WFE WTF: is the POPE kosher?

…and how often does it take a shit & leave you in the woods?

Apparently my equipment budget now includes “distillate scale-up”. [just barely]

I was told the VTA/Roots Scientific machine was out of the question when last I suggested it, but just found quotes in my inbox for both 4" and 6" POPE WFE units this morning.

Which means I’ve got to look at WFE seriously now. Oh Joy! :wink:

I haven’t heard anyone here say anything bad about the POPE units, other than the 2" unit is on the small side. How is their support? Anyone have any regrets after purchasing one?

dosing pumps? The POPE quotes I got had two pump options: $17k or $24k. the peristaltic pumps from beaker&wrench seem like a better option, but I’m guessing I’d still need some of the bits POPE includes with their pumps…so I’m probably not looking at two $6400 pumps vs $17 or $24k.

I assume I should also question the vac pump POPE is spec’ing at $5800

Mechanical rotary vane vacuum pump system
for medium range (to 0.05 Torr), with S.S.
fittings for attachment to 6" Wiped-Film Still;
14.7 CFM free air displacement. Includes oil
mist eliminator and vacuum tubing. 3/4 HP,
120 or 240 VAC, 50/60 H

it doesn’t sound like a diffusion or Turbo Molecular pump…



I’ve never used one and to be honest they look jenky AF: heat tape and electric jacket. But hey, sometimes you gotta do something on a budget, and with enough practice, you can make anything work.

I KNOW people are making good distillate with them. But if it were my money, I wouldn’t want to get a product that uses heat tape when I’m paying over $50k for something.

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We have a 2" and I probably would go elsewhere for an upgrade.

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yep. thanks! I guess I had heard grumblings re: the heat tape…

Jacketed would certainly seem to offer superior temp control.

I’ve heard “…too small…” applied to the 2" POPE on several occasions, so I sent the boss a link to the Helderpad 3 stage KD300 and asked how he expected to compete running one of them itty bitty POPE’s?!?



other than size, can you call out where you find the POPE lacking?

Has it ever actually taken a shit and left you waiting on parts? Was tech support appropriate to get you up and running? Or did you have that solved before purchase?


i have a lot of popes, they are extremely crude and simple. but thats what i love about them. they take a lot of work to get dialed in, its not turnkey by any means, but they are worth the money. I’ve had minimal hands on with vta and cts, they are nice for sure, but i like the low cost and low cost maintenance on them, easy to break down and put back together compared to some others


No, it’s been very reliable. No issues there so far.

Customer service was ok, the big drawback with pope is zero cannabis processing experience. They were almost no help with dialing in parameters. Maybe they’re just not used to working with laymen, but that area was lacking for me. At this point, though, if you’re considering a 6" still, you probably have a good handle on parameters.

They said I could run 1L/hr and that’s nowhere near what I’m actually getting. Feel somewhat peeved about that aspect as well. I think they acknowledge now that 350ml/hr is about max on the 2".

They told me the electric band jacket with one thermocouple was ‘fine’ and I didn’t need the fluid jacket and heater option. In retrospect I would’ve preferred the fluid jacket, as the band temps are too inconsistent in my opinion. Probably going to be upgrading that soon.

They didn’t seem at all interested in developing an automatic feed system for the 2", glad someone else has. The drip rate slows as the feed flask depletes, so you’re babysitting it the whole day. No big deal if it runs 1l/hr, but it doesn’t. Another upgrade for that from beakerandwrench coming soon.

I don’t have a huge boner for jacketed flow paths, but that does seem to be a nice upgrade over heat tape on the competing wfe units. If I had my druthers, I’d go VTA. Probably end up using the 2" pope for devol or something. Then it’ll probably live up to the 1l/hr claim lol.


Interesting! Of course that’d require a separate pid and thermocouple for each band.


so…if you’re IN the woods, POPE’s tech support tends to leave you there.

Or at least did earlier in the game.

Good to know.


