Brutal's inner tube condenser

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Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby Brutal » Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:37 pm

I finally finished and tested a "new" condenser design that has been in my head forever. Hobby time has been scarce over the last year.. Short story here: I built a double wall condenser with a cool design that is uncommon but surely not the first. Long story below. Pics in post #2.

The following is from a draft I last updated in March 2015. I was very inspired at the time but it took me forever to let the rubber hit the road.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"I want to build a nice looking, powerful condenser.

Things I do not want:
I don't want it to be 3+ feet long.

I do not want it to have to be run vertical. I would love the ability to run it at close to horizontal angles too.

I want to eliminate round hollow tubes for the vapor to pass through. Round hollow tubes allow vapor to center itself and extend down the tube and then collapse causing the huffing effect we have all seen.

I do not want to run copper or SS packing inside of it either as I believe they contribute to smearing when run at shallow angles.

I'm pretty sure I have eliminated just about every commonly used condenser with my pickiness.. Time to start fresh.

Things I would like to incorporate into this design:
Low(er) vapor speed than 1/2 inch tube. 1/2 inch type L has an inside hollow area of .23 of a square inch. It's not much when you think about it. On a stripping run the vapor can be moving very fast through that small of an area. Instead of calculating vapor flow speeds from the boiler I will just calculate the difference from the standard 1/2 inch tube.

18-20 inch total length to take off. I want it to get far enough from the boiler but not be long and cumbersome.

Eliminate the chance of pooling. I don't want scrubbers in it, or any stepped down fittings that could collect liquid when run at a near horizontal angle.

I want my water connections to be near the boiler so they are not pulling down on the end of the unit. I want this for balance, hose routing, and to keep water from going in my collection jar in the event of a leak.

It wouldn't kill me if it looked kinda cool too. 8)

The only design that physically comes close to what I want is the double/triple jacketed "liebig" condenser. There seems to be a few variations of this design. Most seem to require somewhat tough soldering and leave no way to visually inspect the inside. Cleaning could be a problem and pooling could be as well. I decided to make a variation on a double wall condenser and make it to fit my needs.

skow69 wrote:Ya know...
Thermal conductivity is proportional to contact surface area according to this paper that still_stirrin' posted last week.


To start with I ran some numbers on a standard 36" x 1/2" liebig. The area of the inside of the 1/2" tube is .23 sq in. Not very big. The vapor contact area inside a 36" long, 1/2" copper pipe is 61.56 sq in. The inside diameter of 1/2" type L is 0.545". The inside circumference is 1.71". 1.71 x 36 = 61.56 sq in. It's volume is 8.4 cu in. So the vapor has an opportunity to come into contact with 61.56 square inches of copper as it passes through. When you push your condenser hard enough to let vapor escape it is because the velocity is too high for the amount of cooling contact area available. This can be improved by adding more contact area, slowing the vapor speed, and can also be affected by turbulence in the vapor path.

The area of the inside of a 1" pipe is 0.83 sq in(.870 if you get type M.) This is 3.6 (3.78/typeM) times the area of the 1/2". If a given volume of steam or vapor was pushed through this larger area it would pass through the tube at approximately one quarter of the speed. Using an empty 1" tube for a condenser would not be efficient though because of the large open area in the middle with no cooling. So what if we put a 1/2" copper tube up the middle of it? and ran cooling water through it? The area taken up by the 1/2" copper is .31" due to it's .625" outer diameter. So if we had a 1/2 inch copper tube running up the middle of the 1" copper tube the area between them would be .52 sq in(.560/typeM), a little over double that of the inside of a 1/2" copper pipe. Not only that but there would only be a 0.2" (.215"/typeM) gap between them if they are perfectly centered. That gap will be between two cooled surfaces assuming a jacket on the outside and cooling water going through the inner tube. That will cut the vapor speed by half at any level, and eliminate the cylindrical vapor path. The same amount of vapor traveling through this path will be spread out instead of bunched together. Couple that with the fact that it will move at half the speed and the vapor has no chance to slide through. Using a length of 20 inches the inside contact area of the 1" tube is c = 3.22" x (l=20") = 64.4 sq in (66.2"/typeM.) The outside surface area of the 1/2" inner tube is c = 1.96 x (l=20) = 39.2 sq in. So this design will have 103.6 (105.4/typeM) square inches total cooling surface area, around 40% more than a 36" liebig, with half the vapor speed.

