Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Perforated & bubble cap plated columns

Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Lesgold » Sun Apr 26, 2020 10:11 pm

So true but everyone will have that issue to deal with. We all come up with ways of managing collection of product. I see the still as being the main focus and the devices that are built to hold the collection containers are relatively easy design problems to solve. I often have a bit of a laugh when looking at some of the outstanding bubblers that have been constructed by members. A beautiful piece of equipment with ethanol being collected in a jar sitting on a pile of books that are on top of an upturned milk crate. I do exactly the same thing myself. The main thing is that it works. Do you recommend 6 tubes in the PC? I put 5 in mine but haven’t run it properly to see just how good it will be. It was good to have blucs input in relation to the potential of a short PC. Having some extra grunt up your sleeve wouldn’t be a bad thing however. Being modular, there is the potential for the unit to be used in a different situation. Your PC was 500mm long (as was mine) Might go with that and 6 tubes unless you think 5 is enough.
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Dunnonuthin » Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:30 am

Going off bluc’s experience
300mm cooling pipe length 5x 1/2" tubes 2" shell works tested to 3600watts..
5 should do it. 6 was a bit crowded, though it went together well for me.
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Lesgold » Mon Apr 27, 2020 12:27 pm

Done. Will draw it up tonight.
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Dunnonuthin » Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:27 pm

Finally worked out how to post pictures. :angry-banghead:
Just for interest, this is what 6x 1/2” tubes in a 2” shell looks like. Note the wonky hose connector was straightened before soldering.
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Lesgold » Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:33 pm

Nice job on the soldering. Well done. You are right about it being a bit of a tight squeeze. It would be fine if you measure and cut accurately but you wouldn’t get a second chance. Now that you know how to post pictures, I reckon your build presentation should be here soon. No pressure........
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Lesgold » Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:10 pm

Well the shotty is done. You will notice my virtual soldering is perfect......

500mm long out of 2” copper with 5x 1/2” cooling tubes. Just included a couple of short lengths of 1/2” copper tube for water inlet/ outlet.
EEBCA73F-AE10-4815-99AE-302A3939D9D7.jpeg

Some may prefer to solder brass fittings directly in place. The 30mm offset (which is shown as a measurement to the EDGE of the tube to allow for hose fittings and tri clamps) can be adjusted if need be to suit the style of fitting used.
E9B7B510-2319-4E32-A7D3-04D91D5FF83B.jpeg


Will produce an exploded pictorial tomorrow night.
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby RC Al » Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:19 pm

Just as we are discussing "best" practices here...

Industrial shell and tube condensers follow these generalizations
Tubes should be placed with a centre to centre distance equal to 1.25 to 1.5 times the outside diameter of the tube
Baffles should have a cut out of about 37% and be spaced at 1/5 to 1x tube inside diameter, but with a minuimum distance of 2"

It's all about maximizing vapor contact area, keeping the water in contact with the tubes and keeping the volume low

This puts us at 7 12.7mm tubes in a 2" and 30 in a 4", at a minuimum legnth of 100mm for either size. At hobby level, I've seen the 7 in 2" done but never 30 in a 4" (15 or 16 is the most ive seen). Both are probably too ambitious for a beginner constructor. I can't imagine doing the 30 in 4 without a tig.

With the RC, water entry and exit points above and below the jacketed area will avoid dead areas and help with preventing air pockets occurring, as will a few of degrees of slant on the end plates. Pretty hard to pull off on a 2", but plenty of room for that on 4"

Oh and use the thin .71 wall thickness tube, has more flow area and transfers the heat faster
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Lesgold » Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:30 am

Wow. Now my head hurts. Thanks for that input RC. Good to have some technical stuff for people who want to push the efficiency limits of the RC. 7 tubes, and a series of baffles would raise the build of an RC to another level.
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Lesgold » Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:31 pm

Produced an exploded pictorial of the shotty. RC AL’s comments would be worth considering if you want to improve efficiency. (maybe an extra cooling tube or two if you are game and internally fit some baffles for the water flow). Offsetting water inlet and outlet does not make any extra work and would also be a design improvement.
089123E5-88ED-4B54-AAF4-8591077D0516.jpeg

And the bubbler to date:
7EC8CBE9-A2FD-4CDA-B452-B5E82DB48C24.jpeg

Will draw up an end cap for the top of the blockhead tee. A simple reducer for the end of the shotty will also be drawn. Won’t worry about drawing up a parrot. There is a lot of info available on this device and it appears that many are custom built To suit a particular environment/ stilling area anyway.
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Lesgold » Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:08 pm

