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Aham
01-13-2017, 07:47 PM
I've started collecting the equipment for my work and I was wondering if I should build or buy a heating mantle. I finally decided to buy individual components and build my own custom heating mantle. Here are the two primary components:

The mantle itself (500W)
http://www.kolab-shop.com/modules/shop/files/2014/06/10/2969_2.gif

Temperature controller.
http://www.atlanticbrewsupply.com/assets/images/FMInkbird100.jpg

Hopefully, I will be posting pictures of the finished product in a couple of weeks.

Note: These were my choices and I am do not recommend or endorse any of these products. As always, working with electrical equipment should be left to professionals.

JDP
01-13-2017, 09:52 PM
I've started collecting the equipment for my work and I was wondering if I should build or buy a heating mantle. I finally decided to buy individual components and build my own custom heating mantle. Here are the two primary components:

The mantle itself (500W)
http://www.kolab-shop.com/modules/shop/files/2014/06/10/2969_2.gif

Temperature controller.
http://www.atlanticbrewsupply.com/assets/images/FMInkbird100.jpg

Hopefully, I will be posting pictures of the finished product in a couple of weeks.

Note: These were my choices and I am do not recommend or endorse any of these products. As always, working with electrical equipment should be left to professionals.

If you have the money, go for it! They are useful for certain kinds of distillation & "digestion". But if you are short on resources you can pretty much accomplish the same with simple sand baths (i.e. a steel or iron deep dish filled with sand) and simple electric or gas heating plates or burners, and it will cost you a fraction of the price.

thoth
01-13-2017, 09:59 PM
From my experience - buy cheap buy twice.

I did get a 1000ml mantle which I only got to use once - distilling honey - the flask broke, liquid leaked- mantle blew up :(

Previously & afterwards I used electromantle - still working never any problems. The unit I have has a V shape with hole at the bottom so if a flask breaks, the liquid just drains out (unlike the other product of Satan where the liquid runs into electronics)
https://www.google.ie/search?q=electromantle+em&client=ubuntu&channel=fs&biw=1366&bih=648&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjZzvjUjsDRAhWJIcAKHcMmB-IQ_AUIBigB#imgrc=ttUaEDA_bnLziM%3A

3 other thinks to consider.
1) Get a mantle with a built in controller - they will adjust heat output to set level.
My electromantle's have analog control. You get used to what dial setting outputs what temp
Digital inbuilt controller would be even better but more expensive. Some even have a heat probe which can be inserted into your liquid sample. Inbuilt better than external ......

2) Size. If you only plan on using say 500ml flask, you can still get a 1000ml mantle, and use some kind of foil & sand nest setup in the 1000 mantle into which a 500ml, or 250ml flask can sit

3) Magnetic stirring. If cost not an issue you can also get a magnetic stirer. You put a magnetic bead (covered in inert substance) and the bead swirls around in flask

JDP
01-13-2017, 10:32 PM
From my experience - buy cheap buy twice.

I have been using sand, simple metal dishes/pots and electric and gas plates/burners (like the ones you can buy at supermarkets or "outdoors" supplies) for years, no problem whatsoever. Most of these have lasted me years in use without having to replace them. Electric mantles are just more convenient since they are easier to handle and control, that is all. But you can perform everything they do with the cheaper alternative.

Aham
01-13-2017, 10:33 PM
JDP, you're touching on a very important point that I have been thinking about lately. If the idea is to have some distillations run for hours or days at a constant temperature and there's a hiccup in the electrical supply, it would be better to have a water, oil or sand bath as opposed to plain ole electric heat from a mantle. I believe oil (depends on which kind) is better than water which should be better than sand in retaining heat if there's an outage. Alternatively, I could use gas but don't relish the idea of leaving a burner running unattended for a long period of time.

Aham
01-13-2017, 10:46 PM
thoth, I did consider alternatives (1) and (3) but I'm not a fan of mixing heat, liquids and electronics in the same device :) My rationale was that electronics don't care for heat or liquids so why not keep the electronics separated. This way the heating mantle would be mostly bulletproof (although I did not even consider the hole at the bottom of the mantle like in your link - awesome idea) and if the electronics are separated out, I could easily replace the electronics whenever a better temperature control device comes along.

The other interesting point you brought up is the magnetic stirring. I've been thinking about it as well and can probably make a really cheap stirring device (tons of How-To videos on Youtube) and put under the heating mantle but what I don't know is if that's good or bad for this type of work. Not sure if the 'ancients' had someone standing on top of these devices for days stirring the pot, so to speak

zoas23
01-14-2017, 04:47 AM
I use ALL the systems described here and even a few more (i.e, bunsen or fisher with a plaque and the vessel a few centimeters on top of the plaque... and others, but none of them is "secret" or hard to find -My story is that I inherited* the lab of an alchemist whose wife told him that either the lab goes away or he goes away.... and he opted for his wife).

*inherited... I actually purchased it, but the price was symbolical, I payed something like 1% of the real cost or less.

I do not have a favorite one... the heating mantles are VERY good... of course, you don't have to use them when what you are doing may break the flask, but if you are doing something silly like distillating rain water, then they work very well. Though, of course, a sand bath would do the trick too. I do not see a HUGE difference.

Aham
01-15-2017, 04:47 PM
I had some time this morning so decided to at least get the electronic cutouts done. Not the cleanest looking job but will do for what I need.

Template
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e39/helloworld18/electronics-cutout-template_zpsvoi9ugmb.jpg

Ready to cut
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e39/helloworld18/electronics-cutout-ready_zps7yn24puq.jpg

Done
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e39/helloworld18/electronics-cutout-done_zpsg5zmr1nd.jpg

I may decide to add trim and waterproofing around the GFCI outlet but haven't decided yet.

Keeping with the alchemical symbology in the 21st century, I've added green and red lights :rolleyes:

I also decided to add throw in a digital current/voltage meter and added the GFCI outlet just to be safe. Safety first...

Note: Working with electrical equipment should be left to professionals.

Aham
01-15-2017, 06:01 PM
zoas23, based on what I've read to-date, looks like people end up using a variety of tools and techniques. In my case, significant other tolerates my obsessions but I too found most of my lab equipment in a used state. As it gets warmer here, I will need to make sure that they are all washed and as clean as possible and air/sun dry them before using them in the work.