Keg Still build

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Keg Still build

Postby jon1163 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:30 pm

So right now I'm working with an 8 gallon Dual Purpose still from Mile Hi Distilling. I use a heating element and usually only use it as a pot still although I've run it as a reflux once or twice. The still has served me well and I think the quality is magnificent.

However , that 8 gallons is a bit small for what I'm doing right now and to where Ive progressed to in this hobby. While browsing through the forum I found Badmotivators keg build and it inspired me. Most of this build is inspired by his creation. And to Badmotivator, thanks for the advice that you gave me when I messaged you. It helped a ton.

For my build I wanted increased capacity from the 8 gallons and I also wanted a thumper. I we'll have a 15 gallon sanke keg with an 8 gallon Thumper. I picked up the sanke keg with a keg from a friend in exchange for some .223 cartridges. The 8 gallon keg I bought off of Craigslist for a good price.

In this post to start I have taken a photo of the Keg I used. I cut off the top but placed back on for the photo. Image
Last edited by jon1163 on Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Keg Still build

Postby jon1163 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:32 pm

If a moderator could help me move this to the right forum I would appreciate it... Tapatalk screwed me again I didn't realize I was putting it in mashing and fermenting.
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Re: Keg Still build

Postby jon1163 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:39 pm

So I spoke to Badmotivator about the element holes being placed at the bottom of the keg. I think it's probably 50-50 pluses and minuses whether these are placed on the bottom or the sides. There seem to be great advantages to both. The elements being on the bottom certainly save space and look much better.

I decided to place mine on the side mainly because I want to be able to set it on the ground if need be and I can always build my cabinet out just a little bit when I decide to put it in a cabinet in the future. I also wanted the wells to be able to be washed out easily without moving the keg.

The plan is to have a keg with a 6-inch opening on the top as well as a 3-inch fill hole so that I can fill without necessitating disassembly of the still column. There will be two 3 inch sight glasses vertically aligned on the side of the boiler. Directly underneath those aligned horizontally, are two, 2 inch fittings, for dual 110 volt heating elements. On the bottom of the keg in the middle will be one 2 inch fitting for a drain hole that I will attach a valve to so that I can easily drain the keg and clean it without moving it.

I Enlisted the help of a friend of mine who's a welder and has the ability to weld stainless steel. I began by cutting The Keg top and then the holes. Here's a photo of the plans I drew up. Also shown is the keg after the holes were cut with a plasma torch.

[img]https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20171127/9422407de2f475dc60d955858bf296e6.jpg[/img][img]https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20171127/e7044e843efbd18defe9b106e6228648.jpg[/img][img]https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20171127/7afc7f6b5ee0a7ca1e69d8d0e69244ab.jpg[/img]
Last edited by jon1163 on Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Keg Still build

Postby jon1163 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:42 pm

I then taped the fittings on The Keg for reference and to make sure that the attachments would fit once everything was welded together.

The thumper keg I just removed the keg fitting on the top and replaced it with a true TCP fitting, 2 inch... The last photo is the fitting after being welded to the 8 gallon thumper. The thumper will only have one fitting on top. I figure it will be easy enough to clean out with just the 2-inch TCP fitting [img]https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20171127/f3e5f60cf434be609c24294f87a68679.jpg[/img][img]https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20171127/2d7299041ebb791364aaaf56edd51e12.jpg[/img][img]https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20171127/2db2a7951ab8d9d82ddf8f6ce3f8997c.jpg[/img]
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Re: Keg Still build

Postby Badmotivator » Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:59 pm

Someone say my name? :)

I’m eager to see where you go with this!
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Re: Keg Still build

Postby nuntius01 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:07 pm

yep, if i had to do it over i would flip my keg too. i have a six inch openin in the top and it's awesome. i too put in the view window on the side. in hind sight it looks cool. haven't used it on a really long time. i also have two two inch connections at the bottom. however, i found that i use one for my 5500w element and the other for a drain valve. post us a pick when it's done. gonna look great.
I'm just the bank and the mule

post your still pics here
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=66917
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Re: Keg Still build

Postby jon1163 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:51 pm

Latest update... Got the fittings welded onto the keg. The welds were back gassed using a dam and the area behind the welds flooded. This should prevent contamination and make cleaning and maintenance easier. [img]https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20171205/f9581d37b7b845c0f97dd8f38d09945a.jpg[/img][img]https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20171205/65f8dc88d9c58e372f00221d23f4af6f.jpg[/img]
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Re: Keg Still build

Postby Badmotivator » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:20 am

That apparatus is almost ready to do some science! Keep on pushin’!
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Re: Keg Still build

Postby Yummyrum » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:50 am

Jon
Wish you could upload your pics direct to the forum as the links to your hosting doesn't seem to work .
Also after the foto bucket pay or loose it deal a lot of pics will never appear rendering some good topics next to useless .
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Re: Keg Still build

Postby jon1163 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:42 am

Yummyrum wrote:Jon
Wish you could upload your pics direct to the forum as the links to your hosting doesn't seem to work .
Also after the foto bucket pay or loose it deal a lot of pics will never appear rendering some good topics next to useless .
I'll work on this as soon as I get some time to use a computer. I've kind of moved away from computers and I'm almost smartphone only dependent but I could probably steal my wife's for a while.

Hey badmotivator, I'd love to get my still as shiny as yours if there's any way you could let me know how you buffed it out I would appreciate it. Also right where mine starts to curve near the top of the keg you can see a line where I've ground down the rim but I didn't want to grind it all off because I didn't want to grind through the keg. How did you get yours so smooth it looks like you don't even have a skirt on the top anymore
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Re: Keg Still build

Postby Badmotivator » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:42 pm

jon1163 wrote: Hey badmotivator, I'd love to get my still as shiny as yours if there's any way you could let me know how you buffed it out I would appreciate it. Also right where mine starts to curve near the top of the keg you can see a line where I've ground down the rim but I didn't want to grind it all off because I didn't want to grind through the keg. How did you get yours so smooth it looks like you don't even have a skirt on the top anymore


It was a long time ago so I don't remember all of the details, just that I made a lot of mistakes and spend far too many hours working on it. :)

Here's what I would try if I had to do it over:

Get a lot of sandpaper in grit sizes from, say, 200 on up to as high as they go. Also get a polisher from Harbor Freight, a stitched-cloth polishing wheel, and some polishing compound sticks. (I think I used "green" and "grey")

Choose a test spot, not too big, not too prominent. You should do that test spot to completion just to learn about the process.

Start with a high-number sandpaper like 800, and work on that spot a little. Did it smooth it out all the way? If it does then move up a number and make it even nicer. Or is there some texture or scratches that 800 won't grind out in a reasonable amount of time? Then move down a number and see if that works, then go back to the 800 and see how it works the second time. The reason for starting this way is that if you start with the low numbers you may end up unnecessarily putting in scratches that you need to do extra work later to remove. Does that make sense? You want to start with the highest number you can get away with.

When you have reached the highest grit sandpaper on your test spot, get out the polisher and hit it with the compounds. You should be able to get a pretty good mirror in that spot.

As for the weld line at the crown, the truth is that there are a few little marks still visible on mine from that weld. They don't bother me a bit. I think you can trust though that the shape of the crown under the weld didn't change just because they welded something on top of it. In other words, polish it down to the shape it would have been before the weld happened, and you should be okay. Use the grinder very cautiously if at all. A superfine file might be the answer instead. You'll have to work out your method based on what you have around and what you feel comfortable with.

Hope I answered everything, and that it helps. Cheers.
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