Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Distillation methods and improvements.

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Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby astronomical » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:30 am

Design:
Six 2"X6" chambers with 1.5" pool of distillate (image shows 2X12 chambers)
1/2" downcomers with diffuser ends
3/4" returns with liquid traps
Thors hammer condenser over boka plates w/ LM takeoff

Intent:

Simple design that is easy to build with minimal tools.
Relatively cheap build.
Compact.
High rectification with lots of positive feedback.

Concerns:
Many, but, if I type em all out you probably wont read em. Ask and I'll make a list.

Thoughts:
I see these more as bubblecaps than thumpers. I will build them in a honeycomb array to try and lose as little heat as possible.
thuddfvedvmps.jpg


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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps

Postby rockchucker22 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:33 am

Very interesting idea, I'm in for the ride!
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby astronomical » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:35 am

Please keep responses limited to constructive criticism and or design improvements. If making a flute was simple, and cheap, everyone would have one.
Not @ you rockchucker :D
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby rockchucker22 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:54 am

I would increase liquid volume, maybe stepped where the first thumper has the highest volume while the next has little less and so on.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby rad14701 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:27 pm

HERE is a post I just made in a similar topic... It seems to have relevance here...
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby Prairiepiss » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:49 pm

How much liquid do you plan to have in each of these thumpers?

What kind of spirits are you planning to make with it?


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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby rad14701 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:11 pm

Prairiepiss wrote:Rad start of a new year. Are you keeping tally.

Crap...!!! :evil: My desk blotter calendar still says August 2008... :lolno:
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby astronomical » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:28 pm

rad14701 wrote:people keep coming up with multi-column designs which, essentially, do little more than a thump tower or a plated column design

thats exactly what I'm after
rad14701 wrote: What are you accomplishing with a multi-column design that isn't accomplished with a thump-tower...

Nothing, except, what I percieve as a more compact and easy build
rad14701 wrote:Height issues can be mitigated by simply utilizing shorter thumper sections... The only real difference is using extra height and structured packing to promote additional HETP"s which these other designs provide in a more efficient manner and without the added weight and expense...
.

HETPs was definately one of my big concerns and I'd love to know what I should expect from these. I realize that the faster I run vapor through them the lower the number of HETPs will be (right?). Im concerned that the amount of input to keep it running properly may severely decrease the amount of HETPs. Thats assuming I don't run into other issues with vapor paths. As far as weight and expense go, 2" isnt that heavy and its 3' of 2" is definately cheaper than 2' of 4".

So we agree on almost everything, but, I still want to build it. Perhaps we just have different resources and abilities (mine lacking)

Simply put, this is way easier for someone with my skillset to build. I dont really see it like its multi columns more than its a bunch of thumpers like you described (totally agree). I said in my second post that not everyone can make a flute. This can be built for under 100. All you need is a couple drill bits, a torch, a hacksaw, and some solder. If this will actually work like a thump tower and fit on a stovetop than I see a HUGE reason to test its ability. With "Rad's Still", I'd expect you to be on board with me there.

Is there serious design flaws? Wouldn't you be interested in pointing me in the right direction on sizing it, so, we can see how many HETPs these really small inlines may produce.Maybe this isn't a common design because most people are capable of bulding more complex/difficult schematics that accomplish the same thing. I could very well be completely wrong.

I already have all the parts lyin around as scrap. I'm going to build it. If it fails than you can use my build thread to "settle the score" in the future. I'm not just wasting your time theorizing here. You guys always say there is more than one way to skin a cat. If this will make a short thump tower that actually works than whats the issue? I don't think I'm breaking new ground here. I think I'm reshaping some land in a way thats easy for me. I'd give credit where its due once I find that my modification of previous designs actually works. I'd rather not start thanking people for inspiration prior to success.

BTW, sorry for making this it's own post rad. I did that because I've actually decided to build it since I have all the parts (except 2" test caps").

