the modern distiller

My Alembic adventure

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My Alembic adventure

Postby Snapperhead » Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:03 am

Hi all
Thought I may as well start a build thread to show what I have been up to lately. Not sure whether this is a pot still anymore, so I thought it belonged in the weird and wonderful section.
here are some of the latest pics I have of my oddity

condenser concept.jpg


I just felt I had to make a stand for the shotgun condenser that was fitting of its name, so the concept was mocked up and I dived right in.

Condenser stand progress.jpg

Condenser stand progress 2.jpg


The magazine insert will house the parrot and will have its exit down where the trigger hammer would be, and the lower cut-out has a spill pan slotted in, and the collection vessel sits on the spill pan.
since these pics were taken I have made the pieces for the magazine/parrot shell and the basic spill pan (spill pan needs some extra parts as a cage around the collection to avoid knocking it over)

The case on the gun rack is going to house the controls for the condenser. It is a steampunk inspired build, so I will be detailing the shotgun in leather and brass, with lots of useless stuff just to make it look unusual.

I am fabbing up the formwork for the cast boiler shell, which will be insulated and clad in something decorative. It will have custom mini venturi burners in it and a flue system, as the rig will live in the lounge.
OK, enough typing for me.
Thanks for looking
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Re: My Alembic adventure

Postby Snapperhead » Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:18 am

Since we all love pics, here is a few more
inside lentil 2.jpg

Octurbulator bottom.jpg


I made this choke/turbulator to encourage the vapour to spread out towards the water cooled lentil sides, and hopefully induce some spinning action as it enters the expansion chamber/ swan neck.


Steam engine generator.jpg

And to power the various devices I have planned will be this mini steam engine that will have the generator from the wind up torch attached, and charge the bank of batteries hidden away.
Its a fun project build for me, thats why it is heading in the direction of a Dr Seuss contraption
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Re: My Alembic adventure

Postby myles » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:36 am

Well I like it so far :obscene-drinkingcheers:
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Re: My Alembic adventure

Postby hellbilly007 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:43 am

That's awesome Snapperhead. I'm diggin' the "shotgun" condenser.

Would you care to share the steps you took in hydro-forming your swan neck. This is something I've wanted to try ever since I seen a dirt bike exhaust hydro-formed on YouTube. I'm mainly interested in knowing if the perimeter is welded and what you used for filler while welding.
I tend to over think methods forgetting the most simple, effective ways of doing things. I think I look for excuses to buy new tools, lol.
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Re: My Alembic adventure

Postby Spud1700 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:05 am

Very abstract art type of stuff but also practical, I don't think I have ever seen anything like that before. You could display that in an art gallery when it's finished and have running in the gallery and it would get a huge amount of interest.
I would say it is more art than a still - I LOVE it....... (Still practical as a still though, you know what I mean)
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Re: My Alembic adventure

Postby Bushman » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:19 am

:text-coolphotos:

Nice work!
I started my liquid diet and so far it seems to be working! I've already lost two days.

"24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not."
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Re: My Alembic adventure

Postby Snapperhead » Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:47 am

Thanks heaps for the comments, it is a bit different from all others I have seen too. It will live in the lounge when it is finished, and become the centre piece of my new main living space (I am going to run it during winter days and recover the heat at night). Also planning on recovering the coolant water heat in the new basement workshop that is currently being excavated ( using a couple of air-con radiators and ducted fans). I want to reclaim as much heat back as I can, which is part of my reasoning for the boiler shell having a large thermal mass to it.

I have a small foundry setup, and I will be casting a bunch of parts for the rig. All the flange clamps, brackets, stands, etc will be specially made for it. It will be good practice for my pattern making, and a great excuse for me to pour some molten metal around. The whole build is about pushing my skills and abilities to places they havent been before, and enjoying the scenic route, rather than finding the quickest path. Journey, not destination, as they say.

Now when I look at it and ponder the next steps, I cant help but see a "roadrunner, beep, beep" possibility. I just may have a glass tube between the still head and condenser, and make it look like a bunch of shot exiting the barrel. Hopefully common sense will prevail and I just do a simple copper link tube, but not likely now it is in my head. An old pyrex rolling pin would be perfect.


