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Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

These are boilers with half columns, bubble, sieve or any other plates. These stills may make a particular type of spirits. Please feel free to discuss the benefits and features of these beautiful machines and their inventive builders.

Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

Postby Bobtuse » Sat May 31, 2014 4:10 pm

Hello again all,
Its been a bit since Ive been here, Im sure you know the story, life, work, and enough product have kept me doing other things with my time. However I just recently stumbled across a chunk of 4" copper and while I dont really need another toy....it looks like I'm going to slowly work my way through a build. I have most of the basic ideas of how these things go together, but will be looking for advice on some of the details.

Current plan is to make a 4 plate column in which the bottom plates of each of two sections are welded/soldered in and the upper plates are removable. Mostly for access/maintenance, but I think it would be nice to have the flexibility to go between 3 and 4 plates. A tight fit and a weir on the top plates will hopefully do the trick. sitting on a little shelf to keep them level. I was concerned about the weight of the plate being enough to keep it down and prevent blowby. My solution was a piece of threaded rod going between plates that I can tighten down and keep it all together if needed.

I cant seem to find any good dimensions for spacing between trays. 4-5" seems to be enough to eliminate splashing/entrainment, but thats mostly a guess. Any opinions?

StillDragon plates and caps for ease.

4" dephlemator with 5 1/2" tubes inside, all copper.

I already have a 2' 4 barrel shotgun condensor in a 1 1/4" shell that knocks down a full stripping run so I can reuse that.

3" fishmouthed pipe with flanges and sight glass kits. Any ideas on how far off the flanges need to stand off the main column to work well with the sight glasses? I think about an inch or so....

Ill try and get some pics up when I get something interesting, and Im sure Ill have more questions as this thing progresses, But it feels good to have a new project after so long!

Advice from those further up the learning curve is always welcome!

Cheers
BoB
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Re: Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

Postby Bob Loblaw » Sat May 31, 2014 5:52 pm

Sounds good. I'm down the learning curve but planning something similar. I will be watching with interest.
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Re: Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

Postby Smaug » Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:20 am

4-5 inches is just fine.
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Re: Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

Postby acfixer69 » Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:55 am

Quote : 4" dephlemator with 5 1/2" tubes inside, all copper.

I have been running mine a few years now and found the water capacity in the dephlemator to be a real performance factor for driving a plated column. The tubes at 1/2" may be small I would feel better with 5 @ 3/4" ID which is what I built. I'm going to be building a new one myself this summer with even less volumn and a controlled temperature. I don't know if it is as critical on perforated plates but on a bubble cap column it is a huge adjustment when lowering the turn down rate. Just my experience :) Good luck and share your experience when running yours.

AC
My 4" column build
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Re: Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

Postby Bushman » Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:16 am

Sounds like a good plan and if I were building new I would think modular although more expensive it does allow some flexibility that my current still lacks!
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Re: Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

Postby Bobtuse » Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:43 pm

Thanks guys, that is the kind of feedback I was looking for. Much easier to change plans than change copper. easy enough to drill out the 1/2" holes to 3/4". Larry, I was hoping you'd chime in, any idea on the stand off for the Sight glass kits?

BoB
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Re: Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

Postby brantoken » Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:29 am

+ for modular. You can change your still for what your running.
I have found that some of my ideas did not work as well as expected, so price of failure is less. You can also optimize later for less money, ie one small part instead of larger expensive part or a whole new set up.
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Re: Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

Postby Smaug » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:33 am

Bobtuse wrote: Larry, I was hoping you'd chime in, any idea on the stand off for the Sight glass kits?

BoB


If I understand you correctly,,the closest measurement to the peak of the column radius to the outside of the ferrule flange is approximately 1" +or-. Did that read clearly?

Leave yourself a bit of working space in case you have big giant clunky sausage fingers,, if you see my meaning?
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Re: Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

Postby Smaug » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:34 am

lwtcs wrote:
Bobtuse wrote: Larry, I was hoping you'd chime in, any idea on the stand off for the Sight glass kits?

BoB


If I understand you correctly,,the closest measurement from the peak of the column radius to the outside of the ferrule flange is approximately 1" +or-. Did that read clearly?

