Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Pot still design and discussion

Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby Birdman85 » Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:15 pm

I have a few litres of flavoured neutral alcohol in the shed and feel like I'm ready to move onto the next step of my hobby. Building my own still.

The hope is to build a pot still and keg boiler, then while I'm getting the hang of the new rig, slowly put together some 4" bubble tees and maybe a botanical basket.

So I have accumulated nearly all my supplies, haven't sorted a fill or drain port, waiting on clamps and haven't got reducers for the parrot or end of PC.

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I couldn't find any emery cloth at the big green shed? And the only solder I could find was this 2 pack (which cost an arm and a leg) and the coiled up stuff (soft solder?)

So here's A plan
Snapchat-1889316908.jpg


I can either make a simple pelican and after I have the bubble tees figure it out then.

I can make a modular pelican.

Or make a plain modular inverted U.

Thoughts? I couldn't proceed without input because I value all of your knowledge and opinions

Mitch
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby bluc » Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:24 pm

You can get decent size roll solder and bakers flux at bunnings down in plumbing section not welding section
Make sure you get the lead free one :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby Birdman85 » Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:15 pm

bluc wrote:You can get decent size roll solder and bakers flux at bunnings down in plumbing section not welding section
Make sure you get the lead free one :handgestures-thumbupleft:


Is it cheaper than the twin pack I bought? Might take them back.
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby bluc » Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:27 pm

No but will go a lot further $45.90 for 500g roll :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby woodduck » Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:25 am

Looks good.
I would definitely make it so your shotty comes off, you'll need that for your future bubbler. Other than that there is probably no real reason to go modular? I think the pelicans look cool so I would build that if it were me.

Good luck
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby Lesgold » Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:43 am

Looking forward to following your build. Decided to do the same thing myself. If we are going to be stuck at home for an extended time, hours spent in the workshop will soften the blow. I have already built the keg boiler. It ended up costing about $250 all up including elements and materials. Decided to arc weld it myself to keep the cost down. The next project will be a 2”pot with a shotgun condenser. Will obviously pick up some tips as you get stuck into your project. Keep the photos and comments coming. Good luck your build.
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby Birdman85 » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:52 am

woodduck wrote:Looks good.
I would definitely make it so your shotty comes off, you'll need that for your future bubbler. Other than that there is probably no real reason to go modular? I think the pelicans look cool so I would build that if it were me.

Good luck


Thanks WD, that's the route I think I'm going to head.

Nice Lesgold, I'll try and take plenty of pics. Might be a tad slow as I have 4 kids and a newborn and I'm still an essential employee.

I'm gonna borrow my bro-in laws tig to try and sort my keg when the parts turn up. What did you use for fill and drain ports? Still have to buy them.
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby RC Al » Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:45 am

The pelican is cool and a neat looking package, but were you plan to put you collection jars is more of an issue. I built a pelican but mainly use a spool with 2x90's and the condenser (one of my 90's is perm attached to the spool to save a joint), the 45 section hasn't seen use for a while

Filling and draining a 2" isnt so bad through the top hole, but certially painfull on multiple runs, the 2" gear is not heavy to move, just hot lols
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby Birdman85 » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:41 am

RC Al wrote:The pelican is cool and a neat looking package, but were you plan to put you collection jars is more of an issue. I built a pelican but mainly use a spool with 2x90's and the condenser (one of my 90's is perm attached to the spool to save a joint), the 45 section hasn't seen use for a while

Filling and draining a 2" isnt so bad through the top hole, but certially painfull on multiple runs, the 2" gear is not heavy to move, just hot lols


You got a pic so my sleep deprived brain can understand?
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby Lesgold » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:01 pm

Hi Birdman,

I was a little lazy on the build. Will use the current ferrule on the keg to attach the still and added a 4” ferrule for filling and cleaning. A stainless ball valve was added close to the bottom of the keg for draining. I reckon it would have been better if it was attached to the bottom of the keg but then legs would have to be added. 2x 2400w elements were mounted with one above the other. The top element will only be used during heat up time and the bottom element will be attached to a controller. The wizards suggest keeping the elements as low as possible but in my situation, I will only run 30 - 40 l washes through it so the higher element will always be covered during heat up. Smaller washes will be run through my current still. I am sure that changes will be made once the boiler has been used for a while. Time will tell.
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby RC Al » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:58 pm

It all really depends on you workspace
Here it is as a pelican, note the collection point is on the ground in front of it. No matter what length the condenser it will output on that line in the air somewhere, if you want a sitting or standing height collection bench, it pretty much has to be mounted on the boiler /column
Image

