Successful stil design
- After reading distillers.org about a 100 times. Spending about a 100
hours reading these 3 forums on Yahoo. I made a plan. The funny thing
about plans is that when you start building them for one reason or
another you are forced to make changes or modifications due to
conflicting lines of thought. At least I do in my attempt to make the
best that I can.
I started off with a plastic bucket and made a column out of CPVC
(the only thing I could find). Complete failure!! After running for
about 3 minutes my column started to melt and bend to the floor. A
near disaster that was only prevented by the never leave it unattended
rule. Still I did benifit from this experience and learned that my
copper scrubbers were in fact only copper plated as there was a rust
residue inside the column.
Back to the forums for more reading. This time I decided to spend the
cash and do it right. I want something that I can make nuetral spirits
with and feel confident that my house will still be standing when I'm
My second attempt was a complete success and although I have a lot of
things that I want to improve I don't worry about going out for a
smoke or having supper during a run.
I used a cornelius keg for the boiler. I inverted the lid and silver
brazed a 2" copper coupler to it. Then I drilled as many holes thru
the lid as possible. (To hard to cut out the 2" hole) Then cut a hole
in the side of the keg and mounted my 2450W 240v element. I wired in a
switch to alternate between 220 and 110 volts (supply where I live)
Thus I have roughly 2400w for preheat and 600w for operation.
I made a 42" column from 2" copper pipe and silver soldered it to the
keg lid. Filled it within 1" of the top with Amphoras structured mesh.
For the condenser I decided to make a crossflow heat exchanger as
this contraption was already as tall as me and also the fact that
without as much restriction to flow I could use a lower power pump.
This was the hardest part of the project but man was it worth it. It
truely is a work of art.
I made a separate section of 2" copper pipe about 4" long to contain
the reflux control and takeoff tube. This has a digital thermometer
port and needle valve attached. And inside are 2 plates to catch all
the condensate. On the lower plate is the takeoff tube and I silver
soldered a 1/4" tube near the top of it to direct the reflux to the
center of the column.
The condenser, LM and column slide together using couplings wrapped
with teflon tape. I decided to make the pieces separate so I could
remove the copper mesh for cleaning. Also allows for cleaning inside
the heat exchanger.
I have ordered a new hydrometer as mine reads 97% which I don't
believe but I'll bet its close!! I built a 12" long column out of left
overs and silver brazed it to another keg lid to use for stripping. If
I run with no reflux I get 85% and the product is very hot. At 3 drops
per second its luke warm and as pure as I am likely to ever getit.
Well this has been pretty long winded so I'll start a new one for my
next project Carbon filtering plans