MacBoka users

High performance modular SS304 plated columns and accessories.

MacBoka users

Postby Hawkeye » Sat May 23, 2015 1:35 pm

Thought that now there are a few of the FSD 2" Boka set ups out there in use now, that it might deserve it's own thread seperate to the development thread.

Just turned on the element for the vinegar cleaning run with 10L dilute vinegar in my 30l boiler
:) happy dance :-D

Have had a few teething issues getting the cooling hoses attached without leaks, needed the bloke around the house to tighten them tight enough for me, but have then got snap on Pope hose pipe fittings so I should never have to touch the connectors again.

Any suggestions on how to seat the thermometer to get a good seal? Have wrapped the stalk in Teflon tape to thicken it to the size of the hole, it'll be getting tested soon...

And pictures... Just cause ;)

image.jpg
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Urrazeb » Sat May 23, 2015 2:12 pm

Cut a disc of cork mate, that'll keep it snug
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Geeps » Sat May 23, 2015 5:31 pm

Better watch that set up with the garden hose around the door knob.
If someone comes in from the other side the hole lot is gunna go over. :scared-eek:

Safety first :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Fishboy » Sat May 23, 2015 6:37 pm

will be happy to jin in when mine arrives......
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Hawkeye » Sat May 23, 2015 9:38 pm

All good with the door, it's locked, and ain't the one visitors knock on :)

Look forward to hearing how you go with yours Fishboy :handgestures-thumbupleft: I have never used a still before so this is my first, excuse the noob opinions.

So vinegar cleaning one went all ok, condenser is hooked up to our washing machine tap, doesn't need to be turned on much to knock vapour back really well. Ethanol cleaning run took a bit to get started, heated up 10L of white cask wine in about 30 mins, then had a leak in the flange fitting in the top of the boiler once producing vapour. Tightened it, no good, Took it apart, cleaned and reseated the gaskets then did it back up again - all good.

Did cuts, learnt that it all smells like rocket fuel with different hints of flavour in it. Had to dilute it and sniff it to get the fruity smell of hearts straight in my head.

My temp didn't really stabilise, but have a feeling that it may be because was such a short run. Started at 77.1, then slowly went to 77.5 over about 20 mins. Then Temp started spiking after not quiet an hour of running and wasn't sure why... then realised that it was 10L of 10%... So there was only a max of about a litre in it. Nuhduh moment.

Never got to wet cardboard? But it's the cleaning run, didn't really need all the tails.
Got 50L of TPW that I started last Tuesday... Not ready yet, only 1.050 :( playing with new toy will have to wait til next weekend now.
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Swisswa » Mon May 25, 2015 2:21 pm

A few things with the MacBoka:

I have wrapped the condenser in copper mesh to further improve the cooling ability, and if you haven't I recommend you do so.

When running with that gate/needle valve I only give it about 1/3 of a turn to get ~1 - 1.2L/hr, if you run faster you will have issues with distillate coming out too hot. You should get a glass measuring jug to double check this.

I run cooling water out of the kitchen tap and found the max flow on mains water was ~1.1 L/min and found this was more than enough to knock down all the vapour.

Never got to wet cardboard

If you have packed the column with stainless scrubbers and some copper at the top it will take a bit of time before you get the wet cardboard smell/taste coming through, and I have never had it come through on a neutral run as by that point it's not really worth keeping the boiler on!

Hope this helps
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Hawkeye » Tue May 26, 2015 11:00 am

Swisswa wrote:A few things with the MacBoka:

I have wrapped the condenser in copper mesh to further improve the cooling ability, and if you haven't I recommend you do so.

When running with that gate/needle valve I only give it about 1/3 of a turn to get ~1 - 1.2L/hr, if you run faster you will have issues with distillate coming out too hot. You should get a glass measuring jug to double check this.

Hope this helps


Cheers for the tip with the copper. The roll of copper mesh that kit comes with has plenty of leftovers. Advice from FSD was to create two rolls of copper packing for the column, which I've done. Can use the leftovers to wrap the condenser in some copper. Assumed I should put both copper rolls at the top of the column? Just felt right, not sure why They should be at the top. The rest is packed pretty tight with stainless steel scrubbers. Have no measurements of ABV yet but looking forward to seeing what I can pull...

