Rocky does a thing

Pot still design and discussion

Rocky does a thing

Postby Rocky4700 » Wed Oct 27, 2021 12:06 am

Always wanted my own still, moving into new home, with decent size shed allowed this dream to come alive, but what a journey it had been. I can't thank, all of the guys here enough, so much inspiration, and knowledge, i would have been lost without you guys.

Here is the progress so far.

Finished flooring shed last week, was a long day, moving everything and cleaning years of filth. Concrete surface was somewhat leveled, but if I spilled wash, it would have been impossible to clean. Now I have hard leveled (somewhat) surface, that is easy to vacuum/mop. Also added full insulation to roof and upgraded MCD's. So far, cost has been handful of tools and time, all materials have been cheap/free.

If time/funds permit, I would like to finish walls off, add insulation to walls, paint inside/outside, add air intake/exhaust, add sink and add 2x 250L drums outside, for water storage. List seems never ending, but baby steps it is.
https://imgur.com/lIe13FX
https://imgur.com/a/lGd0OdA
https://imgur.com/a/Dvqh0sU

Basic copper collection is done, still on the fence about condenser, my Ulnar nerve has been playing again, brazing simple 8mm tube today was a pain. Not sure if I will be able to make a leibeg/shotgun. Plan is to upgrade (eyeing 4" modular still, as long as SWMBO approves) after a while, so might just stick with simple worm tube till then.
https://imgur.com/o7H1d1T

Got a cheap diaphragm pump, and wired it with 15v 2A PSU. Decent pressure and flow, although a bit loud for my liking. Will be using it simply to recirculate/cool water, instead of watering my garden every run.
https://imgur.com/a/LKjDLmo

Picked up a 3.5kw air con head today for $10, spent next 2 hrs modifying it for recirculating/cooling water. 1400mm L/100mm W/400mm H coil, bend into circle, with 36W single phase, single speed blower in the middle.
https://imgur.com/a/6E1Pvpv
https://imgur.com/a/p8YWVu9

Modified the coil, to have 8mm intake, and 12.5mm out.

https://imgur.com/a/o1jqD8G
Primary testing, ambient 32C, Inlet 64C, outlet 36C.

Will update with more info soon.
Rocky4700
 
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equipment: Struggling to make 2" Pot still

Re: Rocky does a thing

Postby BigRig » Wed Oct 27, 2021 7:54 am

Love this thread and your progress is good. Will keep watching for updates.
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Re: Rocky does a thing

Postby bluc » Wed Oct 27, 2021 8:44 am

What size is the worm is it 1/2"?

Shed looks good as does the pump and cooler :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Rocky does a thing

Postby Rocky4700 » Wed Oct 27, 2021 2:16 pm

Few days ago, went to hunt a keg, only found cut up POS's, but picked up a Mangroves Jack boiler for $50, came with T500 SS column (has saddles inside), but nothing else. It was dusty, but looked unused. Boiler seems to heat up water fine. Will pickup 6 mm tube and flow control valve today. Got a TPW bubbling in corner, if it settles by tomorrow night, I will do a sacrificial run, and make sure boiler/pump/cooler work without hiccups.

Also finished base from scrap wood. Pillar on side is, where I will be mounting voltage controller.

https://imgur.com/TzTWNvO

Now its wait for rest of parts to arrive, so I can start on column.

bluc wrote:What size is the worm is it 1/2"?

Shed looks good as does the pump and cooler :handgestures-thumbupleft:


I have 2 choices for worm, 1/2" 2m long, or 3/8" 5m long. My back-of-the-envelope calculation suggest, 5/8" will have almost double surface area and slightly higher vapor volume.

:text-thankyoublue: shed's a long way to go, maybe one day, I can have solar panels, air-con and a bed in there as well :laughing-rolling:
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Location: Rockhampton
equipment: Struggling to make 2" Pot still

Re: Rocky does a thing

Postby bluc » Thu Oct 28, 2021 2:38 pm

I personally would not go below 1/2" just bit harder to block it..stuff happens and a blokage is a very dangerous situation..
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equipment: 2" pot with 2" shotty 400mm long 5x 1/2" on a t500 boiler.
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4 plate 4" bubbler, 600mm packed section

Re: Rocky does a thing

Postby Rocky4700 » Sun Nov 07, 2021 9:55 pm

Finally did a Vinegar 50/50 run, followed by a TPW run, with T500. I do have another TPW almost at end of fermentation, I will run it tomorrow arvo.

Boiler worked great, everything worked fine, except water cooler?

Air-con head was a moronic failure, I could feel it taking out heat from water, but due to design, blower just sucked hot air backed in. Juggling life and work, I completely overlooked the design :angry-banghead: Totally my mistake, I should have anticipated this.

Tomorrow's plan is, to seal front, and cut holes in side, so it can draw air from front and eject from side. Best case scenario, it works, worst case scenario, i will remove coil, and use it as air extractor. If it doesn't work, I will pickup a radiator and put some fans on it.