The volume of the area in this design is equivalent to having a hollow 3/4" type M (.032 wall .81 id) copper vapor path. Which would be the next step up, but because of the not-hollow vapor path this will be much more efficient.




This thread cannot exist without pictures.

I guess I'll just bury this as a draft for now. Without pictures it's useless. VVV



Re: Cooling water vs Distillate temp

Postby still_stirrin » Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:34 pm
I agree with Rad....your vapor is moving too fast, i.e. - 5.5kW power into a 1/2" vapor tube (inside your Liebig). That's out of proportion. If you had a couple or 3 of those vapor tubes in the condenser (think "shotgun"), you'd have slower vapor velocity and greater heat transfer to your cooling liquid.

For grins...did you do a calculation on the parent site to see how big the condenser should be for your input power? (see example below).

To (approximately) size the length of a shotgun, use the vapor to liquid contact surface area.

For example: the calculator calls for a 132" Liebig (with 13mm, 1/2" diameter vapor tube), with 15 deg C inlet and 50 deg C outlet (water) and 5.5kW power.
That equals pi x diameter x length; 3.14157 x 1/2" x 132 = 207.3 sq.in.
2 vapor tubes (1/2") requires 66" length for 5.5kW
3 vapor tubes (1/2") requires 44" length
4 vapor tubes (1/2") requires 33" length
5 vapor tubes (1/2") requires 26" length
6 vapor tubes (1/2") requires 22" length
7 vapor tubes (1/2") requires 19" length

You can improve efficiency of heat transfer by adding turbulation in the water side as well as the vapor side. Also, contact time with the heat exchanger (think "vapor velocity") will improve the conduction of heat through the vapor tube's material (copper, I assume).

Bottomline here is that you're overpowering your 3/4" over 1/2' by 36" long Liebig. Hence, the high water flow rate to cool the liquid product. And if you turn the water flow down till the water outlet temperature is where you want it, the product comes out hot...liquid, but hot.
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby Brutal » Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:42 pm

This is what I built.
IMG_20151008_202309 (Custom).jpg

IMG_20151025_210630 (Custom).jpg

IMG_20151008_202252 (Custom).jpg

IMG_20151008_202238 (Custom).jpg

IMG_20160207_134016 (Custom).jpg

IMG_20160207_141023 (Custom).jpg
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby googe » Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:49 pm

Nice job mate, very unique :thumbup: I've read your post a couple of times but a bit lost, easy for me lol. So it's 1/2" inside 1"?, what size is the main outer wall?, sorry if I missed you saying it!. 3 wall condensers are awesome, all the ones I've done out perform shot guns easy. What sort if strip speed are you getting from it?. Nice to see someone doing something exciting :thumbup:
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby Brutal » Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:30 pm

The main tube is 1", and the jacket around it is 1.25". They both are type M so a little thinner. The inner tube and feed tubes are all 1/2". The water inlet is the bottom pipe. I only ran it to the back for hose routing/looking cool. The water then flows upstream through the jacket with the coiled wire, creating a temp gradient. After that it goes out the top of the jacket and down to the output end, and then back up the middle. Once again keeping the temp gradient.

Parts used:
1 - 1" x 1/2" x 1" tee, clearanced so the 1/2" can slide through and to slightly shorten the output end.
2 - 1 1/4" x 1" x 1/2" tees, 1" end clearanced so the 1" can slide through and significantly shortened, 1/2" end shortened by half.
1 - 1" pipe for the main body (mine is 20" long) and a short length for the flange to the still.
1 - 1 1/4" sleeve long enough to fit.
3 - 1/2" street elbow fittings.
1 - 1/2" standard elbow.
Wire to wrap in the jacket. I can't remember the size.. The jacket is pretty thin so relatively thin wire still made a tight fit.
Carbide cutter bits for a drill help a lot, and lots of test fitment.

I forgot to write about the test! I built this condenser with the hopes of knocking down 5500 watts. I got to test the condenser with water on Sunday. I put 10 or so gallons in my electric keg and cranked the 5500w element. After output started I turned it down to a slow drip for about 30 minutes to let the temperature stabilize and put on some small insulation. Then it was showtime. I turned the cooling water up a little just in case, and flipped the controller back to full power. I timed the next quart right at 6:00 minutes. That is filled up to the line right under the threads on the jar. It knocked it all down alright. It did so and actually still made the distillate cool! It wasn't even using the whole length to knock down the vapor! It's got time to cool off running down the rest of it. I tried to play with the water to see how low I could get it with some success. I turned it down pretty low and no vapor escaped but the distillate did get warm. The output water was getting very hot too. I think the demonstrates how it was using less water more efficiently. More btu's per water used. I couldn't get fine adjustment with the valve though so I didn't measure anything there.