Have never used a needle valve, and it seems to take awhile for the changes you make to actually come through the bottom of the copper spout. Will take some getting used to I guess...


Was reading about insulating a column on a boka... I don't have a controller for my element, and Macstill says I chouldnt be able to overpower the column off this boiler, so is it worth insulating the boiler or column then?
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby WTDist » Tue May 26, 2015 11:42 am

Insulating helps keep equilibrium in the column which is the splitting the fractions of the heads hearts and tails. Insulating helps the temperature stay up as passive reflux from cold wind can harm or reduce equilibrium. :handgestures-thumbupleft:

From the different stills page below by Brendan
Liquid Management

As the name suggests, the output is determined by controlling the amount of the actual liquid distillate which is allowed to exit. This is usually achieved by use of a needle valve. A very common example of this type of still is the Boka (or Bokakob, named after it’s inventor).

The column contains two slant plates (pieces of copper), which are soldered in on an angle. As the vapour rises up through the column, it reaches the reflux condenser, condenses into liquid and falls down the column. Some of this falling distillate catches on the top plate which is slanted at a downward angle, and falls down onto the first plate due to the overlap of plates. It is then caught by the second slanted plate on the opposing side which is angled upwards, and fills that space until it overflows and falls back down the column.

The collection is controlled by a needle valve at the bottom plate, which when opened slightly, lets a small amount of the liquid distillate drip from the plate which is collected. By keeping this valve closed for the first half hour or so, the column gets itself into a sort of equilibrium, where the continual rising of vapour and falling condensate, refreshes the liquid held by the slant plates and allows higher/lighter alcohols to be held on the plates.

As the needle valve controls the release of the liquid as described, it is termed a Liquid Management style still.
Image

Packing

Although the aim here is to understand the difference between various types of stills, and how their outputs are controlled, we will briefly discuss column packing here. This is in order to lead into the next section, and for a brief introduction on the interaction between rising vapour and falling liquid distillate. In the previously mentioned reflux stills, the columns are generally packed with a material containing a high surface area which also allows the vapour to pass through it. Most commonly used materials for this purpose are copper mesh rolled up, or stainless steel scrubbers. More on this can be researched further on the Aussie Distiller forum, but the main purpose of this packing is to give a surface that falling liquid distillate can have contact with, which can then be further boiled by the rising distillate. Leaving a column in full reflux will repeat this process all over the packing material, forcing the lighter alcohols to sit towards the top of the column and the heavier alcohols further down the column. This is the process of separating the wash into its alcohol fractions, and collecting these off slowly is the process of fractional distillation. This process is known to strip all flavour from distillate, so the method is used for making neutrals (vodka).

In order to get a flavoured product (whisky, rum, brandy), minimal or no packing is used (as in a pot still), however a proven setup to achieving great flavour retention is a column which utilises plates at various levels throughout as its ‘packing’. ie. The area where the liquid distillate has contact with rising ethanol vapour. Each plate used provides a cleaner product, and a reasonable column height packed with copper mesh can have an equivalent result of 20 or more plates producing a 95% alcohol by volume output. When distilling a whisky or rum, this is obviously not a desirable result, and a pot still or plated column is used.
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Swisswa » Tue May 26, 2015 2:38 pm

To give you an idea here is what my condenser looks like, I stuffed the mesh down the middle then wrapped it around the outer coil, and it does make a difference.

