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Tincture percolator ideas, lab glassware questions too

 
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My buddy and I have been throwing around the idea of producing medicine for our community. We've been working with maceration, and with mushrooms put the marc through a decoction process. but percolation has been on our radar for a while and we're ready to get started.

Though we're likely to make our first funnel from a glass water bottle (cut and turned upside down into a mason jar) we recognize already that our needs exceed this volume. We're hoping to make batches between one and two liters at a time. So we've been exploring other means, any advice would be appreciated as we aren't settled on an idea as yet.

One likely route we've been exploring is sourcing a cylindrical funnel that can receive a stopcock. There aren't many options (affordable that is) with an open top to place the marc in filter paper.

1- Can a stopcock on a separation funnel suffice for keeping out the ground herbs or will we be clogging the instrument? Is it easily cleanable? (there is so little online for this)

2- What could be a way to assemble laboratory glassware to create a percolator with a controllable drip?

Thanks in advance!

 
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frank larue wrote:1- Can a stopcock on a separation funnel suffice for keeping out the ground herbs or will we be clogging the instrument? Is it easily cleanable? (there is so little online for this)

2- What could be a way to assemble laboratory glassware to create a percolator with a controllable drip?

Never tried it but I am pretty certain that the stopcock would get clogged. The stopcock should work great (with proper prefiltering) for regulating the flow. Look up GLASS STOPCOCK on ebay or other search.
 
pollinator
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This can be easily done without having to pay through the nose to a laboratory glassware supply company. All you have to do is be pretty good with plumbing and use your imagination.

For your stopcock, cruise over to the home store and check out the ball valves on the plumbing aisle. They won't have glass ones, but there is a pretty good selection of brass, stainless steel, and PVC.

For the funnel, you are on the right idea, inverting a bottle and cutting the bottom off. If you can get a 2 or 3 liter PET soda bottle attached to a ball valve, you're 2/3 of the way there (seems to me one of those has compatible threads with standard size plumbing fittings.

Now there is the problem of the frit (that semi-permeable thingie that lets the liquid pass through, but holds back the solid). I would think the easiest thing to do would be to make a plate with a lot of small holes in it, which is what a Buchner funnel has. These are used with a piece of filter paper (paper towel also works) and if you really want to speed up the process, you have a side arm on the receiving flask that you can draw some suction on. Glue or epoxy the plate into the bottom of the funnel and you have your process equipment.

 
Steven Feil
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Something in my head says, "WARNING! Stay away from the brass!"
 
pollinator
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Look up pour-over coffee equipment. Chemex was one of the first, but lots of all-glass or porcelain coffee equipment out there loosely based on lab equipment.
 
John Elliott
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Steven Feil wrote:Something in my head says, "WARNING! Stay away from the brass!"



Chemists use glass not because it is the most expensive thing they can find to run up the lab's operating budget, but because glass is inert. Even concentrated lye solutions take a long, long time to start eating away at glass. That said, stainless is good for most other things. The only problem it has is with highly corrosive acids or oxidants, neither of which they are going to be using for herbal tinctures. Plastic is also a good choice. Leaching of organics from plastics takes time, and if your liquid is only going to be in the equipment for a few minutes to do a filtering operation, that's not a whole lot of time to get worried about what might leach out of the plastic (PVC, PET, polyethylene, or whatever).
 
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I wouldn't want medicine run through PVC, sorry.
 
Steven Feil
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John Elliott wrote:

Steven Feil wrote:Something in my head says, "WARNING! Stay away from the brass!"



Chemists use glass not because it is the most expensive thing



BRASS not glass..... brass does not seem to be a safe thing to use.
 
John Elliott
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I mentioned glass because it is the gold standard for inert labware (although expensive and fragile). I didn't mention brass because it's -- meh -- for bathroom fittings.
 
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Searching the internet for percolation equipment, I came across this post. Even though it's 5 years old, I thought someone might find this solution helpful:
https://www.homesciencetools.com/product/separatory-funnel-squibb-style-1000-ml/

And here's a 2 liter setup specifically designed for percolating herbal extracts.
https://www.voyagebotanica.net/products/2-liter-percolation-cone-for-making-extracts?fbclid=IwAR2uwEmMf76MEZNucBcBZ7lEj5C6xbZE3Be8xz69GpwH2hOyTz5tRBYGW4M
 
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I’ve been having a hell of a time with this myself and have tried multiple different setups, all of which have failed or performed far below my needs and even my expectations. The next idea I have that I’m relatively certain will work is to buy a large 10 gallon water bottle (big blue ones water delivery services drop off at peoples homes) cut the top off. Attach a short length of hose and seal it to the small opening opposite of the side you cut off. I usually seal this end with silicone, a lot of silicone, and then add a couple layers of protection around the hose that’s sticking up into the bottle all filled with silicone so that the bottoms is level and it’s absolutely airtight. Then this is the part that I’m hoping will work, starting with rocks about an inch or two in diameter I will put progressively smaller layers of filtering media until I get to sand. All of this media I will wash in a solution of bleach first then rinse and wash with sulfuric acid solution, about 1M, then rinse and layer all of it in the “percolator”. I forgot to mention that I also usually put one of those steel pan scrubbers in the section that levels off the bottom of the bottle in between the final level and the opening of the hose that sticks into the bottle as a final filter that I know won’t get easily clogged unless every single layer before it fails which I really don’t think is likely. I’ve tried increasingly more complex setups similar to this starting with just cat litter in a bottle topped off with whatever herb I’m extracting to my most recent which was a layer of river rocks about a couple of mm in diameter then the herbal media, then another layer of river rocks that I kept adding to to increase the downward pressure on the media being filtered. None of them really worked that great and left a big mess and something I had absolutely no desire to keep afterwards. The latest incarnation I really hope works, I’m hopeful because the last one was almost perfect but not quite. I also am going to add some type of a Büchner funnel type quality to the next one by attaching some kind of a chamber onto the end of the attached hose, probably an empty gallon water bottle made of thick plastic then extending an empty Bic pen off of that, then attaching my collection flask to the opening of the water bottle and a vacuum pump to the empty bic pen. All of this is sealed with silicone and made absolutely water and air tight of course.Anyway, I’ll let you guys know if it works. I know this was 7 years ago that this was posted but I figured now is a good time to experiment what with everything that’s going on. Happy Holidays )
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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