How to make a still from a pressure cooker

Written by sharon sweeny
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How to make a still from a pressure cooker
Pressure cooker (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

A still is an ancient invention whose design has remained fundamentally the same throughout the ages. Thanks to modern pressure cookers, you can make a simple still to distill small amounts of alcohol for use in homemade cleaning solutions or crafts projects. As the liquid boils, alcohol-filled steam rises into the copper tubing. It then cools and emerges from the tubing as a liquid.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Copper tubing, approximately 240 cm (8 feet)
  • Large 2.2 litres (2-quart) juice can
  • Plastic bucket
  • Drill
  • Clay-type adhesive, such as Blu-Tack
  • Stack of books or small pedestal
  • Pressure cooker
  • Brewing cork
  • Empty container

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  1. 1

    Wrap the copper tubing around a large juice can. Leave approximately 45 cm (18 inches) of the tubing uncoiled and straight at each end.

  2. 2

    Drill a hole in the side of the bucket, approximately 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) from the bottom. Make the hole the same diameter as the copper tubing.

  3. 3

    Place the coiled copper tube into the bucket. Feed the lower straight end into the hole you drilled in Step 2.

  4. 4

    Seal the opening around the copper tube with a plastic clay-type glue such as Blu-Tack.

  5. 5

    Set bucket on a stack of books or small pedestal to raise it above the level of the countertop. Place a bowl or other container under the end of the copper tube that pokes through the bucket. The alcohol will drain out of the tube into the container.

  6. 6

    Add enough cold water to the bucket to completely submerge the coiled portion of the copper tubing.

  7. 7

    Insert the other end of the copper tubing into the brewing cork. Place the cork on the stem (vent) of the top of the pressure cooker.

  8. 8

    Fill pressure cooker less than half full of materials to be distilled. Replace and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook over low to medium heat.

Tips and warnings

  • Alcohol is highly flammable; take precautions near open flames.
  • This method does not produce potable alcohol; do not use this method to produce alcohol to drink.

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