Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Perforated & bubble cap plated columns

Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby Dunnonuthin » Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:45 pm

Big Nutz? Well, you’ll find out why when we get to that part of the story. I had to call this thread something besides “Another 4” bubbler”. This is my build, and I felt I owe it to the forum to share it here. After all, without this site, I can tell you, I never would have got this done. (It’s also your fault for putting the initial idea in my head). So this is me paying it forward.
I’d been quite happy using my 2” Boka for neutrals, a couple of AG whiskeys and a rum (the last two in potstill mode), supplemented with a 10L stove top gin pot for that tasty stuff. But it was time for another build, more because I love making stuff, than a need for more booze faster. But if’n yur gunna build a’nuther mousetrap...
So I did my fair share of research, and decided on bubble caps over plates because of the reported wider operating power range. Then I did more research, and discovered bubble caps with integrated down comers that supposedly have the same speeds as perforated plates, and retain the advantage of running well at lower power input. The sales pitch had me.
But there was no way I was going to buy off the shelf Bubble Caps. Just not my style. So right here is where this story really starts.
Note full house brick to keep pipe from rolling away.

And for scale.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Dunnonuthin
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:02 pm
Location: Long ways South of Bass Strait
equipment: 50L boiler
2" Boka
4" Bubbler near finished
10L Gin Pot

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby Birdman85 » Fri May 01, 2020 4:33 am

Nice work mate.

Keep the pics coming thick and fast and have some fun!

P. S. I like how your profile says 4" bubbler nearly finished. :teasing-tease:
Last edited by Birdman85 on Fri May 01, 2020 4:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Birdman85
 
Posts: 195
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:54 pm
equipment: Turbo500 (birthday gift)

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby Lesgold » Fri May 01, 2020 6:15 am

Been looking forward to this. Bring it on.
Lesgold
 
Posts: 348
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:42 pm
Location: NSW south coast
equipment: Pure Distilling reflux and pot. 2” modular CCVM/ 1150mm column, 50l boiler with 2x 2400w elements.

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby Dunnonuthin » Fri May 01, 2020 9:03 pm

Birdman, it’s up and running. But running blind so to speak. The sight glass discs are still in the post, only reached Melbourne today, exactly a week after Andrew posted them. :sad: My fault for not calling him two weeks prior when I decided I was going to buy them. Anyway, with no sight glasses, or thermo port, I’m just running off the alcometer and confident I’m doing ok, ABV and output rate wise. But damn it, I really want to see what’s going on in there.

Righto, back to the build. I decided I’d start with the bubble caps and their integrated downcomers.
While the critical data for perf plates and standard bubble caps is well documented here, I was not finding the same kind of dimensional information for knocking off a commercial cap of this type. I didn’t have one in my hands either. Best I could do was find a few photos on the web. Then using the one or two known dimensions, like cap diameter, I scaled off the rest. Roughly ;-)
Next thing was to check i had no bottle necks, cross sectional wise, in the vapour path using the tube dimensions I had available, with the dimensions I had decided on. After crunching the numbers I was happy enough to start R&D on just how i would build these suckers. So the cap and riser tube where simple enough. But the riser/cup tube needed a shoulder on it to butt into and seal on the the bottom of the plate. On the real ones the shoulder appears to be machined. Not an option. I could expand some tube to just slip over the riser, cut narrow rings off and solder them on to form the shoulder. But in typical fashion, I made it hard for myself. Decided I’d swage that shoulder on the riser. Just what am I banging on about? Time for pictures (At this point I was still undecided on 3 or 4 caps per plate.)

258B31F2-8C46-41B0-A22A-2663F8AA9026.jpeg


85F9706F-246C-4E71-A359-A028291A1AC4.jpeg


BFE9560F-72C2-4C7F-BC7E-D987E7AFFF96.jpeg


Yeah, there’s a quite bit of work in each of these. Makes the commercial ones a bargain if you put a dollar value on your time spent making them.
But do they work? Well, like I said, I’ve been running blind, but the ABV and product speed indicate I didn’t waste my time.
Are they worth the effort? Well, dunno. I’m running 2200w and 4 caps on 4 plates, 600mm extension with 500mm of poorly packed scrubbies. Pulling 91% at 2.5L/hr on 30% feints cleaning run. Pretty much same story using 500mm of scoria instead of scrubbies on the same wash. About 85-90% on 10% TFFV at the same speeds. I feel they can take more power, but want to install the sight glasses before firing up the 2 ring gas burner so I can see what happens.
So at this point, not any better than what standard caps or perf plates can do. There, I said it.

