Community Forum For "Alcohol Can Be A Gas" Readers

I've been given the better part of a mother earth 3" still. It has everything but the tower. Someone who didn't know what they had cut it off and recycled it. I'm looking for a set of plans to replace the missing pieces. M.E.N. has plans for their 6" still but apparently no longer have the the 3" set of detailed instructions available. I have the blue prints but am in the dark as to what to do with all the parts. Anyone have a set or know where I can get them?

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Have you tried

Is this the one you have?
Yeah, I've got all the stuff I can find from the site you patched, but its the detailed instructions that are mising. I'm good at doing and building but I like to know the little details so I don't end up re-doing more than my usual couple of times to get it right. The guy who gave it to me is the one who built it thirty years ago, but he doesn't remember much about it. He's about 90 now and has lost most of the details. I'll probably just get the 6" plans from M.E.N. and hope the column stuff is the same only bigger. I've got every thing from the re-boiler down.
Most likely they are the same. Just reduce everything by 50% ( 6 / 3 ) and you should be fine.
OK, apparently, Mother doesn't offer either of the detailed instructions for the 6" or 3" stills anymore. I basically understand everything but the condenser at the top of the still. If you look at the picture on page four of the paste-in from Journey to Forever that Thumpin' sent in, you can see the little 'break-out' on the left side of the diagram entitled "Three Inch Column Still". There is a very convoluted set-up for the alcohol drain at the base of the condenser. Now, if you look at the drawing of the 3" still on page 3 there seems to be a funnel like section that is not in the details of page four. Is there something missing here or am I just being thick? Is there another way to build the top end of the column? Also, is there a trick to getting the ends of the cooling coils out of the holes in the column. I'm guessing its using alot of patience and holding your tounge just right.
A cooling coil isnt difficult to make from copper, neither is a reducer if the condenser is larger than the main column. Do you want a very simple still or do you want to go with something like the C803 or the ones I have built? You can get the plans for the 2" I have here: and scale it up if you like. I built the valved reflux column and it works pretty well, but I need a better way to control heat in the bottom.

If all you need is a condenser, then that is easy. I have been thinking about building a larger version out of copper sheet and I could take some pics or a video of how to get the coil ends to come out of the condenser. I can try to explain it a bit, but if you need pics later I can get them.

I use 1/4" copper tubing that comes in small rolls, the small stills I have use a 5' length. I leave it coiled as it comes out of the box,and since my condenser was about 3.25" I wrapped the tube around a 2.75" pipe. Use at least half inch smaller pipe because the tubing takes up 1/4" on both sides of the cylinder. I used a technique like what we used to call an indian burn, twisting my hands in opposite directions around the pipe and tube until it was wrapped around it relatively tightly. Once that is done, it acts sort of like a very stiff spring, and you can expand it from its now natural state and get the ends to come through the holes you drill in the condenser. I used oblong holes rather than a round one, and tapered the copper sheet around the holes so the tube would fit it like a fairing on an airplane.

Making the condenser housing from sheet is a bit more involved, but its cheaper than using large diameter tubing. Since mine needed to be 6" tall, I got 6" wide rolls of sheet. If you are can do math, and you know the diameter of the cylinder you want to make, you can find the circumference using this formula. Circumference = Pi (3.14) times Diameter or ( 3" cylinder = 9.424" circumference. Then cut it a bit longer to 9.55". You need to join the ends and to do that you form a lock joint. Fold the end 1/16" of one sheet outward, the other inward so when wrapped into a cylinder they can hook each other. I flatten it on the previously mentioned 2.75" pipe and solder the joint.

Making a funnel is a bit more involved, but since you can find the circumference from the diameter for both ends, you can find how long each end needs to be. Keep in mind that when you roll a square or rectangle into a cone, the corners will overlap. A paper template is handy for finding out what shape you need to cut to make the funnel with minimal scrap.

After that its a simple matter of joining all the pieces and packing the column.

Do you know anything about these people?

I just don't think I have it in me to try to build a still!

Do you know anyone out there that wants to build and sell me a decent still like the ones on the above web site?
Compare it with the PDA-1 at which only costs on the order of $400 or $500. Compare the output and the proof. I've been very pleased with my PDA-1, but I'm not trying to produce very much. Even so, doubling the diameter of the pipe should quadruple the output (that pesky square pie rule)

But, no, I don't know anything about them. I do however kinda like their song -- I live in the Ozarks ;)

I'd also suggest you get/read "The Compleat Distiller" from the -- you may change your mind about building a still, especially if you go with the more straight forward vapor management.
I usually recommend buying the book "The Compleat Distiller" from the -- this has been the best over-all explanation of the details surrounding the distillation process I have yet found. I have enjoyed all their books so far, and the one about automatic stills says much the same thing but is more of a looking over the guys shoulder kind of book. I haven't yet bought the newest one ("Cordial Waters").
I've been meaning to order that one from the other times you've reccommended it. I really appreciate all y'all help on this part of my process. A light came on for me about the condenser last week, just before two of my cars jumped to the 'A' list, so I'm a little behind. I sent off my docs for the Feds, so I guess this will be the first time I'm actually looking forward to hearing from the guv'ment.
Yep, pretty amazing to look forward to hearing from them, I agree. The time or two I dealt with that office they were very nice. They even seemed to know what they were talking about ;) heheh
Hi Everyone,

You can start off in this hobby without spending much money at all. If you want to see how to build some neat moonshine stills I put out a couple of dvds that show how to build them and how to make some easy recipes. The second dvd goes on to show you how to design your own recipes. The still in the first video can be built for about $25 and takes about half an hour to put together. You can check them out at




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