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2.5" (formerly known as 3") Bubble Column



  • I was thinking if you made the ends of the CD from a 2x4 or 2x6 short reducer instead of a sight glass, it could be much less costly, you just have to make a new end gasket and have holes drilled in the reducer. Make the flow directors also be 'standoffs', design the gaskets that hold the plates to fit snugly in the glass, and you could use one long glass tube... saving more money...

  • Hmmm kinda like floating plate... jeez where have i heard that idea before... :D Ohhh it was me and i have some...

  • Tell Mama to keep her skirt on, the new 2.5" sight tower with 2" TC ends is ready to ship to me but we had to tell the machine shop to wait a few days to send it because we'll be out of town. Might get it Wednesday.
    The glass, plates and custom CD gaskets are all ready - just waiting on the sight tower.
    Scrounged through my bin of used parts for all the other bits (condensers, bends, push connects, etc) so there was no need to pull any other new parts from the shelves.

    We need to get this moving along a little quicker for the old gal to get one under the Christmas tree.

  • Oh, Mama!
    The parts arrived and the maiden run happened today.
    Pictures and a video have been sent to the SD forum master to post when he gets a chance. The run was awesome. Beyond all expectations.

    I assembled a 4 plate (single ProCap per plate and adjustable downcomers on the two bottom plates because they were the last 2 prototypes on hand) Crystal Dragon with a 2400 watt element in the milk can boiler and ran it wide open!

    Collected 2.2 liters per hour at 93% from a 30 liter 20% boiler charge. 100ml in 2 minutes and 41 seconds so feel free to check my math.
    Cut to 40% gives Mama about 5 liters of sipping booze per hour.

    Sure, my 5" would have made quick work of that boiler charge but for those of us that live in tiny apartments the 2" TC x 2.5" Crystal Dragon makes a lot more sense. And at better than a gallon an hour of finished booze with such a tiny, low cost still... well, it's hard to find the words.
    Again and again the ProCaps have surprised me in a very pleasant way.

    Lots more notes to share (like how to accessorize with a small packed section for vodka that could double as a gin botanical housing, etc) but the most important is this...

    The 5" was for me as it is the most that I can power and I know many others are like me. But THIS one is for you, Mama, to set up in your kitchen. Hope you enjoy it.

  • Great news. Cant wait to see more.

  • Excellent. Looks promising for rum at 93% to 94% with a boiler charge of stripped low wines at 27%. Even though I have a bigger home build in the works, I can see the appeal of 1 of these also.

    I tend to ferment and strip in bigger quantities, but having the ability to run a small boiler charge for a spirit run has its own appeal.

  • edited July 2014

    The little column sports 2" triclamp ends but is in fact a 2.5" sight tower construction.


    The ends are custom machined to accept the new 2.5" Crystal Dragon gaskets. They even, for the first time, have the mating grooves in the ST ends to accept the CD gaskets perfectly.


    This is a spin off of @Law_Of_Ohms' design on the 12" bolt flange for @grim's big still.

    Perfect fit.

    600 x 801 - 53K
    stilldragon_2.5_inch_sight_tower_ends machined_to 2_inch_tri-clamp_connections_with_crystal_dragon_gasket.jpg
    800 x 600 - 103K
  • I put the keepers together and took a reading. Exactly 90% ABV. Smooth as silk and the 4 bottles (2 up front and 2 at the back - after discarding the very first one and stopping when the proof began to sag) will go on oak for a few months.
    The hearts collected are mine to savor now or whenever I please as they will be enjoyed in clear white and cut to about 40%.

    I know I said the collection was at 93% but in total the aggregate became 90%. I'm not complaining since it will be savored nonetheless. Its about what you'd expect from 4 plates.

  • edited July 2014

    I may just have to build a new cap for this water sealed copper boiler so I can have one.



    water seal pot.jpg
    600 x 800 - 55K
  • StillDragon - 2.5" Crystal Dragon with Single ProCap36 Bubble Plates - First Run

    Watch @Lloyd's First Run of the NEW StillDragon 2.5" Crystal Dragon with Single ProCap36 Bubble Plates!

