My 5 star Visualizer MK2

Perforated & bubble cap plated columns

My 5 star Visualizer MK2

Postby M8Harry » Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:06 pm

Hi Gang,

I just wanted to post a bit of a running blog of my learning experience with my 5 star Visualizer MK2 still. From Unboxing to assembly in this post, first runs and the likes will be in subsequent posts.

The TLDR version: BUY FROM 5 STAR!!

The Long Version:

So my still arrived early one morning, I bring the boxes in give them a quick visual for transit damage then back to bed (I work late PM's). The boxes patiently wait another 2 days before unboxing on my birthday. After carefully unpacking everything and sorting out what bits belong with what my wife sits down with me and looks over the bits. She makes her own chainmaille jewelry and after seeing the pile of clamps she decides they look close enough to metal rings and starts making a chainmaille weave out of them!!! She then eyes off the 4" clamp then wonders if it could be fashionable as a choker, well it fitted (See attached image). 5 Star take note, this could open you up to a whole new crowd of loyal customers you never knew existed!

So after sorting out all the bits I was like right lets put this bad boy together. I took one of the glass sections apart trying to figure out how i secure the bubble plates under the glass. I sent warning to my local guru and fellow 5 star still owner who lives around the corner I may have an SOS coming his way later if i get really stuck. Fast forward 20 minutes of wondering what im doing wrong :angry-banghead: , Andrew at 5 star was on the FB messenger showing me the errors of my ways and then things progressed nicely.

After a snappy picture I pulled it apart again and then on with an in depth inspection and cleaning. It went for a blast through the dishwasher and then i went through all the bits looking for anything the dishwasher missed. What I found was some residue I believe was from the pickling paste on some surfaces of the stainless and on the inside of the reflux condenser. Some hot soapy water and it all came off the elbows, I gave the parrot a soak in the hot water and then used a weighted string to pull a rag through the parrot and gee wiz didn't it come out black. Even my new bottle brush was showing black marks on the orange bristles of the brush from where i cleaned the top section of the parrot (where the alcohol overflows and comes out) it was surprising how much residue was in there.

Onto the reflux condenser, so after deciding my brush would fit i started to clean the condenser tubes. All went well till the feral that holds the brush together came out the other end and then when i pulled it back it got stuck :angry-banghead: *insert much swearing here* After finally getting it free I raided the box i keep my Hookah in and grabbed my slim bottle brush, much better fit, 5 minutes later it was spotless.

I stripped down the bubble plates and gave them a soak in some copper cleaner (google barley and hops 551 copper cleaner, that's what i used) i was a touch short on the citric acid but it worked and it soaked overnight.

After cleaning everything I could find, and giving it time to dry it was time for re-assembly. That went pretty painlessly. I did find a few manufacturing flaws in 3 of the parts which 5 start promptly shipped out replacements for, I seriously cant fault them for that. There were a few small issues with the bubble plates. Some holes threaded at weird angles, was an easy enough fix for all bar 2. Some of the caps were not very well made, 1 still had swarf from the drilling process inside again an easy fix. Nobody will see the 2 wonky bolts or the few caps that have irregular slots or holes cut in them, nobody will be looking that close at them. It wasn't a big deal to me so I didn't make a fuss to Andrew over them, he has more important things to do with his time I'm sure, but I did send him pictures of everything i found that wasn't 100% right so he could read the riot act to his suppliers.

So by the end of the day the still was assembled. A helluva lot of time was spent aligning the bolts and 5 star branding on the parts so everything was in line. Its now ready for plumbing work. That's a job for my next day off in 11 days time.

I dont want to post up the pics of the parts being replaced. Andrew at 5 star was amazing and I don't blame him for this issue as he cant have the time to give every single part coming through his shop a full examination. I was happy to keep them, he wasn't standing for it. This makes his brand even easier to recommend to others.

So far im I am SUPER HAPPY with what I have. Cant wait to run this bad boy!

Ok so n00b question.

I will do a vinegar run to make sure i have all the soap suds out of system and if it leaks on me well its water not alcohol vapour. For a sacrificial run could I dilute some heads and tails (thinking 10 litres worth) down to 40% and run that or is there a reason it should be a tpw or kale wash?

Thanks for reading.

More updates to come when days off permit me to work on this amazing bit of kit.
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Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:41 pm
Location: NSW
equipment: Pure distilling Reflux Still with a 25L boiler

5 star mk2 visualiser and 50L milk can boiler

Re: My 5 star Visualizer MK2

Postby Doubleuj » Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:04 pm

Good to see mate your happy mate, no reason to run a tpw or kale if you’ve already got some feints ( heads/ tails) stored up :handgestures-thumbupleft: just make sure it’s below 40% (as you have said).
Posts: 3564
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:15 pm
Location: rockhampton qld
equipment: 4" stainless glasser

Re: My 5 star Visualizer MK2

Postby M8Harry » Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:01 pm

So bit of an update.

Had some home life stuff going on but that's sorted for now and things are good.

Got the plumbing (hopefully) leak free, thread tape for the win.

Tomorrow the eleco wires up the elements then come Saturday the vinegar run happens.

I had to re-shuffle the garage to get the still under the manhole so I could get it together but our new place will having higher ceilings so this wont be an issue.

Just need the slow boat from china to pull a finger out so I can get my power controller, thankfully the guru around the corner is coming over on Saturday with his so we can give this bad boy a run.
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Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:41 pm
Location: NSW
equipment: Pure distilling Reflux Still with a 25L boiler

5 star mk2 visualiser and 50L milk can boiler

Re: My 5 star Visualizer MK2

Postby druwade » Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:38 pm

delicious setup. Good luck this weekend, looking forward to hearing how she runs.
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:54 pm
Location: Ascot Vale, VIC
equipment: 35L digiboiler, FSD 2" pot still... For now.

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