Which valves and why?

I currently run a closed column extractor. I’m in the planning stages of building out my own CLS, but I’m not quite there yet so I’m looking to upgrade my closed column a bit with some parts that will work for the CLS when I finish getting all the parts for it.

My extractor has cheap valves that come with the standard closed column extractors. I notice these leak a good bit when I have the tube sitting in a dry ice cooler. My last run actually leaked a good bit of oil out of the valve while closed.

Additionally I’ll be upgrading the tri clamps to high pressure clamps as these too have started to not seal properly and I’ve had leaks from the clamps.

My two questions:

1: Which valves, or what features on the valve should I look into using? I’m looking for something reliable, and long term. I’m not trying to buy the best if I can avoid it, but I’m not opposed to running the best if it’s really worthwhile. I’ve seen some are rebuildable too, would it be worth it to get a rebuildable unit?

2: Regarding the clamps, I want to make sure I get something I can use on the CLS too… I’m running a 1.5" diameter tube currently. When upgrading to a CLS is it preferred to use a wider tube, or is the 1.5" fine? Is it more preference of run size, or is there a benefit to using a wider tube for more surface area? Debating on if I should bother with the high pressure clamps on this size tube or upgrade to something wider.

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I’ve found @Killa12345 to be quite knowledgeable on these matters


Thats pretty commen, as things get cold they shrink, the solution is to unscrew the handles and tighten the packing in the valve.

You should use swagelok valves, get the ones that are built without lubricant. Youd be supprised what they coat valves with from the factory. Get valves that have an adjustable packing as well.

If your looking to upgrade in size I would suggest a wider column, 2" isnt much bigger than 1.5". If your looking for a higher effiecncy you could expore a bottom flood option.

you can see in this screenshot, while this valve is made from acceptible materials its lubricant disqualifys it.


This valve is suited to the
purpose, although its a 3/8 valve with compression fittings. What sized valves do you want? Are you running compression or hoses? what diameter?


I would ask @Killa12345 he’ll steer you in the right direction


that’s a ton of great info, thank you so much for posting that!

I’m not sure if upgrading in size is needed, I was more looking for advice on the benefits/drawbacks of running a wider column vs what I’m currently using. I want to build something that’s fairly future proof. I only do personal runs, they’re never really too big, maybe a QP max is what I’ll ever end up running at a time. Typically it’s around the 2oz mark though.

The size of the valves I don’t really think matters in my case, unless it does, in that case I’m just not educated enough as to what I would use and why :grin:

Currently I’m not running any hoses, just the column then dump and open purge essentially. I will be running hoses when I get the CLS built out but I haven’t really gotten that far with the planning yet, so really anything is possible at this point.

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In the scenerios where you’d want larger valves, youd be trying to move either more liquid to the column, or recover vapor at a faster rate. If your recovery times are a non issue upgrading the valving to a larger bore is not nessesary, although i’d presue a higher quality valve.

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id listen to @Soxhlet before listening to myself in this subject. I just use cheapie valves too. I just replace them when i hear a leak or find water in my tank etc. As Sox stated, you can take off the handle and there is usually a 1/2" nut that can be tighten to push the ptfe packing gasket more against the shaft.

The 2 piece valves i do use are suppose to be rebuildable but ive never done it and actually used the valve after. I have rebuilt my 3 piece one a lot of time and use those over and never had a problem.

If your really concerned, Swagelok is the only company that really makes top level valves. Be prepared to spend more on the valves than the extractor and probably double. When i started importing Steel, I use to have this supplier that was a fiting and valve supplier as me to send them swagelok stuff all the time.

Just to let you all know Swagelok has a valve factory in Hong Kong too. Some of your Swagelok valve parts are manufactured in China too. Its just they only have 1 chinese distributor and they are like 5x the price we even pay…Imagine that cost.

And @clouds If you never plan to run more than a qp/hp at a time. The narrower column is going to be more efficient than the wider column. Id just stay 1.5"-2" if thats truly your end goal. Buy what you need, not what you think you need


My 2x18 runs qps.


