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All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

These usually have the means for returning the spirits to the column and usually allow metering of the take off to help in the reflux.

Re: All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

Postby RyanS » Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:40 am

Looks great, do you have any trouble getting all the clamps to seal? I received a reply from this Chinese manufacturer http://china-rite.com/eproduct1.asp?ic=0&keyid=5 and I think judging from the price of another supplier will be very cheap, I'm wondering If I get tees & valves that already have ferrules I'll get away with very little welding to be done. what do you think?
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Re: All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

Postby NineInchNails » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:33 am

kiwi-lembic wrote:Very Nice mate ..love the purpose built shed ,when you say sanitary fittings which application they used for those big 6 inchers and thier tri clamps for or are they actual keg connections from that canadian site ?
i been chasin that avenue this week but in copper/or bronze ... found a 4 " from a hydralic ram fitting off a tip truck


I believe these Tri-Clamp fittings are used often in everything from food, dairy, beverage, pharmaceutical, sanitary fluid handling, etc... not specifically for attaching to kegs in general.

I've never seen them made of copper before accept from a couple of guys who had some 100-200 piece batches made for them in China and are selling them. Those were copper ferrules that can be clamped to a keg and common copper pipe can be soldered to the ferrule. Some have some other special copper pieces too.

I bought a bunch of my fittings from http://www.stpats.com then I found that they were less expensive from http://www.csidesigns.com I don’t know if it helped, but I used a business name when I ordered. Check out this thread about CSIDesign: Great Prices On Tri-Clamp Fittings ! (USA)
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Re: All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

Postby vb » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:37 am

NineInchNails wrote:I've never seen them made of copper before accept from a couple of guys who had some 100-200 piece batches made for them in China and are selling them. Those were copper ferrules that can be clamped to a keg and common copper pipe can be soldered to the ferrule.


I've designed a whole series of them for Fester, from 1/2" up to 4" as well as some that act as reducers as well.
they should be up on the webstore within a few months.
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Re: All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

Postby NineInchNails » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:01 am

RyanS wrote:Looks great, do you have any trouble getting all the clamps to seal? I received a reply from this Chinese manufacturer http://china-rite.com/eproduct1.asp?ic=0&keyid=5 and I think judging from the price of another supplier will be very cheap, I'm wondering If I get tees & valves that already have ferrules I'll get away with very little welding to be done. what do you think?


Actually I did have a small annoying leak on a couple of the ferrules that were welded on the end of some segments of pipe (not the weld, but at the gasket). I imagine my buddy that welded it up first tacked the ferrules to the pipe, welded the ferrules continuously all the way around and I believe a slight amount of warpage occurred. I only have PTFE gaskegs which are quite rigid so I had to clamp them pretty tight to get a couple of connections to seal. I used a rubber mallet to tap the sides of the clamps as I tightened it. Luckily the ones that I had problems with are going to be semi-permanent and rarely removed.

Tri-Clamp fittings, in my experience are precision made and do not typically require much effort to get a positive seal. If they warp or anything like that then that’s a different story. A silicone gasket should take care of slight irregularities though.

Gaskets are real cheap so I’m not worried even if I had to replace quite a few.

Originally I planned to do the same thing you are talking about. Since I had 17' of free 3" stainless pipe I decided to use 3" for everything. I planned for a 3" column, a 3" short tee for the vapor take-off and a 3" reflux coil. I even bough the tee and vapor take-off parts. Below is the 3" tee, a 3" x 1-1/2 concentric reducer, 1-1/2" ferrules, a 1" ss gate valve, 1" elbow and the adapter for the Liebig:

Image

That's when minime recommended that I ditch that design as it would perform poorly in comparison to reducing from a 3” column to a 2” tee for the vapor takeoff. I didn’t like hearing that considering I paid approx $70 or so for the 3” tee. Minime recommended that I read this thread: 3"VM / 3"Bokmini showdown. I read it and changed the design.

I priced 3" x 2" Tri-Clamp adapters, but that rout involved the expense of a tee, 2 adapters, 4 more gaskets and 4 clamps. It also wasted a lot of height. Welding the tee to the cap was FAR more cost effective & efficient. I had to cut a hole in the center of the 2” end caps of course.
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Re: All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

Postby Azframer » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:52 am

NineInchNails have you tried what I heard was called draw filing the ferrules to take out the warp. You take the file and instead of filing the length of file you go side to side filing motion going from one side of ferrule to the other. I learned this in Metals class in 9th grade and it just popped in head when reading this. It is good for truing a surface.
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Re: All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

Postby NineInchNails » Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:20 pm

Azframer wrote:NineInchNails have you tried what I heard was called draw filing the ferrules to take out the warp. You take the file and instead of filing the length of file you go side to side filing motion going from one side of ferrule to the other. I learned this in Metals class in 9th grade and it just popped in head when reading this. It is good for truing a surface.


I thought about doing something like that, I just didn't know exactly how I would go about doing it :D Thanks! I’m sure the method you described would create a flush surface from ferrule to ferrule.