If there is any interest in how I made the risers, I will do a blow by blow account with pics.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Dunnonuthin
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:02 pm
Location: Long ways South of Bass Strait
equipment: 50L boiler
2" Boka
4" Bubbler near finished
10L Gin Pot

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby RC Al » Fri May 01, 2020 9:15 pm

I would be interested in the numbers on the caps if you would like to share?

I think you may be on the money with the more power needed
RC Al
Mentor
 
Posts: 1046
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:58 pm
Location: Sunshine Coast Area
equipment: Old SS Reflux
2" Potty on 50l keg Uber burner

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby Dunnonuthin » Fri May 01, 2020 9:56 pm

I’ve got no reason not share the numbers RC. Are there specific ones your after? Or fab drawings?
Dunnonuthin
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:02 pm
Location: Long ways South of Bass Strait
equipment: 50L boiler
2" Boka
4" Bubbler near finished
10L Gin Pot

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby RC Al » Fri May 01, 2020 10:10 pm

lols all of it, heights, inside and out side diameters of every pipe, # of slots plus depth and width down to the .1 of a mm if you can :cool:
RC Al
Mentor
 
Posts: 1046
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:58 pm
Location: Sunshine Coast Area
equipment: Old SS Reflux
2" Potty on 50l keg Uber burner

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby Dunnonuthin » Fri May 01, 2020 10:25 pm

Can you make sense of this?
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Dunnonuthin
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:02 pm
Location: Long ways South of Bass Strait
equipment: 50L boiler
2" Boka
4" Bubbler near finished
10L Gin Pot

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby RC Al » Sat May 02, 2020 10:33 am

Yep, and the downcomer?
Appreciated muchly
RC Al
Mentor
 
Posts: 1046
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:58 pm
Location: Sunshine Coast Area
equipment: Old SS Reflux
2" Potty on 50l keg Uber burner

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby Dunnonuthin » Sat May 02, 2020 1:09 pm

No worries, could not be bothered typing all that out.
Downcomer is standard 15mm (1/2”) pipe. 4x 6mm drain holes in the bottom.
Dunnonuthin
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:02 pm
Location: Long ways South of Bass Strait
equipment: 50L boiler
2" Boka
4" Bubbler near finished
10L Gin Pot

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby RC Al » Sat May 02, 2020 2:11 pm

I assume you mean dn15 - 12.7 @ .71 wall?

Im suspecting a lathe in use here (pic in your avatar of those plates give it away too lols), your riser is in between dn20 & dn25?? that or you've managed to find some american or euro pipe?

With your area of flow math there, im not 100%, but have you failed to account for the downcomer in your riser area? its not that its going to matter too dramatically in the grand scheme of things, but you seem to be aiming for the 'all flow paths being equal" approach that I have seen mentioned a few times around. It was how i was approaching design until recently, when I discovered laminar flow effects, which put me back to square one for riser to cap size distance/ratio, still working on it...

I use excel for this stuff, only have to work out what im doing once and then copy n paste for different iterations
RC Al
Mentor
 
Posts: 1046
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:58 pm
Location: Sunshine Coast Area
equipment: Old SS Reflux
2" Potty on 50l keg Uber burner

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby Dunnonuthin » Sat May 02, 2020 7:46 pm

Sorry AC, by standard I meant the 1.5m lengths from the big green shed, 12.7 x 0.91mm on the sticky bastard labels.
Nope, no lathe used. My old compass from school, a gutless cheap drill press I’m storing for a mate, cordless drill, hand held belt sander, files and sandpaper produced those. They look good, and good enough for purpose, but not perfectly round.

I picked up the riser tube at the scrappy. I didn’t measure it when I bought it, thinking it must be 25mm. But nope. 22.2mm or 7/8” in the old scale. God knows the story of its origin and reason for being at the scrap yard the day I was. Turns out that was a happy coincidence, as it worked perfectly with the “tooling” I cobbled together.

4429587A-FB32-4DD9-A0F4-6557B0C3B14B.jpeg


With your area of flow math there, im not 100%, but have you failed to account for the downcomer in your riser area?

