Updating The StillDragon Dash Manual Rev 1.1

edited March 4 in Usage

Bit of a pre-preemptive post as i haven't talked to @crozdog about it yet, but i'd like to workshop some ideas on how we can improve and update the Dash manual.

I've recently had a few customers that have had questions about assembling their units, especially the Crystal Dragons, the Procaps and the element guard kits and elements.

I know Larry has done some videos regarding most of these issues as he's had the same enquiries, and i would like to see these embedded in the manual, but i'm interested in what our members here (real world customers) have to say about how we could improve and make things clearer in the manual.

Your thoughts are very welcome.

StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand



  • Hello punkin,

    (assembly) instructions for newer products would certainly be welcome! One other part which could use some improvement in my humble opinion is the description of an actual run on a Dash or Crystal Dragon: flooding of plates, fogging, that sort of thing. The current text seems to miss some vital details.

  • Agree with @squeakyclean re assembly instructions and running also a better understanding and use of temperatures around the rig. Mind you i am doing alright but understand the need as i didnt even know where to fit the plates on my crystal when it arrived.

  • edited April 14

    As a new forum member looking across all the slightly different StillDragon websites, reading the beginners guide, and progressively ploughing through the 50 pages of threads, I’m still (excuse the pun) unable to understand enough to see where this can take me.

    The fundamental items of hard to find information for me are:

    1. How to design / configure a still using the StillDragon components. Crash and Burn without this, I can go no further.
    2. What are the benefits of a StillDragon

    Number 2 above should really be the starting point - why is StillDragon better than a plug and play setup (such as the infamous T500). Or, if easier to explain, why is a plug and play bad, and how is that fixed with StillDragon. Most plug and play owners have little idea how it works, where it could be improved, and why you would want to change. But they can faintly sniff out from the odd forum posts that there may be significant advantages to be had with StillDragon. A lot of the people who take the considerable time needed to browse the information across the StillDragon sites will probably already own a plug and play system, but are worried they are missing out on something better that they could have for a similar KWh / time / effort cost.

    I believe It would be immensely valuable to write up a “How and Why to Migrate from a Plug and Play Still to StillDragon” section for the manual.

    The main blocker for a section like this at first sight appears to be how to get around the exploding complexity of the different options available. This is a product that can do anything distilling for everybody. But maybe one or more home reference rigs could be defined AND explained as detailed examples, so that an amateur hobbyist can get a full understanding of how each component works, how each component fits with the other components, and most importantly gain confidence they understand why it’s worth the effort.

    Looking at the forum posts, in general nothing can be answered before there is a definition of where you want to be. Otherwise there are way too many options to consider and the dependent variables become too complex. So on the basis that cutting down the variables is the first step, a tried and tested way to do this is by defining what you want to end up with. A definition of what the configuration needs to achieve. The second step is work out how to get there.

    For step one, in this proposed “migration section” of the manual, the definition of where you want to be is encouragingly simple - it’s to be able to do at least what you can buy off the shelf, plug and play - but a LITTLE bit better.

    Here is a starter of 8 things you have already off the shelf:

    1. A boiler that plugs into the normal household plug-socket ring main, has covered element(s) and is safe to use. Most people don’t have an engineer or friendly electrician to help build their still. The reference rig may be that you use an existing existing T500 boiler, if you have one?
    2. Easy connection to household water supply and drainage with reliable flow control. E.g. use a T500 water flow controller?
    3. Capacity for at least 25L of input wash. Why do the StillDragon boilers start at 50L is this an advantage or not?
    4. Ability to do a “quick” stripping run.
    5. Ability to perform as a pot still.
    6. Ability to perform as a reflux still producing ethanol at around 93% with an input of wash around 14% ABV, completing in 5hrs.
    7. Not be a replica of the London Shard, needing unpractical headroom in the average domestic house.
    8. Explanation of what does what in the configuration, why it was chosen, and why it is better than "off the shelf".

    The next iteration could go into options by component type. This is without doubt where it starts to spiral out of control, but some options are very obvious e.g.

    Boiler - Improvements on the T500 boiler: GrainFather type setup where there are 2 elements for faster boil then maintaining the temp for the completion of the run or completing end to end much quicker. Is the GrainFather a viable upgrade, so you can use it for beer also? Maybe move over to a 30A cooker mains circuit in the house to get … what benefits.. etc.

    Condenser - Average setup for all uses, or specific tuned configurations for stripping, pot condensing or reflux condensing. Consider number of plates needed, plate diameter, level of reflux etc.

    Convenience and Quality Control - anything that makes it easier to measure, tweak and control the run. What temps, flows, smells etc. to measure where, why to measure them, and what to do when, based on measurements. If you cannot measure it you cannot not manage it, so a list of what needs managing is a good structure for this section.

    I’m more than happy to co-ordinate the production of this section for the next manual as I’m obviously needing something like this myself. Is anyone interested in giving any part of the above a go?

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