Six Litre Alembic

Consecutively, we will explain to you how to built three different kinds of electric heaters. The first and larger one is for the cucurbit (balloons) of 6 litres, the second one for a 2 or 3 litres and the other smaller, for a matrass and 500ml retorts.

The first heater is made with a 1 or 2 kW electric frying cooker that will be very easy to order at a suitable supplier. It is destined to do the distillations of essential oils, the wine and the vinegar. This heater is indispensable, because these distillations cannot be made in a cucurbit of a smaller capacity.

Before buying the electric frying cooker, acquire a good quality 6-litre Pyrex glass balloon, with plane bottom. Only then, should you buy the frying cooker, so that you may verify that the cucurbit (balloon) enters and fits well into it.

Pay attention! You should never connect your heater directly to the power supply outlet in the wall. The thermostat installed in the frying cooker is not suitable to regulate properly the necessary temperature for the distillations.

You will need to install, between the heater and the outlet, a 1 kW electronic voltage regulator. This regulator can be acquired at a suitable supplier or made by an expert electronic technician.

The referred regulator will allow you to regulate the voltage of the electric current between 0 and 220V (110V in USA), in a way that you will obtain the suitable temperature in the heater for each case. In this way, you can regulate and make the distillation of the essential oils, the wine and of the vinegar.

With relationship to the other heater for 2 and 3 litre cucurbit, we suggest that you, in the beginning, make it for a 2-litre cucurbit. Later, you can build another one for a 3 litre, if you have a need for it.

The first heater will be used for an alembic composed of a 6-litre cucurbit, 2-litre helm and a 2-litre recipient. In the 6 litres balloon with plane bottom (cucurbit), that you have acquired already, you had ordered also to the master glass blower, a wheelwork female, IN70 mm. You had also ordered to place along the side of the cucurbit in the upper part of the belly, a small glass tube that is either screwed in or part of the glass, to place in a 0-150°C thermometer.

You will have to order the making of a helm with the capacity of 2 litre with wheelwork male IN70, with a throat of 30 cm of length, finishing in a curved point or beak, with a IN19 male, just as you can observe it in the picture.

A glass balloon Pirex of plane bottom will constitute the recipient or receiving matrass, with a capacity of 2 litres with IN29 female end. To adapt the recipient to the helm, you will use a reducer of IN29mm female at one end and a IN29mm male at the other end, with a small breather placed in the body of the adapter, between the two wheelworks.

The breather is absolutely necessary. Pay a lot of attention! One should never distil in a recipient without a breather, because when the pressure builds up inside the alembic and increase, it needs to have an escape to leave slowly, otherwise the glass will explode.

With precaution, have a plate of asbestos of 1,5 mm in thickness, cut with a strong scissors two strips of 50 cm of length by 5 cm of width and nail them in the centre in a cross or ?X? shape, with a metal staple. Place the "cross" at the bottom of the heater, so that the ribbons continue in a vertical position, up the lateral wall.

Seat also, in the bottom of the heater, on top of the ribbons in a cross shape, a slice of asbestos, of the diameter of the bottom of the frying cooker. This way, the cucurbit will be isolated from the walls of the heater and will maintain an air space all around it, bottom and sides, avoiding, like this, that the glass be in direct contact with the metal.

After having placed the cucurbit inside of the heater, make a cone of asbestos or of fine aluminium to cover it, but take care of leaving in place two openings for the neck of the cuc?rbita and the other, for the thermometer opening. Only, then will you install the helm along with the recipient, and take care of applying silicon on all the joints.

For the circulations, we recommended a blind helm, made of a spherical balloon of 2 litres, with IN70 male end and a capillary air hole in the top.

Rubellus Petrinus

Inner Garden Foundation
P.O. Box 8520, 3542AD
Utrecht, The Netherlands
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