Let's make a still, for water of course

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Eston3, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. Eston3

    Eston3 Member

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    Being the clever Neanderthall tool user that I am, I was thinking of distilling my own water for washing my VanDyke Prints. After googling the distilling process and then looking at the float system of a toliet I was thinking it would be very easy to build a continous or even a stop/start to fill a holding tank by combining the two technologies, and even using the toliet tank to do it. LOL. Has anyone tried something like this? C'mon guys give up your plans to us!
    Eston
     
  2. Eston3

    Eston3 Member

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    And being the clever Neanderthall tool user, I would never consider buying a factory designed system, even if they were cheap enough.
     
  3. bobdole369

    bobdole369 Member

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    Rectifying still or pot still?
     
  4. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    distilliation is an easy enough process.

    Boil water, have some way of catching the vapor, and have it go into a clean container. Ideally, you'd have some kind of coolant (fresh water, etc) running around the tube so the vapor condenses.

    They make distillers pretty cheaply (a glass tube with a larger tube outside for a continuous supply of cold water), but I'd imagine you could use a pyrex or corningware pot on the stove along with a lid and a hose (inert plastic or glass piping) going to another pot off the heat.
     
  5. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    You want glass or is stainless good enough?

    Filtered water will not work for you?
     
  6. Eston3

    Eston3 Member

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    OK Bob, you got me. I know what a pot still is. I am from Georgia after all. But what do you mean by a Rectifying still? Googled it with no luck.

    How much water do I need? Well I'm going to go with the 7 tray wash and that uses up quite a bit of water over time. Which is why I started looking into this. And, Kirk, I was told by numerous people that I should be mixing my alt. proc. chemicals and washing my prints in distilled water. I have to admit that I never worried about it with the standard silver based process. Is it really necessary? Good question.
     
  7. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    This sounds like a terrible waste of energy. Have you ever tried distilling something? It doesn't go quickly. I would get an expensive filtration system before you consider distillation.
     
  8. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    Millipore has these 'water machines' that filter the water for you. I'm not sure how fast they go, and i'm sure the filters are expensive but.. I did luck onto some really really fine filters years ago, something like 2um.. like giant syringe filters. Perhaps with a vacuum.. ? *shrug*

    Otherwise I agree, distillation consumes a lot of energy. They have those water stands around here. $0.25 a gallon, it's supposed to be pretty clean. Not sure about pure lab water but hey..
     
  9. WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    My local Wal-Mart (Moulton, Alabama) sells distilled water for $0.68/gallon. The Wal-Mart down the road from the community college I go to sells it for about $0.75/gallon. I'm sure your local Wal-Mart (or any other chain grocery store) will sell it for about the same price. Maybe that's the way to go unless you're planning on using lots and lots of water.

    I've never researched how to make a still, so I dont know ow hard it would be to make one. I would suggest just stocking up on distilled water from Wal-Mart. My color photography class stocked up on like $30 worth of it, and we had a good bit left over. In fact, I brought some home with me and used some of it to develop film in my bathroom. I still have two gallons left.

    If you're set on building a still, I say go right ahead. It would actually save you from buying distilled water. If you plan on using lots of water, it might be worth the investment :smile:
     
  10. bobdole369

    bobdole369 Member

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  11. c.d.ewen

    c.d.ewen Subscriber

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    Knowing the way APUG discussions go, I can't wait until we start talking about the best mixture of heads, hearts and tails.....

    Charley

    .....I don't know, Officer. I guess the rainwater got into that barrel of grain and made it bubble like that....
     
  12. Eston3

    Eston3 Member

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    I never said it would be cost effective at least for my first year. I just like contructing a thing like that. It's just fascinating how simple many devices are. I'm that boy that deconstructed his Christmas toys a week after he got them, LOL. I guess that's why alt. proc. seems like old home week even though its totally new to me.
     
  13. WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    I used to take Christmas toys apart as a child. the only problem was I wasnt very good at putting them back together :smile:

    I've made a continuous lighting light stand out of PVC pipe, some of those metal bowl reflector things with light sockets in the center (I cant remember what they're called) and some CF bulbs. I've also constructed some reflectors out of various materials. Although I only use those things when photographing still lifes and such, they're delightfully simple to make, easy to use, and (most importantly) they work.