Yeah there was I reason why I wasn’t going to share the measurements, I knew someone would pick me apart for some mistake or misguided theory. :laughing-rolling: yeah, it was written 7months about but If it’s not on that page, I must of missed it.
Seems like you take a deep interest in these technical things. Be interested in your thoughts on this design. Spot any potential issues or areas for improvement?
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Dunnonuthin
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:02 pm
Location: Long ways South of Bass Strait
equipment: 50L boiler
2" Boka
4" Bubbler near finished
10L Gin Pot

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby Maxxx » Sat May 02, 2020 9:03 pm

Hey donnnonuthin
Great looking build, you certainly have some skills and patience being able to create that bubble cap with downcomer by hand :handgestures-thumbupleft:
Watching this build closely, thankyou for sharing

Rather than build multiple caps with downcomers for each plate have you considered using the outer edge/whole plate as a cap, just make a larger single cap with large downcomer to service the whole plate in the centre.
Cheers
Maxxx
Maxxx
 
Posts: 95
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:27 pm
Location: Greenbank - Brisbane
equipment: 200 litre stripper
50 litre keg VM
Ultimate 120lt boiler build (almost done)

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby Dunnonuthin » Sat May 02, 2020 10:47 pm

Thanks maxxx, no I hadn’t. From all I’d read, large bubble caps don’t do as well as smaller ones.

So, I’d just about finished a great long post, with 6-7 pics on how I swaged the risers, annnnd boom. Kicked off (logged out) the site and lost it all :angry-banghead:

So here goes again..

So the 7/8” pipe would be the neck size. I wanted to swage up the body to form
the shoulder that seals and locks the cap assembly on the underside of the plate.
Recalling a bench vice and socket set are bloody handy for seating bearings and such from watching old man as a boy, I started tinkering. Found a 14mm socket fit just about perfect in the 7/8” tube. The socket, being a 1/2” drive had a shoulder on it. If I could press that into the riser, the small end would guide it in straight, while the shoulder expanded the body and form the shoulder I wanted. So a couple attempts later I could tell you to NOT anneal the tube, it just wads up in a nasty bunch, and a standard socket was too short. I needed a long series 14mm socket. So few days later after a trip to the place where you can’t buy a cooked sausage at the minute, I had one. Here we go;

[attachment=2]CB156483-6246-401F-9E43-780A13EF16F3.jpeg[/attachment]


[attachment=2]CB156483-6246-401F-9E43-780A13EF16F3.jpeg[/attachment]


[attachment=0]F343A7BE-1B1F-445D-B52A-28FB220AB303.jpeg[/attachment]


I found I had to cut a spacer from the same 7/8” tube to push the riser far enough onto the socket to get the shoulder in the right position. The procedure was lube up blank and socket with very soapy water water, line them up in the vice, then press the socket into the pipe till it bottomed out, back off the vice, add the spacer - pinching the spacer and neck of riser between my fingers as I gently closed the vice to get things aligned. Once started keep going until the spacer bottomed out.

Do note the vice jaws need to be reasonably parallel. The end cuts of the risers and spacer need to be square, deburred but not heavily chamfered.

I’m done for tonight. Next post I will iron out the chubby bulges and square ups the ends.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Dunnonuthin
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:02 pm
Location: Long ways South of Bass Strait
equipment: 50L boiler
2" Boka
4" Bubbler near finished
10L Gin Pot

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby Dunnonuthin » Sun May 03, 2020 9:39 pm

Posting pictures in-line is giving me the shits. All sorts of weird stuff happening. Gave up last night. Doesn’t help trying to do this on a phone either. Anyway...

The lumpy out of shape risers were not gonna cut it. I needed a die to resize them back down to size. But lacking a lathe that wasn’t going to happen. Would have been a lot of time invested in piece of one off tooling anyway. Rummaging around in my buckets of mightcomeinhandyoneday bolts and crap, I found two large heavy washers left over from a previous employment. The smaller had an ID a tad under the diameter of the riser neck. The larger one’s ID was almost perfect for the riser body. A bit of file work later and after a couple of tests, I could swage the risers down.

16A437B0-675C-4B7C-8C8D-8B25C0ABB9FA.jpeg


60BD2191-99C9-4644-87F5-899CDD005921.jpeg


F657CE15-FC9E-4388-931C-59ACF1B0F217.jpeg


9B5702F3-1603-4793-922C-F44A7CC9191F.jpeg


Looking much closer to what I had in mind. The deep scratches could have been avoided if I polished the inside of the washers, maybe next time.
All the stretching and squeezing had left the ends of the risers well out of shape. I needed an easy way of squaring them up. Pulled out the Makita belt sander and the jig I made for using it on its side. Clamped on a fence at 90 degrees to the belt and made some noise. Used the same setup to cleanup the caps, which is actually what I’m doing in this pic.

