Upgrading distillation equipment, looking for recommendations/anecdotal experiences

Hey guys. We have been using a semi-shitty chinese 5L SPD setup for a year now and are looking to expand our capabilities slightly, either through optimizing our current SPD setup with upgraded glass/mantle/etc or upgrading to a wiped film. I am familiar with most brands producing the equipment, however I haven’t had extensive hands-on time with any of them so I’m hoping to hear some success or horror stories from all you distillers out there.

For reference, our current setup utilizes a lower quality heating mantle, a triple cow distribution adapter, and a single dry ice cold trap. Our heater/chiller is great, and we have a Welch 1400 Duoseal pump. We struggle to maintain a strong enough vacuum to ensure efficient distillation, and I would love to change that.


Sounds like an open source steel set up :slight_smile:

I run three of these systems currently. A quick fix for helping with your vacuum: grab some 2000 grit sandpaper and gently grind all the glass joints on your system.

Also I’m guessing your leaking through your Thermo probe adapters. Teflon tape and grease will help. Also I’ve had good luck with Chemglass adapters as replacements.

We also just take off the cold trap as soon as we’re getting or get past the head fraction.

The less hose/connections/probes the better you will seal.

As far as upgrading, you need to consider your desired throughout. If you need to process much more than you currently are, a wipes film may be a good option. If you just want a little more production, maybe grab a 2nd kit and invest a lil more. By now you can piece one together yourself. I’d spend $ on your glass and then maybe mantel.

We have one 5liter for first pass, and one for 2nd. I use my old 2liter for R&D and squeezing what I can out of heads and tails laying around.


Called it, it is an open source steel set up and to be perfectly honest I really regret going with it in the first place. I appreciate the tips, we also swapped out our thermo probe adapters for chemglass options but are still having issues. I just picked up an across international thermowell for the boiling flask to see if that will help at all, but it’s still in the mail.

I was thinking of slowly replacing the more undesirable glass pieces with David’s glass, namely getting a lockoff distribution adapter and larger collection flasks. Also right now we have a pretty ghetto setup to attach our bullseye vac gauge. I assume you probably use kf25 tees and a bellows adapter on your pump to control your vacuum and attach the gauge?

Thanks again for the advice!

Get rid of the duoseal, not even close to enough cfm

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What micron on you getting with nothing in the system, distilling 1st pass, and distilling 2nd?

I’ve been able to get my 2nd pass down to 150. 1st pass is usually 300-400. The joint grinding really helped.

We ordered a thermo well once and it was too long so we gave up. Hopefully you have better luck. I’ve found some nice Teflon adapters for the head probe that seem to work well.

Glass is probably the best place to start upgrading if you’re not going with a wiper next. We have already decided that is the direction we are going, so until we have the $ set aside, we’re just going to keep tweaking out on these. We seem to have one running almost perfectly.

Also, we don’t have any kf25 bellows. Just rocking the shitty 1/4” tubes. Pretty stupid looking coming off a Edwards28 lol.

We use that Welch for our 2nd pass and it cranks down great. We use the Edwards as our “roughing pump” for first pass. Less oil changes necessary with that beast.

I actually have some budget and refurbished products that might just hit your sweep spot. First thing is first. Get a quality her controlled mantle.


Any recommendations on specific models for a 5L? Do you offer any in the $500-1500 price range?

Roughly how much cfm will we need from a pump for a 5L system? It’s gl14 and hoses not full bore.

The most a 1/4” hose can do is 10cfm so i would get bigger hoses or go bellows or aim for that. As a general rule tou want at least 4cfm per liter so ideally you should be doing a minimum of 20cfm. Also if your glass is not good that will effect everything. I use to use a 2neck flask on my cow and pull from one of thw necks beforw i went 1” all the way. Its a cheap easy way to get a bigger bore without having to change or pay a bunch.

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Hey man!

I wanna update my post before. I have been living under a rock (black market hiding in the woods) for too long. We recently got our THC license from WA state, and I crawled out of the rock this weekend to go to Tacoma CannaCon. The usual suspects were there, AI and Summit. I’ve always known @spdking 's gear was top notch, and now I see that AI has really stepped their game up. I highly regret buying my 2nd set up from Open Source. I’m actually sort of upset they actually still sell these old model set ups. I could have spend just a little more and got a WAY better set up from AI. They have full bore kf25 vacuum lines, valved off mono cow, PTFE thermo probe adapters, nice fat neck heads, and other really nice features. I would recommend them if you’re on a budget.

In the past I’ve also steered clear of Summit because I always assumed that if you were going to spend $30k+ on a short path, you should just grab a wiped film instead. I was again humbled when I saw their large setups. It looks like they can crank quite fast, but also you can tell you’re going to get higher % and perhaps need to distill 1 less pass than you might normally. (compared to a chinese wiper)

I think we will be scratching the wiped film idea and grabbing a 10L next.

Thanks for the update! I have also been eyeing the new AI shortpath setups, they have definitely raised the bar with the new models. I also have typically avoided summit in the past just because we are more of a bootstrappin’ startup than a pimped out venture capitalist experiment, and I couldn’t justify the huge spend. However, if he does have some good refurbed or older models for sale I’m always open to more options.

We are just south of Olympia, is your facility in Tacoma as well? Always down to grab a drink or smoke and build my Washington network if you are free and interested sometime!

Anything you need contact me via ig and I’ll hook u up with all hardcore high end shit for below MSRP. Thanks.