Pimping my Baby Dragon

edited November 2014 in Accessories

I have the custom rods for a 4 glass 4 plate section and ordered the glass today so it could be one piece of glass to fit those rods.
That could be for a packed section either by itself or in addition to the plated section.
Something like this but one piece of glass:


I don't have much in the way of packing material. I have some SPP from Poland and SS wool I bought from the US for my needs.
Either should work just fine.

The glass has an ID of 58mm (2.28") and will be 344mm tall (13.54").

You think that's enough height for the SPP? I'm wanting very clean neutral and figure 4 plates and ~13" of SPP should get me there.
My SPP is the small 4.5mm stuff, quite small.

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  • edited November 2014


    SS wool in a 4" glass and a handful of SPP.

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  • edited November 2014

    What would Mama want? Being a frugal old broad she'd want inexpensive so maybe SS scrubbies for packing?
    Lava rock may come across as dirty to her but reports suggest its a viable alternative.
    Copper mesh has its pros and cons as well, hard to clean, a bit expensive (but certainly cheaper than SPP) and it needs maintenance (occasional acid washing) or it turns black.

    I tend to default to something stainless steel for packing material but that's just me.
    What's your opinion about pimping a 4 plate Baby Dragon with a packed column section in the quest for a good neutral that Mama would be tickled with?

    Future pimps will surely include a frugal, not saying Mama is CHEAP (even if she is), way for her to crank out her own gin in the comfort of her kitchen. Thinking a simple TC pipe section with a filter disk might make the ole gal happy.


    pimp a baby.jpg
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  • edited November 2014

    Configured for gin...


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  • Working on a 2" column and looking at the height you are working on you'd be aiming at roughly 800W to 1200W of power I'm guessing?

    For a 2" column, I read that packing with SS has a theoretical plate height of 4.5". Additionally for making a neutral a good rule of thumb for packed column is a height of 20-30 x your diameter. Based on that, you'd be looking for 9 to 14 theoretical plates.

    You already have 4 so you need to add 22.5" of packed section to meet the 20x2" number. More if you have the height available.

  • Unless you use the SPP then that glass section of spp may be enough... DAD300 has done a lot with spp might refer to his posts on on various forums

    If you can find a cheap source for real SS scrubbies it may be worth your time to add them to the product line.. not sure about china sourcing of those... The Jumbo size ones would be a choice....

    You could use em a packing materials when you ship maybe .... :D

  • FS, I've bought lots of SS scrubbies at the local markets here and always with good results, never had a sign of rust.
    I seem to recall someone cutting them into bits for column packing material.
    I'd like to use the SPP only because I have it but we're not setup to sell it so its not fair to Mama unless she can source her own SPP.
    The best thing to test would be something that's readily available so it may come down to cutting up a few packages of scrubbies.

    @TheMechWarrior thanks for that. Baby Dragon was meant to be a small, inexpensive stove-top model and letting me increase the column height may be counter-productive?
    Its hard to resist wanting to trick it out but the goal is to keep it small and simple.

    It took what... a day... for @captainshooch to pimp his baby into a 6 plater? And now thoughts of making it into a split column are creeping into my noggin. It just never stops I tell ya!!

  • edited November 2014

    There are a number of manufacturers of nice quality stainless Pall Rings, I believe some are also making the Cascade style mini ring. Both of these have a long history in distillation. I'm sure they would look very nice in the column as well.

    Probably cheaper than SPP, mainly due to less overall material. Easier to clean than SPP, fewer nooks and crannies. Also, I suspect easier to use than higher density SPP or packing, since it's easy to flood those materials, it's going to be very hard to flood a Pall or C-Ring.

    Is it going to be as efficient? No, but it won't be a slouch either. I only wonder if you can find small enough variations, usually these things are about an inch long or wide.

    There are probably a number of ceramic options as well, but I have no idea what the pricing is there. I'd rather put ceramic in my column than any kind of rocks.

    If that Stainless Wool is anything like the 00-0000 used in finishing, it holds liquid like crazy. It's also very friable. I got stabbed with a piece that drove me nuts for 2 days. I'd think some kind of small structured packing is the better choice over any kind of scrubbies, since the scrubbies always seem to be disposable items that need replacing after a few uses. Momma doesn't want to have to find new scrubbies every time she pulls this out of her pantry.

    Fill the column with a bunch of stainless steel nuts, bolts and washers, I guarantee you it'll work 80% as good as SPP.

  • If the aim is to keep the height down then power will also need to be kept down to say 600W. That 13.5" of packing will give you an extra 5 HETP at a reflux ratio of 4, working on stainless scrubbers. You should get something like 94.2% abv out of that rig @Lloyd

    As for the gin, if you wanted to keep it simple just use a 2" TC site glass section at the bottom of your column for your botanicals. Saves having to empty out the SS packing but it is another purchase for the sake of a little extra time...I'll stop being lazy! What you've already suggested will work.

  • I was reading an old RKR post and found this regarding SPP and Scrubbies...

    RKR Said:

    Threw some numbers to the calculator and the claim of 30mm HETP for SPP seems to be correct, the exact number I got was 26mm. With scrubbers I was able to hit 58mm. These numbers are not precise as I didn't bother to calculate the effects of reducing amount of ethanol in the boiler. Anyway, I thought that this will give you a hint of how little the HETP really effects the actual speed and column efficiency.

    @Lloyd Based on those figures... if they are correct...you will get about 5 to 6 plates with scrubbies or 10 to 13 with spp


    Happy Stillin


  • I've been thinking of a scheme for Mama.
    Starting with a barebones Baby Dragon she gains enough experience and over time saves enough money vs store-bought hooch to buy the packed section vodka attachment.
    With her 4 plates and a few runs she collects enough hearts to charge her small boiler with about 30% ABV good stuff and adds her new packed column on top of her 4 plates for a neutral run.
    Now she enjoys enough vodka martinis during "The Price is Right" to eventually afford a GB4 or something less costly like a simple TC pipe section with a filter disk to crank out her gin.
    At which time she starts dreaming of going Pro.

    Who knows, there may be enough Mamas out there to coerce us into developing a GB2. *-:)

  • @Lloyd "The Story Teller" :-? =D>

  • Mama gonna slap you FS and ain't nothing you can do but cry.
    I am, however, on her good side because we're sippin cocktails together during "As the World Turns" =))

  • edited November 2014

    The packed column section arrived today.
    Not a lot of progress on what to put in it.


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  • Stills are illegal to own in the state of Florida unless you have a license... I wonder if I could retail these as 'tobacco pipes' ;-)

  • Whack an end clamp on the bottom and it could be a yard glass!

  • @CothermanDistilling , you could sell them as "infusers", perfect for the mixologist. Simply add your favourite blend of fruits/spices/herbs and add vodka/whisky/apple juice to create a lovely summer beverage.

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