that Corene1 recommended and is a joy to use.

Great-looking build.

Twisted Brick
Thanks Twisted! Found it online. Will give it a shot as my builds continue.

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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Maple_One » Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:04 pm

Saltbush Bill wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:53 pm
Nice work Maple :thumbup: its so much better to build than buy in my opinion. You have a still there now that you can be proud of for many years to come. The best bit is that you know now exactly what you have and how it works, and can modify it any time you like if you want.
Also a helpful post for anyone else wishing to learn about building.
Thanks Saltbush, much appreciated.

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Twisted Brick
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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Twisted Brick » Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:46 pm

Another approach is to flatten a length of your existing solder with a hammer, which makes it easier to apply in small amounts. Some guys even cut the flattened solder down the middle to make it even smaller.

I don't make a ring, rather I heat the pipe all around until its hot enough for solder to flow. Then, just a touch and the solder forms a ring between the pipe and the ferrule in about half a second (or thereabouts!)
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Maple_One
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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Maple_One » Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:58 pm

Twisted Brick wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:46 pm
Another approach is to flatten a length of your existing solder with a hammer, which makes it easier to apply in small amounts. Some guys even cut the flattened solder down the middle to make it even smaller.

I don't make a ring, rather I heat the pipe all around until its hot enough for solder to flow. Then, just a touch and the solder forms a ring between the pipe and the ferrule in about half a second (or thereabouts!)
Funny, this morning I hammered the 1/8" out a bit for the small 6" copper section I added when I moved the coil under the T. I should have tried soldering it normally without the ring, if for no other reason than to compare the two techniques.

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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by kimbodious » Sun Jun 14, 2020 5:48 pm

Weave some potscrubbers in and around your RC coil to ensure full contact with the walls of your column.

You will have your RC coil above the offtake Tee won’t you?
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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Maple_One » Sun Jun 14, 2020 8:00 pm

I have copper packing in the center of the the coil now, didn’t think i’d need it on the outside of the coil. That will be pretty tight going down past the T to run reflux and pulling it back up during takeoff. I’ll have to keep an eye on it.

Yes, I’ll pull the coil back up past the T when taking product off. That’s why I added the extra six inches at the top, so the RC was still in the column when pulled up.

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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by kimbodious » Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:18 pm

You’ll only need the base of the RC coil to reach the bottom of the offtake opening or maybe half an inch to an inch lower. It won’t need to extend down in to the sightglass area.
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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Maple_One » Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:03 am

Understood. Wanted to see the coil in the sight glass during reflux...... :D

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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by kimbodious » Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:34 pm

Maple_One wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:03 am
Understood. Wanted to see the coil in the sight glass during reflux...... :D
I can understand that :D The best solution is another sightglass for above the offtake as well :lol: !

What you will get to see with the current set up is the condensate raining down, that never gets old. You’ll probably get to look up to see the bottom end of the RC in total reflux.

If you’re quick you’ll get to see the sightglass fog when the vapour initially reaches it, that is cool too. But what gets the heart really racing is looking up to see a quickly rising pool of condensate :esurprised: things can go from fine to flooded really quickly.
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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Maple_One » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:54 am

What a pleasure to see my still operate as expected! I had a UJSSM and a BW fermenting over the past week or so and ran them both over the weekend.

Ran the BW first on reflux. Really cool to see what I have read actually take place. RC down past the take off. Great looking reflux for 45 minutes, Brought the RC up just past the take off and started to see the foreshots start to come off. Temperature didn't need much adjustment and didn't fluctuate wildly like on my less experienced cleaning runs. Could pick up on the changes and had a good run. Had a chance to experiment with RC height and the results of the moves all made sense. Quick temperature jump and I was done. Made sense as I had taken off the amount calculated.

Next day I rinsed the still and did a stripping run of the UJSSM after removing the top section of 2" and the RC. Loosely capped the top and ran the Liebig only. Was able to get a nice consistent flow and checked out the impact subtle gas changes make.

Had a good time and now need to work on improving my product flavor. Was surprised my BW had a detectable "organic" flavor closer to whiskey than a neutral. Going to rerun it with my next BW and see if it persists. If so, will try a double or triple distill, but again, thought it would be very neutral in flavor. Maybe just needs a few runs to season the still..... and read more.....

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Saltbush Bill
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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Saltbush Bill » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:37 pm

Good to see you having some success Maple :thumbup: :thumbup:

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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by StillerBoy » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:53 pm

Maple_One wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:54 am
Was surprised my BW had a detectable "organic" flavor closer to whiskey than a neutral. Going to rerun it with my next BW and see if it persists.
It is expect on the first run, that's why is called the stripping run.. the second run, the spirit run, with tighter take off rate and cuts, it will greatly reduce the flavor of the BW.. and a third run will improve it even more..

Also that why it's called neutral and not vodka, as there is always an small element of flavor even refluxed at 95%.. and that why one can experience the different sugar wash available in the T & T section, as each one will give you a different flavor..

Mars

PS.. nice work on your column built..
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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Maple_One » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:31 pm

Mars, Thanks for the feedback and kind words on the build.

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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by kimbodious » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:30 pm

Congratulations on the successful runs!
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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by mangolia » Sun Sep 27, 2020 1:08 pm

Hey Maple! Great build and walk through. I’m currently working on a similar build. Did you use type L copper and if so where did you source the ferrules?

I ordered some dernord ones from Amazon but the 2 in ones are just a hair too big and don’t slot into pipe I bought :(

So I could file them all down..... but curious if where you sourced yours so maybe I dont have to. 😁

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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by NineInchNails » Mon Sep 28, 2020 6:18 am

Perfect job on that coil and good job soldering those SS ferrules to the copper. I had issues with a shotgun condenser build and replaced my SS ferrules with copper ferrules.

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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by kimbodious » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:12 pm

Maple_One wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:54 am
Had a good time and now need to work on improving my product flavor. Was surprised my BW had a detectable "organic" flavor
Two things you can try. First would be to do your reflux runs with low wines not wash. The other thing to try and I recommend is the Googe’s Goo kale wash recipe. I never went back to BW after trying the kale recipe.

I didn’t see any mention of making cuts in the spirit run. Waiting a couple of days before choosing which jars to include in your final blend will help you get the best possible product from that run

In saying that I don’t believe mere mortals will ever achieve flavour free neutral, there will always be some flavour.
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Re: First build - 2" Modular CCVM

Post by Demy » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:24 pm

Beautiful creation, congratulations and beautiful garden!

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