    Your Place to be >>> <<< Home of the StillDragon® Community Forum

  • Is there likely any benefit quality wise in running slower?

  • edited July 2014

    @waxernz said: Is there likely any benefit quality wise in running slower?

    That can be a very subjective answer.

    If run slower you'll get "better" separation. Or perhaps the word "optimal" separation is more appropriate?

    I think it best to run as many ways as possible to fully develope your own point of view.

    Words like quality and efficiency have multiple uses and the correct context is important when explaining outcomes for your finish product.....IMO.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • @waxernz said: Is there likely any benefit quality wise in running slower?

    You bet! I could have run slower and compacted the heads and tails so there would have been just one bottle of each instead of two and achieved a higher %ABV.
    My goal was to get a clean hearts cut so slower would have been better (not less power, just more reflux - well, OK, a little less power would work too).

    For a flavor run, like rum or fruit or anything where you want to collect as much flavor as possible, then more power and less reflux will get you there as it smears the fractions (that's actually desirable in many cases) and lowers the %ABV.

  • Damn if there ain't some "plagiarism" going on in here... :)) :)) :))

  • edited July 2014

    Since the ends are 2" but the body is 2.5" it seems confusing to call it 2.5" as folks will think the clamps and reducers need to be 2.5". Should we just refer to it as a 2"?
    That also has a hidden danger where some will think the parts will interchange with their 2" Sight Tower, which they won't do.
    It is a custom modified 2.5" sight tower that is designed to attach with 2" clamps. Wow, what a mouthful.

    On another note, I live quite far from a McDonald's but passed by one today after several months and I REALLY NEEDED A BIG MAC FIX. But once inside I saw a cool toy so I had to buy a kid's meal instead :)


    800 x 450 - 55K
  • edited July 2014

    Inquired about getting the rods made for the baby dragon 4 plate but at about $3 each I'm wondering if its better that Mama gets her own by using all-thread rod.


    And I'm concerned about locking Mama into 4 plates by getting the rods produced. I'm not willing to produce every possible permutation of rods (2 plate, 3, 4, 5, 6 etc).

    Still, 4 plates is a very sound bubble still that gives excellent and proven results. Easy to run and is forgiving.

    380 x 232 - 11K
  • Cleanup crew at work! :-B

    All name finding postings for the NEW 2.5" Crystal Dragon have been moved >>> HERE <<<

    Your Place to be >>> <<< Home of the StillDragon® Community Forum

  • When will this be on the market. I want one NOW,lol.

  • Name it and you get not just one but the first one! Complete with @Lloyd signed certificate of authenticity, LOL.

  • @Lloyd - how about a tube with threaded studs in the end for a 4-plate version(male-male), and then a female-male 1 plate extension? more expensive than threaded rod, true...

  • Or.... make the 4-plate rods, then make a stabilizing ring with 4 threaded holes or something that terminates the 4-plate rods and lets you add 1 or 2 plate rods, or a 2nd 4-plate rod... either in the same holes or offset by 45 degrees..

  • I'm not sure how tight the tolerances will be from batch to batch on the glass cuts.
    I ordered 50 pieces and 48 survived the rough shipping. They don't pack them quite as well as we do and two in the very corners bit it.
    I specified the glass to be cut to 80mm but every one was 82mm tall. Next batch might be 80mm :(( and then the rods will be a bit longer than I'd like, and worse - the acorn nuts that I was hoping to use won't work.
    The glass factory now has one of every CD gasket that we have produced so that will help to avoid getting batches of glass that don't quite fit the gaskets.

  • One possible alternative to take into account the height variation, is to use a turnbuckle or rigging screw. Replace the threaded bar with an internal thread tube, and replace your dome nut with a bolt through the plate and a lock nut.


    Makes the support rods a bit larger in diameter, but it isn't a huge issue. Might look a bit more tidy IMO but that may not be an issue for some folks.

