my still, my condenser, my sealant

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still_in
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my still, my condenser, my sealant

Post by still_in » Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:37 pm

Hi all

I finally got around to taking some photos of my set up.

The column is pretty standard I think. I made it modular so that I can (eventually) make an offset-head reflux condenser. The tri-clamp to NPT adapter is very useful as it has a screen which will hold in packing nicely.

The "lyne arm" is very long because it reaches from my natural gas stove to my sink. I used to have a worm in bucket condenser but yesterday I made a new graham condenser. With the new condenser I could have a shorter lyne arm but I will keep it long because its safer to have the distillate coming out into a vessel thats in the sink.

As for the condenser, I was planning on using copper piping to put it together but when I was in the store I realized I could achieve the same effect for less than half the cost and labour by using PVC piping. It doesn't look pretty, I admit, but it gets the job done. I have 11 coils wound on 1/4" tubing inside the pipe. Condenses no problem the PVC barely even gets warm. I didn't even have to use any sealant as the two caps fit so snug that no water gets out.

Finally I wanted to mention the green goop on the condenser. Also doesn't look very pretty. It is, however, an amazingly useful sealant for stuff that doesnt come into contact with alcohol. Its made of 50% sticky-tack (blue) and 50% plasticine (green). Its much sticker than either of the two on their own and resists water and high temperature better as well. The seal on the top where the 1/4" tubing comes into the condenser gets a bit gooey on a run but is otherwise fine. For someone on a very limited budget and with limited hardware skillz this is amazing time saving stuff.

Also just a word of thanks to everyone on this forum - I would be in the dark if it werent for all your experience and discussions. :ebiggrin:
general set up
general set up
top of colum and lyne arm
top of colum and lyne arm
my sealant
my sealant
my new condenser
my new condenser
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cornwhiskey
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Re: my still, my condenser, my sealant

Post by cornwhiskey » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:07 am

Have you considered making a large condenser? Yours looks like it's about 1/4" or smaller. The plastic liebig is a cool idea, I guest it doesn't matter as it won't ever be touching any of the distillate.

Hawke
Distiller
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Re: my still, my condenser, my sealant

Post by Hawke » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:54 am

Yes, it's 1/4".
If it was mine, I would move up to 1/2" minimum. It would cut run times by about 6x.
Instead of a vertical 1/4" grahm, I'd run a 1/2" Liebeg at about 20* angle.
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

still_in
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Re: my still, my condenser, my sealant

Post by still_in » Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:30 am

Hi Hawke and Cornwhiskey

I originally had a 1/2" worm in a bucket but i switch down to this size to fit into the compact graham idea. i was a bit worried that the size would cause either blockage or just a general slow down. but on the strip and spirit runs i've tried with it so far its not any slower than my previous set up (the only thing i have to compare to) 20L spirit run takes about 5 hours all told and 44L strip run (corn whisky) takes about 5 hours also.

do you think if I switched to a 1/2" Liebeg I'd get faster production? Also I'm worried about a Liebeg not having enough condensing power... is that crazy of me? I do know that my dozen coils are overkill - only the top inch of the condenser gets warm.
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Nightforce
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Re: my still, my condenser, my sealant

Post by Nightforce » Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:29 pm

I'd switch that goop out with JB Weld, JB Quik, or JB Stick...or other epoxy based product. Still pretty cheap at ~$5 for most epoxy resins.

As far as the power of a liebig. I'm running a 1/2"×24" with a turbulator, and I've run at 6L an hour rate without problems.

xx7777xx
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Re: my still, my condenser, my sealant

Post by xx7777xx » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:17 pm

Looks like a usable rig to me. I'd be intereted to hear about what kind of results you are getting from it, and how hard you can push during a stripping run with your condenser setup.

I'm also interested in how you made your keg connection. My guess from the picture is that you have a 2" male threaded SS ferrule attached to the keg with a tri-clamp, and a female threaded copped fitting on the base of your column? A couple of close up pictures would be great as that might be a great alternative for new joiners who don't have ready access to braising equipment.

-x7
Good spirits are like the weather, some like it clear and some like cloudy...

still_in
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Re: my still, my condenser, my sealant

Post by still_in » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:40 am

hi xx7777xx

definitely usable! i can only compare to my first still which was a 19L ss pot with a 3/8" tubing coming straight out of a whole in the lid and into a worm in a bucket. my keg still runs a little bit faster and about 3-5% more abv also.

this set up was made to be as simple as possible but also to be able to be adapted into a reflux still of some kind in the future. so far results are just fine for me. it takes about 4-5 hours to strip a 45L wash of 10% whisky or rum. i don't know how much power im using because im on a natural gas stove. strip runs have two burners going full blast the whole time. spirit runs i turn the burners down to a simmer.
my keg connection
my keg connection
you are correct about the keg connection. i had no desire to get into brazing or ss soldering or any of that. i had a steep enough learning curve with the copper soldering (though I did enjoy it in the end). i got the SS fitting from Ian Smiley. very handy.
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still_in
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Re: my still, my condenser, my sealant

Post by still_in » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:42 am

still_in wrote:i don't know how much power im using because im on a natural gas stove.
i do know that my gas bill HAS gone up considerably!
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blanikdog
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Re: my still, my condenser, my sealant

Post by blanikdog » Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:26 pm

[quote="still_in"]definitely usable! i can only compare to my first still which was a 19L ss pot with a 3/8" tubing coming straight out of a whole in the lid and into a worm in a bucket. [quote]


Exactly what I had to begin with. :) It worked for years until one day I decided to change to a two inch tapering to 5/8 inch lyne arm and a 5/8 inch coil in a bucket condenser. Cut my stilling time to buggery and uses less gas from my intuition. I say intuition as I have never recorded gas usage or distilling time.

blanik
Simple potstiller. Slow, single run.
(50 litre, propane heated pot still. Coil in bucket condenser - No thermometer, No carbon)
The Reading Lounge AND the Rules We Live By should be compulsory reading

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still_in
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Re: my still, my condenser, my sealant

Post by still_in » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:39 pm

blanik, 5/8 coil increases your speed without compromising quality at all?
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blanikdog
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Re: my still, my condenser, my sealant

Post by blanikdog » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:36 pm

Made no difference at all, still_in except for speed. However I only do single runs and run so that I get an outflow of about the size of a pencil lead.

blanik
Simple potstiller. Slow, single run.
(50 litre, propane heated pot still. Coil in bucket condenser - No thermometer, No carbon)
The Reading Lounge AND the Rules We Live By should be compulsory reading

Cumudgeon and loving it.

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