Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

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Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby Capstar34 » Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:14 pm

Hi guys,
I have finally built my double pumper lol. I will post some pics and give a description and would really appreciate you all to pick it to bits! I haven't built a still before so any criticism or recommendations are welcome.
It is two 157.5lt stainless steel tanks with a 2400 and 3600w element in each. The tee that joins the boilers to the column is removable so the column can fit on a ether tank by the ferrulrs/clamps. It's a 4" column with bottom column being 500mm filled with copper saddles and scrubbers. Top section is 1000mm with stainless scrubbers. Took 58 stainless scrubbers in top section and 500g copper saddles with 15 copper scrubbers in bottom section. Both column sections have reflux centering cones or turbulence generators whichever they are called with have 50mm holes drilled. The 100mm top tee is reduced to 34mm before the tap. Liebig is 1m long 40mm stainless tube to the condensor which is 16mm tube inside a 25mm tube with copper spiral. It is 2m long (3m all up). Runs into a parrot I made that's 25mm tube with 16mm inlet and outlet. Boka bob is directly above the tee with a twin helix condenser directly above ( condenser is 6m of 3/8 copper double wound). I have the two pid controllers that aren't wired yet as I'm just waiting for my electrian to do some power points and he can wire the elements and pids at the same time. The boilers are tapped together via the 3 way taps which allow me to run individually or together and drain individually or together. Also allows me to keep both tanks at the exact same volume via gravity. Column is wrapped in 4mm H/D insulation and boilers in 10mm H/D insulation.
I have a inkbird thermometer at the top tee and have not decided where to install the thermocouples for the pids yet. (Please help me there).
My plan is to take foreshots and heads with the LM and hearts with the VM. Once finished I will probably power at full to remove tails and reuse if it proves beneficial. I am only a newbie and would really appreciate any help/advice that I can get. I understand I'm over the 100lt size but the reason I went this big is my wife and I love a drink and I am always very busy with my own business and work ridiculous hours so I rarely get time to run my little still and I couldn't bring myself to cut the tanks down.Hopefully only need to run this a couple of times a year!!!
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby RC Al » Thu Apr 30, 2020 11:15 pm

Ok sorry mate, but a bit of a rant coming... there is much to pick to pieces here and a very good example of why unusual concepts should be floated past the brains trust before building
I'm sure some people will chime in with some more words, I'm on a tablet tonight so I'll give you the short version
1x 160 is over forum limits let alone 2x...
2x boilers is just asking for trouble, even with your balance plumbing (that is way too small to be an effective drain), you can't direct the reflux evenly or heat the resulting contents evenly, leading to smearing problems, Just run one and repurpose the other for making all grain?

Reflux stills operate via volume of steam and reflux, not by dialing in a temp in the boiler, loose the pid thinking. George is wrong

The liebig will work, but has too much water jacket, you really only want a few mm between the inner tube and jacket

With a column that short, your run speed is going to be pretty slow, boil up time and then 10+ hours to run that lot off from a wash, 30+ hours to run off a 40% charge - that you need to be running to get better quality product from that height column

I do like your dual head set up bar the valve needing to be bigger :handgestures-thumbupleft:

Sorry to be so harsh & negative, but it's kinda annoying to see an expensive nicely built rig that is not quite right in the fundamentals and about to be subjected to pid control, too many youtube vids mate...
Last edited by RC Al on Thu Apr 30, 2020 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby Sam. » Fri May 01, 2020 6:46 am

Couldn't agree more with RC Al.

1. Way too big for a hobby still.

2. No idea where you have sourced your information but you really need to understand how a reflux still operates before you build one and run one.

Having two boilers is probably almost the worst idea if your trying to make a clean spirit.

Also sorry for the negativity but if I had time I could write an essay on ways that could be better.
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby Tesla101 » Fri May 01, 2020 9:34 am

I'm just a newbie at this stuff too, same setup as your T500 in the background.

I love ingenuity and all but if it was me I would've built "another 4" bubbler" - something that's a bit more tried & tested.

You could use one of the boilers on the still and the other for collecting low wines and then switch them. Just an idea...
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby The Stig » Fri May 01, 2020 9:48 am

Looks like somebodys been watching moonshiners :angry-banghead:
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby Capstar34 » Fri May 01, 2020 11:06 am

Thanks for the replies guys,
As I said I am open to all criticism and advice.
To RC AL-
Thanks for input, the more you rant on the more I learn. My approach with making the still was based of the first design I posted up a couple of months ago. I did not plan to run two boilers or this size boilers but the tank I used to make them was free so I thought I may as well use it. I knew I would not get it right first go hence why I did this post and added the pics. I am a boily with a equipped workshop so I am happy to keep modifying to get it right. As for the twin boilers I will just use the one now, It was a stainless steel tank that I cut in half and thought I might as well make two while I was going. I can use the other one for storage of stripping runs so its no issue.

