My New Toy

Perforated & bubble cap plated columns

My New Toy

Postby Ravvin » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:26 pm

Look what turned up in the mail yesterday. :dance:

Image

While the T500 makes nice neutral if run properly, it takes ages and is a bit limiting.
I want to be able to make my own rum, as well as neutral, and was looking at the 4" Eliminator, but Andrew explained that to make a really good neutral, I would be better off getting the Neutraliser and a couple of rolls of copper mesh.
So I did. I also got a voltage regulator. I got a free bottle opener and 2 chupachups, so that's a bonus. :D
I can still make rum by removing the 500mm packed section and dropping it back to 4 plates.

I still have to get the cooling lines set up and see about some sort of flow control. I have a 1000L cube to recirculate water from, so I also will look at the pumps people have tried.
My next problem is that my kitchen/distilling area has a peaked ceiling, 2.6m at the highest point. The still, as assembled above, is pretty much 2.5m, without any sort of insulated base under it. I was thinking I would just get a big ceramic tile or maybe a square paver to sit it on, but that leaves no room to lift the still section off the boiler.
I have 12' ceilings in the lounge and hallway, but those areas are carpeted and a still would look a bit odd there. At least I could watch tv while doing a run.

See the pic below of my first attempt to put it all together.

Image

I couldn't work out why the parrot was so far off the ground. How were people reading the alchometer? Quick check of the pic on the FSD site and I realised I had the condenser on the wrong side of the elbow. :oops:
But hey, if you want to run it like this, it's just over 3m in height. :) Should get great refluxing, but may be hard to get anything out to actually drink.

I have a TPW down as well as a CFW and both are still bubbling, so will be finished and cleared by next weekend.
I'm tossing up whether I should use the TPW in a stripping run to clean the internals, or hold it back and run a feints run with stuff I have saved from the last 6 TPW runs. What do you all think? I also have about 20L of a failed ginger beer batch that I let ferment right out that I could add to up the volume. This stuff is so harsh that if I open a bottle of it, (2L softdrink bottles), when I close it again it somehow uses up all the air in the bottle and sucks the sides in. Should clean the internals right out.

I also have to clean up the 2 rolls of copper mesh. They still have the protective oil coating from manufacture, so I will first have a go at degreasing them with hot soapy water, then gently boil them in a vinegar and salt solution. I'll try getting some pics during the process and report how successful each process it.

I'd like to add that it was great to deal with Andrew at 5 Star Distilling, he really knows his products and explained a few things I had not understood. I'm looking forward to documenting my learning progress with this still.

Greg.
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Re: My New Toy

Postby bluc » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:43 pm

Looks awesome :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: My New Toy

Postby unwritten » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:02 pm

Nice setup. Keep the TPW and CFW, run the Ginger Beer and feints.
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Re: My New Toy

Postby southern45 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:52 pm

Epic upgrade! That'll make quite the difference over your little T500 that's for sure! :music-deathmetal:
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Re: My New Toy

Postby db1979 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:48 pm

unwritten wrote:Nice setup. Keep the TPW and CFW, run the Ginger Beer and feints.

:text-+1: alternatively, only run some of the TPW and leave the rest for another run, depending on the wash size. You'd only need enough to cover the elements plus a bit more, get to boil with both elements and then switch off the top element. The sacrificial run doesn't need to be a long run.
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Re: My New Toy

Postby The Stig » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:12 am

All that gear got down to Tas pretty quick.
Looks good :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: My New Toy

Postby Professor Green » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:08 pm

Welcome to the neutraliser club Greg.

How good are those milk cans, much sexier in real life than in the pictures huh!
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Re: My New Toy

Postby Ravvin » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:46 pm

So what are people using for flow control with these stills?
I've been told that I should run the condenser flat out and just regulate the RC flow.
With the T500, I can see the outlet water flow rate as it doesn't fill the pipe when dialled back and its fully open when in reflux, but I'm guessing these stills need a much larger flow.
I'll use a pump in a 1000L IBC and recirculate, but I guess I need some sort of larger capacity needle valve than the T500 uses, and some way to work out how much flow I need.
I plan on using the brass Holman fittings with the double O'rings and running 1/2" reinforced lines from the pump to the condensers. I will probably link the outflow pipes and run 3/4" back to the IBC.
Any suggestions for managing flow control?