By adding an extra rotating joint, you have much more controll over where the end is pointing.
If I had a short condenser, I could swing how mine is sitting around and utilise the bench that is there pretty easily, instead of the one I'm using 4 ft away
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby Birdman85 » Thu Apr 02, 2020 4:34 pm

So I got some goodies in the mail today. Now just have to figure out how to fit the element through the 2" keg hole that I de-speared today.
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Took me a tonne of attempts and measuring and scratching the ol' noggin, but it fits in the 2" and the dry fit went well, one end snug as a bug and the other had a few gaps.
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So with my previous experience in soldering at a huge zero attempts, I had no idea what I was doing. Heated the tubes a few inches from the plate... And heated... And heated... And heated. But the solder wouldn't run. So I stuck at it and it eventually moved.
Probably the hardest weld i have to do which I did for my first. Let's just hope it sticks.
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So... My question for today (since Andrew says there no dumb questions), I need to put an easy-flange on one end and a reducer (2" to?). How do I go about fixing the internals to the tube and also attaching the flange/reducer without melting all the internals?

Thanks in advance

Mitch
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby woodduck » Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:35 pm

If your soft soldering your getting it waaaaay too hot. The copper shouldn't discolour like that. Did you use flux? Did you clean the copper really really well before you started? Take a stroll through the workbench section and you'll pick up lots of tips. Here's how I build mine

viewtopic.php?f=41&t=11410

To answer your question, very carefully :laughing-rolling: nah in all seriousness if you dont overheat or bump it while soldering it won't fall apart. The soft solder may melt on other joints but it won't go anywhere.
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby Birdman85 » Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:42 pm

Thanks woodduck. I hard soldered it, gave it a super clean and tried to flux but don't think it worked very effectively. I read all the workbench stuff and watched a heap of YouTube. Guess I'll just have to wait for the leak test :teasing-tease:

I think I'm gonna do the easy flange to the pipe before I do the internal.
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby scythe » Fri Apr 03, 2020 5:53 pm

I fully encourage everyone to start their soldering career with building a PC using soft solder.
You learn A LOT.
Most of all, how to be patient, how clean copper needs to be and how close of a fit it needs to be.
But most importantly soft solder makes things fixable relatively easily

Hard soldering / brazing takes a lot of heat.
And for low silver percent rods you don't need flux.
What rods did you get?
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby Birdman85 » Fri Apr 03, 2020 7:50 pm

scythe wrote:
Hard soldering / brazing takes a lot of heat.
And for low silver percent rods you don't need flux.
What rods did you get?


I used a 2 pack of a think 5% from the green shed. I think I need some of that thicker aquasafe stuff.

Will need to give the other end a huge cleanup and try again I think. Couldn't get the hard solder to move. Had a pretty ordinary day to be honest.

Learning as I go is tough.
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby woodduck » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:07 am

I agree with scythe, soft solder is a lot easier for beginners and doesn't need special tools or heaps of heat. Many say its too weak but that's bull shit. I've never broken a joint and I've built all my stills including a 6" with soft solder. There's a vid somewhere with me swinging a keg around on a soft soldered easy easy flange. Another benefit is soft solder doesn't anneal your copper so if you clumsy like me and drop your rc it won't deform and ruin it.
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby db1979 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 11:52 am

woodduck wrote:I agree with scythe, soft solder is a lot easier for beginners and doesn't need special tools or heaps of heat. Many say its too weak but that's bull shit. I've never broken a joint and I've built all my stills including a 6" with soft solder. There's a vid somewhere with me swinging a keg around on a soft soldered easy easy flange. Another benefit is soft solder doesn't anneal your copper so if you clumsy like me and drop your rc it won't deform and ruin it.

:text-+1:
Soft solder is all we need.
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby Birdman85 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:13 pm

Thanks gents. Gonna swing in on my way home from work tomorrow and get a roll and give it another crack.

Do I need to work about the solder inside the PC liquifying when I chuck the reducer over the top of it?
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Re: Birdmans epic adventure of creation.

Postby scythe » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:27 pm

Soft solder is good, so is hard solder.
Just different purposes and joint design required.
Unfortunately with 2-5% hard solder you need to get it to about 850-875*c to get it flowing properly.
Soft solder only needs to get to 230*c.

Mapp will get to 2900*c (with oxy as well) and 2000*c with just air.
Propane will get to 1900*C with air.
Sounds like a lot but just keep in mind that the job your heating will be diffusing the heat at the same time and copper does this very well.

Get yourself a fire brick or similar and solder with the job sitting on that, will help stop you losing heat as fast.
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