Leave yourself a bit of working space in case you have big giant clunky sausage fingers,, if you see my meaning?
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Re: Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

Postby Bobtuse » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:26 am

Yes, thats what I was looking for. I want to minimize the distance the sight glasses stand off the column, but not at the expense of access/ease of installation. I was guessing an inch would be enough but looking for confirmation.
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Re: Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

Postby Bobtuse » Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:43 pm

Acfixer,

Thinking about your suggestion for 3/4" tubes in the reflux condenser, I was always under the impression that we didnt want to go too big on that diameter in order to make sure the cooling reaced all the way to the center of the tube. That coupled with the fact that the plates I am using are already drilled for 1/2" and I have a bunch of 1/2" on hand led me to this thought. In order to reduce the volume of water in the condenser and keep reaction time down (which is what you were after no?) how about adding 'filler' inside the water portion of the condenser? I was originally thinking marbles, but extra copper pipes would be easier, just to decrease available volume for water? Crazy?

BoB
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Re: Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

Postby acfixer69 » Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:25 pm

bob
What you are pointing out is true, but in the product condenser where we are making a condensed liquid. In the reflux condenser on a column we are regulating the rate of vapor escape to the product condenser. Not making a liquid by it's self but a mix. These are my findings from running mine.


AC

edit to clarify I hope
My 4" column build
viewtopic.php?f=61&t=4800
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Re: Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

Postby brantoken » Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:07 am

A point of reference:

My modular is a packed column but I rig it with a dephlegmator in line,
I have two that I can fit a 2" and a 3" condensers that will work. Yes the 3" er has more water volume. For the 2"er even with the large range of effective( say 40% of 90 degrees) on my coolant inlet valve, I can't completely shut off vapor flow from the dephlegmator to the product condensor with it . It does have a bit better control with the valve, in other works I can tune more finely with it. I got better control of how I smear things is what it amount to.

The 3incher, The actual valve motion is shorter( maybe 15% of 90 degrees), but I can shut off flow to the product condenser at any time. What that means is I can delay tails with it somewhat , in tails I can shut the vapor flow to the condenser down (open the dephlegmator valve wide open) and force reflux, this will allow more good ethanol to fill the top of the column, the I can bleed it off and do it again. I have got a temp sensor between the dephlegmator and the product condenser. The product temp will actually drop back to 173 when I " burp " it.

So why is that important, those last bit carry a lot of flavor with no tails, so much so that in my opinion, they actually help the flavor of the whole batch.

I think AC fixer has a the right idea , the large tube size should give you more " modulation" ( or range of control on the coolant valve) in my opinion while still allowing you to shut off flow between the dephlegmator and the product condensor. if I was building a new dephlegmator that is the direction I would go.
You could go too large with the tube size as well but I have got now idea of where that point is. Sounds like ac fixer has some experience with it that i don't.

I would keep the as much as I could water volume , shuting of the vapor flow between the dephlegmator and product condensor is handy. I can compress heads, shut the dephlegmator off for hearts and compress and squeeze tails. IN short it is darned handy to have that ability.

Also be aware that coolant temps and pump flow rates effect this well. I am not so sure which dephlegmator tube size will work the best , but you definitely want enough cooling power to knock down as much as you can. Also I don't run a 4" bubble plate. mine is a 3" er.
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Re: Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

Postby Bobtuse » Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:19 pm

Alright, well this is getting interesting. Couple points seem to be coming out of this,

1. Dephlegmator must be capable of 100% reflux. This was always a given, but the way to go about that seems to be debatable
2. More water volume around the vapor tubes seems to slow down the responsiveness of the dephlegmator to adjustments
3. Brantoken, you seem to be suggesting that that extra water volume gives one more range of adjustment? Which may perhaps make up for the decreased responsiveness?
4. Is quick response to adjustments really necessary or does it make it more fiddley? Note that this will be run on manual control at least at first, not automated.

I can still bump up the tube size easy enough, was just hoping I could take the easy way out. Seems like the shortcut is not worth it.

While we are basically on the topic of cooling, It seems to me that a three way valve is necessary to be able to adjust the temp of the cooling water entering the reflux condenser by taking the used product condenser water and combining it with a varied amount of (presumably) cooler water from the mains (or another reservoir) so given that is the cooling properly plumbed with the mains split, one branch going to product condenser in, the other branch going to the 3 way valve to be combined with the product condenser output and going into the reflux condenser input? Two gate valves can achieve the same result. Any preference? Is it cost or ease/cleanliness of install?

BoB
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Re: Alright, I guess I'll build it....4" bubble plate

Postby brandavino » Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:11 pm

I started using off with 3 gate valves but eventually changed to one gate valve across the RC so it can be bypassed for stripping tails and a needle valve / flowmeter after the PC. The needle valve and gauge makes for completely repeatable results between runs as you can dial in exactly the same amount of RC cooling each time (so long as the water temperature is the same).

My vote is for minimal water volume in the RC, mine is 80cm high with 7 x 19mm tubes and its fast, though I have to use a small amount of scrubber in the tubes if I want full reflux over 2500w.

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