Introduction: Making Your Distiller

Well my dear folks! I've very glad to be here since this is my first instructable ever! Today i'm going to teach you guys how to make a super-awesome chemical distiller, which is very usefull for getting chemical components (if you like chemistry) or for making some alcoholic drinks (if you like drinkin'). First, i must say that i'm Brazilian, so i don't really domain the english language, so there might be some grammar mistakes around. I apologise you guys for that. I'll try to be as clear as possible.

WARNING: The distiller is a dangerous, but still, easy-to-use machice that allow you to separate liquid solutions made with different densities liquids. Since you might get burned trying to distilate something, i will not teach how to make certain chemical components neither how to make alcoholic drinks (although it's pretty easy). I strongly recommend using a protective suit while using the distiller, since you might burn yourself or make something worse.

The ingredients of this instructable are easy to find. I found them all in my house, and so i didn't really spent nothing. This instructable may look kinda confusing ou complex, but it IS NOT. I haven't used ANY measurement at ANY time. All i did was being observer and using my own eye to "measure" things. So i guess everybody here can do so!

The how-to-use steps and advices are at the end of this Instructable.
PLEASE, I BEG YOU! READ THEM!

Let's BEGIN!

Step 1: The Ingredients

In order to make our super awesome distiller, whe will need the following itens:

- A PVC pipe. It doesn't really matter the size, it have to be big.
- A flat and big wood piece;
- 5 flat, thin and long wood pieces;
- 2 short and thin wood pieces;
- 4 flat "rectangle shaped" wood pieces;
- A lot of screws, i recommend medium sized ones;
- A Drill;
- A very thin tube. Twice the size of the PVC pipe. Preferably transparent;
- An empty jar of olives, picles, or whatever;
- Something like a strainer (Optional);
- A few rubber pieces (Optional);
- Something like a strainer that attaches to the jar top;
- Silver tape;
- Metal Wire (or any other kind of wire)

Step 2: Making the Base

Now, to make the base you'll need to get your drill and the biggest piece of wood. Then, make four holes on it. Making sure to be similar to the image. Certificate (with your eyes or with a ruler) that the distance between holes 1 and 2 are the same between holes 3 and 4. You can see in the image that there are already screws on the holes 1 and 3. Find a screw that fits all the four holes, and put them all. Like the next image.

After making your base look like the second image, grab the 5 long and thin wood pieces and make a hole on the bottom of 4 of them. Make the holes in similar places. Try to center the hole right in the middle of the bottom. Now, as you can see, you have the 4 pieces of wood with holes on the bottom. Simply attach each wood piece to each one of the 4 screws at the main base. Be careful to make it the most symmetrical as you can, it will help in the next steps.

Now, you can see that the 4 wood pieces are kinda wobbly, which means you have to make them more stable, otherwise this distiller won't be safe for use. For this, we are going use the 2 short and thin wood pieces we got before. As you can see in the image, you must find a way to put this little piece inside the 4 sticks and screw them together, making somekind of connection between the long pieces. Do it on the first side, connecting pieces 1 and 2, just as the images shows, and repeat on the otherside, connecting pieces 3 and 4. Trying to keep symmetrical as possible is the key for doing it.

Once it's done, you'll see the base is more stable, but still a bit wobbly, so we must repair this. Just grab 2 of the 4 flat and large wood pieces and screw them together with the long pieces. Once again find a suitable position near the main base and then screw them on the outside part. It will connect the longest pieces once again. Remember to connect pieces 1 and 2, and then repeat the process to connect 3 and 4. It must be like the images, so if you've done it right, you'll see that our base is almost stable.

Step 3: Creating the Top Base

Ok, so once you got all the other steps ready, you'll realize that the base isn't stable yet, it probably shakes and that can kill you. Seriously, it can kill you. So. Safety first! To complete the base and give it a bit more stability, we are going to create the top. It will make it steady and will make the inclination that we need to put the PVC pipe on.

First, you must get the remaining pieces of the 4 flat and large pieces of wood (the ones you used to firm the main base). Now that you used 2 of them, you'll get the other 2 and the other last long and thin piece that you had. So if you got it right, you must have three pieces now. You must fit them in the order flat-long-flat, just as the image shows. Make sure to not link them on the middle, they must be attached to each other by the bottom, according to the image. Screw one side, and then repeat this operation on the other side. This set should be firm.