    Rigging Screw Body.png
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  • @Lloyd - Talking of Bling - Any chance of this in polished Brass instead of stainless? ;))

    Or would that be prohibitively expensive compared to the stainless option?

  • Oh if only you knew the pain of getting custom copper or brass made!
    Its all about scale. That determines the molds costs.
    50 or 100 of something is not practical to get the molds produced. At least 1000 would be needed to get the sand molds made and typically they are not produced for orders of less than 5000 pieces. The metal 'model' that's used to create the negative space in the packed sand is machined and the simplest can easily cost several thousand dollars. They really are cool though because about 1/2 of the model is above the plate and the rest is below the plate. Moist sand (a rich formula of sand, oils, bentonite and who knows what all else) is compacted around the plate and when the plate is removed (that takes nerves of steel) the void, or negative space, has already compensated for the plate's thickness.
    The plate also has formers that create the gates to pour the molten metal and keys that lead to small voids where the production cavity can pull molten metal from as it cools.
    The big benefit is there is very little metal that needs to be machined away.

    For low quantity production runs (500 pieces or so), a pipe is custom made that has the ID and OD of the object and whatever is not needed is machined away. So much waste is generated that a machine shop will sometimes machine the parts for free because they make their money by selling the scrap. The problems are you are paying for that big waste and the pipe foundry ALWAYS has a high minimum order.

    I've run out of 3" copper ferrules but still have plenty of 2" and 4" so I can't meet the minimum order anytime soon to get more of them made.

    Plus there is the inherit fear in the distilling community about any brass in contact with the alcohol.

  • Well, that's the 2 main ways to get brass parts fabricated but certainly there are others.
    There is lost wax casting (not particularly useful for items weighing more than a few ounces but there are tons of exceptions, literally, as with bronze statues) and sintering where finely ground metal dust is rammed into a mold and processed. Both of these are very cool and have their place but don't easily lend themselves to our needs.
    Lost wax is great for bespoke items like jewelry and sintering can't be beat if ultra high quality is needed on a massive scale. Once flowing its like a cookie cutter on steroids.

    None of these methods can compete with price or low minimum order requirements that we enjoy with our stainless steel fabricators.
    But again, its all about scale. If I could put together an order for 10,000 baby dragons I could dictate price. We certainly are not there yet and so far I have the only one (until somebody wins it).

    Our fabricators put up with our many prototypes, where they cannot earn money, because they have come to trust that most will lead to volume sales.
    The factories that refused to make our original Bubble Tee because I could only order 6 to test must surely be kicking themselves.

    So often I need 10 of something to fill an order but the factory demands a minimum order of 100 or 200 to produce them. Its not always easy.

  • edited August 2014

    @Lloyd - I am following this particular project with great enthusiasm, I think your CD range of stills are absolutely amazing as there is nothing like it! The customer gasket that you are using seems to make the glass very stable, what if instead of the rods you where to use some sort of adjustable SS cables. It would be a fantastic alternative on a still of this size to adjust the plates, they have these types of adjustable cables on IKEA furniture and they can be made rather tight. They have the added side benefit of being minimalistic! Anyway food for thought, keep up the great work! I think when you have this all nutted out I know a few "mammas" I can send your way!

  • @Lloyd - I think I understand the pain you are going through... we all have ideas that we want to share, and we appreciate you considering them... OK, enough of the brown-nosing... How about spun copper 2.5" crystal dragon end pieces... spun out of fairly thick copper... 4-6mm maybe? then machined.... watch some copy-catter try to have those made! Also, copper or stainless trim rings that fit around the plate gaskets.... you place the gasket around the plate, then the trim ring fits on snugly, then place into glass sections....

  • @CothermanDistilling . Now you have done it!! Mentioned the option of structural stainless steel components with decorative covers. Who is going to be the first to ask for anodized aluminium tubes to cover the stainless rods? :))

  • no, the decorative cover was for the silicone gasket! the copper end caps were to replace the stainless ones.... I am not adding bling for the sake of just pure bling, but for a design continuity...

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