We have a 2" pope but its a pain in the ass to clean but we like it. Looking at a B/R to upgrade to for our second lab

So many complaints in here…

@cyclopath How much are you looking to process? I can easily push out 3-5lb in a 8-10hr shift with startup and breakdown on the 2" and I’m not even running it that fast. Having started with an SPD, I will take the Pope over an SPD any day. Again depending on how much you’re looking to process will determine if you need a dosing pump. I would recommend the Pope dosing pump over the beaker and wrench mostly because the size of the beaker and wrench is so small. If you really want to step up your feed flask, may as well go for one that holds more than 2-4L. With the right attachments you can get 10L stainless steel feed flasks, or i’ve seen even a 100L feed vessel hooked up for continuous output.

Someone else said that it was a pain to clean? I find the exact opposite. Finish the run, swap your flasks and then pour ethanol/solvent through it… Occasionally completely disassemble and clean the whole thing. This is per the instruction manual.

I run the AI Supervac on my 2" and that is MORE than enough vacuum for what you need and only runs $2300.

As for the heat tape, i find it actually quite useful. I have a jacketed one w/ heating fluid but the tape wrapped around different joints can really help with removing volatiles.

I’ve always had good service w/ their tech support also. Several times their engineers have communicated/worked with my personally to optimize my SOP or just there to answer questions. And replacement parts can be overnighted if you need. Nice thing also, if you don’t completely destroy a broken piece, you can clean it up and mail it back and they will repair it for you. If it’s past broken, there is no charge for the service but if it can be repaired it’s substantially cheaper than replacing the part.
I have yet to run into any issues with the Pope that were not caused by myself or someone else though. Never taken a shit on me.

Plenty of info regarding Pope cannabis distillation in the FAQs. Hope this all helps.


That was awesome! All the info I needed, and in record time.

The POPE may not be a saint, but it gets the job done…

I know of no other forum with a signal to noise ratio as good as this one.

thank you @Future for setting this place up.


What about solvent recovery? Is the POPE a drinker :slight_smile:

Has anyone used their Wiped Film Evaporator for recovering ethanol?

I wouldn’t expect it to be as fast as a FFE, but it should work yes?

Anyone have data on how well?

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Pope is a great company that makes a great machine. You could call them the Tamisium of the Wiped Film right now. (If they don’t pick make some advancements in their design, they’ll fall behind in due time).

You can crank it out even on the smallest model, it’s all about operator efficiency. Pump choice is crucial too. That said, if you’ve got the budget for a 6" Pope, you should look at the Chemtech/Helderpad unit. They provide a diffusion pump and rotary vane - and have a nicer; more plant-style footprint than the Pope.

Check out this thread:


thank you.

yep, read that thread thoroughly. Understanding that the POPE was the low end, I figured I’d ask for more specific pro/con on just that unit.

The Tamisium of Wiped Film huh? Maybe I should look at that Helderpad.

I hear Cascade will have their Asahi pricing very soon, and I’ve asked the boss to hold off till I know what the competition looks like.


Have you seen the hybrid pope? It has more theoretical plates than your run of the mill pope. Diffusion pump can be added on by special order too.

google offers the above, or a white rose.

Does POPE sell it? Or it it put together by a 3rd party?

More than the 1(?) plate on a run of the mill WFE?

Edit: got it. POPE makes it.

And most folks referring to the POPE WFE are actually using what POPE refers to as their WF Molecular Still?!? That’s certainly what the quotes that hit my desk are for.


I’ve spoken with a couple different reps at Pope about their cannabis products, including the VP of sales. Both of them are claiming that by removing the internal condenser that the unit can be run as a WFE.

I’m new to cannabis wiped film, so no tek for me just yet, but hes claiming 2-4 passes - 2 for solvent removal, 2 for cannabanoids. I’ve asked the reps several times that the unit can do this. One said no problem, one was more hesitant, seems like it might be a pain to keep changing back and forth.

I’ve used their equipment in the past (food industry), ran a small pilot WFMS which worked great. We used fractional vacuum distillation for solvent removal, so no WFE. Had 2 production WFMS as well (8"?), never heard anything bad.

I think I need to get some quotes from VTA and Helderapad before deciding, didn’t know about them before. Thanks everyone.

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@cyclopath just FYI you don’t need any “Pope bits” with my (Beaker & Wrench) pump system; it comes with a glass adapter and feed flask. My glass comes from Adams & Chittenden in Berkeley, its great stuff. Hit me up if you’re still interested.


Thanks @Lilibel!

I’m always looking to support the innovators & problem solvers…