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The Amazing Plastic still.

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  • Gary
    I have been on the new distillers list for over a year now. I have built and run a small copper potstill with thumper and have gotten a couple of.....well
    Message 1 of 16 , Jun 28, 2007
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      I have been on the new distillers list for over a year now. I have
      built and run a small copper potstill with thumper and have gotten a
      couple of.....well let's call them "not complete failures". (Thank
      you all for your advice and help. It is the only reason I can include
      the word "not").

      When I began this oddysey the plan was to build the amazing plastic
      bucket still but after a little study I decided the greater speed and
      efficiency of more traditinal distilling methods made the extra
      effort well worthwhile.

      Now that I have begun to soak up a little more distilling theory the
      plastic still confuses me. How can it distill anything at all when it
      is thermostatically controlled to stay around 58 deg. C.?

      My still wouldn't produce anything at that temperature despite the
      fact that it has much more efficent cooling/condensing.

      How can the P.S. do it with ambient air cooled plastic? They say it
      produces pretty clean product too!

      Gary.
    • Harry
      ... a ... include ... plastic ... and ... the ... it ... it ... By the same process that makes rain, ie EVAPORATION. Water boils at 100°C but it still
      Message 2 of 16 , Jun 28, 2007
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        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Gary" <fly_boy_bc@...> wrote:
        >
        > I have been on the new distillers list for over a year now. I have
        > built and run a small copper potstill with thumper and have gotten
        a
        > couple of.....well let's call them "not complete failures". (Thank
        > you all for your advice and help. It is the only reason I can
        include
        > the word "not").
        >
        > When I began this oddysey the plan was to build the amazing
        plastic
        > bucket still but after a little study I decided the greater speed
        and
        > efficiency of more traditinal distilling methods made the extra
        > effort well worthwhile.
        >
        > Now that I have begun to soak up a little more distilling theory
        the
        > plastic still confuses me. How can it distill anything at all when
        it
        > is thermostatically controlled to stay around 58 deg. C.?
        >
        > My still wouldn't produce anything at that temperature despite the
        > fact that it has much more efficent cooling/condensing.
        >
        > How can the P.S. do it with ambient air cooled plastic? They say
        it
        > produces pretty clean product too!
        >
        > Gary.
        >



        By the same process that makes rain, ie EVAPORATION.

        Water boils at 100°C but it still evaporates at a much lower temp to
        form clouds and then rain.

        Thus it is with ethanol. Both are volatile substances. Vapour
        rises and is trapped on the overhead surface of the bucket, which is
        cooled by ambient (room) temperature. It then condenses into
        droplets which run down into the collection area. And it's not
        nearly as clean as you think, nor does it produce very strong
        alcohol, although it can be coaxed to do so with some
        modifications. All in all, there's better options around, but it
        will work if you're desperate.


        Slainte!
        regards Harry
      • xylic75
        That still seems to work best for stripping. Its great if you can just sit it and leave it somewhere for a few days, but it also seems to work alot better in
        Message 3 of 16 , Jun 28, 2007
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          That still seems to work best for stripping. Its great if you can
          just sit it and leave it somewhere for a few days, but it also seems
          to work alot better in cooler climates. All in all its a waste of
          cash as a real still, but most of the more expensive parts can be
          used as fermenters after you figure that part out. ;)

          xyl
        • Gary
          ... to ... is ... Does that mean I can heat my boiler to 50 deg. C. and it will eventually start to produce? Perhaps finishing runs can be done this way
          Message 4 of 16 , Jun 28, 2007
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            > By the same process that makes rain, ie EVAPORATION.
            >
            > Water boils at 100°C but it still evaporates at a much lower temp
            to
            > form clouds and then rain.
            >
            > Thus it is with ethanol. Both are volatile substances. Vapour
            > rises and is trapped on the overhead surface of the bucket, which
            is
            > cooled by ambient (room) temperature. It then condenses into
            > droplets which run down into the collection area. And it's not
            > nearly as clean as you think, nor does it produce very strong
            > alcohol, although it can be coaxed to do so with some
            > modifications. All in all, there's better options around, but it
            > will work if you're desperate.
            >
            >
            > Slainte!
            > regards Harry

            Does that mean I can heat my boiler to 50 deg. C. and it will
            eventually start to produce?

            Perhaps finishing runs can be done this way unsupervised?

            Gary.

            >
          • abbababbaccc
            You also need circulation of that vapor filled air. With regular still that just does not happen. Amazing still and other stills using low temperature
            Message 5 of 16 , Jun 28, 2007
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              You also need circulation of that vapor filled air. With regular
              still that just does not happen. Amazing still and other stills
              using low temperature evaporation principle have relatively very
              large openings between the heated part and condenser part + a route
              for that cooled air to flow back to heated part.

