|Project by Sodabowski||posted 05-20-2014 11:13 PM||2227 views||0 times favorited||20 comments|
Hi LJs. It’s been several months since my last post, moreover on the geek side, so here comes.
So I’ve been wanting to build/get a decent distillation apparatus for many years. Since I started a Masters Degree on education last year, I got to play a lot with laboratory devices as part of my chemistry cursus (we teach both physics and chemistry here in France). This helped me a lot to be more familiar with the existing devices, and I settled on the “buy it” approach… for starters. So I spent a little (really) money on ebay for chinese lab glassware. First surprise is the build quality of the stuff. I really scored big time on that one (only the thermometer is poor quality, but I can swap it easily). For $65 including intl tracked postage, I got the whole apparatus for the price of a single 200 ml round flask!
I decided not to buy the metal stands that are used in the lab, since I can build one in wood myself, and I won’t be heating the hell out of this stuff. My purpose is to vacuum boil plants mixtures to extract essential oils.
I used a scrap test piece from last year, which was a failed attempt to build a long straight edge with integrated rotary blade to cut leather strips. It had a sliding dovetail channel, and the corresponding piece: I used the slider as a support for the glassware, drilling holes to fasten them with rubber bands (green in the pictures). The dovetail shape helps center and secure the round glass elements, which is pretty nifty. The long board got hand cut into three pieces to form the frame, with the routed channel at the back side: eventually it will be used for sliding feet to raise or lower the whole assembly, as a means to regulate the heat on the boiling flask. For now I made a quick L-shaped foot that I fastened with spring clamps for the tests. The feet will be made this summer at the parents’, since I left my router and bits there.
Long story short, in less than an hour I had a sturdy assembly with pocket screws and made my first home distillation. Sort of… I had no vacuum grease so I had leaks (like the Wiki doodz) and lost a bit of the ethanol I boiled off a test mix. Temperature rise was fast and the glass held very well. I used a miniature aquarium pump and my trusty iron casserole to feed the Liebig condenser (the tilted linear part) and it worked very well.
For a 1€ board at the beginning, I’m pretty pleased. Sorry for the messy 1AM kitchen ;)
-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...