Greg.
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Re: My New Toy

Postby bluc » Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:05 pm

I just use a 1/2" needle valve.. :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: My New Toy

Postby The Stig » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:48 pm

:text-+1:
Get into full reflux and back it off slowly till you get the flow you want
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Re: My New Toy

Postby Professor Green » Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:53 am

:text-+1:

Just remember that when you back it off, it will take the RC time to respond to the change so back it off a little and wait a few minutes then back it off a little more if you need to.
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Re: My New Toy

Postby SJC2 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:38 am

That's a good looking rig :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: My New Toy

Postby Cheersbigears » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:17 am

Hi Another member :happy-partydance: If you are having trouble with the height remove a tee as I think it works out to about 20 plates in the 500mm packed section so losing one is not to much of a drama. I use the old brass gate valve for the flow and yes PC flat out and the RC regulate. With a gate valve from just cracked open to a quarter turn open depends on the wash. For the neutral I run it slow as about the 1.7-1.8 Lt/hr and the rum in is pushing the 2.5 Lt/hr but that's me. Have fun with the flavors now and ways to run and set that baby up.

Cheers
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Re: My New Toy

Postby bluc » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:20 am

I run mine as fast as I can while maintaining the abv I want. 92-94 fores heads, 88-90 hearts.Except neutral I run that slower. About 1.5l/h..
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Re: My New Toy

Postby Ravvin » Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:20 pm

Thanks, all. This is the sort of info I was after.
Now I just have to find a valve suitable for fine control of the RC flow.
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Re: My New Toy

Postby bayshine » Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:24 pm

Ravvin wrote:Thanks, all. This is the sort of info I was after.
Now I just have to find a valve suitable for fine control of the RC flow.

Plain old 1/2” brass gate valve from Bunnings is all I use, just adjust it a little bit at a time :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: My New Toy

Postby Ravvin » Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:35 pm

Ok, just a few things I have noticed that are easy to miss for the beginner.

When assembling the tees, be aware that there is a top and bottom to them. I didn't realise this and found some of my clamps were tight, but open much further than others.
If you look at the openings on the ends of the tees, you will see one has a recessed lip. This lip goes to the bottom, to allow the bubbler plate to fit in and still allow the tee to contact the black sealing ring. If you get it wrong, the tee clamps the bubbler plate to the black seal, but leaves a gap between the metal face of the tee and the seal. Also, your clamp will be open a lot more, with close to 40mm of thread showing instead of about 20mm.
So from the bottom, you have the boiler lid, a clear silicon seal, the 4" riser (either way up, same both ends), black sealing ring, bubbler plate, tee with recessed lip pointing down, (repeat until you run out of tees/bubbler plates).
After that, fit your riser tube with the strainer plate to the bottom (so your rolls of mesh and other packing don't slip down into your top tee), then your reflux condenser, 4" to 2" reducer, 2" 90° elbow (x2), then your main condenser, 2" to 3/4" reducer, 3/4" drop tube, your parrot and finally the 3/4" ball valve.

