It is the first "PNP"Plug And Produce system.
2010: The Sun Core: Solar Powered Air Core...
Shows Plans for 2", 3", 4" and 6" Stills that were the most advanced for their time.
By far the most popular Ethanol fuel distillation set up has been the Charles 803 Reflux Dsitillation Column, for the last 30 years and remains unsurpassed to date.
Plans are available from Nanda Warren, daughter of the Late Robert warren, who passed away on November 21, 2004. You can get in touch with Nanda at : firstname.lastname@example.org or order her father's site HERE, Using Paypal
The only major change of the C803, is perhaps the FSS By Donald Franson, who took the basic design of the C803, and improved it by making it simpler and more efficient.
Donald also supports his design at his forum on fuel distillation at: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/alcoholfuel/
The main advantages of the AIR-CORE are:
NOTE: Although I do not supprt the idea of a DONATE BUTTON anywhere on the Net; I would suggest anyone wanting to use BOKABOB'S superb design to send him a $ 10.00 per plans fee for his efforts.
Many times people ask me what is the difference between running a 2-inch longish and a1.5-inch in diameter short reflux columns. To say the truth, I think it is very similar, close to identical processes. It is better to understand it completely.
I will start from the beginning. As the boiler heats up, vapors start rising up the column. Going up vapors cool and condense. This results in liquid condensate to trickle down the packing, heated up by more rising vapors.
If thermal losses are low and the heating source is powerful then the border when rising vapors start to condense is slowly moving upward. Depending on the height of the column it will happen a little sooner or later. Please don’t forget that during this ascend vapors do condense and re-evaporate many times.
More active molecules make it to the top faster than alcohol molecules on condition that the heat source would not overpower the column with raw muscle of your turkey fryer or megawatts of your community electric grid. As more volatile molecules gather as of this action on the top it can be “bled” s-l-o-w-l-y in a separate container. It should be bled slowly because other volatile molecules should have enough time to make it up the column. Please note that the power stays constant during all this time.
After condensing vapors are picked up by a liquid collector located at the top of the reflux column and only part of the condensate is taken off. The rest of liquid drops back in the reflux column. There is no need for return valve in my stills. That is why all of them are “overflow return” types. This return intends to travel downward but it gets heated up and it evaporates many times over. This process is called reflux. It cleanses uprising vapors by shedding low temperature fractions which are left behind.
Basically this is very common principle of any reflux column. But here comes the difference between a long column and a short column.
In a long column refluxed liquid can not make it far down the column length and it gets re-evaporated in the upper quarter or third of packing. Below this level the temperature will rise smoothly and steadily along the column length until it reaches the boiler. Temperature there is closer to 96°C ( 204.8°F ) ~ 99°C ( 210.2°F) depending on the amount of alcohol left.
Short column in stills of my design can’t provide much of the length to completely re-evaporate returned condensates. While the temperature stays more or less constant along those 12~16 inches of my mini-stills, the excess of liquid travels down the column and *does* fall back in the boiler. Actually it is abnormal to not to hear faint sounds of liquid splashing inside the boiler. If you do not hear this sound then you have only partially “flooded” (refluxed) column and the still is not operating in the most efficient mode. Please make sure you hear this sound.
I will not go much in the details, but the absolute minimum of such short column would be around 12 inches and the length of column which could be still called a short column would be approximately around 18~19 inches.
After all if you closely investigate previous designs published on the internet site the actual length of a well known and prized column packed with stainless steel scrubbers is approximately 24 inches. So much for the extra height and other gadgets of the whole assembly…
While “bleeding” of heads is a very slow process and it should be done at a pace of one drop per second, maybe three drops in two seconds :-) the main take off is not limited to such slow rate. You can increase the take off rate to the point when the temperature will start rising. At this moment the take off should be reduced, or the valve should be completely closed for a few minutes to re-establish steady temperature.
Here is the explanation of why I chose to place the thermometer much below. If the temperature in short column stays more or less constant and the thermometer is placed down the column length, it takes some time for fouled vapors to reach the liquid take off valve up the column.
Here is the chance for inexperienced operator to catch this moment and to adjust the reflux upward increasing the return back in the column. This will “back-flood” short column and push equilibrium back in order. If the thermometer is up in the upper portion of the column, it is too late to do anything… There will be some fouled distillate in the take off bottle.
That is why Mini-Still is big on performance. After getting used to this mode of operation, this still can deliver approximately 600mL per hour of 94.5% very pure output and it goes up to 1.8L per hour or so in pot still operation mode.
To summarize, here are the steps for basic operation of Mini-Still:
1. Heat up the mash.
2. Establish steady equilibrium with constant temperature. Make sure there is a sound of distillate falling back in the boiler.
3. Start “bleeding” fore-shots and heads at a slow rate. Do with it whatever you prefer.
4. After all smell is gone, increase the take off rate to a steady dripping which is close to a weak stream. Enjoy the experience of getting pure neutral 94.5% spirit. Adjust the take off to be slightly less compared to the point when the temperature start going up. Re-stabilize again if required.
5. Do you math and when the take off dripping will dwindle, increase the reflux ratio back to slow dripping. At this point it would be safe to place a “tails” bottle under the take off.
Please follow these instructions and re-distill *second* time collected after the first run spirit. Diluting it to 50/50 with water is a safe bet. Please don’t run pure alcohol in the boiler. If you add one table spoon of common baking soda to the diluted result of the first distillation and re-distill it later you will enjoy much more refined spirit.
To conclude this description – Mini-Still is simple to make. Mini-Still makes the whole range of spirits starting from pot distillation and it goes toward 94.5% pure spirit. Mini-Still column has only… five parts total! If you count for a down spout spigot then it is only six pieces! Mini-Still can be physically manufactured in under two hours (experience *does* count) by one person and some basic tools.
One more advice, if you don’t know or can not make it – the still column is cheap enough to purchase. This way you would never mind on winding small copper tubing coils along with a neat soldering techniques.
Let the New Year be happy, healthy and prosperous!