@PrairiePiss

1.5" in the cups. Id be wary of raising it because it will change the pressure on my inlets. Id hope to possibly use this like a flute ( Which I'm slowly trying to build as well). I really dont know what to expect. Maybe it'll just make a glorified high speed stripper that spits out high abv. Until I can see what it'll do I really have difficulty commenting on what I'd use it for.
--------------------------------------------------------

I knew id get some guff for this layout. I may feel like a monkey when I do my test runs. But, either way, I'm building it. I may make some minor changes, but, the overall idea and size will remain the same.
Last edited by astronomical on Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby rockchucker22 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:46 pm

Once more, more liquid think about a drain from your top thumper to the bottom thumper, all mods that cost 0 and will Benifit your build. Trying and experimenting is all we have, fringe building is the only way advancements take place.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby Prairiepiss » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:52 pm

What I'm seeing is way overkill. I could be wrong. I've been known to be wrong. A lot. I think you really need to look at LWTCSs experiments with inline thumpers. I think it would help you a lot. A flute type still can be made easily. But you first need a target spirit you want to make with it.

From what I see its going to be more of a neutral still then a flavored still.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby astronomical » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:54 pm

rockchucker22 wrote:Once more, more liquid think about a drain from your top thumper to the bottom thumper, all mods that cost 0 and will Benifit your build. Trying and experimenting is all we have, fringe building is the only way advancements take place.


I should try it. Like I said though, more liquid means more resistance for the vapor. Too much and my liquid traps wont work. I guess If it was too deep I could just cut the downcomers shorter or shorten the chambers under the return to get it shallower. More liquid should increase the HETPs so long as it doesn't make something else fail. At least, thats my understanding (do i understand. who knows..).. As far as introducing more positive feedback by linking them out of order, I'd say, totally. In another drawing of this that has more chambers I have chamber 7 dumping back into chamber 3. This also enabled me to add a lot more chambers without adding much more height. It drops 4 levels from 6 to 7 so I can get 12 chambers into the height of a 8 chamber configuration (without a step down). (probably hard to visualize)

PrairiePiss wrote:What I'm seeing is way overkill. I could be wrong. I've been known to be wrong. A lot. I think you really need to look at LWTCSs experiments with inline thumpers. I think it would help you a lot. A flute type still can be made easily. But you first need a target spirit you want to make with it.

From what I see its going to be more of a neutral still then a flavored still.


Overkill being too many bubblers/thumps? I think I read all of lwtcs' stuff on thump towers and watched the videos, but, I'll dig around and reread everything as well.

I don't care if it makes neutral or flavored spirits so long as it does one of them well. I need both. If the prototype results in proof of concept than I'll solder in some 3/4 and 1/2" unions so that I can add the exact number of chambers I want. I guess that could be a benefit of this design. It would be simple to tune up or down.
Last edited by astronomical on Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby LWTCS » Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:41 pm

Still pretty new territory.......Liquid volumes and heat loss are the biggest question marks for me.. But beyond that,,,,it would be 7 (or so) plates.........A build like this could answer some questions....
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby ozone39 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:26 am

build it and answer the questions....
thinking inside the box is for squares....
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby astronomical » Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:34 pm

If I were to have chambers half full with liquid would it be a problem if it was bubbling vigorously. There would only be 3" of headspace and the vapor output would be at the top. Im worried it may choke up the vapot path and make it puke between chambers. Would a simple deflection plate resolve this? Would it be necessary?

I reread all lwtcs thumper threads front to back. It seems I should have my returns enter into the liquid pool (not above as I drew it). The U traps may be overkill, but, could they slow the reflux? Is there any harm or are they possibly just unnecessary?

Im concerned about how fast the vapor will be going thru the 1/2" inlets.

