Lately, I have been enjoying the past time of infusing whiskey and bourbon with different fruits and spices. Though, I have found that the process of filtering out the particulate infusion matter can be time consuming when using a gravity filter solution. Therefore, I thought that a vacuum filter system would speed up the process and extract more infused solution through the infusing matter.
Step 1: Filter System Concept Drawings
Here are my initial drawings outlining my thoughts on building the filter system. Note that actual build does vary a little... but still a good concept guide for those interested.
Note : There are 4 different component groups to the filter system
1. Electrical Box Controller
2. Vacuum Pump
3. Funnel Lid Setup
4. Inline Filter
I will outline each component group as we progress through this Instructable.
Step 2: Electrical Control Box
This step will provide an overview of the electrical control box that operates the vacuum pump. The concept of the electrical control is to be portable; therefore I decided to use a 12v Vacuum pump powered by a 9v battery.
Note: I had a lot of the materials already unless noted.
1. Control Box Enclosure (already had)
2. 9v Battery Holder (purchased from Amazon)
3. Toggle Switch (already had)
4. 2 Wire Cable (already had)
5. Spade Connectors (already had)
6. Small Wood Screws (already had)
7. Electrical Tape (already had)
1. Soldering Iron
2. Screw Driver
OK, like many DIY-ers I hoard items that I think can be used later for projects. In this case, I had a few of these small plastic enclosures. It worked perfectly for this project, though I am sure many other types of enclosures would fulfill the same purpose to enclose the electrical components.
As seen in the pictures, I oriented the 9v battery holder and fixed into place with 3 small wood screws. The holder lead wires were connected to the switch and 2 wire cable. I did solder the batter holder lead that connects directly to the 2 wire cable (wrapped with tape in the picture). The two wire cable extends out of the box enclosure so that it can be connected to the 12v vacuum pump (approximately 8-9 inches). Spade Connectors were connected to the 2 wire cable which will be used to connect to the positive/negative pump electrical posts.
Step 3: Mounting the 12v Vacuum Pump
This step is to outline how I mounted the 12v pump to the electrical controller box lid. I did purchase the pump from Walmart.com for around $15. The vacuum is rated at 65 Kpa, it does work well but I do think that maybe a stronger pump which can pull more of vacuum would be better.
1. 12v Vacuum Pump (purchased from Walmart.com)
2. 4 Small Bolts, Washers, Nuts (already had)
1. Masking Tape
4. Electrical Pliers
The original concept was to make this a portable filter system. So, I wanted to mount the 12v vacuum pump to the electrical box controller lid. To determine where to drill the mounting holes for the pump, I place two strips of tape where the pump would be place on the lid, then I marked the mounting holes with a pencil (unfortunately, I did not take a pic of this step). Drilled 4 holes to mount the pump with the bolts, washers and nuts. I used electrical pliers to crimp the Spade Connectors to the 2 wire cable which will connect to the electrical posts of the pump. I flipped the switch to verify that the system works.
This concludes the Electrical Box Control and Mounting the Pump.
Note: If you purchase this pump, it does have covers on the ports (see pic) - remove these rubber covers to allow the valve to function without obstruction and potentially burn up the pump!
Step 4: Creating the Funnel Lid Setup
This step will outline how I created the mason jar lid which will hold the funnel and connect to the vacuum line. Well, the Funnel Lid Setup is a modified Ole Smokey mason jar pour spout lid. The plastic pour spout had broken off, but like any hoarder I saved the lid hoping to use if for something!!! Well, I finally found a good use.
1. Ole Smokey Mason Jar Pour Lid (already had)
2. Funnel (purchased at the Dollar Store)
3. Wine Cork (already had)
4. Blue Tape (already had)
2. Grinder Bit
3. 1/4" Drill Bit
As you can see, the clear plastic pour spout broke and was removed from the lid. The white plastic piece that held the pour spout was inverted from inside the lid to extend up from the top of the lid. This will be used as the connection to support the blue Funnel.
So, in efforts to connect the vacuum hose to the lid setup I decided on using a wine cork because it is easy to fit into a drilled hole to secure a good solid connection (prevent vacuum leak). The filter hose has a 5/16" OD, the drilled hole in the cork is 1/4" - again to ensure a secure fit.
To drill/fabricate a hole for the cork to fit into, I taped the lid so I could trace the outline of the cork to know how much to drill/dremel out. I did use a grinder bit on the dremel to create the hole and to clean off the burrs that were around the edges (to prevent them from breaking off and falling into the infusion).
Note: I did cut the cork in half to prevent it from interfering with the funnel.
Step 5: Inline Filter
In this step, I will outline how I created the inline filter. In efforts to prevent any liquid that my be sucked up during the process from entering the pump, I decided that an inline filter would be necessary. The original drawings have an inline "canister" filter, but in reality I created a small filter made from gluing 2 water bottle lids and a cotton ball.
1. 2 Plastic Bottles
2. Cotton Ball
3. E6000 Glue
2. 1/4" Drill Bit
The inline filter is created by cutting the tops of 2 plastic water bottles. Look at the drawing, I highlighted that one bottle "extends" creating a lip over the other cut bottle edge. This is important because it provides a ledge where the E6000 glue is placed to secure the 2 spouts together.
A 1/4" drill bit was used to create a hole for the vacuum line to be inserted.
Once the spouts are glued, the holes drilled - insert a cotton ball to be used as the filter material.
Note: I hand drilled the holes in the lid to ensure that the holes were smooth and undistorted. The thin plastic lids may distort and create oversized or non-uniform holes if a power tool is used.
Step 6: Assembling the Filter System
Now that all the Vacuum Filter System components are created, it is time to assemble the system.
1. 5/16" OD Clear Vinyl Tubing (purchased from Amazon)
2. Coffee Filters (Walmart)
3. Mason Jar (already had)
At this point if is mainly just connecting the vacuum lines between all the components. Cut the tubing to the appropriate lengths between the pump --> filter and filter --> lid cork.
The picture I did test the filter system using some remaining infusion berries from a recent infusion. I lined the funnel with a coffee filter and flipped the switch as I poured the berries/whiskey into the funnel. The system worked well!
Note: The test was completed prior to me actually bolting the pump to the lid - therefore in the picture the pump is not properly mounted to the controller box lid.
I am very happy with how this vacuum filter system turned out!
If you do create a version of this setup, please post pics and let everyone know how you modified the setup!
Thanks and HAPPY filtering!!!