Few fittings arrived, basic pot still is done, literally awaiting voltage controller now. My ulnar nerve has been acting up, so not sure when I will be able to do brazing.

bluc wrote:I personally would not go below 1/2" just bit harder to block it..stuff happens and a blokage is a very dangerous situation..


1/2" it is then. To be honest, I will be filtering wash, before i run it, there is negligible chance of blockage, but none the less, can't be too careful.
Last edited by Rocky4700 on Sun Nov 07, 2021 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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equipment: Struggling to make 2" Pot still

Re: Rocky does a thing

Postby punjabiz » Mon Nov 08, 2021 8:58 pm

Keen on hearing about your experiments mate. Great job at putting it all together so far, wish I had the time to source the materials and build my own still. I will do one day, not too bad with the tools myself.
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Re: Rocky does a thing

Postby Photoguy » Tue Dec 14, 2021 9:07 am

What a great project! I too like to tinker but feel I don't have enough experience for the technical side yet. Am working on it though. Good luck with yours.
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Re: Rocky does a thing

Postby Rocky4700 » Fri Jan 28, 2022 1:30 pm

I apologise for such a long delay. Working in retail, over Christmas/NY, 4 close friends and 1 family member testing +ve for Covid, time just ran away from me.

Any-who, here are the updates.

Scrubbed and cleaned boiler & T500. Inside T500, copper jackets were slightly tarnished, but not slimy, steel jackets were clean as a whistle. But i still ran jackets through dishwasher. I did a vinegar run, followed by sacrificial TPW run (its cheaper than goon bags). On 2nd TPW run through T500, and after diluting to approx 40%, there seems to be slight bite, but still better than Smirnoff. I am not much of a vodka man, so I have been sharing it with everyone in my circle, and only have +ve feedback so far :happy-partydance: :happy-partydance:

I finished pot still. Mounted it on boiler and did a vinegar run, followed by sacrificial TPW run. Worked like a charm.

https://imgur.com/a/ySKr9Bh

Aircon head needed fair bit of modification to work, so i ditched the it. I looked into car radiators, since I got 3 hanging on shed wall, and a brand new hilux radiator fan. But oh boy, its noisy and not efficient at all, my DC PSU was maxing at 800W.

I managed to pickup external unit for LG split Aircon, for $10. After confirming unit had no gas, Unit was torn apart to pieces, and reassembled.

https://imgur.com/a/nxOSLDb

Simple but extremely effective. Total power draw, approx 120W. And almost silent. I have done multiple runs on pot still. Total water consumption has been around 25-30L. And on 35C days, bucket only gets luke warm.

https://imgur.com/a/eRMHRYx

I also added a transmission cooler on pickup tube. It doesn't do much, other than stopping water pickup tube from squishing under suction. I am looking for hard tubing to replace pickup tube. Or I might make something out of scrap copper tube.

I was building a controller myself, but SCR turned out to be faulty. I might just give up and buy it.

All of my runs have been without a controller, and at full power.

1. TPW Run
- Strip -> Spirit - > Spirit run
- Turned out to be great, almost zero taste.
- I can't believe its better than T500, I must have done something wrong with T500.
2. Indian brandy/rum hybrid.
- Strip -> Spirit run
- Turned out to be underwhelming, like not full taste.
- I filtered wash through pillow case, and I think, this is where i went wrong, traditionally, everything is chucked in the boiler.
- Second mistake, I only let it ferment for 2 weeks, should have been at-least a month.

Currently I have 2 different batches fermenting.

T500 is sitting in corner now. I have some ideas, as to what I might do with it. I will check back later.
Last edited by Rocky4700 on Fri Jan 28, 2022 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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equipment: Struggling to make 2" Pot still

Re: Rocky does a thing

Postby Rocky4700 » Mon Mar 07, 2022 1:12 pm

After getting my FSD controller. Mounted it and did 4 batches of Indian brandy/rum hybrid. This time, I chucked everything in the boiler, I dare say 60% was solids (Various Fruit pulp, spices, herbs, etc), and I was scared of scorching. I did all 4 runs at 30-40% power, and no scorching.

After spirit run at approx 30% power, and making cuts, I got about 5.5L 60%, and it tasted bloody nice :handgestures-thumbupleft:

I have 2L batch aging over Charred White Oak staves.

Where does everyone get their wood for aging? Local brew shop is crazy expensive.
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equipment: Struggling to make 2" Pot still

Re: Rocky does a thing

Postby The Stig » Mon Mar 07, 2022 2:27 pm

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Re: Rocky does a thing

Postby Wellsy » Mon Mar 07, 2022 5:07 pm

I always get mine from five star, I have tried wineries and old barrels that I need to toast myself but after looking at the effort I go to so I have product to age I have decided the $2:50 I might save is just not worth the risk
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Re: Rocky does a thing

Postby BigRig » Mon Mar 07, 2022 5:55 pm


:text-+1:
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