              Cheers, Riku

              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Gary" <fly_boy_bc@...> wrote:
              >
              > Does that mean I can heat my boiler to 50 deg. C. and it will
              > eventually start to produce?
              >
              > Perhaps finishing runs can be done this way unsupervised?
              >
              > Gary.
              >
              > >
              >
            • Gary
              ... AAHHH! I get it.. And the biggest problem with a low temperature still is that there is no separation? (Hence the statement that it is better for
              Message 6 of 16 , Jun 28, 2007
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                --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "abbababbaccc"
                <abbababbaccc@...> wrote:
                >
                > You also need circulation of that vapor filled air. With regular
                > still that just does not happen. Amazing still and other stills
                > using low temperature evaporation principle have relatively very
                > large openings between the heated part and condenser part + a route
                > for that cooled air to flow back to heated part.
                >
                > Cheers, Riku


                AAHHH! I get it..

                And the biggest problem with a low temperature still is that there is
                no separation? (Hence the statement that it is better for stripping...)

                Gary
              • Gary
                Is there any chance a low temperature still could be made to reflux thus providing separation? My first guess would be no since the temperature gradient would
                Message 7 of 16 , Jun 28, 2007
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                  Is there any chance a low temperature still could be made to reflux
                  thus providing separation? My first guess would be no since the
                  temperature gradient would be slight. (But what do I know?) I guess the
                  real question is "Does meth. evaporate (and condense) before the ethyl
                  in the low temp system?

                  Gary.
                • Harry
                  ... reflux ... guess the ... ethyl ... In a word, No. That s why I said it s not as clean as you think. Slainte! regards Harry
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jun 28, 2007
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                    --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Gary" <fly_boy_bc@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Is there any chance a low temperature still could be made to
                    reflux
                    > thus providing separation? My first guess would be no since the
                    > temperature gradient would be slight. (But what do I know?) I
                    guess the
                    > real question is "Does meth. evaporate (and condense) before the
                    ethyl
                    > in the low temp system?
                    >
                    > Gary.
                    >



                    In a word, No. That's why I said it's not as clean as you think.


                    Slainte!
                    regards Harry
                  • abbababbaccc
                    It s also great for stripping on grains mashes. Low temperature - no scorching. Cheers, Riku
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jun 28, 2007
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                      It's also great for stripping on grains mashes. Low temperature -> no
                      scorching.

                      Cheers, Riku

                      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "xylic75" <spellfire70@...>
                      wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > That still seems to work best for stripping. Its great if you can
                      > just sit it and leave it somewhere for a few days, but it also seems
                      > to work alot better in cooler climates. All in all its a waste of
                      > cash as a real still, but most of the more expensive parts can be
                      > used as fermenters after you figure that part out. ;)
                      >
                      > xyl
                      >
                    • abbababbaccc
                      There is similar separation to a pot still. You just need to attach a spigot (and preferrably vaporlock) to the bottom to collect stuff as it is condensed.
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jun 28, 2007
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                        There is similar separation to a pot still. You just need to attach
                        a spigot (and preferrably vaporlock) to the bottom to collect stuff
                        as it is condensed.

                        Cheers, Riku

                        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Gary" <fly_boy_bc@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "abbababbaccc"
                        > <abbababbaccc@> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > You also need circulation of that vapor filled air. With regular
                        > > still that just does not happen. Amazing still and other stills
                        > > using low temperature evaporation principle have relatively very
                        > > large openings between the heated part and condenser part + a
                        route
                        > > for that cooled air to flow back to heated part.
                        > >
                        > > Cheers, Riku
                        >
                        >
                        > AAHHH! I get it..
                        >
                        > And the biggest problem with a low temperature still is that there
                        is
                        > no separation? (Hence the statement that it is better for
                        stripping...)
                        >
                        > Gary
                        >
                      • abbababbaccc
                        Here s one way to add reflux: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/new_distillers/files/rkr/ That one gives 70-80% stuff at the beginning. The lid can just be swapped
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jun 28, 2007
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                          Here's one way to add reflux:
                          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/new_distillers/files/rkr/

                          That one gives 70-80% stuff at the beginning. The lid can just be
                          swapped to your fermenter.

                          Cheers, Riku

                          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Gary" <fly_boy_bc@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Is there any chance a low temperature still could be made to
                          reflux
                          > thus providing separation? My first guess would be no since the
                          > temperature gradient would be slight. (But what do I know?) I
                          guess the
                          > real question is "Does meth. evaporate (and condense) before the
                          ethyl
                          > in the low temp system?
                          >
                          > Gary.
                          >
                        • abbababbaccc
                          Sorry Harry, but as far as reflux goes same principles apply as with real stills. The original design does not allow separation since the principle is similar
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jun 28, 2007
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                            Sorry Harry, but as far as reflux goes same principles apply as with
                            real stills.