CAA9A7ED-1943-4777-A412-8EA8CA8C82F6.jpeg


Next instalment will be drilling and filing the slots in the riser body, soldering on bottoms and clean up.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Dunnonuthin
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:02 pm
Location: Long ways South of Bass Strait
equipment: 50L boiler
2" Boka
4" Bubbler near finished
10L Gin Pot

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby Lesgold » Mon May 04, 2020 6:41 pm

Hey Dunnonuthin,

You don’t happen to be a farmer do you? You seem to be able to make stuff with some 8 gauge fencing wire and a pair of pliers. To be quite honest, the best thing I enjoy reading is how people solve problems with bits n pieces found around the shed. Enjoying your build.
Lesgold
 
Posts: 348
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:42 pm
Location: NSW south coast
equipment: Pure Distilling reflux and pot. 2” modular CCVM/ 1150mm column, 50l boiler with 2x 2400w elements.

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby Dunnonuthin » Mon May 04, 2020 9:11 pm

Haha Lesgold, did you not see those soft pink fingers in the pics? I grew up on 3000 acres, but we left the land when I was 15 and moved several states south to just 10 :scared-eek: I could see neighbours houses from our letter box, damn it! That took some adjusting. Worn several hats in my time since. All but this current one where hands on gigs.

A point to note while trueing up the risers on the belt sander. I wanted these parts to be (within reason) identical. So made sure the shoulder to mouth and shoulder to base dimensions where all within 0.5mm of each other. The reason being the bubble caps are assembled from 3 components. Random parts too long or too short would mean the cap either wouldn’t clamp up against the plate properly, or the downcomer would sit too high in the bottom of the riser cup, requiring mixing and matching parts for best fit. Just easier to get it right from the start.

Next step after that was to clean up the risers and get rid of those scratches. For this I dug out a 1/2” square to 1/4” hex adapter. The kind you can put in an impact driver to rattle up bolts with sockets. So spinning the risers on a 14mm socket in a drill made this painless. It was time to mark out for the vapour/reflux slots. First mark the upper and lower limits of the slots. This was done consistently and quickly by holding the marker fixed on some packers, and turning the part by hand.
An example of the same technique on a different part;

0FC6DBB0-5B59-4602-A374-D5BF10E57AF0.jpeg


As far as making the slots evenly spaced, the simplest way to do that is to take a neat strip of paper. Wrap it once around the riser. Mark the point where it overlaps. That is your circumference. Lay the paper flat and measure it. Add up the total width of all the slots combined. Subtract that from the circumference. Divide that answer by the number of slots. That figure is the distance between slots. Along the edge of your strip of circumference paper, mark one slot width, one space distance, slot with etc until you get to the end mark. (If I’ve stuffed up this description, sort it out for yourself :teasing-neener: )
Wrap the paper back around your riser and transfer the marks.
From here I put the socket in the vice, slid the risers back on for support and gently center punched the approximate centre of each slot. Drill those holes and then you can start the most painstaking part. Filing the rectangular slots.

A3912877-3B49-4440-977A-2B4EBD57798D.jpeg


I did the first riser or two entirely with files. Customised a triangular file to fit the slots and get into the corners, but is was a bit tedious. Had a dremel siting idle in its box under the bench, so bugger it, went and bought a small carbide burr to hog out most of the slots, leaving minimal file work to tidy up the corners. Much quicker, left about 15min of file work on each riser.

All slots done and deburred, it was time to solder on the bases.

848BCB03-068C-4306-AE6F-1F92CD8CD3C4.jpeg


Had fun with the four I soldered too close together, but the 4” grinder did it. Then chomped off most of the excess bases with a pair of snips, working around the curve. Onto the belt sander to round off the points left on the base plates, then back to the socket in the drill trick for a final emery cloth cleanup. Which nicely marked the centre of the bases;

6863A256-888C-46C2-858F-D9115123D524.jpeg


Last step was to drill the hole for the bolts and that was the most technical part of this cap finished. Next time the bubble cap and downcomer.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Dunnonuthin
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:02 pm
Location: Long ways South of Bass Strait
equipment: 50L boiler
2" Boka
4" Bubbler near finished
10L Gin Pot

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby woodduck » Tue May 05, 2020 8:27 am

Awesome build mate. Looking good :handgestures-thumbupleft:
woodduck
Moderator
 
Posts: 3486
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 5:54 pm
Location: Good old country SA
equipment: 4 plate 6" copper bubbler, 6 plate 4" glass bubbler with 500mm packed section three way thumper sitting on a 50 ltr keg boiler with 6000watts, 2" pot still and a 2" boka.

