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jheising

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jheising last won the day on September 13 2016

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About jheising

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  1. jheising

    Fun with Spiral Prismatic Packing!

    When I say we didn't see much difference, I meant for our particular use. We're actually using the rings to slow down liquid more than to provide surface area for reflux. And we only use it in one part of our still. I'd say if you were using the packing as it was meant for—more surface area, higher flow rates— I think SPP would still be superior. We only looked at SPP initially because it seemed like a nice way to continuously produce a lot of packing very inexpensively. Rather than cutting pipe all day, I imagined turning on a machine in the evening and waking up the next morning with a mountain of packing. But since then we've recently found some good ways to produce a fair amount of raschig rings in a short amount of time, so the SPP became less interesting. Although I do think we may revisit it in the future for other parts of our still. And you're right about the "effectively cleaned in place". We run our continuous still for months at a time so we can't bring it down to clean. If you're curious we're using 1/2" nom. type M pipe. So the rings end up being 0.625 x 0.625. If you willing to trade money for time, Wisconsin Stamping (http://www.wisconsinstamping.com/raschig-rings/) has been a good source for us in the past and they can make them in pretty much any size.
  2. jheising

    Fun with Spiral Prismatic Packing!

    Great discussion here! We ended up ditching the SPP (at least for now) because for our particular need we found that raschig rings were just as effective. I'm still convinced that SPP is probably a superior packing material, but we aren't using it for quite the same purpose (without going into detail). I had a couple of thoughts on the discussion (but please keep in mind I am NOT an expert in SPP by any means): 1) Size: I don't claim to fully understand the details behind MythBusters explanation, but it seems reasonable. The simple explanation I use is this: with any discrete random packing material (i.e. raschig rings, SPP, etc) you typically want its width/diameter to be equal to its height, so it doesn't favor one axis over another when it settles. As soon as it favors one axis over another, it ceases to become random and will either restrict vapor flow or not provide enough contact surface area. 2) @GENIO what an awesome still! You probably have more experience with SPP than I do (so take with a grain of salt) but the packing you show on your website looks more like SP and not SPP. From what I understand, the "Prismatic" part is really important to exposing more of the wire surface area. With a standard helical coil you "hide" a good amount of your surface area by covering it up with the coil directly above and below. By winding it in a polygonal shape (usually triangular) where each winding is slightly offset from the previous, you expose much more surface area. I might argue (but could be entirely wrong) that a standard helical coil (i.e. SP) without any turn spacing is probably not much more effective than a raschig ring.
  3. James, I wish we would have known! We normally only open the tasting room on weekends (starting at 11:00 am), but my mom and/or dad are almost always there during normal business hours and happy to take guests (especially other distillers). So next time just drive on in (regardless of the open/closed sign) and knock on one of the doors. We'll make sure we take care of you.
  4. Sorry for the blatant pat on our own back, but we're over-the-moon proud to announce that Whidbey Island Distillery has achieved the highest rating among all liqueurs in the world— a 98 and Platinum Medal awarded by the BTI! We share the "superlative" 98 rating for our Blackberry Liqueur among only 3 others in the world and are the only Liqueur made in the United States to achieve that rating. http://www.tastings.com/scout_spirits.lasso?id=207652 The 98 for our Blackberry and 94 for our Loganberry now make us the top 2 highest rated Liqueurs in the United States! Again, sorry for the self-imposed pat on back, but we're just so excited to share the news. Thanks!
  5. jheising

    Harmless Fun or Fraudulent?

    Just wondering what other whiskey distillers think about this: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/263766519/whiskey-elements-customize-your-whiskey-in-24-hour My first thought was, why wouldn't you just buy some oak spirals (which would probably do a better job, and are easy to get and cheap). Then my second thought was, why didn't I think of that... Part of me feels like these guys should be exposed as frauds (i.e. rapid-age your whiskey 3 years in just 24 hours, or turn a bad whiskey into a good one), but the other part of me says, meh, what's the harm if a few people with more money than brains want to buy something that makes them drink more whiskey. What do you think? Does this harm whiskey producers by spreading false ideas about aging and quality, or does it help us by allowing people to enjoy whiskey in different ways?
  6. jheising

    Fun with Spiral Prismatic Packing!

    BTW, here are the pictures I promised of the mandrel:
  7. jheising

    Fun with Spiral Prismatic Packing!

