For perspective, let’s start with a trip down memory lane for ya’ll brothers and sisters who became aware of the cannabis scene before the early 70’s, and some history for ya’ll whose ma and pa are the ones who fit that description, and haven’t seen one or at least a picture anyway. An extra bonus for ya’ll who always wondered what that thing ma and pa have hidden in the attic is.
During those magical times in the hoary days of yore, D Gold conceived and offered his first Isomizer, designed to extract sweet Mary’s essence and appropriately named ISO-1. Here is what that puppy looked like:
The ISO-2 followed, an elegant but highly functional design:
Next came the Super Flower Tower, which was built and marketed by others, once D Gold ceased marketing his ISO-2.
- Gold says, “Regarding the Super Flower Tower link, I never had anything to do with those folks, and knew nothing of their product until I saw it on e-bay. I suppose that I should have been pissed that they copied the ISO-2 exactly, but I had no plans at the time to market anything, and was happy to see my design back on the market and available for people to use. I guess they figured that the patent had expired or that nobody would care.
I really don’t know if they actually made any machines or not. When I first saw the website a few years back, the machines were listed as “out of stock” when an order is placed, as is the case today. Maybe they just took pictures of an ISO2 and put together the website to test market, and never followed thru with production.”
I’ve actually never seen an ISO-1 and have seen the ISO-2, but never had the opportunity to run one, so you can imagine our excitement when D Gold presented is with ISO-3 Quartermaster, SN-0001 for testing.
Here is all that came in the box.
Here are the four central components we tested.
The ISO-1 through ISO-4 are all reflux boilers and work basically the same way. The heat from light bulbs in the lower chamber boils off the solvent in the pot above it, allowing the vapors to rise and contact the chilled head, where they re-condense and rainfall back through basket.
If the basket contains plant material, the system acts as a soxhlet and the solvent dripping through the material, dissolves the essential oils and carries it with it. If the basket contains a 500 ml beaker, the refluxed alcohol dripping from the chilled head is captured, leaving the essential oils behind in the lower pot.
That allows you to both extract the essential oils and recover the solvent in the same machine. It also allows you to recover ethanol after either a QWET extraction or after winterizing BHO.
That means it can do whole plant extractions start to finish, or be used to recover the ethanol from a QWET extraction, or BHO winterizing. It can therefore be used for both full plant extracts, as well as vaporization concentrates.
For our first test we recovered about a quart of winterized BHO, and began by filtering it. Since it was such a small amount, we didn’t bother with vacuum and just let gravity have its way with it, while Carla wiped down all the contact surfaces with Clear Springs 190 proof.
Filtering winterized solution
Cleaning with 190 proof Ethanol
Cleaning contact surfaces
Wiping chilled head
When the components were clean, we assembled the unit, and added the filtered solution:
Installed the 500 ml beaker to catch the refluxed ethanol:
Installed the chilled head:
Install chilled head
Add water to lower pan
And flipped the power switch:
Fire in the hole
And the magic begins.
Because it uses low heat from a light bulb, it requires little tending. The proximity of the bulb to the pot is adjustable, but we ran it at factory settings, so didn’t maximize performance.
We turned the ISO-3 on 11-17 at about 9:45AM. Here’s the progress at 10:00AM the following morning:
We had recovered 100 ml, or about half the ethanol:
Closing the unit up again, we continued to run until 11-19 at 1:45PM, at which time we found this yield from 200 ml solution:
And here is the alcohol:
Added another 200 ml solution, we buttoned it up again and Carla continued to monitor and top it off until we (she) processed our quart of winterized solution.
The ISO-3 can clearly do ethanol recovery from either a QWET or BHO winterizing, but because of changes in local regulations, we were unable to test the soxhlet feature in our current lab.
Since the alcohol recovery system clearly does work well, ostensibly the soxhlet extraction portion also does. More test to verify that later.
Ostensibly the best feature about D Gold’s Isomizers, is that because of the low heat, they can be turned on and mostly ignored as you conduct other business. They are highly forgiving, with danger of wrecking a batch low, and the size is about perfect for ma and pa, with maybe a small circle of friends.
SN0001 was of course a beta test unit, so even as we ran our tests, D Gold was continuing to refine his design, one of which was to upgrade the inner basket and the other was to move the light bulb into its closest proximity setting, and add a dimmer switch to control heat.
Carla and I both applaud the basket upgrade, but Carla is ambivalent about moving the light bulb closer, because it reduces the forgiveness of the process. One of the features she most admired about the original design and setting, is that you could be forgetful with minimal exposure, and with the new design full on, some of that margin has been taken away.
Of course you can still adjust the light bulb further away so that full on, it still doesn’t burn the concentrate, if you prefer forgiveness.
Hee, hee, hee, for those of yall who covet a larger unit, D Gold recently added the ISO-4 Kilomaster, which we will be testing next.