Making A Still - For the glasswareImpaired.
Its suprisingly easy to manufacture an operating "still" for distilling
just about anything. The one described in this file is no doubt of a lower
grade than great-grandpa used in the 20's to make booze, but will function
for recovering solvent for any number of reasons. It was successfully used
to distill acetone from an acetone-containing extract, so that it could be
recycled. Such policy is good for two reasons - simple evaporation is bad
for the environment, your lungs, and your neighbors lungs. And the LAST
thing to EVER want to do is make your neighbors mad at you. After all, they
live right next to you.
The hardest thing to get to make this still is probably corks with two
holes in them. Try craft stores. Or make your own holes - try a soldering
iron then clean the burnt stuff out with a round file. Using a power drill
will probably NOT work due to the sticky gooey nature of rubber + friction
Two rubber corks, one with two holes at least.
Two "Snapple" jars or other jar that will take a cork.
NOTE: When using non-pyrex, it is important to avoid quick changes in
temperature as well as differences in temperatures touching the
glass. For example, its in extremely poor taste to stick a non-
heat-safe glass containing a liquid that will boil at 30c into
an oil bath that will be heated to 120c - even if slowly heated,
the liquid on the inside won't ever go over 30c, and there will be
a huge temperature difference between the inside and outsides of
ALSO: Try and clean the things out good first
6 or so feet of aluminum tubing, available at the plumbing store.
Its probably next to the copper tubing used in hooking water to
something that will move, like a refridgerator or a water cooler.
To get aluminum, just make an ecoFreak fuss over copper pipe. Its not
like your trying to buy a triple neck flask here anyways...
Electric skillet with temperature control
This will let you somewhat control the temperature of your heating bath.
A spark-free or sealed relay is always nice also. Suprisingly, this is
often the case - but always check first. Probably lawyers trying to
minimize damages from oil fires caused by innatentive-housewives.
Sink. Yes, a sink is a good thing.
A big container to stick ice and a snapple jar into. Salt too, if ya
need it to cool the ice.
Setup is as follows:
__ /========= ... ===========\
|| || || /====== (to other part of file)
|| || || ||
| | | |
\ cork / \ cork2 /
/ \ / \
/ \ / \
/ made from \ / \
| the greatest | | Snapple Jar |
| stuff on | | |
| Earth. | | | | |
| | |~~~~| |~~~~|
| | | o| | o| <--- those are ICE
| | | | |o | | O| CUBES!!!
|~~~| |~~~| | | | |
| | | | | | | |
| \_____________/ | | \_____________/ |
|_______________________| | the cooling bath |
/ \ |_________________________|
(filled with water.)
(use oil if over 100c needed)
Since I had only two-holed corks, I plugged one up. The aluminum pipe can
be sealed suprisingly good by cutting it, flattening it against itself
with pliers, then bending it and flattening that again. Conversely, after
you "cave in" the ending with your metal sheers, pliers are also great for
carefully squeezing the hole back open.
There are certain obvious rules to use with this setup:
1. Dont distill anything that will release acidic vapors. Aluminum pipe is
NOT the place to condense your acetic anhydride supply.
2. Try to avoid strain that will pop the corks back out. This is simply
enough with aluminum piping.
3. Avoid kinks in the aluminum piping.
4. Dont let the stuff boil so much that bubbleChunks float up and get
"sucked" into the pipe
5. Add fresh ice to the still as you make progress.
6. When working with ANYTHING other than water, no flames, even if there
is no odor, which there likely wont be (!!!). When working with stinky
acetone containing Aromatherapy Oils, which are by nature smelly, I did
not smell either until I uncorked the heating vessel!
7. Uncork as soon as boiling stops, to prevent backwash. This is doubly
important if the input to the cooling vessel reaches below the surface
of the condensed solvent.
8. Always label recycled solvent as such, and try to reuse it for "the same
purpose" for obvious reasons. For example, most solvents are no longer
going to be anhydrous after this unless further processed.
What about solvent vapors that dont condense???
Build POPeye's "stench tube".
(from other part of file)================\ |
| ... |
with running water \________ || _______________|
| || |
| || | ________
| || | / \
| || | | __ |
| || | | | | |
| || |_| | | |
| | | |
\_________/ to the sewers
POPeye calls this beast a "stench tube". Its lowered into the sink, and
running water carries any vapor that might not condense into the sewer
systems. Its not 100% foolproof, but its probably a hell of a lot safer
than sending it coursing thru the local ecoFreak's ventilation systems...
Try not to backwash water into your solvent.