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby dans.brew » Wed May 06, 2020 10:40 pm

Nice stuff!
A bit fiddly making all the caps, risers ect but when your all done its quite a sense of achievement.
Lesgold wrote:You don’t happen to be a farmer do you? You seem to be able to make stuff with some 8 gauge fencing wire and a pair of pliers. To be quite honest, the best thing I enjoy reading is how people solve problems with bits n pieces found around the shed.

Totally agree... its amazing what can be made with limited tools and a bit of the "out of the box thinking".
dans.brew
 
Posts: 946
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:26 pm
Location: Victoria- Northern Wimmera
equipment: Pure Distilling Reflux Still
2" Pot Still with lieberg
4" x 4 plates Bubbler with 2"bubble caps on 50ltr keg boiler

Re: Big Nutz. The bubbler build.

Postby Dunnonuthin » Fri May 08, 2020 9:13 pm

Cheers guys, sight glass disks arrived this week. Itching to get them installed so I can see what’s going on in there with these bubble caps. Being Mother’s Day weekend, and the missus planning en-suite Reno’s shopping as well, pretty sure I’m fucked on that front.

Righto, the slotted caps. These are pretty straight forward. Cut to length with the 4”, debur, ensure ends are flat and square. Use the paper strip trick described earlier to mark the slot spacing evenly. Use the marker on packers trick to mark the depth of the slot cuts. Put a bolt in the handle hole of the 4” grinder. Use the bolt to clamp the grinder in the vice (make sure it can’t rotate or otherwise move on you when running). Then you hold onto the caps and gently cut your slots. Friction makes these hot pretty quick, so have a tub of water handy. Now, if you just bought the first ever angle grinder you’ve never used in your life, your fingers are your fingers and your responsibility. If you have no idea on how a grinder can grab in a cut, or how the angle of attack of the disc to work piece affects cut speed and chances of a grab, I suggest you clamp the caps down and hang onto the grinder with two hands.
Next up was to cut strips for the tops, about 4 tops per strip. mark, punch and drill the hole for the downcomer. Put a good chamfer on these holes. Then cut the strip into squares and cleanup ready to solder. I used the cut and position solder trick I learned on this site for every joint I could. It takes a little bit of prep time, but it pays off in neat joins and saves on clean up time and saves solder, because the tendency is to keep pushing solder into a hot joint, all the while excess solder is just running out the back. Wrap the skinny aquasafe solder once around the part, cut that ring in half. Cut that half ring into bits 10-15mm long, and space them so they are the same distance apart. Seems to be just the right amount.

BCEBC15C-05DE-41BE-9384-FF088CBEC2F1.jpeg


D737A6A3-B2E3-470D-8AE8-10C6066CAF39.jpeg


Once soldered chomp the corners off the tops with snips, then round off the points and clean up to a nice finish.

The downcomers where cut with a pipe cutter. Leave the heavy burr on the inside at both ends. Use a standard flaring tool to bell one end enough to fit nicely in the chamfered hole in the cap. The flaring tool rolled the burr down nicely, left a much better finish than when I removed it, and saves me having to ream it out. For the end plugs, Center punch a strip of copper then scribe circles of the right rise to fit inside the downcomer. Once again cut these out with snips into hexagons. Hold onto them with pliers and file them down to the line. Stuff one down to the bottom of each downcomer, punch mark out. The heavy burr holds the plug in place. Handy because the assembly bolt will be pulling down on this joint. No way is it going to fail. Solder the plugs in, cool, then mark the four drain holes as before and drill them and the bolt hole.

24331329-C4B0-4730-8FA3-E8CDE3A46F03.jpeg


B965504A-0AED-4B1B-B69D-092BBDF4C2FD.jpeg


Next issue will be the plates with weirs.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Dunnonuthin
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:02 pm
Location: Long ways South of Bass Strait
equipment: 50L boiler
2" Boka
4" Bubbler near finished
10L Gin Pot

Next

Return to Plated Column Stills



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests

x