Berserk's 3x3" bubble plate build

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Berserk
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Berserk's 3x3" bubble plate build

Post by Berserk » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:11 pm

Hey there,

This build has been in the works for some time. I picked up a meter of 3" on the cheap a few years ago, and finally got around to buying some fittings.
I intended to make it a 4-plater at first, but somewhere between the UK and Scandinavia one of the 3" tri clamp kits fell off the truck so I only had enough for 3 plates.

Once I got the fittings I quickly ran into the somewhat common problem of my 3" pipe having the exact same ID and OD as the trip clamp ferrule. I found some solutions here on the forums that I tried:
* Anneal the pipe and flare it a bit, grind a bevel into the ferrule and stick it in the freezer then bash that sumbitch right into the pipe - Nope. I managed to flare the pipe, but it would budge when I tried to wack the ferrule in there.
* Use a muffler/exhaust expander to widen the pipe after annealing - Nope. My 100% forged steel cast Chinesium expanders broke on the first try. I didn't even use power tools, just hand tools.

So I had to improvise. I opted to use some 0.5mm copper sheet I had lying around as some sort of sleeve or girdle around the pipe and ferrule which was sat butt to butt. This worked out surprisingly well, but looks pretty shit. I'm not proud of the soldering, but it doesn't leak.
20210223_174655.jpg
20210223_174714.jpg

Worthy to note is that I live in a small apartment and don't have a huge workshop. I've got some power tools but no vices, drill presses or similar tools. The hole I holesawed got slighty too big, so I had some gaps that needed to be filled. More copper sheet to the rescue!

I'm making my own bubble caps, it's 22mm pipe cut and soldered to caps. I'm using... reinforcement thingies for compression fittings as risers, since they have a neat little rim build in already. They're 16mm OD. The downcomer is a 22mm pipe with a sleeve and a 28mm cap as cup.

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So far I've made one module, so I need to make another one and another two plates. I'm very excited to try it out once it's finished. I've got both a CM head and a CCVM head, it will be interesting to test them both on the plates and see which one I prefer.
Cheers,
Berserk

Modular 30 liter keg with 2.4kW heating element, 51mm/2" 1.2m lava rock with CM and CCVM heads.

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Deplorable
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Re: Berserk's 3x3" bubble plate build

Post by Deplorable » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:27 pm

That solder may be unsightly, but it's nothing you can't clean up with a file and some time. Nice work. I'm sure each peice will get progressively better looking.
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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Twisted Brick
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Re: Berserk's 3x3" bubble plate build

Post by Twisted Brick » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:10 pm

Nice work, Berserk. Yours shows the ingenuity every stiller seems to draw on one time or another during a build. Putting an advanced piece of equipment together with minimal tools also shows the patience that should certainly carry over into your spirits.

Twisted
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Yummyrum
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Re: Berserk's 3x3" bubble plate build

Post by Yummyrum » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:54 pm

Looking good Berserk .
The prettiest copper stills made have runs and dribbles of solder after soldering . A few minutes on each joint with a file and some sand paper and the roughest soldering job will look like a pro job .

I like your copper coupling work a round .

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Demy
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Re: Berserk's 3x3" bubble plate build

Post by Demy » Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:13 pm

Continue this way, I don't see anything wrong with what you do, I too often build with few resources! I also like people who build things ....

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30xs
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Re: Berserk's 3x3" bubble plate build

Post by 30xs » Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:43 pm

I getting to where I like the rugged look of the solder warts. I don’t file near as much as I used to.

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Berserk
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Re: Berserk's 3x3" bubble plate build

Post by Berserk » Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:40 pm

Thanks for the nice words guys, it's really appreciated. And for the good tips, I'll go over it with a file and sandpaper and see how it turns out!

I've always been a tinkerer and one of my favorite things with this hobby is the possibility for constant upgrades. I probably spend >50% of my hobby time building and manufacturing new parts for my still. It's just such a great feeling when testing a new part and it actually works.

Reading the build threads on here delivers a never ending stream of new things to build too. Even though I only run 2400W in the boiler I'm definitely going to build a shotgun at some point just because they seem fun and intricate to build. A whiskey helmet/onion also looks slick, and I already have a copper bowl and copper cone lying around from an earlier project that could be utilized.

But first, this bubble plate column!

Here's a closer look at the bubble cap and riser, in case someone was interested in the inner workings of it. Quite standard stuff.
You can clearly see the lip on the riser that keep it locked in the plate. It's very practical.
20210224_160956_resize.jpg
I can't seem to figure out what the part the riser is made out of is called in english. It's a small copper thingy that braces/reinforces the insides of pipes that are to be fitted with compression fittings.
Cheers,
Berserk

Modular 30 liter keg with 2.4kW heating element, 51mm/2" 1.2m lava rock with CM and CCVM heads.

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