As for the Liebig being 16mm inside 25mm, the wall thickness of the 25mm is 1.6mm. This leaves me a 2.9mm gap between the jacket and the 16mm. I honestly thought that was quite small myself. What size would you recommend?

As for the column size being too short as you stated, It is 1.5m of packed sections with a total height of 2.1m. I could easily add another section if required. What height would you recommend?

With the PID, my thoughts and understanding was to run the reflux for an hour or so with valves closed to and then open the boka to remove foreshots and heads. I would then close the boka and let the reflux get to equilibrium and then open the vm valve. I thought that to adjust my take of speed and drip rate I would need to adjust the temp of the boiler to manage column flooding ect. I know with the T500 you just let it run flat out but I assumed it would be different for the VM.

As for the small valve on the boka, I ordered it online and yes it small so I better order a bigger one!!

I am happy listen and modify according to advice given, don't be annoyed that I built a rig that is not right in the fundamentals. I love to learn and have had a bit of spare time due to isolation rules ect and I enjoy fabricating.

To Sam-
1 - I am sorry to have broken the rules of over 100ltr. It is a hobby mate, I will never and have never done anything other than use product for personal. If cutting 1 tank down to 100ltr is easier to run or has any advantages I will do it. It will just make me cry haha.

2 - I have read countless forums from here, and the other big forum sites. Maybe for you is it easy to understand how all still systems work but I guarantee that came with years of experience and trial and error. I have to start somewhere mate and I have been running the super reflux and T500 for years and now decided I want to build my own. If you have any suggestions I am all ears! Would love to learn from blokes who are willing to teach and advise. I have no issue changing anything. I don't want a half assed still but if I didn't have a go first most you guys may of thought "here we go, another dreamer"

3 - The two boiler is scrapped, I acknowledge that getting them to equalise correctly is the concern so easy fixed. 1 boiler it is!

4 - If you get time write that essay! I would absolutely love to read it and learn. You are correct with online info, so many variables and mistakes everywhere but when you don't know what's a mistake it is easy to make them yourself.

To Tesla101-
Agree with the idea of collecting in one and stripping in the other. It is very simple for me to swap the column from one to the other. As for making a 4" bubbler, if that is what everyone recommends me to do I will do it. I don't see anything I have built and discard as a waste because I firmly believe you learn from your mistakes. If you never make them you never learn!!

If you guys can tell me the perfect still and how to run it I will build it. Just did not want to go copper as I won't get time to run it often and stainless is a lot better for corrosion and tarnish. I intend to remove copper scrubbers after ea run and clean and dry for storage.
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby Capstar34 » Fri May 01, 2020 11:17 am

The Stig wrote:Looks like somebodys been watching moonshiners :angry-banghead:


I have not watched any vids, just trying to read and understand. Anyone can buy a still and run it too the manufacturers instructions. Sorry if you feel the need to bag me out for having a go.
Last edited by Capstar34 on Fri May 01, 2020 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby Sam. » Fri May 01, 2020 11:44 am

Capstar34 wrote:
To Sam-
1 - I am sorry to have broken the rules of over 100ltr. It is a hobby mate, I will never and have never done anything other than use product for personal. If cutting 1 tank down to 100ltr is easier to run or has any advantages I will do it. It will just make me cry haha.
.


All good mate, just need to make it perfectly clear we do not condone any form of selling/trading alcohol, if we want the ATO and feds to leave us alone we must be seen doing the right thing.

Capstar34 wrote:
The Stig wrote:Looks like somebodys been watching moonshiners :angry-banghead:


I have not watched any vids, just trying to read and understand. Anyone can buy a still and run it too the manufacturers instructions. Sorry if you feel the need to bag me out for having a go.


No one wants to "bag you out", just we have seen many come to this forum in the past thinking they know everything from watching two episodes of moonshiners 8-} .

You have a good attitude and approach to this, there are many members on this forum that give their time and expertise freely, i'm sure you will have an excellent system in no time.

Also super jealous of having your own fab shop.
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby RC Al » Fri May 01, 2020 2:21 pm

Tis good that your a boilermaker lols. Again sorry for the harshness, things are a much easier fix for you than the average punter and i was looking at it from the paying for getting things done angle

The liebig will be fine, the gap is probably not far off perfect in fact - a wee bit smaller wouldnt hurt, I thought it would be worse than that - differences in tube vs pipe - some are rated on id instead of od etc. My bad

With the PID, the only valid use I know of for one in a boiler is if your doing an esterification rest, heat up and hold around 150-155f for 30 mins and let cool and then run as normal will result in a butter flavour in your product (rum). The t500 is designed so that you dont need a power controller (it still helps though) but you really want to control Watts and not temperature to the boiler so a SSR is what you should be controlling one of the elements with, this gives a steady amount of vapour so that the column can obtain and keep equilibrium.