Once the top base is firm and complete, it's time to attach it to the other base you made before. You must put it inside the 4 sticks, and then tilt it a little bit in order to get some inclination (this will help the water flows through the pipe). From 35 to 38 degrees should be enough. You don't really need a compass to make it right, remember to use your eye. Try some inclinations, and then, when you think it's nice, screw the sticks onto the flat and large pieces in order to fix them together. The images clearly show how it got to be made. Remember to do it on both sides, keeping the symmetry.

You can fix the inclination by attaching one stick on a upper part of the flat piece, and the correspondent stick on a lower part of the flat piece. Just take a look at the images!

Now that they're fixed together, you'll see that our main base is finally complete! It has the inclination on the top, a steady bottom and if you manage to understand what to do (and done it right), it should be much much more stable now. So, you might want to take a look on this step's last image. Your main base should look similar to it. If it does, great! Time to keep on with our super-awesome distiller!

Step 4: The True Distiller - the Pipe

Well, now it's time to make the true distiller set. The base was just a thing to make the true distiller be inclined and working fine. Now, we must get our PVC pipe.

The first thing we need to do is boring a hole on the top part of the PVC pipe. This hole must be of the same size of the smallest part of your strainer. This is going to be where the water will be placed. Use your drill to make this hole, and try to attach your strainer to it. If the hole gets bigger than the strainer's tip you might need some hot glue or silver tape to close it firmly, in order to avoid water leaking. So, when you fix the strainer it should look like the image.

Similarly, make another hole on the bottom of the PVC pipe. Make a smaller hole than the first one, and on this one insert some tube that can be closed (i used a kitchen-spice plastic recipient). This is your water dispenser. It's used to throw away the old and hot water, in order to replace with cold and new water. It must be on the opposite side of the strainer.

Once it's done, you must seal the bottom of the PVC pipe, so the water won't leak it all before getting started. For this you can use a lot of different things to close it: silver tape, clay, hot glue (not recommended). I used a piece of wood with the same size as the gap of the PVC pipe, and then used some tape to stanch the water from droping. Of course i left a hole with the exact size of the tube in order to not completely close the hole. This might be the hardest step. It's must be really shut! Take a good look on the image.

CHECK IT MORE THEN TWICE. IT CAN'T LEAK.

Be sure to check again and let the biggest part of the tube to the upper part. Once you done it all, your distiller is done. Now it's time to assemble them all together!


Step 5: Assembling the True Distiller

Now, this might be the easiest part. Take a look at the images. It's very simple! Just make a hole across the upper part of the PVC pipe, a bit above the strainer, and also on the upper part of the inclinated base. Then just tie them together with the metal wire, just as the image sequence shows! This will keep the PVC pipe on place, with its necessary inclination to work fine.

Step 6: The Glass Set

The last step is making the glass set to the distiller. It is with it that you are going to heat up some cool solutions and make things blow up! (I really hope that none of you guys do so).

We are going to use 2 olive old jars. This part is also simple as the previous one. Using the images as reference, and use the objects that you collected to create somekind of converting tube, which will make the hole of the first jar becoming of the same size as the tube is. And most importantly, really well shut! I was kinda lucky so i got somethings that fit just perfectly. But if you don't find it, don't be upset, you can keep looking for it or force your pieces to fit with some silver tape (DO NOT USE HOT GLUE, SINCE YOU'LL HEAT THE JAR). As you can see on the images, it's pretty simple.

Tip: try to use things that looks like strainers, they usually help.

Unfortunately i can't reeeally help you guys with this part, since the components i got are really odd. But you might find somethings as well. This is the part where you must be CREATIVE and see what you can work out!


--------------------------REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF--------------------------:

This is a homemade distiller. You must use by your own risk! The olive jar glass is not the proper one to make this kind of experiment, so be careful, it can blow up with the over heating! Do not use it near flamable objects, neither use it without a support equipment. If you're not sure of what you're doing, maybe it's good to have a extinguisher with you. If you want to try this more safely, buy the proper glass flasks to make chemical experiments, it's not that expensive.