A simple copper end cap produced from a piece of flat copper and a ring of 1/4” tube. Made in a similar manner to an easy flange.
E1E41507-5236-4323-9DF4-FAD496198598.jpeg

89ACD78A-ACBA-45D0-9780-BF416C363392.jpeg

Will draw up a reducer to fit onto the end of the shotty a bit later.
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Lesgold » Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:30 pm

Just an update on a spout made from two reducers. A 2” to 3/4” reducer connected to a 3/4” to 1/2” reducer. A simple flange made from 1/4” tube is soldered directly to the large reducer. No need to turn over a flange in this case. The bottom reducer will accept 1/2 tube for a parrot or a small extension if required.
5DE298DA-3B7B-44E0-9A62-7E679A7A8AEE.jpeg

6268CB3A-F117-418C-85D0-102139849E60.jpeg

And the update with end cap and spout in place:
8D400E78-BEF1-4BF9-83F7-9E4BA979D701.jpeg

The next task I’d like to tackle is the RC. Height, number and size of cooling tubes, water in/ out locations and a baffle design are areas that I’d like some input on. From the research I’ve done, It appears as though the design is quite simple as far as producing an RC that will work. Getting good efficiency from the unit is where your knowledge and experience would be helpful (especially from members who have already made their own bubbler.) Looking forward to your thoughts.
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Dunnonuthin » Wed Apr 29, 2020 7:57 pm

Well, I can say mine works. But I’ve been doing further reading/re-reading the last few nights. It probably isn’t as efficient as it could be. Response to flow changes is very fast, but very touchy using a gate valve. It works ok at spirit run speeds using 2200w, using just the tiniest trickle of water, and the water output is hot. But holding it in full reflux uses lots of water, the flow has to be high enough that exit water is stone cold.
I used 7x 3/4 tubes 100mm long. Many more 1/2 tubes may have been a better choice. I have a feeling RC Al is all over this stuff.
Really interested in what the optimum RC design is for this class of still. It did my head in trying to analyse all the research I did. In the end, I just said stuff it, and built what I’ve got. It could be better.
So what do we want out of our RC?
1. works well in the power range of 2400 to 3600w.
2. Can hold back those power levels in full reflux with the minimum of water flow.
3. Reacts quickly to adjustments (low water volume?)
4. Is not overly sensitive to adjustments (demanding pressure control measures and or a needle valve).
5. not exceptionally difficult to build in copper

There are going to compromises to be made for sure. But let’s nail this info down.
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Lesgold » Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:03 pm

That’s a good start. I’ve seen a few builds with 7 and 9 tubes of 3/4”. Have also seen 15 or more 1/2” tubes. As you said, RC Al might be able to add some of his wisdom to this topic. That sort of feedback is important. What quantity of water would you be using in full reflux? I can understand during the run that water would be getting hot as you want vapour passing through the RC so it can be condensed by the PC. This is totally new territory for me and I’m enjoying what you guys are offering. Liked all of the points you made Dunnonuthin, especially the last one. I set out to put forward some basic plans so that someone with limited tools and equipment could build a bubbler that was going to do a reasonable job. I may be wrong but there appears to be a cost for getting efficiency. Sometimes it means an increase in the degree of difficulty of the build. (But not always) It is however important that the principles of efficiency for different components are explained. This gives people options. Do I take the line of least resistance or will I go for broke and make the best bit of gear that I can? I’m sure that there will be a variety of answers to that question. Dunnonuthin, you said that your RC tubes were 100mm in length. I have read about RC’s being from that length up to over 200mm long. Is there an optimum length? I don’t know. I suspect that if you throw enough water at any condenser it will work to a certain extent. I can sort of get my thinking around the idea that a small surface area of tubes equals increase in vapour speed but it’s still doing my head in. Hopefully we can get a few more words of wisdom from the wizards to help us out.
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Dunnonuthin » Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:59 pm

What quantity of water would you be using in full reflux?
Too much? I’d have to measure it, but more than I like as I’m not recirculating it.

Do I take the line of least resistance or will I go for broke and make the best bit of gear that I can?
I’m sure there is a practical middle ground. Where the design gets the job done, and doesn’t bust your balls trying to build it.

I have read about RC’s being from that length up to over 200mm long. Is there an optimum length?