WP_20150526_12_13_38_Pro.jpg


I typically put copper at the top of my column and stuff the rest with stainless scrubbers. I can pull about 93 - 94% from mine, but I have a 600mm column which I believe is smaller than yours (I only bought the boka head and condenser from Mac) So you should be able to get 95% ABV

We are talking about some small flows (several drips per second) with the needle valve so it does take some time to see the change

Insulating basically prevents a lot of heat loss from the boiler and column (and if distilling outside protects from the wind) and in effect forces more heat up the column. You can give it a shot but you may overpower the condenser. If you do insulate I'd start with insulating the boiler only which will help reduce boil time and go from there. Remember alcohol vapour is completely invisible so put a shot glass on top of the condenser to see if you are losing vapour.
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby hillzabilly » Tue May 26, 2015 4:31 pm

Science says copper transfers heat much better than stainless,so I see the need to insulate a taller copper colomn much more important than a smaller stainless one,because of the surface area and transfer rate ,another thing the insulation does is give consistency as the weather may change from very hot to very cold in a shed or carport ,but in a home or basement the temp is much more stable so the benifit is smaller,and when getting to know a still it's good to be able to touch the colomn on heat up to get feel as to how long it will be befor she starts produceing .cheers hillzabilly
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Fishboy » Tue May 26, 2015 9:27 pm

Hi Swisswa,
A couple of times you've mentioned hot distillate .

Do you think hanging a Liebig off the end of this unit would be worthwhile?
I've got a 1/2 in 3/4 that I knocked up just to try the soldering skills.

I'm keen to be able to quick strip runs and maybe use it as a makeshift pot, so hot distillate is going to be a problem isn't it?
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Swisswa » Wed May 27, 2015 1:21 pm

Hi Fishboy,

For strip runs, yes I think it would be worthwhile hanging a Liebig off the end as it will allow you to run faster. From what I understand Boka's aren't designed to be run as a pot because of these temp issues but with your Liebig I can't see a problem. For spirit runs you will be running slow anyway so no need to use the Liebig for that, though some people do it doesn't change the end result.
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby WTDist » Wed May 27, 2015 2:17 pm

Ive saw a post where one guy mentioned that the problem he had with the distillate from his boka was that he was loosing alcohol fast in the collection jars from evaporation because of the temperature of the distillate.

I don't own a boka so i don't know how true this is. just read it somewhere the other week but it seems like a good idea to run one for stripping runs and/or when your collecting fast.
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Fishboy » Wed May 27, 2015 4:53 pm

I very conveniently found that the copper offtake tube supplied with the unit just happens to be a snug fit down the core of the 1/2 inch that makes the core of my Liebig.
I reckon that there will be enough metal to metal to make it reasonably worthwhile having a play.
So a quick visit to the big green hardware store for some easy hookers, and everything is plumbed up and water tight.

Very neat looking too.
A little chrome spigot at the bottom of the Liebig to give water control.....

Now for a cleaning run
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Geeps » Wed May 27, 2015 6:31 pm

Fishboy wrote:I very conveniently found that the copper offtake tube supplied with the unit just happens to be a snug fit down the core of the 1/2 inch that makes the core of my Liebig.
I reckon that there will be enough metal to metal to make it reasonably worthwhile having a play.
So a quick visit to the big green hardware store for some easy hookers, and everything is plumbed up and water tight.

Very neat looking too.
A little chrome spigot at the bottom of the Liebig to give water control.....

Now for a cleaning run



:wtf: they do sell everything.
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Fishboy » Wed May 27, 2015 6:51 pm

I knew some one would notice 8-}
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Fishboy » Wed May 27, 2015 11:15 pm

So as a matter of interest, I had the still sitting at 100.7 while doing a cleaning run with the Liebig fitted over the offtake tube and the distillate temp was 29 deg.
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Sam. » Wed May 27, 2015 11:17 pm

Fishboy wrote:So as a matter of interest, I had the still sitting at 100.7 while doing a cleaning run with the Liebig fitted over the offtake tube and the distillate temp was 29 deg.


That's not bad seeming you were distilling water :-B
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Hawkeye » Thu May 28, 2015 11:51 am

Fishboy... Pictures?
Done a ethanol run yet?
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Re: MacBoka users

Postby Fishboy » Thu May 28, 2015 4:32 pm

Pics as soon as I work out how to take all the meta data off the files.
Another cleaning run to be done yet... I missed the degreasing step, so I'm cleaning up after that.

Hopefully have some non water info after the weekend. Fingers crossed.
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