--------------------------HOW TO USE THE DISTILLER----------------------------:


1 - First, fill the PVC pipe with really cold water and some ice. You can do that by the upper strainer next to the top.

2 - Then, put the solution you want to distill into the first flask, and heat it up with a heat source;

            You can use a big variety of things to heat it up, like ember or some candles. Iusually use my own stove, but that's not really safe. If you want to use a very safe thing, you can try a electrical thermal blanket, it will work too.

3 - When your liquid begins to evaporate, the less dense part of it will rise through the tube and when it reaches the cold PVC pipe it will condense itself. Then, it will drain through the tube until it drops into the second flask.

4 - When the PVC pipe water gets too warm you'll need to change it in order to maintain the condensation. So, with an empty flask, open the lower strainer to remove the pipe's water. Once removed, close it and fill the PVC pipe once again with cold water and ice.

5 - When finished, it is very important to empty the whole set. That is, the flasks and the PVC pipe. Be sure to dry it when stopping using.

6 - If you will use it again, you must wash the inner tube. For that, throw a little amount of detergent and water, and then try distill some water. The boiling water should clean the tube from inside, making it avaible to be used once again, without changing the solution properties!

7 - Have lots of fun!



I really want to thank everybody who have read this instructable! It was a really hard work making it, took me a few hours taking photographs and setting everything up! Depending on how much you guys like it, i will put some more cool stuff here!

Thanks a lot.

Comments

author
Tecwyn Twmffat made it! (author)2016-11-27

https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Distill-Alcohol/

distiller small.jpg
author
clayandnatashia.phillips made it! (author)2014-12-08

It looks like a seesaw buy a stock pot and some copper

author
Lowney made it! (author)2013-08-25

Nice, but the cool water is supposed to enter the condensing tube at the lower end rather than at the top! :)

author
AR10NZ made it! (author)2012-08-07

Hi :
Stainless steel & glass are good, ethanol can extract a dioxin binder from some plastics, a cancer causing carcinogen. If copper is used, 2 copper salts are water soluable, and poisonous. Been distilling for over 40 years.
Here in NZ, distillation for home use is legal, our stainless reflux still produces 91% ethanol. We insert a small piece of pure copper mesh in the outflow, before the condencer, to remove sulphur compounds.
Used to fabricate S/S reflux stills, but can not compete with locally mfgd Spirits Unlimited units, so became agents, some years ago.
Cheers,
AR10NZ

author
Kanoshimari made it! (author)Kanoshimari2012-09-15

I understand this dangers.

I mean, this was supposed to be a instructional thing. For chemistry
discovery and study.

But thanks for the advice. It's really important to me to see some constructive
comments here.

author
lemonie made it! (author)2012-06-16

Plastic tube is bad with hot-vapours (unless it's PTFE or similar).
-It goes soft if you're moving steam through it
-PVC ends up going hard, because the stuff you're distilling strips plasticisers from it. So you have phthalates in your distillates too.

-Glass or copper would be better.

L

author
Kanoshimari made it! (author)Kanoshimari2012-06-18

Surely the tube goes a bit soft with the hot steam. But the PVC do not end up as a bad choice, there are not contact between the steam and the PVC pipe. The only real matter here is the "rubber" tube.

But still, it is obvious that all of that being made by glass or copper would be a much more effective distiller (the professional distillers are usually made from glass). But still, i wished to make a cheap thing.

author
lemonie made it! (author)lemonie2012-06-20

The only real matter here is the "rubber" tube.
If you find this tube is getting stiffer when it's cold (less soft and "rubbery") - that is a symptom of the plasticisers being washed out by what you're distilling.

L

author
Kanoshimari made it! (author)Kanoshimari2012-06-20

Thanks for this tip. Actually, i used a shower tube, which of course is constantly receiving hot water. Take a really big time until it gets stiffer.
But it's a wise observation since not everyone who try this out will use such tube.

author
scoochmaroo made it! (author)2012-06-17

You could enter this in the Father's Day Challenge!

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Bio: I'm a young mechatronics engeneering student that usually wastes my time reading good comics, drawing impossible projects and playing all the games i can.
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