Making a Relatively Cheap Still (for Distilling Water(for EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY!))





Introduction: Making a Relatively Cheap Still (for Distilling Water(for EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY!))

Let's get started learning what distilling is:

1. Purify (a liquid) by vaporizing it, then condensing it by cooling the vapor, and collecting the resulting liquid.
2. Make (something, esp. liquor or an essence) in this way.

Distillation is the method of separating a mixture into its component parts by use of the difference in their boiling points. It normally involves heating the mixture to a temperature at some point just over the boiling point of one, but well below the boiling point of the other. This makes the first one boil off, where it can be collected or discarded, and leaves the other in the original container. The method is often used in oil refinery (fractional distillation is used to split out the different compounds in crude oil) and in liquor and alcoholic beverage creation (to adjust the alcohol content).

Distillation is the one way to clean and purify most water (killing water borne pathogens and even removing most salt from the water). 

LAWS: Within the United States, it is ILLEGAL to distill any kind of alcohol without a license.
1. this is for informational purposes only and should not be used for illegal activities.
2. DO NOT use an open flame if distilling alcohol. The vapors are HIGHLY flammable. Doing so can result in a huge fire ball!

Here is my disclaimer: What you choose to use this still for is your own doing, and by doing so I will NOT be held liable for anything that happens, or if your busted by the law. I assume NO liability at all.  (in other words don't blame me for your bad decisions!) 

Lets get started...

Supplies you will need:
- 5 Gallon bucket
- 20 or more feet of 1/4 inch (or size of your choosing. 1/4 inch seems to work best) copper pipe
- Compression fitting for your copper pipe 
- 1 gallon metal (plastic lined) paint can (can find them at homedepot for around 5 bucks)
- Thermometer
- JB weld
- 5 minute epoxy
- sandpaper 
- wireties

(I hope i haven't missed anything)

I greatly apologize for not showing it being built step by step. I had this made and thought "Damn, should have made a instructable!"

I hope this tutorial will show you somewhat what mine looks like and you'll be able to base your design off of it.

Good luck!

Step 1: Making Your "pot"

Drill a hole just big enough to let the thermometer slide in. pull it out and rough up the can around the hole a little with the sand paper. put down some JB weld, slide the thermometer back in, and apply a little more to make sure it's sealed up good and tight

The jb weld will ensure that there are no leaks.

Note: While your at the step, drill a hole to allow the compression fitting to fit into it nice and SNUG!

Step 2: Create Your Condenser

With your copper tubing and your bucket, begin by drilling on the side, at the very bottom (just big enough for a snug fit around the tubing) pull about 6 or so inches through the hole and begin to spiral the tubing around the inside (try to maintain a constant downward slope). 

Tilt the "spout" downward as well

Rough up the plastic and copper a little where it exits the bucket and use your "5 Minute Epoxy" to seal the hole. 

You may find it necessary to drill a hole and wire tie the tubing and spot to hold it steady and secure, wherever you drill, rough it up, and use some epoxy to seal it!

Step 3: Let It All Dry

let all the epoxy dry and setup. (approx 1 day)

Nows a good time to take a break!

Step 4: Connect It All, and Begin Distilling

Im wrapping this tutorial up for now as i can no longer feel my fingers, or my hands for that matter.

Fill the "pot" with what every liquid you want to distill (water), fill the condenser bucket with water (you can add some ice as well). 

begin heating it up and distilling.

Whatever you are distilling you will need to research the temperatures to use. 

REMEMBER: I assume NO responsibility for what you choose to use this still for.. What you use it for is based on your own decision.

Note: I recommend only distilling water.

Note: I will edit and add onto this tutorial as needed. but for now I hope this help get some folks headed in the right direction into the magical world of science! :P



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    If you want to make a real still, here you go :

    Are you crazy? Use a PLASTIC lined paint bucket????? yes, let's heat up plastic in a hot solvent based liquid. Also, how is JB-Weld safe for being in a hot alcohol vapor? Do you know how many chemicals will be dissolving off JB Weld into the vapor path, and into your spirit?

    Use ONLY COPPER and S/S in all vapor and liquid areas!!!! Anything else can leach unknown chemicals into your final spirit!

    Omg.....It;s like you are trying to kill people with this.

    #1. When making a still use as much Copper in the construction of it, at least the condenser needs to be copper.

    #2. Never bring your still to the boiling point! 212° you will ruin the final product, never take it over 150°.
    Keep your temperature between 130°and 140° but for better results try 110 or 115°. bring your temp up slowly.

    #3. When your run starts dump the first pint or so out. This is Methanol it is poison it can kill you!

    #4. Alcohol boils at 170° it starts evaporating at 100°. Water boils at 212° and starts evaporating around 110°. See where I'm going with this?

    #5. Think about this.... Water starts freezing at 30°f. Alcohol freezes at -170°f.
    You don't need a still to make good drinkable Alcohol. Put your fermented brew in plastic gallon jugs with the tops off in a freezer overnight. Then turn them upside down on quart sized canning jars.
    the Alcohol will start running out within a few minutes. If you made good Must or Wort you should get about 3/4 of a quart of about 80 proof liquor out of a gallon. This is Called "Jacking" In the olden days they used this to make Apple Jack.
    But you can with any fermented liquid. Plus there isn't any Methanol to worry about.

    Please explain how freeze distilling has no methanol, despite being a fruit based wash, which has the MOST amount of methanol in it?

    Second, the methanol amount is dependent on what the wash is. Sugar and grain washes have the least, fruits, and especially apples have the most. Distilling it, you should be dumping the heads due to ALL the nasties in it, which btw is not that much methanol. Tails (the ending bad tasting spirit) also has a good amount of methanol.

    Heat input is a concern, and should be a constant source, you should NOT control the wash temp, because that means you are changing the input heat. If that is varied, then you do not have a clean run. Monitor the vapor temp, or better yet, use a spirit hydrometer.

    One VERY IMPORTANT thing that should be mentioned: if anyone should choose to distill alcohol using a setup like this, do not use a gas burner, and keep away from any open flames--the alcohol vapor that you will be condensing is incredibly flammable, and any source of ignition could cause a giant fireball. Many bootleggers have the scars to show for it--if they were lucky enough to get by with just burns.

    My advice is to use OPEN flame,, because it preventing large vapor build up,,, if any leak it burn up instead of building up to a big explosion,, i use a electric heater but keeping a burning candle near,, to prevent any accident,,, any vapor is burning out before it get to the point of any danger,,,, this is tested and well known method in Scandinavia ,,and Eastern Europe,,,,,,,, also copper pipe should be avoided,,, it can be poison,,, in fact it is more poison when its used whit warm alcohol

    Copper has been used for MANY MANY years. infact it's one metal that was found to be non reactive when used in a still application. all major breweries (I.E. Heineken) use all copper setups.

    beer is not distilled

    im sure they use stainless

    They use copper because of it's conduction capabilities. Stainless is far much harder to heat & keep at a specific temp.

    Best of luck,