Step 1: Bend the Copper
The key to bending the copper is to bend it as few times as possible, and to use sand to prevent it from kinking:
- Drill the bottom of a container so that it fits over the copper tube.
- Cap the bottom of the copper tube with tape.
- Fill the container with sand.
- Rotate the tube to transfer sand into the copper pipe. Refill as necessary.
- When full, remove the bottle and tape the copper tube.
- Wrap the tubing over a wine / glass bottle.
- Pull the coil apart slightly to add gaps.
- Remove the tape.
- Rotate the coil to empty sand.
Step 2: Bend the PEX
I tried different methods of joining PEX but it's horrible. Unlike HDPE it cannot be cut and joined. The next best method is heat bending and using sand to prevent kinking.
- Tape one end closed.
- Put container over other end.
- Fill with sand.
- Tape container end closed.
- Heat over flame and rotate.
- When flexible, bend and hold until cool (lazy: tape it to the floor).
Step 3: Make the Chiller
- Remove the top of the jug leaving just the base.
- Clean the jug.
- Drill a hole 20-25% of the remaining height somewhat smaller than the PEX tubing for the outlet.
- Attach the PEX tubing to the copper coil (hand pressure is sufficient).
- Put chiller into container.
- Make and use a support for the heat exchange coil out of spare steel / coat hanger.
Step 4: Lid Preparation
- Trace the lid.
- Square the circled trace.
- Cross the square.
- Dent the lid.
- Drill the lid.
Step 5: Assemble and Distill
- Fill the paint can with fluid. Try to fill no more than 2/3rd to allow for boiling bubbles.
- Hammer the lid shut using a rubber mallet.
- Put the paint can onto the stove top.
- Connect the chiller assembly.
- Use plumber's putty to seal the very top.
- Add water and ice to the chiller tank
Lastly, don't forget to wash the copper when done, especially when distilling organic acids!