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WANTED!pot still design using a 20L stainless tea/coffee urn.will it work?

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  • oceanman76er
    Greetings to all, I am new to this game but very interested in the idea of making my own pot still (to start off with). I am interested in the suitability of
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 1, 2002
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      Greetings to all,

      I am new to this game but very interested in the idea of making my
      own pot still (to start off with).

      I am interested in the suitability of those 20 or so Liter Urns that
      you see around the place (for making tea and coffee). They have
      features such as a temperature control knob, an outlet valve and a
      water level indicator.

      Can I make this work as the boiler for a pot still ? Has anyone tried
      it and if so is it practicle ? I would appreciate any feedback and or
      plans on the modifications required.

      Yours in spirit
      Troy
    • Bernard Morey
      ... Yes-- my still is made from an urn. It works well. Very practical. Notes: 1. I took off the glass tube and had a patch welded over the hole. Ditto the tap
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 2, 2002
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        > From: oceanman76er [mailto:Watertroy@...]
        > I am new to this game but very interested in the idea of making my
        > own pot still (to start off with).
        >
        > I am interested in the suitability of those 20 or so Litre Urns that
        > you see around the place (for making tea and coffee). They have
        > features such as a temperature control knob, an outlet valve and a
        > water level indicator.
        >
        > Can I make this work as the boiler for a pot still ? Has anyone tried
        > it and if so is it practical ? I would appreciate any feedback and or
        > plans on the modifications required.

        Yes-- my still is made from an urn. It works well. Very practical.
        Notes:

        1. I took off the glass tube and had a patch welded over the hole.
        Ditto the tap -- not required and it leaked anyway.

        2. The lid is thin stainless steel and very difficult to weld the copper
        column to (in my case, 1 metre of 50mm fire service tubing). I had a
        professional engineer try and he couldn't manage it, even with the right
        gear. Further, it was pretty thin and the column would had required
        additional support. I believe it can be done but you have to get the
        stainless and copper at the same temperate -- a difficult thing to do,
        given that the stainless heats up rapidly while the copper conducts all
        the heat away. In my case the torch burnt right through the stainless,
        distorting it woefully, while the copper still wasn't hot enough to take
        the silver solder.

        In the end the engineer made me a replacement lid from 2.00 mm copper
        sheet. This works well but is still a little flexible. I seal it using
        a cut-out circle from a cheap camping mat (blue), weighed down with
        bricks.

        Photos here:

        http://cards.webshots.com/cp-37901798-bsgG-album/42819645FtmxwQ

        3. The simmerstat is excellent for controlling temperate, although on my
        urn to boil-dry cutout tends to, uh, cut out, after three or so hours,
        and come back only intermittently. Next run I'm going to by-pass the
        boil-dry cutout -- not a safety issue as the run is always watched and
        the still always has liquid in it.

        Bernard
        Melbourne
      • noel watson
        oceanman76er
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 3, 2002
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          Re: [Distillers] WANTED!pot still design using a 20L stainless tea/coffee urn.will it work? oceanman76er <Watertroy@... asked about urns as stills



          G'day,
          My first still was a 20 litre Urn with a reflux tower attached to the lid.
          I made the following alterations to get it to work:
            1. Removed the thermostat wiring as I could never get it set right and it turned on & off
                at the wrong time.
            2. Made two screw clamps to hold the lid down tight onto a gasket. The clamps attached to
                the two handles on the side of the urn.
            3.  Blocked off the sight glass connection.
            4.  Kept the tap on to empty the still.
            5.  Distilled grog.
          Regards,
          Noel
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