After assembly, look through all the sight glasses. If you can see all the little copper caps with screws on top, well done.
If you see any with just a single copper cap on a short pipe, you have the plate upside down. :)

I have a couple of questions for people who have used these stills.
1. When initially setting it all up, do you wrap the sealing rings with PTFE tape right from the start or only later when they get a bit squashed and start leaking?
2. How tight do you do up the clamps that hold the sections together?
3. How tight do you do up the rings that hold the sight glasses in? Just finger tight, hand tight or use a KLR suspension adjusting spanner on them?
4. When distilling, do you leave the Alcometer floating in the parrot the whole time, catching the spirit from the little overflow spigot, or do you just let it drain from the ball valve at the bottom and close it to check every now and then?
5. After a distilling run, do you take it all apart to clean it out, or just remove the reducer over the RC and pour hot water down through it all? I imagine there is liquid left in the bubbler caps on each of the downcomers.
6. How much water is this setup likely to go through in a normal 50L spirits run if I use town water? I have the pump and hoses all set up but the 1000L cube I had is badly deteriorated by the years of UV and has cracked behind the tap and now won't hold water. I have another one lined up but it is still half full of hydraulic oil, so I have to wait a bit to get hold of it.

I found that the 4" rolls of copper mesh fit into a 2L coke bottle if you cut the funnel section off the top. I filled them with the cleaning solution for my parts washer, which is a diluted water-based degreaser. Within a few hours, I saw oil floating on the surface, so slowly trickled in some water until the level was high enough to skim it off. I drained all the liquid out and poured it back in a few times, until there was no sign of oil on the surface, then left them to drain overnight in the bath. I had a couple of big cable ties around them to stop them unrolling and gave them a good rinse when I had a shower the next morning. I'll give them a boil in a salt/vinegar solution before I do the sacrificial run, but they already look much shinier than they started out. I have a big stack of the stainless pot scourers to put between the 2 rolls and they will also get the salt/vinegar boil treatment, just to be sure.

Will add some pics once I am ready for the first run and clean the kitchen up a bit.

Greg.
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T500 Copper

Re: My New Toy

Postby Professor Green » Tue Mar 05, 2019 8:07 pm

Ravvin wrote:When assembling the tees, be aware that there is a top and bottom to them. I didn't realise this and found some of my clamps were tight, but open much further than others.
If you look at the openings on the ends of the tees, you will see one has a recessed lip. This lip goes to the bottom, to allow the bubbler plate to fit in and still allow the tee to contact the black sealing ring. If you get it wrong, the tee clamps the bubbler plate to the black seal, but leaves a gap between the metal face of the tee and the seal. Also, your clamp will be open a lot more, with close to 40mm of thread showing instead of about 20mm.


That's the complete opposite of mine. I start off with a 100mm pipe section that has a recess at the top and the the lower plate sitting in it, then the 1st tee goes on that with a plate sitting in the recess at the top of the tee and so on.
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Re: My New Toy

Postby Jimmy. » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:56 am

Dont over pack the packed section, theres a few posts where if the copper is too tight it wont allow liquid to flow through easily. think I read its about 300 grams per roll works out about right but The stig should confirm this.
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Re: My New Toy

Postby Ravvin » Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:05 am

Professor Green wrote:
Ravvin wrote:When assembling the tees, be aware that there is a top and bottom to them. I didn't realise this and found some of my clamps were tight, but open much further than others.
If you look at the openings on the ends of the tees, you will see one has a recessed lip. This lip goes to the bottom, to allow the bubbler plate to fit in and still allow the tee to contact the black sealing ring. If you get it wrong, the tee clamps the bubbler plate to the black seal, but leaves a gap between the metal face of the tee and the seal. Also, your clamp will be open a lot more, with close to 40mm of thread showing instead of about 20mm.


That's the complete opposite of mine. I start off with a 100mm pipe section that has a recess at the top and the the lower plate sitting in it, then the 1st tee goes on that with a plate sitting in the recess at the top of the tee and so on.


That would make sense, as the logo on half the tees is upside down. The other half are printed lengthways, so hard to tell with them.
I'll check again, but I'm pretty sure my 100mm riser section is the same both ends, with no recess.
I had it all loosely fitted together to see how it worked and then once I realised one end of the tees had a recess for the plate, I checked the bottom riser and the ends of the packed section and neither had a recess.

The rolls of mesh are from FSD, so should be wound properly. I was just going to use the stainless scrubbers to keep the top and bottom rolls of copper mesh apart, and there were no big air gaps.

Greg.
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