Difficulty finding a suitable boiler

Simple pot still distillation and construction with or without a thumper.

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Difficulty finding a suitable boiler

Post by gizmoguy » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:28 am

I'm finding it very hard to find something I can adapt for a boiler for a still. first of all, I'm in the UK. I've been searching for kegs primarily, and I can't find any empty ones anywhere (my only option would be to get one with alcohol in it, but it's expensive). The nearest thing I've found is a Cornelius keg, but even that's quite expensive (£50 refurbished), and it's only ~20 litres/~5 gallons. Ideally I need something at least 30 litres (60 litres would be best). does anyone know anywhere I can get empty kegs in the UK? Or can anyone suggest any alternatives? I thought I'd found the perfect solution with a garden incinerator, but they were all galvanised steel so the zinc would leach out into the wash. Thanks.

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Re: Difficulty finding a suitable boiler

Post by punkin » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:57 am

Go to an engineering shop that specialises in stainless and ask em to weld you up a square tank. Take a dimensioned drawing and tell em it's a custom radiator tank for your hotrod/tractor/steamengine.

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Re: Difficulty finding a suitable boiler

Post by myles » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:36 am

TELL ME ABOUT IT. There are guys on the UK ebay site that make stainless narrowboat tanks but they are quite pricy. If you look at stainless stock pots you will find some 5 pot sets at a very cheap price. Very cheap because they are really thin.

BUT if you solder up two copper rings - tight fit on the inside of the stock pot, drill out the rivets on the handles, solder in your copper ring to block the holes. And then make another copper ring to join the two together, you can have a hybrid stainless / copper boiler in the region of 50 to 70 litres.

Those pans really are thin though - although that makes them great for double boiler rigs. Buy two sets, turn the two big ones into your boiler. Do the same with the two 15 litre ones to make a thumper and sell the rest back on ebay.

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Re: Difficulty finding a suitable boiler

Post by bourbonbob » Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:52 pm

You could used a stainless or copper lined hot water system, plenty of distillers use them successfully.
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Re: Difficulty finding a suitable boiler

Post by eternalfrost » Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:24 pm

try talking to the guys that sell full kegs from a bar etc.
I got my second keg by just chatting them up and getting them to order an extra one for me on their next shipment.
told him it was for home-brew. its really common to store homebrew in one un-carbonated then use a co2 bottle and a kegerator.
Just tossed him a few bucks and he was happy, whole thing under the table.
he said every once in awhile they get ones that get dinged up and they have to toss them.
also said that the deposit on a keg is more then its worth so they dont really care too much if you 'exchange' the deposit and keep the keg.

might be different in different places but dosent hurt to ask.

you can not go wrong with a keg boiler!

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Re: Difficulty finding a suitable boiler

Post by Barney Fife » Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:46 pm

I run a stainless steel swimming pool filter as my boiler. Overall capacity is 12 gallons, which means it'll run a 6-7 gallon wash nicely. Had a 1-1/2" fitting at the top and bottom; attached the column to the top, and stepped down to 1" NPT with a SS fitting and installed a electric element on the bottom one.

It's tailor made for our use!

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