I've got a couple videos too. May upload them soon. I'd like to get some better pictures on here too. Seems like when I resize them the image quality just gets bad. I'll work on that.
Steam injection rig http://tinyurl.com/kxmz8hy
All grain corn mash with steam injection and enzymes http://tinyurl.com/mp6zdt5
Inner tube condenser http://tinyurl.com/zkp3ps6
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby firewater69 » Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:19 pm

very nice job Brutal! and great job on the write up.
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby bearriver » Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:27 pm

Nice job Brutal! Thank you for sharing it with us. I wonder what it can knock down...

Hopefully tomorrow morning when I am sober and have had my coffee, I will be able to make sense of what flows where! :shifty:
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby Yummyrum » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:51 am

I bloody love it Brutal .
I think I could make that....Many triple wall Liebig's seem a bit daunting , but that is an awesome design :thumbup:

Converting gas power to Electric is hard so can you give any Liters /Hour strip rate. ?

does it Huff :think:
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby Brutal » Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:52 am

Thanks guys! I've been excited about this for so long I am kind of disappointed in my write up. Should have done a better job explaining and got a few more pictures. Had a few drinks last night.. But could help posting up. Guess I'll just add as we go. My friend made a good drawing explaining the flow but it's lost in my camera folder somewhere.

Thanks Yummy! I've only had a very short test but it took right at 6 minutes for a full quart. Over an hour that's approximately 10 lph. The condenser was still putting out cold distillate at that speed(!) surprisingly. Which leads me to believe that the actual length of the condenser being used to condense vapor was probably around 50%. Meaning I could have built it shorter and still achieved 5500 watts.

I need to do some more testing for numbers and get some detail shots. I modified most of the fittings used to make it fit the way it does. That might not have been fully necessary but it made it better looking and more efficient. The inner tube is also removable. You can see in the pic of it set up there is ptfe tape on the top pipe where its a slip fit to the output fitting from the jacket. Just pull there and that whole top and center tube slides out.

I'll get some more pics after work. Thanks again guys.
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby Swedish Pride » Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:02 am

nice one lad!
Was looking to make some thing similar myself, since I don't have enough copper to build a flute I may as well do this to practice my soldering
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby still_stirrin » Tue Feb 09, 2016 6:20 am

Innovative design Brutal.

Efficiency is key and there is much cooling power in water, as you've demonstrated.

I like it. :thumbup:
Great job. :clap:
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Tue Feb 09, 2016 6:55 am

Very cool cooler! Nice balance, sexy design, great function, total win. :thumbup:
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby Danespirit » Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:32 am

Nice job Brutal.... :clap:
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby skow69 » Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:10 am

That's beautiful, man. Great design. Very nice work!

EDIT: When I first saw the title of your thread I thought for a moment you had repurposed part of a bicycle tire. :roll:
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby bearriver » Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:58 am

skow69 wrote:That's beautiful, man. Great design. Very nice work!

EDIT: When I first saw the title of your thread I thought for a moment you had repurposed part of a bicycle tire. :roll:


I thought the same thing. It wouldn't even be the third example I have seen, if that was the case. I'm glad it's not as this is much better.

:clap: :thumbup:
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby Brutal » Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:25 am

Somewhere along the last year I had the idea of naming it the "inner tube" condenser to be funny. It really is a fitting name though. I'm not sure if this is technically a double wall Liebig or not. Doesn't really matter I guess.

Thanks again for all the positive comments! So glad to finally be able to share and talk about it.
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby googe » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:04 pm

T hanks for the sizes explanation brutal. I know the feeling about postponement excited!, means your really proud and just want to share :thumbup: . I reckon the best thing about this setup is the way your coolant flows, nice continues flow with the elbows :thumbup:
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby SaltyStaves » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:54 pm

Well done. I recently built a triple-wall and failed (internal pinhole leak). Was very demoralising to have to take a hacksaw to it.
You've avoided that pain and when I decide I want to dive in again, I'll look more closely at your design and results.
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby yakattack » Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:44 pm

Amazing brural. Glad you got her together. 10 lph. That's good. This going to be your flute condensor...?

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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby Brutal » Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:38 am

yakattack wrote:Amazing brural. Glad you got her together. 10 lph. That's good. This going to be your flute condensor...?