                            The original design does not allow separation since the principle is
                            similar to a wok still. However, more advanced designs allow
                            continuous collection and making cuts. Adding reflux is possible but
                            the practical limit is somewhere around 70-80% ABV as the still is
                            made from PP. In fact there's less tails using this principle since
                            less high boiling point stuff vaporizes at low temperature. I haven't
                            measured heads concentration but some reports imply that it's also
                            slightly better than a potstill normally provides.

                            Cheers, Riku

                            --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...>
                            wrote:
                            >
                            > In a word, No. That's why I said it's not as clean as you think.
                            >
                            >
                            > Slainte!
                            > regards Harry
                            >
                          • Gary Boyco
                            So the vapour goes up both tubes into the top bucket, condeses on the walls and lid and drops to the bottom of the top bucket. When the level goes above the
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jun 29, 2007
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                              So the vapour goes up both tubes into the top bucket, condeses on the walls and lid and drops to the bottom of the top bucket. When the level goes above the height of the copper tube it overflows into the bottom bucket again for collection? How does it reflex?
                               
                              Gary
                               
                               


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                            • abbababbaccc
                              There s drain at the top bucket, so everything that s condensed there is removed as product. Warm air will rise through the large pipe that goes higher in the
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jun 30, 2007
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                                There's drain at the top bucket, so everything that's condensed there
                                is removed as product. Warm air will rise through the large pipe that
                                goes higher in the bucket. Cooled air flows down and will go back
                                through the copper pipe which has the top close to bottom of the
                                bucket. Refluxing happens mostly at the walls of the 110mm pipe. To
                                have more reflux one could make that pipe from copper, lengthen it
                                (and the other pipe of course) or stuff some pot scrubbers in the
                                pipe. With short open pipes it makes ~70% stuff at the beginning so
                                there's really no need to add reflux if you run it as a stripper. If
                                you were to make the top part from copper you could of course try
                                added reflux techniques.

                                Cheers, Riku

                                --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Gary Boyco <fly_boy_bc@...>
                                wrote:
                                >
                                > So the vapour goes up both tubes into the top bucket, condeses on
                                the walls and lid and drops to the bottom of the top bucket. When the
                                level goes above the height of the copper tube it overflows into the
                                bottom bucket again for collection? How does it reflex?
                                >
                                > Gary
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > ---------------------------------
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                                >
                              • Gary Boyco
                                So your version yields 70% and it has been mentioned that you could get as high as 80% ABV. (Insulate heating bucket, longer pipes, scrubbers) I may try it
                                Message 15 of 16 , Jun 30, 2007
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                                  So your version yields 70% and it has been mentioned that you could get as high as 80% ABV. (Insulate heating bucket, longer pipes, scrubbers)
                                   
                                  I may try it when I graduate from sugar mash to whiskey since there is no chance of scorching and by all reports it generates a nice clean product (Or it will if decent separation can be had).
                                   
                                  I assume you used the standard sized containers for the bottom part of your AS. When you run it how much heads/lees/tails do you end up collecting?
                                   
                                  Does this modification run at the same speed as the original design?
                                   
                                  Do you like it?
                                   
                                  Gary


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                                • abbababbaccc
                                  If you build one make sure you use only polypropylene, other plastics may leach softeners and/or get soft with increased temperature. As I said it gives a bit
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Jul 1, 2007
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                                    If you build one make sure you use only polypropylene, other
                                    plastics may leach softeners and/or get soft with increased
                                    temperature. As I said it gives a bit over 70% ABV at the beginning
                                    of the run, just like a potstill. I've used mine as a stripper only,
                                    haven't done any cuts.

                                    Cheers, Riku

                                    --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Gary Boyco <fly_boy_bc@...>
                                    wrote:
                                    >
                                    > So your version yields 70% and it has been mentioned that you
                                    could get as high as 80% ABV. (Insulate heating bucket, longer
                                    pipes, scrubbers)
                                    >
                                    > I may try it when I graduate from sugar mash to whiskey since
                                    there is no chance of scorching and by all reports it generates a
                                    nice clean product (Or it will if decent separation can be had).
                                    >
                                    > I assume you used the standard sized containers for the bottom
                                    part of your AS. When you run it how much heads/lees/tails do you
                                    end up collecting?
                                    >
                                    > Does this modification run at the same speed as the original
                                    design?
                                    >
                                    > Do you like it?
                                    >
                                    > Gary
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > ---------------------------------
                                    > Yahoo! oneSearch: Finally, mobile search that gives answers, not
                                    web links.
                                    >
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