Putting all your elements in the one boiler will give you an nice short heatup time, overkill? maybe maybe not... depends on the next bit..

Looks like your at the edge of you rafters there, which implies you have some roof space left further in, this is a good thing, another 1m of packed section will get that baby producing a better product, faster - your going to need a step ladder though, this is why you dont see many full size 4" jobbies floating around Im currently making a similar column to what you have with a couple of differences, the main is 1.9m and I will be adding probably another .6-1m to it plus about 1m of head - its going to have to be run outside though (shh).

That valve you have is more appropriately sized for a bottom drain :handgestures-thumbupleft: go and have a search for VM take off size vs reflux ratios, you will then be sat on your butt with the price of a 4" valve. This is why my combo head will be a ccvm/lm (shh)

As you already have the aezo tower of doom the only thing you will want a plated column for is the coloured spirits scotch rum etc, that's a whole different beast, you will be able to use your head and pc on it though, I would get this guy up and running before tackling that.

Which end of the country you at? I wouldn't mind a gander at the rig (and shed, lols) in person
Last edited by RC Al on Fri May 01, 2020 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby Maxxx » Fri May 01, 2020 10:24 pm

Hey Capstar
Looks like you have some great skills, think if I was even 1/2 a boily I would be dangerous :D
The guys are spot on with their advice about joining two boilers, you will always have trouble balancing the outputs.
I tried it with 2 kegs a few years ago - Joined them both through their sides with a 4” triclover clamp, thought that would be enough to balance heat and flow, even resorted to a horizontal vapour chamber on top of the kegs and attached the column to that, but I was never able to run it as stable as a single boiler.
I hear you as not having too much time to spare and larger single runs are definitely easier.
You should be able to reconfigure the current set up easily and get great results.
I make a bit of neutral and run a 4” VM myself.
If I were you I would be making 1 boiler a dedicated stripper and the other your VM.
To make good neutral I have always found it best to do a couple of strip runs and fill the boiler for the spirit run with 2/3 low wines and 1/3 water.
Please keep us posted on the build, always happy to help in any way
One thing I found really helpful in my VM is a thermometer 1/2 way up the packed column, you can spot the temp rise of the beginning of tails.
Cheers
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby Capstar34 » Sat May 02, 2020 7:58 pm

To RC AL -
Thanks again, I have got rid of the tee joining the two, will run as 1 now sa I said earlier. I've built another .6m packed section as I had enough height room. The PIDs are actually ssd controllers mate, my mistake as I thought were the same thing. Question I have is the valve to the lievig is 50mm. If I were to put a bigger 1 in wouldn't it change way the restrictor works in the reducer? I'll send you a PM if you don't mind?

To Maxx -
Thanks for the input mate, will definitely put a thermometer port in the column too. I will use the other boiler just described!
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby RC Al » Sat May 02, 2020 9:44 pm

Actually, thinking more on that valve, it won't make a difference as you are using a liebig

Unique to the VM setup, the take off point diameter interacts with the column diameter, creating an automatic reflux ratio. You have a 98 to 13? size difference, a bit under 8:1, that means that 8 parts of the vapor will be returned to the column as reflux for each one part that makes it to the pc to be condensed, no matter how far you open the valve

Currently the unit will run faster in LM mode

Without changing the head type completely, the obvious solution is to put a multi tube shotgun condenser (or another coil condenser similar to the one in the head) there instead. The current valve will still give you at best a 2:1 ratio
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby Capstar34 » Sat May 02, 2020 10:02 pm

RC Al wrote:Actually, thinking more on that valve, it won't make a difference as you are using a liebig

Unique to the VM setup, the take off point diameter interacts with the column diameter, creating an automatic reflux ratio. You have a 98 to 13? size difference, a bit under 8:1, that means that 8 parts of the vapor will be returned to the column as reflux for each one part that makes it to the pc to be condensed, no matter how far you open the valve

Currently the unit will run faster in LM mode

Without changing the head type completely, the obvious solution is to put a multi tube shotgun condenser (or another coil condenser similar to the one in the head) there instead. The current valve will still give you at best a 2:1 ratio


At the end of the concentric cone (100 to 50mm reducer) I have made a washer on the lathe which has a 33mm hole. I was aiming at 1/3 diameter difference only because of plans I looked at. The valve is 50mm but as explained just before the thread inlet I put the 33mm diameter washer. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby Capstar34 » Sat May 02, 2020 10:05 pm