I was wondering if doing something like that would accomplish the goal or not though. I honestly just don't know. For instance if the warped sealing faces of the ferrules were filed perfectly flush with the rest, what about the gasket groove? Wouldn't the gasket bottom out inside the groove where the ferrule was filed in comparison to the rest of the ferrule? If so ... I suppose I could simply file down a bit of the protruding portion of the gasket.

I'm definitely not shooting down your idea, just thinking out loud. My wife says I over-analyze and over-thing things too much :roll:
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Re: All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

Postby Azframer » Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:34 pm

Well I have a friend that is a mechanic and he had a brand new catalytic converter that had flange that was F'd up and I showed him that and it flattened it out nice. As far as the grove I don't know what will be left of it, all depends on how bad it is warped. But maybe a dremel tool to re-do the groove?
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Re: All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

Postby NineInchNails » Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:14 pm

Azframer wrote:Well I have a friend that is a mechanic and he had a brand new catalytic converter that had flange that was F'd up and I showed him that and it flattened it out nice. As far as the grove I don't know what will be left of it, all depends on how bad it is warped. But maybe a dremel tool to re-do the groove?


Thanks again for that recommendation. I think I'll try that with one and see how it goes. If all seems well then hopefully I won't have to go with silicone gaskets and no more bangin on clamps :lol: That sure would be nice. Silicone gaskets may not be bad, but I already have the PTFE for all joints + extras.

I LOVE how new Tri-Clamp fittings just button up tight as a tick without having to crank on the clamps. I wasn't expecting any of these welded joints to be warped at all, but its not a perfect world :( It sure would be nice if I can get them to join like new again.
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Re: All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

Postby Azframer » Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:32 pm

I found this to boost you confidence.
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Re: All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

Postby RyanS » Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:27 pm

is there any reason in particular I couldn't use a single 62" column and have just copper packing all the way ?
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Re: All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

Postby minime » Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:36 pm

RyanS wrote:is there any reason in particular I couldn't use a single 62" column and have just copper packing all the way ?

It'll work but not efficiently. The reflux spreads nicely up top where high ABV vapor resides but lower in the column it forms streams and tends to stick close to the walls. Centering collars achieve redistribution to center and the high vapor speed through the opening will re-atomize it into small drops kinda like a bubble plate.
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Re: All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

Postby kiwi-lembic » Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:44 pm

whats your drawing program bud makin the pretty modeling pics? is it modelworks or similar
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Re: All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

Postby NineInchNails » Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:02 pm

kiwi-lembic wrote:whats your drawing program bud makin the pretty modeling pics? is it modelworks or similar


Just Microsoft Paint :D I sample some stuff like the keg in the drawing. The last drawing I posted, I coppied the fittings from a PDF document (Fittings Reference Sheet) I found on csidesigns.com website on this page: http://www.csidesigns.com/fittings.php
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Re: All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

Postby RyanS » Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:09 am

minime wrote:
RyanS wrote:is there any reason in particular I couldn't use a single 62" column and have just copper packing all the way ?

It'll work but not efficiently. The reflux spreads nicely up top where high ABV vapor resides but lower in the column it form streams and tends to stick close to the walls. Centering collars achieve redistribution to center and the high vapor speed through the opening will re-atomize it into small drops kinda like a bubble plate.


Ah ok, but why stainless packing for half and copper for the other half?
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Re: All Stainless Tri-Clamp 3" VM Still

Postby Macman » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:26 am

NineInchNails wrote:
Azframer wrote:NineInchNails have you tried what I heard was called draw filing the ferrules to take out the warp. You take the file and instead of filing the length of file you go side to side filing motion going from one side of ferrule to the other. I learned this in Metals class in 9th grade and it just popped in head when reading this. It is good for truing a surface.


I thought about doing something like that, I just didn't know exactly how I would go about doing it :D Thanks! I’m sure the method you described would create a flush surface from ferrule to ferrule.

I was wondering if doing something like that would accomplish the goal or not though. I honestly just don't know. For instance if the warped sealing faces of the ferrules were filed perfectly flush with the rest, what about the gasket groove? Wouldn't the gasket bottom out inside the groove where the ferrule was filed in comparison to the rest of the ferrule? If so ... I suppose I could simply file down a bit of the protruding portion of the gasket.

I'm definitely not shooting down your idea, just thinking out loud. My wife says I over-analyze and over-thing things too much :roll:


I would get something called engineers blue (or a Sharpie) colour up one flange face and offer it to the other. Now look where the colour has transfered those are your high spots. Here I use a scraping tool or diamond stone to take off the high spot and offer up again. Keep going till it starts to look even contact, draw filing is OK but it can take alot of material off that you may wish to keep. Blueing up the surface will give you a good indication of how bad it is.

I should also have said if you have a flat surface, bit of plate glass you can check both flanges to see if they are both warped or just one. You don't want the flange to fit only in one position.

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