Yak

Hey hey man, don't get me ahead of myself! Haha! Yea I need to build one of those too.. But to answer the question I really think this is the only condenser I'll ever need. It's compact, powerful, and works at a range of angles. I have enough parts to build another one and was waiting to try this one and see if it needed to be longer. Well it doesn't need to be any longer, and while it could be a little shorter it is a pretty good length now. Gets it away from the keg boiler without going too far. Probably just rock this one, as imperfect as it is.

Grabbed a few more pictures this morning on the way out the door. My buddy found the sweet diagram he made of the design too. I'll work on the videos later today.

brutal condenser.png
Here is the diagram my buddy drew. It illustrates how the whole thing goes together and what it's made of. It can be quite challenging to describe this design with no visuals. This picture is literally worth a thousand words.

To my buddy, who reads but does not post on the forum, thank you for the diagram. You're the best.

IMG_20160210_063151.jpg
Close up - output end. You can see how the tee has been shortened. Also the shortened 1/2" street elbows.

IMG_20160210_063207.jpg
Close up of back end of condenser. Here you can see more shortened fittings, and the not so beautiful support I made for the inlet line. You can also see the ptfe tape used to seal the top 1/2" pipe into the fitting. It's just a slip fit.

IMG_20160210_063413.jpg
Overall shot. Hopefully better detail than previous pics.

IMG_20160210_063336.jpg
Here it is with the removable section out. The tension of the ptfe tape holds it pretty good, but the clamped on vinyl tubing on the cooling water outlet mechanically keeps it in place. I considered making a small latch for it, like a copper version of what you would have on a screen door. May still do that in the future.

IMG_20160210_063349.jpg
Close up of the removable pipe. The small wire soldered to it is all that is needed to keep the 1/2" pipe centered inside the 1".
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Inner tube condenser http://tinyurl.com/zkp3ps6
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby skow69 » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:52 am

Thanks for the diagram. Your buddy done good with the crayons.

I love that trick with the removable section.

I wonder how much difference it would make to eliminate the outer jacket, so the distillate would be water cooled "internally" and air cooled on the outside.
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby yakattack » Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:00 pm

You and I both know you are already dreaming of a modulation 4 inch flute. Who are you trying to kid eh :p
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby Worm Food » Wed Feb 17, 2016 5:41 pm

Brutal, this looks great, to me. Good job.

As for your desire to keep this "dis-assemblable" and "inspectable", would you incorporate a theaded fitting next time, or continue to just go with the ptfe tape?

Also, considering that you have that "centering" stub of wire soldered on there, have you thought about wrapping a shallow spiral of that wire around the outside of that tube, simply to increase the "cross-turbulence" to disrupt the laminar flow?

I'm not saying either are needed, in any way. Just the first two things that come to my mind to possibly take it "even further".
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby Brutal » Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:34 pm

Worm Food wrote:Brutal, this looks great, to me. Good job.

As for your desire to keep this "dis-assemblable" and "inspectable", would you incorporate a theaded fitting next time, or continue to just go with the ptfe tape?

Also, considering that you have that "centering" stub of wire soldered on there, have you thought about wrapping a shallow spiral of that wire around the outside of that tube, simply to increase the "cross-turbulence" to disrupt the laminar flow?

I'm not saying either are needed, in any way. Just the first two things that come to my mind to possibly take it "even further".

You could put a threaded fitting on the top tube. I wouldn't do it but I can see why you might want to. It would hold the U-bend in positively. I had a bad experience with threaded brass/copper unions and just want no part of them right now. If you try it make sure to buy a quality fitting.

As far as wrapping wire in the vapor path, I gave up on the idea. Here's why: if you wrap it will interfere with the liquid flowing down the bottom of the 1" tube. If you leave that part open.. then the vapor (if there is any) could just slide down that path. From reading here I believe that the condensed alcohol would insulate and prevent heat from being absorbed as efficiently into the outer copper tube leaving most of the condensing work to the smaller inner 1/2" tube. There were a few other designs I came up with too but they all had a downside. After watching this thing go I can tell you they are not needed at all. It's a beast.

