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Thread: Most affordable yet sufficient distilling equipment for alchemy?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmuldvich View Post
    No. That is not a good distillation setup. It is indeed a good, cheap way to learn if you are interested in things other than Alchemy although much better setups exist. You can still learn much and utilize what you learn from this setup and then transfer that knowledge over to Alchemical processes more in line with the Ancients, should you choose to do so.
    But which products are then? Its similar I think to the one somebody linked. There's very little of these out there on the market and the classical clay, copper or metal retorts once used by old alchemists apparently are very hard to find.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnowledgeSeeker View Post
    But which products are then? Its similar I think to the one somebody linked. There's very little of these out there on the market and the classical clay, copper or metal retorts once used by old alchemists apparently are very hard to find.
    Many people here are impressively versed in chemistry and vastly knowledgeable in that realm, but very few display any understanding of Alchemy.

    Why use copper or metal? If you are working with random substances and are not preparing things with Alchemical purpose then by all means go ahead and buy a copper still.

    This, as you are aware, performs wonderfully for distilling alcohol and is comparatively inexpensive when compared with nice glassware.

    A member, Krisztian remains silent these days. He has a massive 22L glass alembic head.







    Another guy on another forum has a custom build setup that might interest you (see below)





    Similar images appear in old texts as well...












    Clay can be of use, but in my experience is not worth my time.


    What are you trying to accomplish...?


    Would a closed system, such as what the old Alchemist called a Pelican possibly be more in line of what you're looking for?





  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnowledgeSeeker View Post
    But which products are then? Its similar I think to the one somebody linked. There's very little of these out there on the market and the classical clay, copper or metal retorts once used by old alchemists apparently are very hard to find.
    A distillation apparatus made of copper may have its uses when working with plants, but would not be advisable as a general device for the alchemical laboratory since it lacks resistance to many of the substances you would likely be working with. However, if for some reason you wish to acquire one anyway , it should be easy enough to find, e.g., on Amazon.

    What I linked above is a simple modern-style device that would serve many of the more common purposes. However, there are various types of distillation depending in particular on what kind of substance you are working with.
    Is it evaporating at low or high temperature? (Simply put, in the latter case, you will need a stronger heat source, while air cooling may be sufficient - for such a substance will be prone to return from the gaseous to the liquid state anyway.) Is it viscous? (Make sure it doesn't clog your device - a thick-necked retort may come in handy.) Is there a mixture of various liquids that need to be separated? (Use a method of fractional distillation.) And so on. There is no "one size fits all"!

    What Schmuldvich presented are examples of "distillation over the helmet". This is indeed the type probably most often referred to in the old alchemical texts. It was generally the method of choice not least in lieu of the more modern invention of water cooling, however, letting the vapour expand prior to condensation ("loosening it up", as Junius puts it) may well have a merit of its own in alchemical terms. In fact, a similar vessel for vapour expansion sometimes constitutes part of a distillation apparatus even in modern chemistry.

    The pelicans shown in the same post are used alchemically for the process of 'circulation' - which is a simple form of reflux distillation in modern terms, really. This is a more specialised procedure than what the ancients generally referred to as distillation, though. It is commonly done without any heat source other than ambient warmth and can take considerable time to complete, accordingly.

    Going back to the OP, a distillation flask of one to two liters volume will be sufficient in general.

    Hope this helps.

    Michael

  4. #14
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    The package arrived but the manual ontop of the foam packaging (Which I did not remove) mentioned an 'asbestos mat/mesh'? I did not delve further into the contents on precaution although the foam packaging does not block the block all the contents, I did not see whether the mesh was wrapped in a sleve or anything.

    Is it really made of asbestos? I was advised to tape the box shut after.

  5. #15
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    Wow, that must be an old box!

    Asbestos is only dangerous if you breath it in, from what I understand.
    Art is Nature in the flask; Nature is a vial thing.

  6. #16
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    Absestos is fireproof. That kit comes with an 'asbestos mat'. The mat is used in between your heat source and bottom flask. If you check out the supplied pictures from Amazon you'll see what I'm talking about.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmuldvich View Post
    Absestos is fireproof. That kit comes with an 'asbestos mat'. The mat is used in between your heat source and bottom flask. If you check out the supplied pictures from Amazon you'll see what I'm talking about.
    I'm aware but isn't it a health hazard?

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnowledgeSeeker View Post
    I'm aware but isn't it a health hazard?
    Life is a health hazard. That thing will kill you!
    Also, about asbestos hazards, see THIS.
    If that's not enough to meet your standards, you can google for alternatives.
    Also, why do you need all that stuff for Alchemy, anyway? What do you want to achieve?

  9. #19
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    Asbestos is not chemically toxic. Problematic are the tiny threads that can accumulate in the lungs and cause quite some serious damage there.

    A lot of people still today have a lot of asbestos in and on their houses, especially when it had been built, or was renovated during the 60s-80s.

    This is not a problem at all, as long as the asbestos parts are intact. As soon as a part is damaged, those tiny threads are set free and can potentially be breathed into the lungs. The damaged asbestos parts need to be replaced immediately as hazardous waste.

    Though it's true that life itself most likely at least ends in a physical death, there are some that still have plans for their future. Being exposed to damaged asbestos parts significantly decreases the lifespan.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnowledgeSeeker View Post
    The package arrived but the manual ontop of the foam packaging (Which I did not remove) mentioned an 'asbestos mat/mesh'? I did not delve further into the contents on precaution although the foam packaging does not block the block all the contents, I did not see whether the mesh was wrapped in a sleve or anything.

    Is it really made of asbestos? I was advised to tape the box shut after.
    LMAO!

    That mesh won't kill you on mere sight or even when touching it. If it's really made of asbestos (perhaps an email to the manufacturer can help clarify that?), you may want to replace it, though.

    Overall, you got yourself a useful kit for starting out, IMO.

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