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8 hours ago, indyspirits said:

Your time must be worth zero.


We are debt free over here, we can spend time doing whatever we wish

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Please see the 1000 gallon still below.  This customer bought that jacketed vessel used, for a couple of thousand and he brought me the vessel and later purchased and had shipped to me the copper alloy that I requested.  We built the condenser, line arm, manway and bolt flange for the column, from materials we had here.  We charged a $45.00 per hour shop rate then (it is $65.00 per hour now) and with labor and everything I believe that he paid us right around $6,000.00  That scotch column has a 32" diameter union if I remember correctly.  The condenser is 12" in diameter and 7 or 8 foot tall.  We had to make several modifications to the vessel including cutting out the 2" drain and installing a 4" drain with a sanitary butterfly valve.  We also cut the holes for the column and manway and we built the condenser stand.  We could have polished the whole thing out, but the customer did not want to spend the money for that.  She is not pretty but she will do a great Job,


I have not quoted a deal like that in a couple of months.  So if you are comparing a quote that I gave you for ready built equipment, you are not comparing apples to apples.


Also, for you to be able to have tradesman, who know nothing about still building to build you a still, you must know how to design the still and you must have some experience in all of the trades that will be utilized, so that you can show the tradesmen what should be done.  If you make a mistake in the design, or if you do not have the ability to show the tradesmen exactly what needs to be done, then you my friend, will end up spending far more money than it would have cost you for one of my stills.


So lets see what you know about still design.  

What is the best alloy of copper for building distilling equipment? One alloy is better than all of the others by far?

What mathematical formula or method do you use to size a German helmet or scotch head for a still and this includes the diamater of the onion, bolt flange connection and  hight and taper of the witches hat of the scotch head?

If you have a 500 gallon stripping still with 500,000 BTUs of steam heat per hr in the jacket and you are going to use a tube side tube and shell condenser with 3/4" diameter tubes, what diameter and length should the condenser be and how many tubes should be in it?  Also what do you need above the tubes at the top of the condenser to make it work correctly and what formula do you use to find this?

What welding rod should be used to weld stainless to copper?  

What welding rod should you use to weld copper to copper? 

Your average journeyman boiler maker will not have a clue about this, because though he will have probably done tons of aluminum and stainless steel welding, it is extremely unlikely that he will have welded copper.  Copper is much harder to weld than aluminum.  It takes a lot of practice.  I am not talking brazing here, I am talking welding.

Is it acceptable for the 304 stainless components of a still or mash tun to be Mig welded using 308L?  What about 316L?

The above are just a few things that you need to know to build a simple pot still.  I could ask you 50 other questions that you probably would not know the answer to.  Even if you use google you will find that the answer to most of the above questions cannot be found with google.

If you know the answers to all of the questions above then you are an unusual fellow and even though you can build your still the way that you say, most people cannot and therefore your advice in this matter is bad advice.  If you want a still that will do higher proofs, then you are talking about a much greater level of complexity and there is a huge amount of info that you need to know.


I am not saying that someone cannot build their own still, even a large still.  Several people have done so with very good results.  i am saying that if you are going to do that, you had better know what you are doing, or it may cost you far more than what you think.




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The big difference between you and I, other then you being able to answer all the questions above, is I think she's beautiful. 

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On 9/18/2017 at 3:54 PM, SlickFloss said:

The big difference between you and I, other then you being able to answer all the questions above, is I think she's beautiful. 

I hear you. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" as they say.

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