I realize now that the big thumper in LWTCS's design was ultimately a flavor saver. I had the notion that its primary use was just to keep the alcohol from returning to the boiler. His system could hold all the runs alcohol and dunder (r whatever you charge with) and return none to the boiler. I guess I'll have to build a large thumper as well. I was gonna use my 7G brewhaus kettle as a thumper and have NO return to the boiler. I figure it'll never overflow so it'll be fine (so long as the heat isnt an issue). Worst comes to worse it will still work as a single thumper with my potstill. No biggie.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby LWTCS » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:31 am

You only need to land your returns below the liquid line if you choose not to install traps for each return.
the flavor saving is all predicated on how much refluxing is applied. Not withstanding a good funked up wash mind you.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby Prairiepiss » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:43 am

I think it can also have the reverse effect of a flavor saver. If its used correctly.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby myles » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:50 am

Astronomical, I can see what you wish to achieve, and am willing to say that this seems to be an interpretation of a tried and tested (although possibly not widely used) design.

Namely the Gillaume's Inclined Column Still. If you haven't already seen it, it is illustrated on page 79 in this document: http://homedistiller.org/Distillation%20of%20Alcohol%20and%20Denaturing%20-%20FB%20Wright.pdf

Doing what you propose, in the modular manner, is going to be easier than trying to assemble and seal, a baffled incline column. In Gillaume's design the intention was to have circulating wash, that was heated by steam injected into the lower chamber of the inclined column.

Now whilst that may not be practicle in this case, I can see an application for a stove top design. I would still incorporate a stove top boiler, have each chamber overflow into the one below, and have the lower chamber overflow back into the primary boiler. You will need to insulate all your chambers well or your energy losses would be significant.

I would suggest that you should look at this as a solution to a specific problem - lack of available height above the boiler. It may not suit everyone, and might not be the best option, but I dont see why it couldn't be made to work.

The honeycome array - I presume spiraling out from the centre - getting 1 step higher each time, would be compact and easier to stabilise and insulate. You might find that there would be sufficient height available to actually mount a single layer array, over your boiler. Depending on how you assemble it, you might be able to accomadate 7 chambers (6 arround the central one) but you should easily manage 6. I would try just the single layer array first as you might find it is enough.

As a hint for you, if you use 1.4" tube inside 2" tube, or your equivalents (for me it was 35mm inside 54mm) you will find that the cross sectional area inside the inner tube is roughly equal to the cross sectional area between the tubes. Essentialy maintaining a constant area vapour path throughout the entire system. It will be interesting to see how it works for you.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby jake_leg » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:01 am

Gosh. That design may have been around for a while but it is a new one on me, myles.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby astronomical » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:35 am

Wow, thanks myles. I was astonished to see that was from the parent site. Parent site-Resources tab-Download a Copy of This Site- scroll down for a list of texts. Looks like I've got a lot of brain bending reading to do.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby myles » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:26 pm

astronomical wrote:Wow, thanks myles. I was astonished to see that was from the parent site. Parent site-Resources tab-Download a Copy of This Site- scroll down for a list of texts. Looks like I've got a lot of brain bending reading to do.


Don't worry, 200 years probably wouldn't be long enough to read all that has been printed. Harry has a good resource in the "Distillers Library" and there is also "Practical Distiller" as an e-book.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby WalkingWolf » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:51 pm

rad14701 wrote:
Prairiepiss wrote:Rad start of a new year. Are you keeping tally.

Crap...!!! :evil: My desk blotter calendar still says August 2008... :lolno:



That, my friend, is simply a man that time has absolutely NO meaning. Today is, as yesterday was, and tomorrow will be -- does anything else really matter?? :ebiggrin:

I think RAD has descended, quite possibly, from the Rockefeller clan? (or not :problem: )


It's only Monday but I worked all weekend so today is really Wednesday and I'm 'bout half-drunk :thumbup:
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby rad14701 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:56 pm

WalkingWolf wrote:
rad14701 wrote:
Prairiepiss wrote:Rad start of a new year. Are you keeping tally.

