Modular hybrid pot still come reflux still

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Modular hybrid pot still come reflux still

Postby stillthinking » Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:17 pm

Hi all, new here so go easy on me...

I have been working on a 4 inch pot still that will run to a to a 500mm 2in shotgun. Standard keg boiler, 2 elements, one controlled. Nothing new there. Shotgun is done, as are the bend sections.
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I had been thinking I would do a 2in CCVM head on a column extension as a modular section that I could use for neutrals and was about to just put the pot together and start looking into rum recipes but I had a thought tonight about a possible other way to do this.

So I have come up with the below and would like some feedback on whether I am heading in a suitable direction? I want to produce rum and gin, but will also play with light whiskeys for my Dad. I am thinking a Carter head after the first bend for gin, but that’s a latter addition.
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My thought was I could build the column with a reverse easy flange or even just a ring soldered in near the base and when I want to run neutrals I can drop a perforated plate in and fill the column with packing and drop a reflux condensor in between the top of the packed column and the still head...

So after a trip to 5 Star yesterday I have come to seek the opinion of those with more knowledge than me!

Will a 500mm 4inch column packed produce a neutral I can use to make gin? Any other feedback welcome.
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Last edited by stillthinking on Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Modular hybrid pot still come reflux still

Postby RC Al » Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:55 am

You could strip, run a medium speed intermediate run with cuts and then do a slower spirit run with the hearts from that and come close to a flavorless neutral, diluting the strip for second run down to 20% would help knock some flavour out.

Some like the hint of flavour from the wash and will use complimentary botanicals in the gin to suit

It really needs another meter odd of packing to drop it back to just a strip then spirit run

Those with 4 bubble plates and a packed section that size have to run pretty slow to hit 94-5%, you could get there with a heap of power and reflux, but it most likely would be smeared heavily
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Re: Modular hybrid pot still come reflux still

Postby Maxxx » Mon Jun 22, 2020 7:26 pm

Hey stillthinking
Looks like you have some great build skills- they will serve you well in this hobby.
:text-+1: on what RC Al said - you really need that extra length on the packed section, will make life much easier for you.
Your packing will also make a big difference to your neutral, I have found that using stainless packing can work better than copper, copper conducts really well (too well sometimes) Its easier to maintain a temperature gradient up the column with stainless.
Cheers
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Re: Modular hybrid pot still come reflux still

Postby stillthinking » Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:45 pm

Ok thanks gents. Looks like I need to do some more research into this...

I don’t think I have any issues in my pot still designs. That seems pretty straightforward.

What I’m trying to do is maximise my use of materials and make it as interchangeable as possible. I also have another 800mm section of 50mm and about 700mm section of 100mm copper with assorted extras but I was thinking this might be the start of a plated section in the future (reusing my packed section).

In terms of getting good neutral base off a simple packed section below a reflux condensor as I proposed, is it more about the overall column height or is it surface area of packing. I mean, if there is a given amount of surface area in 500mm of packed 100mm pipe I assume this would be close on the same surface area as 1m of 50mm packed pipe, if not more.

Am I on the right track here??
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Re: Modular hybrid pot still come reflux still

Postby Maxxx » Tue Jun 23, 2020 5:15 am

Hey stillthinking
You got the pot still design pretty well covered.
You are on the right track with conserving components and the double duty column,
It’s easiest just to braze a perforated plate permanently to the bottom of the column, you can run the pot still with it empty and pack it for neutral.
Do read up on hetp (height equivalent to theoretical plate) for a packed column, it will prolly make more sense than I am about to :D been a while since I looked at the theory.
All things being equal the greater the surface area of the packing material used the lower the hetp and the shorter the column can be to achieve neutral. Each hetp up the column is one distillation.
Diameter of the packed column only effects the output speed not the hetp
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Re: Modular hybrid pot still come reflux still

Postby stillthinking » Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:28 am

Cheers Maxxx, I’ll read up on the theory.
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Re: Modular hybrid pot still come reflux still

Postby stillthinking » Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:08 pm

So rookie me decided that stick welding ferrules onto my keg with stainless rods was doable. Whilst the first few welds went quite well, unfortunately I ran out of rods and when I came back to it it went to shit. While the ferrules are on, with a bit of pressure in the keg (well a fair bit) I’m getting leaking through pin holes.

I’ve tried to weld over the holes but it’s not working it seems, I’m Sick of chasing my tail on these holes so I’m thinking it’s a new keg and a couple more ferrules! :oops:

I think I’ll use this keg to finish building the still and might fun vinegar through it but I don’t think it will be used for intended purposes.
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Re: Modular hybrid pot still come reflux still

Postby Lesgold » Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:52 pm

Just grind them out and re-weld. It’ll work. Just make sure that all slag and impurities are ground out. Don’t waste a good keg and all that hard work.
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Re: Modular hybrid pot still come reflux still

Postby stillthinking » Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:08 pm

Cheers Les, I’ve spent this morning grinding and rewording but can’t seem to get it to seal. I’ll give it a rest for a whole and come back to it.

I’ll use it to get the still works finished, but if I come across another keg at the scrapper I’ll be tempted to turn this one into a mash boiler or just use it for storing liquids...

I’m a bit over it, the welder was flowing well and for some reason it just went to shit. I’m not experienced enough to know what I’m doing wrong until I see it.
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Re: Modular hybrid pot still come reflux still

Postby stillthinking » Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:29 pm

So I have been making progress and reading... there is so much reading here, so many ideas!

I reckon this thing is going to end up with plates in it, I keep sketching a drop in plate tree, I’ve got a section of 4 inch 700mm long and I’m now thinking that I might make a 5 plate system on stainless brooker rod (I read SBB’s thread) but with bubble caps instead of perf plates. I’d want to be able to remove plates for different runs. Building these things is just so much fun!

With that in mind I started knocking up a deflagmater over the weekend and brazed the guts together tonight. It’s only 100mm tall with 7 x 19mm but has baffles so I hope it will work. Will drill holes for inlet and out let later and do the easy flanges then solder it all together.

Any suggestions on whether I can do this without committing to sight glasses at this stage? I’d like to get the thing running and producing and maybe throw some more $$$ at it later on... reading macs easy running thread it would seem possible...
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Re: Modular hybrid pot still come reflux still

Postby RC Al » Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:04 am

You can run without sight gasses, plenty of examples out there, not a smal % of them were by experienced operators though

Knowing how a particular plate is behaving can make running the still much easier, especially for a newbie, your soldering is looking great, just blow a few extra $$ on some glasses and clamps n glue them suckers on

Even some 2" ones will make a difference
Last edited by RC Al on Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Modular hybrid pot still come reflux still

Postby Andrew » Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:56 am

We should have the 3” stainless screw on sight glass kits for home builders in about 3 weeks.
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