You can look into nai-lock valves they are imitation swage, or superlock. Super is well built, not meant for as cold of temps, but it sounds like that won’t necessarily be an issue for you. You can find those from corlee valve and fittings. They can also get you all the guages and hoses for an extremely good price. He’ll do whatever he can to have you go through him and he’s a good dude that caters to the industry.

You can just add a small collection and use a tiny tank, then you’ll be done if you intend to keep your column size


I he’s running 1/4" for hosing hardwarefactorystore has braided stainless jic hoses for twenty something bucks


In the matter of closed loop systems the amount I spent on parts I could’ve just bought one. 700$ will get you a decent prebuilt cls. @Killa12345 don’t you sell cls for 700$ ?


@GroovyOctopusLabs yes I do and would even do them at a discount for any members here!!

That are contributors. Let’s clarify that offer a little.


Thanks for all the info guys, really appreciate that!

I will try pulling my valves apart and see if I can tighten them at all for the time being until I decide which route I want to go. Ideally Id like to buy stuff once and just have it last, even if the initial investment is a bit more up front, so I’ll definitely check the swageloks out. They are pricey though so I need to toss my options around and see what works best for my situation.

I’m glad I asked about column size, I was thinking bigger was better since the newer designs I’ve been seeing are all wider columns. I guess that’s just to run more material then? I guess I had my understanding backwards… You would get more cooling surface area on a skinnier tube vs a wide one… Not sure why I thought the opposite haha but thanks for setting that straight.

Thanks man, I’ll look into those also. You’re right on the temps, I really don’t get them too low, and especially for long periods of time.

man way to throw another wrench in the mix haha. It looks like I have a lot of things to consider which route I want to take with all of this. I might be hitting you up about those CLS you’re doing if these costs get too out of control. I would prefer building my own just cause I love doing that stuff but if I can get something premade by an experienced person at around the same price, that’s a no brainer.


i will tell you this. If your gonna due the building and pressure testing yourself. You wont even be able to buy the parts in china for the price i can offer you the parts at. The $750 extractor comes with a stainless recovery tank and is built, pressure and vacuum tested. If i dont have to do those services. The prices is significantly cheaper.

Get the parts quoted from china, and i can beat it. You can save all the time and hassle and have all the parts sent from an American seller which at least is in the trenches with you.


The nai lok valves are about $65 at bvv. If corlee carries em, he’ll get it cheaper or has other options.

Or buy his system he’s selling. You can’t beat that offer.

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i can get the nailok valves and probably still make a profit (small one that be) at 1/3 of that price. Even though, i dont publically say i can source all this stuff. I can. I think i know the distributor for the superlok valve that corlee stocks as well.

i dont need all the business. I personally would have you all buy all the valves from corlee. I like that guys attitude. I aint trying to step on anyone toes and shit.


I built mine part by part after I decided I wanted to upgrade from a closed column, so I feel you

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In the end I learned a lot but spent way more than I should have, had a lot of fun though. I won’t lie if I didn’t build it part by part I wouldn’t know half the shit I know. I ended up buying a hemispherical lid from @Killa12345 in the the end and he also gave me the golden rule (no pun intended) not to soak the material and to use the dry ice column.


It’s a really good skill to possesses if your gonna do this long term. It’s not if you will have to rebuild one of these closed loop extractors; it’s when your gonna have to rebuild it.

Valves fail. Taping fails. Especially the way we operate these tools. Taking shit to extreme cold temps them warming shit up is just so rough on these tools. Sometime I’m mystified the abuse my extractor has gone threw from dropping tanks to extractors falling over. I’ve abused the shit out of my extractor and it’s perfect after everything.


yeah the plan was to build and test myself, I love doing that stuff for fun. You had me sold on under 1k with a stainless steel tank though, that really can’t be beat no matter how you look at it. I wasn’t quite ready to upgrade this very moment, but after hearing about your deal I might have to pull some strings and free up the cash.

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