On the vapor path question, I do have one other thought. I have considered cutting out a piece of copper an inch or so long with the end flipped up like a little ramp. You could slide this little guy inside the inlet to the condenser and all the way up against the 1/2" inner tube. If you get it just right it would cause the vapor to spin around the inner tube. This would make better use of the area available inside this condenser. If vapor was able to say up without being condensed it would have more time in the condenser and therefore be more likely to condense before exiting the end. I may still try it one day but I'm not sure how I will know if it works because this already does the job better than I need it to, so no real way to measure an improvement. I have considered making another one of these even shorter. I feel like going with a 12" main tube would still knock down 5500w but may be able to benefit more from the swirl. It would be fascinating to see how small you could go with this design and still kill 5500w.


One last thing. I gave the materials to make another one of these to my buddy in exchange for something he did for me. So I won't be building a second one soon unless I have a reason. If any of y'all build one like this, shorter or longer, please post it up here. I'd love to hear about it and discuss your results.
Steam injection rig http://tinyurl.com/kxmz8hy
All grain corn mash with steam injection and enzymes http://tinyurl.com/mp6zdt5
Inner tube condenser http://tinyurl.com/zkp3ps6
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby jedneck » Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:44 pm

viewtopic.php?f=87&t=48945
Here is the one I built. Almost a twin to yours. Cooled like no tomorrow but used more water than I wanted so I used the copper else where.
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby Swedish Pride » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:55 am

jedneck wrote:http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=87&t=48945
Here is the one I built. Almost a twin to yours. Cooled like no tomorrow but used more water than I wanted so I used the copper else where.


I thought that one was the dog bollox, was pondering doing one myself.
What condenser do you have now that's more efficient than a 3 walled one?
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby jedneck » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:29 am

Swedish Pride wrote:What condenser do you have now that's more efficient than a 3 walled one?

Now I'm using a 3/4 over 1/2 Liebig that is 36 inches long.
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby ezlle71 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:42 am

This is the condenser i have been looking for!! Looks like it should come off of a single point inlet/outlet keg thumper setup perfectly. 2 15.5 kegs and this condenser should make for as small of footprint as a guy can with a thumper setup. Thank you so much and i will report as soon as i get this and my thump built. Also, you are right pics help tremendous!!
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby Kareltje » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:12 pm

Beautifull! Good thinking and good building!
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby ezlle71 » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:14 pm

Got the last pieces of the puzzle today to get this project started. They are proud of those 1 x 1 1/4 x 1/2 reducing tee fittings!! 15.49 i think a piece!! It will all be worth it in the end.
I been calling this a Trombone condenser, it looks kinda like a trombone to me. Brutal, any other tips or suggestions before i get started on this fine piece of condensing machinery?
ez
Don't let your meat loaf.
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Re: Brutal's inner tube condenser

Postby Brutal » Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:40 pm

ezlle71 wrote:Got the last pieces of the puzzle today to get this project started. They are proud of those 1 x 1 1/4 x 1/2 reducing tee fittings!! 15.49 i think a piece!! It will all be worth it in the end.
I been calling this a Trombone condenser, it looks kinda like a trombone to me. Brutal, any other tips or suggestions before i get started on this fine piece of condensing machinery?
ez

Thank you for the kind words. I shopped around for the copper parts online but I think I still spent near 100$ (USA) on them, and the company screwed up my order pretty bad. So I won't name them. When it comes to distilling I try to not think about the money and just have fun. If I can't afford it I can wait. I'll get the parts eventually.

Trombone condenser is great!

Before you start I recommend determining how long you want it to be. This design can be effective even in a very short length, but there's no need to make it extra short. Get the tape measure out and figure out how far you need it to be from the boiler. The main 1" tube in mine is 20" to the middle of the slant cut and it knocks down everything my 5500w electric set up can throw at it, and the distillate still comes out cold. So no need to go longer unless your set up dictates it.

I used a 4" angle grinder with a cut off wheel, and a carbide cutting bit in my drill for most of the work. If you hold the fitting loosely in your hand while grinding the pipe stops out of it it will vibrate very fast. This removes the pipe stop quickly and evenly.

Also you don't necessarily have to modify all the fittings like I did. I did it to keep the 1/2" pipes closer to the main assembly for looks, and to increase the length of the 1" - 1 1/4" jacket a little. I thought there might be a performance limitation with the shorter jacket so I wanted to cover as much of the 1" tube as possible. Now I figure it would still work fine as long as it is wrapped with copper wire where the cooling water flows.

Please post pics of it here. I would love to see your interpretation of this design. :thumbup:
Steam injection rig http://tinyurl.com/kxmz8hy
All grain corn mash with steam injection and enzymes http://tinyurl.com/mp6zdt5
Inner tube condenser http://tinyurl.com/zkp3ps6
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