Crap...!!! :evil: My desk blotter calendar still says August 2008... :lolno:



That, my friend, is simply a man that time has absolutely NO meaning. Today is, as yesterday was, and tomorrow will be -- does anything else really matter?? :ebiggrin:

I think RAD has descended, quite possibly, from the Rockefeller clan? (or not :problem: )


It's only Monday but I worked all weekend so today is really Wednesday and I'm 'bout half-drunk :thumbup:

I don't wear a watch and never have... :eugeek:
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby astronomical » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:47 pm

Well, I started building this. Wish I still had a corded drill. I keep having to recharge.
prefail.jpg


It's 2" chambers that are 7" tall.
2.5" to fill line
3/4" returns (opted to skip traps)

I'm still rather worried about using 1/2" vapor inlets. According to Rad's vapor speed calculator I'll have vapor going about 50 FEET a second if im using 2000 watts. Myles suggested 1" downcomers for equal pressure, which makes sense. I dont have a bunch of 1" elbows and it'll double my costs. I'll do it if I have to.

Does anyone know for sure that the 1/2" (vapor inlet) will work terribly? (or not work at all)

I'll be doing the full 6 chambers cuz I want a damn honeycomb. My theory/hope is that teh inner column will heat the outer ones and counteract the heat loss. Should be able to finish it this weekend. I hope the 1/2"ers at least work somewhat. No big deal if I gotta switch em out
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby rockchucker22 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:56 pm

myles wrote:
astronomical wrote:Wow, thanks myles. I was astonished to see that was from the parent site. Parent site-Resources tab-Download a Copy of This Site- scroll down for a list of texts. Looks like I've got a lot of brain bending reading to do.


Don't worry, 200 years probably wouldn't be long enough to read all that has been printed. Harry has a good resource in the "Distillers Library" and there is also "Practical Distiller" as an e-book.

It sucks every time I feel clever and think I'm working on something new I find a drawing from the 1800's with very similar ideas. Nothing is new it's all a matter if learning what's been done then push the envelope a bit.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby rockchucker22 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:00 pm

astronomical wrote:Well, I started building this. Wish I still had a corded drill. I keep having to recharge.
prefail.jpg


It's 2" chambers that are 7" tall.
2.5" to fill line
3/4" returns (opted to skip traps)

I'm still rather worried about using 1/2" downcomers. According to Rad's vapor speed calculator I'll have vapor going about 50' a second if im using 2000 watts. The test caps seal pretty tight with PTFE so ill just make the top assembly and solder it after the vinegar cleaning runs if things work okay. Myles suggested 1" downcomers for equal pressure, which makes sense. I dont have a bunch of 1" elbows and it'll double my costs. I'll do it if I have to.

Does anyone know for sure that the 1/2" will work terribly? (or not work at all)

I'll be doing the full 6 chambers cuz I want a damn honeycomb. My theory/hope is that teh inner column will heat the outer ones and counteract the heat loss. Should be able to finish it this weekend. I hope the 1/2"ers at least work somewhat. No big deal if I gotta switch em out

Very cool, 1/2" will be ok for a 2" column. I used 3/8 on my 4 "and could have gone bigger. 3/4" on my next build with redundant 1/2" back up.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby astronomical » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:10 pm

I shouldnt have callem em downcomers. umm... Downward vapor lines... how about that.. :thumbup: Im pretty sure you're talking about flute downcomers which I was calling "returns" in this build. meh. my fault.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby fullhouse » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:37 pm

well i am hopeing that it works the way u want it too...but dude i have to say at least for sure it will look BAD A$$ from the pics ...im tryin to visualize it all polished up! :thumbup:


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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby astronomical » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:38 am

should be done today. hope to get a successful cleaning run tomorrow. I'm not too confident that these 1/2" vapor inlets are gonna suffice. I guess I'll find out. ill post some pictures later.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby myles » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:08 am

Is this sort of what you have in mind. 7" high chambers, 3/4" overflows and 1/2" vapour paths. Yes I know this is linnear but it is just for illustration.

Image

Obviously this is just part of it, but it should be do-able. If you keep the step between liquid levels to a minimum, this could be fairly compact in the cell configuration.
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Re: Modular external thumper/bubblecaps column

Postby WV Shine » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:28 am

Any updates on this build? I'm dying here... more pictures! :shock:
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