Instructables

How to make a still

This contribution tells you how to distill liquids in your own kitchen.
Maybe for illegal liquor, maybe for purifying water.

! Drinking distilled alcohol may be harmful / fatal.
! Distilling alcohol may be illegal
! Drinking distilled water may be harmful / fatal
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
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I used:
A pressure-cooker
8mm OD copper tubing
A plastic bucket.

Step 2: Construction

Picture of Construction
Form a coil with the copper tube, leaving a long lead-in. I wrapped around a demi.
Drill a hole in the bucket, and poke the lower end of your coil through this.
The copper tube is connected to the pressure-cooker with a (brewing) cork
A bit of Blu-Tac seals the tube to the bucket
Fill the bucket with cold water, and maybe some ice.

Step 3: Use

Picture of Use
A person might take two bottles of cheap wine. put them in the pressure-cooker an heat them to the boil. The distillate would be enriched in alcohol, collected from the bottom of the still.
One might wish to add a bit of colour with homemade caramel, and have homemade brandy.

And then one might drink the output and try to post a coherent Instructable.
stetsberg1 year ago
If i am just trying to make pure water, would any copper leach into the water? The water would be acidic so i also wonder about the pipes corroding. Also, is there any point to making the coil if all i want is pure water? It seems like what i am looking for would turn to steam and then go through the tube and into the collection tank. Am i correct in assuming this?
lemonie (author)  stetsberg1 year ago
The purest water is distilled in glass, but why would your water be acidic?
Coil is to cool the vapour back to liquid.

L
pyrosparker4 years ago
whats that fork for?
lemonie (author)  pyrosparker4 years ago

It holds the safety-valve shut (rubber had gone "manky").

L
bertus52x114 years ago
 I have just posted an Instructable   that could be helpful to yout cooling: look under "classic heat exchanger" (don't use Aluminium though).
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lemonie (author)  bertus52x114 years ago
Yea I saw that, classic Liebig design, with running water it's going to be good. Except that you have running water.

L
how much copper tubing did you use for the entire project?
lemonie (author)  punkrockscienceguy4 years ago
Just looking at the picture, maybe 20'? You could use less but I bought a "pack", so I wasn't short.

L
 alright thanks how much that cost you?
ohgodwhy5 years ago
how can you tell, the right temerature? or won't the tempereature rise until the acohol vapored?
lemonie (author)  ohgodwhy5 years ago
You can hear things boiling, and you see the liquid coming out the other end. Take it gently - no temperature monitoring on this one.

L
aceman4245 years ago
okay im 18 im doing this for a science fair project i can get my hands on everything even got a reciep for the mash. im just confused on how to attach that pipe to the pressure cooker. and can anyone give me links to me info about this like a reciep they know works and what temp the alcohol comes out at
Here's the beauty of distilling. The mash will begin to boil off the alcohol at 173* F and will slowly rise until the alcohol is boiled off, then it will shoot on up to 212* F. BUT the mash will not get into water's boiling temp until the alcohol is boiled off. If you heat it slowly and monitor the temp, you will have a potent product.

Just discard any liquid that comes through before the 173* F temp is reached as it might have methanol in it...POISON. The good stuff is from 173* to 180*. But you can collect distillate up to 205*. Then it is time to turn off the burner.
lemonie (author)  aceman4245 years ago
Last image on this step - a brewing cork (with the hole for the fermentation traps) connects the two in this case - you might find a better solution.
And the alcohol comes out with water over a steadily increasing temperature. Distill half of the volume, then distill half of that.

L
louie10105 years ago
Hi could someone tell me would you need to drill a bigger hole on the lid for the cooker to put the cork in there? How far would the copper coil go down into the boiler thank you and great idea.
dedkitty6 years ago
Ok whats a demi? and what is the glass bottle with the copper tubing around it? :D
The glass bottle is the demi, otherwise known as a demi-john.
doolittle885 years ago
When making this still do I need to use stainless?
01bullitt6 years ago
hey has anyone tryed this and how did it go i was going to use wine i bulit it already took like 15 min i had all the stuff around the home ... just havent put anything in it yet
very nice but not to sound frugal but all together tubing, pressure cooker, etc how much would it all cost
This is poetry in its simplicity. I built mine with a 16 quart aluminum presto that I picked up at a garage sale today. I have the copper tubing and used silicon to seal the bucket. Works great. Now... I love distilled water. I want to drink distilled water. I believe the copper tubing is safe but the aluminum is not safe. The question I have is would any of the harmful chemicals from the aluminum make their way into the distilled water? How safe would using this still to make distilled water for drinking be? You can reply here or to iamtherealandy@gmail.com -- thanks...
eskimojo6 years ago
Using RTV Silicone would be fine for the seal on the bucket, just make sure it is fully dried.
lilguy4u6 years ago
Interesting Article.. I would think that the Copper would be bad to use? I once heard that when it's heated to a High Temperature it gives of a Toxic Vapor or Chemical? Also, wouldn't the bad Alcohol that you produce at the start be Non-Existent since the Wine has been Processed Already?
evilangel206 years ago
y the fork?