    If you can figure out how to make a still, go ahead. Post some pictures and instructions on how you did it. I'm actually kinda curious about it now :smile:
     
  14. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    OK - you don't want to try and make a rectifying/fractionating still. But how about something like this:
    GE Profile Reverse Osmosis Filtration System, Model PXRQ15F only $279.00/EA Each at Home Depot. Similar to the Millipore system that was mentioned above. It should work just fine.
     
  15. Eston3

    Eston3 Member

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    Santaria rituals, hey, it might help!
     
  16. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Well said!

    Me too. When I was five I used to buy old alarm clocks from junk shops just to take them apart.



    Steve.
     
  17. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Don't trust Walmart distilled water too far. I used to use it to clean my records so that I could just leave them to sit and air-dry. Distilled water shouldn't have left visible spots. Now I have to steal 18Mohm water from the lab.
     
  18. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    Since we all understand that you are not into this for economy (the energy cost per gallon for a simple still is pretty high, and reverse osmosis wastes a lot of water) I can in good conscience tell how the one we built back in the '60s worked. (This was North Alabama on TVA electricity, really cheap at least back then, and we had our own well so the condenser water was not a big issue.)

    A large stock pot sat on an electric hotplate; through the lid of the stockpot a 1/4 copper tube fed water in through a float-operated valve built out of carburetor parts. The "worm" was closely wound copper tubing inside the one-inch brass standpipe from a toilet. Well water went in and out of the brass pipe from bottom to top, so that the warmest water left where the steam was coming in. I don't recall what we used to seal the worm (condenser tube) to the brass pipe, but it was probably either brass washers or discs made out of flattened copper tubing, all soldered together.

    This was it, basically. If memory serves, production was about a gallon per hour of not exceptionally good water. It turns out that unless a still is pretty well designed, a fair amount of water gets carried out in the form of droplets; for Mom's steam iron or making up developer, it was fine, but I wouldn't put this rig up against anything made by Barnstead or Corning.

    A few details have been lost from memory, such as how we sealed the penetrations for water feed and steam removal to the lid of the pot. But if I were going to do it over again, a few minutes in the MSC, McMaster-Carr, or Grainger catalogs would locate things like bulkhead fittings and float valves. If your water is really hard, and you want a lot of water, first buy stock in your local energy supplier and then rig an overflow so that there is a constant wastage of water from the boiler, to carry off the concentrated salts. Even then, you will probably have to de-grunge the boiler fairly often, since the ever-present calcium and magnesium will make a scale that insulates the bottom and spoils heat transfer from the hotplate.

    There. Now aren't you glad that you asked?
     
  19. c.d.ewen

    c.d.ewen Subscriber

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    As long as this thread isn't dead yet, I'll apologize for my obscure post above. I expected that amongst the over-educated here, there would be some who understood what heads, hearts and tails were, and we would have an insider's laugh. Let me clear up the mystery

    When you distill a fermented liquid, various fractions boil off in a sequence. If you have a good thermometer, you can watch the progression. The first ones, heads, are rather paint-thinner like, and are discarded. Then comes the good stuff, the hearts, followed by the tails. It's the distiller's art to know how much of the tails to include.

    If you'd like to elliminate those spits of water droplets, you might try Raschig rings, or build what the moonshiners would call a 'doubler' or 'thumper' - run the discharge steam down a tube inside a sealed container (big Mason jar) partially filled with 'product' (distilled water, of course). The steam will condense and then reboil. Vent the container so that the reboiled steam passes through your worm, and what you collect will be much purer than the first boil-off.

    Charley
     
  20. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Deconstructed? I'm sure that's one word for it!



    Steve.
     
  21. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    I expected that amongst the over-educated here, there would be some who understood what heads, hearts and tails were, and we would have an insider's laugh.

    I'm glad that you cleared that up....in this forum, "heads" might be portraits, and "tails" a genre somewhat less acceptable to the more upright members of the community. But I'll be danged if I can figure out what "hearts" would be...

    Raschig rings (haven't encountered that term in casual conversation lately) increase the theoretical plate count for the column...these would be (ahem) "wet plates", in keeping with the alternative-process interests of the original poster....
     
  22. cdholden

    cdholden Member

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    greybeard,
    The science is still the same, but TVA is no longer cheap.