the modern distiller

decisions -decisions !

decisions -decisions !

Postby kekedog13 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:21 am

Where is a list of all the different types of stills with their pros and cons like difficulty to build and run ? I saw one once and now I need it to help me decide .
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby Stainless dude » Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:43 pm

I don't know where that post would be, I don't think I have seen it. But a pot would be the easiest, then vm or cm etc. Then maybe a plated column, lots of info on all of these. But what is it you are trying to make, a pot will make a great whiskey or rum but a vm or cm will maybe make a better vodka...
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby midcarolina » Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:41 pm

Check this thread out that Bushman made........lots of good info....viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2140
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby kekedog13 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:48 pm

My skill level is Okay. I made a parrot (posted in here)it came out good for my first attempt at soldering . Currently use a pot and thumper, with great results (also posted in here ). Just got a 15 .5 gal. keg to increase yield and eliminate the need for flour dough. Really want to get away from making flour dough to seal pot and thumper every time. Am making whiskey and neutral for infusions and such.I want an easy build and not too complicated to run unit. Packed column , bokabob ,or off set head , really like the simplicity of the Mile Hi unit with the external condenser, easy to run but might be hard to build. All can be de-tuned for flavored spirits. Just have a hard time deciding.I think plated columns and dephlegmaters are out of the question.Something in a two inch for sure.
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby skow69 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:10 am

I built a VM for my first column still, then immediately wanted to modify it. Now it has an offset condenser with a LM heads trap and reflux return line below the take off. Made it with a torch and tubing cutter, and parts didn't break the bank. After it equalizes I bleed off the heads through a needle valve, and then collect the hearts through the VM and liebig. I love it.

And it looks pretty cool, too.
Distilling at 120f and 100 torr
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby kekedog13 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:41 am

Hey skow69, Thanks for the input. Ya got a picture of your baby ?
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby Kapea » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:48 am

skow69 wrote:And it looks pretty cool, too.

kekedog13 wrote:Hey skow69, Thanks for the input. Ya got a picture of your baby ?


+1
No pix - it never happened... :confusion-shrug: :grin:
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby kekedog13 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:42 pm

Seen any pics of one that resembles yours ?
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby skow69 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:10 pm

I'm gonna make a spirit run tonight. pics on the way.
Distilling at 120f and 100 torr
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby skow69 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:44 pm

"Daddy always told me, 'When you call a man's bluff, do it with a smile, not a gloat. It'll be easier to recover your dignity if he's got the cards.'"
Bart Maverik

stillin 054.jpg


The idea is that LM is supposed to be really good at compressing heads and VM is better for collecting hearts because (if I get this right) water vapor is lighter than ethanol vapor, so the water wants to go up to the reflux condenser and the alcohol prefers to go down to the product condenser. It is even said that a VM will slow down as the ethanol is depleted and shut off when the tails arrive. I haven't found that setting yet.

stillin 053.jpg


The column is 2" borosilicate with 48" of packing. The top few inches are open this run so I can watch the reflux return spray pattern. I used 1/4" tube for the reflux at first, but it couldn't handle the volume so i changed it to 3/8. It looked a lot better before all the resoldering. The heads trap pool holds less than a half ounce. Returning the reflux below the vapor output is supposed to keep it cleaner but I don't remember the theory well enough to explain why.

I put a gate valve between the column and condenser. That was a mistake. I thought it might be useful to close that down with the VM valve open because a VM can't go below 50% reflux. I experimented with it and found it has no practical use for me. I will take it out. In the mean time I removed the handle to make sure it remains full open. That is a thermometer well that sticks up next top the VM valve.

The liebig is 21", 1/2 inside 1, crimped path for turbulence.

That's the basics. Hope it helps.
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby Dominator » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:18 pm

Nice rig mate. I really love the look of glass columns. Can I ask how you have joined the borosilicate tube to the copper?
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby skow69 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:45 pm

Where the glass is above the copper, at the boiler and bottom of the condenser, it is easy to seal. I wrap the glass with teflon tape until it's a tight fit. Another wrap around the joint makes a good indicator. It changes color when it gets wet. The top of the column is harder. There I use 2" wide silicone tape. It won't stick to the glass or copper, but it bonds to itself like crazy. There are a couple wraps on the glass below the joint to build up the diameter, then 2 wraps on the joint. 2 hose clamps squeeze the tape around the glass and 1 on the copper. To break it down loosen the top clamp and slide the copper out. To reassemble I run a toothpick around the glass under the silicone and slide it back in.

I hope that makes sense.
Distilling at 120f and 100 torr
Rectificato ergo sum.
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby Dominator » Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:02 am

Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks mate. :handgestures-thumbupright:
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby skow69 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:08 am

Dominator wrote:Nice rig mate. I really love the look of glass columns.

Yeah, it's kind of fun to watch too. It's easy to tell when your column floods! I just learned that I can see the difference between packings while they are working. I have two kinds in it for the next run. I have insulation for it too, although it doesn't seem to make much difference if the air is still. glass is a pretty lousy heat conductor.
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby Kapea » Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:59 am

Why do you have a loop in your reflux return line? The gate valve on the reflux side is kinda scary. If you close both valves you've got yourself a pressurized boiler.

The self-sealing silicone tape I use sticks very well to copper and stainless. I use it to seal my thermometer probes inside the 1/4" OD copper thermometer insertion tubes on my VM column. It sticks so well I have to cut it off of the copper when the run is done. What makes it stick is giving it a good stretch as you wind it on. Never tried using it on glass though.
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby midcarolina » Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:20 am

The loop is a vapor trap..... He explained the mistake in putting the valve in the reflux side... thats why he removed the handle on the valve
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby Kapea » Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:08 am

Aha! Vapor trap = a mini-condenser. But, why would you expect to see vapor there? The collapsing vapor around the reflux condenser causes a decrease in pressure, drawing the vapor up instead of allowing it to go down. It seems to me that a loop there could restrict reflux return flow.
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Re: decisions -decisions !

Postby midcarolina » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:22 am

If you didnt have some sort of trap in the reflux return some the vapors rising up the column would try and travel up the return line impeding reflux return.
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