Capstar34 wrote:
RC Al wrote:Actually, thinking more on that valve, it won't make a difference as you are using a liebig

Unique to the VM setup, the take off point diameter interacts with the column diameter, creating an automatic reflux ratio. You have a 98 to 13? size difference, a bit under 8:1, that means that 8 parts of the vapor will be returned to the column as reflux for each one part that makes it to the pc to be condensed, no matter how far you open the valve

Currently the unit will run faster in LM mode

Without changing the head type completely, the obvious solution is to put a multi tube shotgun condenser (or another coil condenser similar to the one in the head) there instead. The current valve will still give you at best a 2:1 ratio


At the end of the concentric cone (100 to 50mm reducer) I have made a washer on the lathe which has a 33mm hole. I was aiming at 1/3 diameter difference only because of plans I looked at. The valve is 50mm but as explained just before the thread inlet I put the 33mm diameter washer. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby RC Al » Sat May 02, 2020 10:18 pm

The washer is of no consequence with the liebig diameter being smaller

It will be a issue if you change the condenser
Last edited by RC Al on Sat May 02, 2020 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby Capstar34 » Sun May 03, 2020 9:14 am

RC Al wrote:The washer is of no consequence with the liebig diameter being smaller

It will be a issue if you change the condenser


Thanks RC,
So if I was to make the internal diameter of the liebig condenser 33mm to match the washer or remove washer (which would give me 50mm) and make the liebig match would that increase the output speed?
Also if I was to put a shotgun condenser just below the output tee wouldn't that effectively give me a CCVM?
I was thinking that with a 2.1m 4" packed section is my liebig condenser too small.
The thing is the column is fed via the boka when run in VM mode.
My only goal is to get fast, quality neutral. If it means changing the head design completely then so be it. I don't want to make things over complicated for myself!! I'm happy to run all the heating elements in one boiler as the other will just be storage now.
Sorry for all the questions!!
If CCVM is better I have all the materials here to make the change.
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby RC Al » Sun May 03, 2020 10:33 am

A ccvm would mitigate the need for an bigger valve, but you will still have the ratio issue. Putting a condenser below the take off point will change it to a CM and the sizing ratio issue will go away (the top of the column will need to be sealed for that to work) used with a CM your liebig most likely will be fine, my 3/4 over 1/2 at 170cm (copper though) is knocking down 12l/h on strips at the moment and still has more to give when i can work out how to get better efficiency out of my burner/shroud

A 33mm or bigger bore liebig could be made to work, but would need turbulence inducers to ensure contact with the walls to condense, whatever you use to do that will also influence the ratio - the vapour dosen't see size, it feels resistance
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby Capstar34 » Sun May 03, 2020 12:55 pm

RC Al wrote:A ccvm would mitigate the need for an bigger valve, but you will still have the ratio issue. Putting a condenser below the take off point will change it to a CM and the sizing ratio issue will go away (the top of the column will need to be sealed for that to work) used with a CM your liebig most likely will be fine, my 3/4 over 1/2 at 170cm (copper though) is knocking down 12l/h on strips at the moment and still has more to give when i can work out how to get better efficiency out of my burner/shroud

A 33mm or bigger bore liebig could be made to work, but would need turbulence inducers to ensure contact with the walls to condense, whatever you use to do that will also influence the ratio - the vapour dosen't see size, it feels resistance

With saying my output ratio is 8 to 1 which is correct (100mm column to 14mm i.d liebig).
If I was to do a test run as it is now, what would you guess the output to be? I.e. 2lrt per hour??
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby RC Al » Sun May 03, 2020 3:33 pm

That will depend on how much heat you throw at it, if you used all the elements (12kw) it might hit as high as 4.5l/h (based off an old calc), but your packing may not allow you to use that much heat (flooding) and I cant comment on how much smearing would happen, The extra column height helps with that

I am keen for you to run it as sits if you are :)

Dose that inkbird controller let you set watts and not a temp?
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Re: Twin boiler vm lm isolation build

Postby Capstar34 » Sun May 03, 2020 5:48 pm

RC Al wrote:That will depend on how much heat you throw at it, if you used all the elements (12kw) it might hit as high as 4.5l/h (based off an old calc), but your packing may not allow you to use that much heat (flooding) and I cant comment on how much smearing would happen, The extra column height helps with that

I am keen for you to run it as sits if you are :)

Dose that inkbird controller let you set watts and not a temp?


No worries, I'll give it a run soon. I am going to make a larger diameter liebig tonight but I won't install it yet. I'm still waiting on the electrian to wire up some more outlets. Yes the inkbirds are wattage controllers. Well pretty sure the are. I'll check tonight.
I also need to make 2 more flange mounts for the elements aswell.
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