Referring to RC Al’s post above, if I try building another one, I’d be going 100mm, and as many 1/2” tubes I think I could get away with while soft soldering. Definitely a minimum of 15 or 16 of them. But I have limited personal experience to back that statement
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby RC Al » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:59 pm

Tubes - copper has a reported influence of approximately 6mm, so a 1/2" tube is about optimal for condensers, larger tubes need to have turbulence introduced so that the vapour contacts copper and often end up with scrubbie added to stop blow-by. Not the end of the world, but far from optimal, a flat piece of copper with a ribbon twist inserted through the centre of the tube should cover the turbulence/contact issue and be less restrictive than bits of scrubbie

Even if you arnt going for an uber efficient condenser, at a minimum, have more area in condenser tubes than you have in risers on the caps to prevent unnecessary flow restriction

There's an old concept floating around to have less tubes in your pc than rc so that as the vapour condenses it creates a pressure differential (vacuum) that helps draw the vapour through the rest of the still.

Water flow - with a defleg your running a cooling management system so it will vary a lot, but if you use a mix of power management with it, keeping the outlet temp a few degrees below 78c will keep the column more stable as your not dumping cold reflux back on to the plates
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Lesgold » Thu Apr 30, 2020 7:42 am

You are a legend RC. Many people like myself are learning heaps from your input. OK then, 1/2” tubes it is. Just did a few calculations. If we go for perf plates that have an area of about 8% of the total plate area, 7 tubes would cover it. If we go for caps and use use 1 1/2” risers under 2”caps, 11 tubes will do the job. To cover bases well, let’s go for 12 or 15. What do you think? From what I’ve read, the height of the RC seem to vary a bit from about 100mm to 140mm. That could also have something to do with the cooling tube diameter. Does 110mm sound OK? Will put water input/ output tubes on the same side of the deflag with one baffle in the middle of the cooling tubes to help with water circulation. Will start drawing it up after I hear your thoughts.
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Lesgold » Fri May 01, 2020 9:44 pm

Well I decided to go ahead with 15 X 1/2” tubes and an RC height 110mm. Just put the critical dimensions on the plan. Easy flanges and spacing for tubes don’t need any explanation. Will produce a partial exploded drawing to show the baffle and tubes in place tomorrow.
93C69F10-3CDA-4E25-BC1C-67EBE4670CBB.jpeg

3E9AC795-58B6-4B07-BE34-F8174AEDC461.jpeg
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby RC Al » Fri May 01, 2020 10:03 pm

As an aside, might be worth making the cooling connections 19mm, if you want to use the PC as part of a stripping pot or put the defleg into a full reflux while changing a gin basket, the extra flow capacity might make all the difference of it working how you want or not
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Lesgold » Sat May 02, 2020 7:08 am

Never thought about that Al. It could also depend on the size your delivery and waste hoses. If you are running standard garden hoses, 3/4” inlets would be a waste of time. If you are using town water with reasonable pressure, you should have plenty of water with 1/2”. If however you have a recycling system set up using a small pump, the reduced friction in a 3/4” cooling line could make a difference. I use town water and in total about 40m of hose to recycle to a tank. The pressure build up due to internal friction is actually quite high. If I set the water flow for the RC at the tap, connect my hoses and then check again at the end of the run, there is a drop in flow due to internal friction. Thanks for raising that point. If potential builders are aware of this, they can select inlet/ outlet tube sizes to suit their own water situation.
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Re: Bubbler - A Virtual Build

Postby Lesgold » Sat May 02, 2020 7:41 pm

Here’s a bit of the detail of the inside of the RC. Notice the baffle in the centre with a piece cut off on the opposite side to the inlet/ outlet tubes to ensure good water movement.
8DAC84FC-9373-4AFC-B912-2F768C45E84F.jpeg

And finally, two drawings of the assembled bubbler. (One in black and white for clarity)
74B8A306-DE80-4FA0-9414-47F5F1D2B785.jpeg

D680B632-6849-478F-853F-B459A737B810.jpeg

A packed section that sits in under the RC could be constructed and added to increase ABV.
Next job is to construct the perf. plates and down combers. From my research it appears as though plates of a diameter of about 106mm will suit the special seals that will seal modules and the plates. Holes will be about 1.6mm diameter and there will need to be enough holes to give an area of about 8% of the plate surface. (Just over 300 holes) Down comber diameter of 3/4” with 1” cups should do the job. Does this sound about right? Bath depth seams to vary between 10 and 25mm. Not sure here but 20mm may be a starting point.
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