    Pete, I've found that 0.023" mig wire seems to work best— 0.03" has been giving me lots of trouble. Some anecdotal data on the Internet seems to say: Source: http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=16533 I have no idea if it's scientifically accurate, but it passed my initial B.S. meter, so I figured it was a good place to start. As for copper.... I've run some copper through it, but it doesn't seem to work well because it's not springy enough. I think the key (at least as I understand it) to SPP is the "star-like" pattern you see on the images I posted above. That specific pattern is very efficient in exposing surface area and it emerges like that as it comes off the mandrel and tries to spring back a bit into its original shape. The copper seems to be too soft and doesn't spring back— it ends up looking more like a deformed/twisty spring which I don't think is going to work as well. I'm also concerned that the copper SPP might become deformed on the bottom due to the weight of packing on top of it. It's just so soft... My dad mentioned that perhaps hard drawn copper wire might have more spring to it and be a better suited, but I'm hesitant to order any quantity of it without trying a little bit first. Honestly I'd prefer to do everything in copper, so if anyone has any ideas of how to acquire a stiff/springy copper wire in the 0.025" thickness range, I'd love to hear about it!
  8. jheising

    Fun with Spiral Prismatic Packing!

    Correct. I used the copper coated steel for testing and tuning (because it's easy to get and cheap) but I will only be using solid 308 stainless when I make the final batch.
  9. jheising

    Fun with Spiral Prismatic Packing!

    The mandrel is made out of a long Philips bit that I shaped on the grinder wheel into a tapered triangle. The taper is important in order for the wire to come off the end instead of just continuing to wind around the bit. One of the "a ha" key moments was cutting a notch into the tip that I could put the wire into to hold it while it gets started. The mig wire is extremely springy, and it was nearly impossible to get the wrap started so that it would hold on to the bit. Once you get 5-6 wraps around the mandrel then you can pull the wire out of the notch and the tension from the wraps will keep it secure. I'll try to get a picture of it today and post. As for the production rate, I haven't had a chance to measure it yet, but will get a better idea today when I run some stainless through it. My super rough guess would be about 1 liter per 15-20 minutes, but that might be really far off.
  10. jheising

    Fun with Spiral Prismatic Packing!

    My 8 year old is in a whistling phase... don't get me started on that
  11. I know I'm not the first person to build a DIY rig for making SPP (spiral prismatic packing), but I figured I'd share the one I just made entirely from supplies you can get from your local Home Depot. It was a lot of fun to make and even more fun to watch. The system is powered by two drills who's speed is controlled via the immensely complicated ZTC (zip tie control) method. The wire is just standard copper coated steel mig welding wire (which will be replaced by stainless mig welding wire when I run it in a "production" mode). Here is closeup of what the wound wire looks like: Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions.
  12. jheising

    Interest in Continuous Stills?

    I'm not sure why, but it feels like some are misconstruing this discussion/argument as one still manufacturer vs. another. I'll just say it again clearly so as to put any arguments to rest. If you want a stripping still, I would absolutely say without a doubt you should consider buying one from Dehner or DIY one like it. Period. Is that endorsement clear enough to show that this has nothing to do with some sort of competition? This has never been an argument of one still manufacturer vs. another. I am simply saying that we should not be comparing continuous stripping stills to continuous multi-draw, fractionating stills. Period. To compare feed rates, efficiency and outputs between the two is meaningless because a continuous stripping still relies on other traditional stills and equipment in order to make a finished product. Any direct comparison would have to take the entire system into account.
  13. jheising

    Interest in Continuous Stills?

    I have been asked this question probably 100 times now : )I just don't know if it'd do well on kickstarter as it's geared to a bit of a small/specific audience. What do you think? And really right now the issue is not money, but time. Although I guess money can buy time, so there is that to consider...
  14. jheising

    Interest in Continuous Stills?

    It's a perfectly good question and no offense taken. It also highlights why I and some others get a little cranky with Dehner sometimes, because we're not comparing apples to apples here and it makes the discussion hard to follow. Anyway, the main reason is that the one we use and want to eventually sell is a multi-draw, fractionating system, whereas the one Dehner is discussing is just a stripping still. We take in unfiltered wash of any beer or wine and output directly to heads, hearts (at up to and over 190 proof) and tails separately and continuously. As has been discussed (maybe argued) before is that this is a much more complex process than just stripping. The main advantage of this system is that we go directly from still to barrel/bottle whereas with a stripper you still have to run it through a conventional batch still (possibly many times). You could argue that the cost might be higher with the system Dehner is talking about when you consider the cost and labor of running a traditional still that is big enough to handle the enormous output of his continuous stripper.
  15. jheising

    Interest in Continuous Stills?

    Good point. Probably a better/more accurate way if you have the time and equipment.
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