heron neck.jpg

The expansion chamber is beaten into basic formwork rather than hydroformed Hellbilly. Its was done by cutting out 2 identical shapes in particle board, glued and screwed timber spacers (decking offcuts) between to give space to beat into. Then just clamp the sheet to it and hammer away, flipping the form over and repeating the hammering to get both sides symmetrical. Smoothed out finally by rubbing the hammer marks out with some one off rounded dollies I have (ex crematorium ash grinder balls). Lots of annealing and not pushing the deeper sections too much each time.
I will be hydroforming a set of copper expansion chambers for a bike project I have been building once the new workshop is finished( a 2003 GSXR1000 chassis with a 1978 GT750, 2 stroke triple water cooled engine) It is a very simple process, and I have been involved with making them before, but not in copper. Yes, the perimeter seams need to be welded, tig welded without the use of filler rods as you do need the same metal chemistry in the welds, as the sheet has. If you do need filler rods, then fillet strips cut directly from the base metal you are making the chambers from is best. Also, making the welds uniform along the edge is important, as the seams have an effect on the final shape and can cause the piece to go out of shape and buckle if the welds are inconsistent. The welds stretch minimally, and act like a spine, so smooth seam welds give smooth shapes. Have some safety precautions in place if you give it a go, if the seam or connections let go under pressure, it can get more than just messy (like an angry coke/mentos bottle rocket)
I will be modifying an old hydraulic bottle jack to use as my pump. which should give more than enough pressure and just needs a larger capacity for the oil.

Thanks again peeps
Peace out
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Re: My Alembic adventure

Postby hellbilly007 » Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:06 am

Thanks for the info Snapperhead. I didn't think of either of your methods you mentioned. The vid I seen on Youtube used a pressure washer. Your bottle jack idea sounds safer and more accurate.

I tend to over think methods forgetting the most simple, effective ways of doing things. I think I look for excuses to buy new tools, lol.
I tend to over think methods forgetting the most simple, effective ways of doing things. I think I look for excuses to buy new tools, lol.
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Re: My Alembic adventure

Postby Spud1700 » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:17 am

[quote="Snapperhead"](ex crematorium ash grinder balls).
[/charlene@chinatianma.comquote]

Mate they use them to grind up the bones of people who have been cremated? I know there is no issue with health issues but I don't think I could drink out of that still- that would kind of freak me out.........

No offence or issue, I sort have issues with dead people etc :)
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Re: My Alembic adventure

Postby Snapperhead » Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:57 am

Yes I have seen the powerwasher pump vid, I too thought there wasnt enough slow control and could overdo things quickly. You can hear the stretch (a pinking kinda sound) if you use a manual pump, which can be an advantage when trying to make identical chambers, tuning them like instruments based on the tone as they stretch out.

Hehehe, yes Spud, I know and I do get it. I am a bit different when it comes to this side of "life and death" , I have some unusual views on it based on my unusual life so far. Suffice to say that for me, I respect the spirits associated with my collection of (what some call morbid) artifacts. Only good spirits in my spirits :grin:
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Re: My Alembic adventure

Postby Dan P. » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:41 am

This is the cat's mfing pyjamas, as we say in the language of my people.
Last edited by midcarolina on Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited wording
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Re: My Alembic adventure

Postby Snapperhead » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:27 am

Bit more progress
Condenser stand progress 4.jpg

Condenser stand progress 5.jpg


Trying to nut out the coolant pipework, playing with the idea of having most of it in the stock, hidden away to keep the confusion factor going (I do love the "what is that THING" questions from distillery challenged people).
I have picked up 3 copper vases that I want to re-work into the link pipe between the swan neck and condenser. Hopefully it will look like the "shotgun" has just fired, damn this thing is going to have more lights than a cruise ship.
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Re: My Alembic adventure

Postby emptyglass » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:17 pm

Thats all coming up sweet.
I'm lovin the shotgun condenser stand
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Re: My Alembic adventure

Postby Snapperhead » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:37 am

Thanks EG, I just had to give it a go or it would have bugged me every time I look at the rig. I am the type to turn left when everyone else turns right.

Anyway, update pics
It now has hidden coolant lines in the stock, hidden fixings for the PC outlet/ parrot inlet piece, with a drip viewing window. I have cobbled together some copper vases to make the link pipe resemble a bullet shot exiting the gun, with more to come (fibre optic sparks). Clamshell manifold for the coolant outlet, to smooth flow.
bit by bit.jpg

bit by bit2.jpg

bit by bit3.jpg
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Re: My Alembic adventure

Postby Snapperhead » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:39 am

And here is a little more detail

smors.jpg

smors2.jpg

smors3.jpg
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Re: My Alembic adventure

Postby hellbilly007 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:30 pm

Is it odd that this somehow reminds me of Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck? I ain't right, I know...

This is coming along nice. Great work.
I tend to over think methods forgetting the most simple, effective ways of doing things. I think I look for excuses to buy new tools, lol.
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