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Bubble Cap Plates

I have first gen bubble caps, plates, and gaskets and am experiencing a frustrating amount of leaking between a couple of my T sections.

Two questions:

  1. Short term - does anyone have a method for testing the section seal BEFORE starting the run? I've tied pouring a pitcher of water onto the plate but without the vapor pressure from below, the water doesn't sit long enough for the seeping leak to show.

  2. Longer term - I'm thinking of replacing my plates and gaskets with the newer versions, hoping the custom gaskets will fix the problem.

Will my older style bubble caps work with the newer plates, size-wise? I know I'll have to get new downcomers too...

thanks, Badger

Best Answer

  • The custom gaskets will work with the old plates and is what you need.
    You don't want the gasket under or over the plate.


  • If you have a drain in your boiler and are able to feed water into the top of your still, you can clamp the column to the boiler and fill the entire boiler and column with water.

  • I hadn't thought of that. Annoying to do but not as much as stopping mid run and trying to disassemble and rebuild a rippin' hot still. Thanks for the idea!

  • Why not just put some water into the boiler and do a steam run first. Then if it is OK you can drain and refill with your boiler charge.

  • Are you using PFTE gaskets or the silicone ones? Gaskets are an expendable item at some point...


  • Caps and plates are standard, if you give me an email i'll send you gaskets for nothing (i have a feeling you are in Australia?) if you were one of the first customers who had to cut their own gaskets.

    Otherwise i'd suggest just replacing the gaskets, as FS says they are a consumable and will eventually need replacing.

    You could test your caps by making a short tube with a seal on the end (plastic pipe?) and blowing through each cap with your thumb on the bottom to check the seal.

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

  • edited January 2014

    Thanks, @punkin...that's very kind but I'm here in the States. Besides, I don't think the issue is the gaskets. I'm pretty sure they are silicone (the ones that have the central ridge to fit the groove in the T section) and they seem in good shape.

    I think the issue is more likely the copper plate. When there is no plate (as in between the top T and dephleg), the pieces sit nicely on the gasket and seal fine. When the plate is involved, it seems to keep the two sections from sitting cleanly. I've tried both putting the gasket under the plate and over the plate before putting on the next section. The latter works a little better but is still not too hot.

    I'm assuming the new plates are slightly different size (and/or work more cleanly with the custom gaskets). and allow the sections to sit more cleanly. I think I asked Smaug a while ago and he said that the new custom gaskets wouldn't work with the old plates. True?

  • Oh. Well, dang...well, that should be a cheap, easy fix then. I'll order them tonight. Thanks, all for your help and suggestions.


  • The gasket should not be over or under the plate.

    The new style gaskets should be a -| shape not a "+"

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