Anyone make your own water distiller?
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Old 04-11-2011, 03:53 AM   #1
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Default Anyone make your own water distiller?

I was looking at designs for a distiller and just like anything else, you can go crazy or simple. Anyone have a good plan for one that will yield drinkable water from, say, pond scum?

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Old 04-11-2011, 04:01 AM   #2
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I've known some pond scum in my time.

Actually, that's a very good idea. It never occurred to me, and it's a thought worth exploring.

Thumbs up fretter.

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Old 04-11-2011, 04:07 AM   #3
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Here is a pretty simple one Cheap DIY Water Distiller | eHow.com

and another A DIY Wood-Fired Water Distiller | eHow.com

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Old 04-11-2011, 04:10 AM   #4
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What I have found is that you can take a pot with a cover, drill a hole towards the top or in the lid, insert the copper tubing into the hole, coil that tubing and blow a fan on it. Then boil water with a little bit of vinegar in it, which supposedly lets you clean the pot more easily of the contaminants left behind after a boil, and the other end of the tubing empties into a glass or catch of some sort.

There was one issue I didn't quite understand. Apparently you can end up with other gases caught in the water vapor that can end up in the catch. Whether they are harmful or not, I can't tell. But there was some mention of drilling small holes in the top of the coil to allow those gases to escape before they condense into the water. Not sure how that wouldn't allow the actual water vapor to also escape.

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Old 04-11-2011, 04:15 AM   #5
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I would distill twice, or even three times if there were pollutants in the water (gasoline, oil kerosene, etc.) If you drill the hole in the top of the coil 1/3 of the way down the length of the coil, water vapor would have condensed and would collect at the bottom of the coil and any non-condensed gasses could escape through the holes.

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Old 04-11-2011, 04:38 AM   #6
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Thanks Dune. I think I'm going to try one this week. I'll see how quickly it yields a gallon. If water becomes the next gold standard as many predict, this could be priceless.

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Old 04-11-2011, 05:04 AM   #7
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Thinking of building one myself!

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Old 04-11-2011, 05:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12fretter View Post
There was one issue I didn't quite understand. Apparently you can end up with other gases caught in the water vapor that can end up in the catch. Whether they are harmful or not, I can't tell. But there was some mention of drilling small holes in the top of the coil to allow those gases to escape before they condense into the water. Not sure how that wouldn't allow the actual water vapor to also escape.
It all depends on the boiling points of the contaminants. If there is petroleum products in your water source (usually identified by the 'rainbow' on top) you will not be able to simply boil the water and collect its vapour. Because petroleum products have a boiling point much lower than that of water they will be the first vapours to condense and you will just end up drinking them too. The holes in the coil would only let equal amounts of water and contaminant vapour escape.

Here's what I would do.

The container described above is just about perfect however I'd make one small modification. Drill a hole in the lid just wide enough to fit a mercury thermometer through it.
Strain your water source as much as possible (through a shirt doubled over a few times will do) and place it into the container mentioned above. Place over a high heat for about 5 minutes but do not put the top on yet. This will allow all of the contaminants with boiling points lower than H20's to evaporate.
Place the lid on top of the container, positioning the thermometer so it's in the water but not touching the bottom of the container. Boil the water so that the temperature stays as close as possible to water's boiling point (212*F). This will ensure that you don't boil too hot and end up with contaminants with BP's higher than water's vapourising and ending up in your drinking water.

Using this method you should end up with water that is relatively clean. You can repeat the process however in a survival situation you really don't have the equipment or time to make the water any cleaner so once should be enough


EDIT: Dune that's almost perfect! Add a thermometer and a way of regulating the fire's temp. and you'll be set!
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:38 AM   #9
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Would point out that you CANNOT heat water hotter than 212 degrees F unless you are using a pressure vessel. At 212 (slightly lower at altitude) it is going to become steam. The water in the furiously boiling pot is the SAME temp as gently boiling- you are just making more steam.

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Old 04-11-2011, 10:48 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by c3shooter View Post
Would point out that you CANNOT heat water hotter than 212 degrees F unless you are using a pressure vessel. At 212 (slightly lower at altitude) it is going to become steam. The water in the furiously boiling pot is the SAME temp as gently boiling- you are just making more steam.
Sorry c3, very true. I was thinking back to the distilling vessels we used at school; a simple container and lid probably wouldn't be enough to boil it any hotter
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