The simple pot still comes to us from simple roots buried in antiquity, but consists of a vessel that you can boil liquid in, and a condenser that condenses the steam given off back to a liquid.
I outline alcohol recovery stills in 18.104.22.168, which includes this simple design, but I’m also including it here for continuity:
This design is based on a stainless asparagus steamer for the still, and I used copper coils in an ice bath for the condenser. I provided controlled heat by placing the asparagus pot in a Cuisinart electric fondue pot of hot oil.
I already had the asparagus steamer, stainless salad bowl, and fondue pot, as well as fasteners, so only had to purchase the copper tubing, bulkhead fitting, and compression elbow.
Likewise I repurposed an empty plastic cat litter bucket to support the condenser over a 1.75 liter Everclear bottle, by cutting reliefs in the sides and top.
Here are the components required to convert the asparagus steamer:
Note O-ring on lid. The wooden beam is a piece of oak I had in the woodpile, as was the ¼” all thread and wingnut. I drilled the beam as well as both the handles on the steamer to accept the ¼” all thread.
Modifying the asparagus steamer lid
Modifications to fondue pot lid
Asparagus steamer still assembled
Condenser assembled and bucket support modified
Note Tygon tubing used in tests is not suitable for alcohol application and was replaced with a neoprene fuel hose before trials.
Assembly recovering alcohol.
Note the Tygon tubing was replaced with neoprene fuel hose, which is more suitable for alcohol service.