+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 36

Thread: In-Sink-Evaporator

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Alcona County, Michigan
    Posts
    1,134

    Default In-Sink-Evaporator

    First, let me say that this project was inspired by Fyreaway's e-Vaporator, an evaporator that uses the heating element from a domestic water heater (Edit: Do not use this method. Better options emerged later. Keep reading the thread. -- CE) to boil sap in a custom-designed stainless steel pan. He grabbed the best name for this class of evaporators and his is the best design I've seen. It's more versatile and has a higher capacity than my build. It can be used to make finished syrup and it can reheat syrup for bottling. Due to the shape of his pan, it takes very little liquid to cover the heating element. That's not the case with my repurposed kitchen sink. I'm just hoping my design will boil sap more cheaply than propane.

    I started with an old, used, deep, stainless steel, kitchen sink that I picked up beside a road a long time ago, thinking I would eventually add it to my deer camp. It had a sign on it that said "FREE", which happens to be my favorite price. It didn't look as if it had ever contained nuclear waste or anything that came out of a bio-warfare lab, so I plan to just scrub it with whatever it takes to make it look clean and then boil water in it a few times before putting it into service for evaporating sap.

    I could have paid somebody to drill the 1-1/4" hole for the heating element in it, but I wanted to do as much as possible on this build and of course, to save money. Stainless steel is hard and difficult to work with. Most cutting tools available from a hardware store are ill suited for working with it. But I knew of two ways to make clean round holes in stainless steel without resorting to expensive special tools, a step bit or a hole saw. If you don't have a drill press available, you will probably want to use a step bit. It's hard to control a hole saw with a handheld drill. Step bits aren't cheap, but I did find one that looks suitable at bargainfittings.com, a popular source for home brewing fittings and tools.

    Cheapest 1-1/4" Step Bit I've Found

    I have a small drill press, and my plan was to run it very slowly and cool whatever tool I used with oil during the cut, but I had to remove the pedestal and the table from it and mount it at the edge of my workbench in order to get the sink close enough to get the hole as close to the bottom of the sink as I could get it while still drilling through a flat surface. I also had to mount some plywood spacers to the workbench to offset the sink for the bulge for the drain hole. Here's a pic of the drill press setup.



    A new bimetal hole saw is cheaper than a step bit if you already have the arbor for it. I set my drill press to operate at the lowest speed setting, which is 760 RPM. Rather than pushing the spindle down, I used one hand to hold the sink against the workbench and I used my knee to push the sink up against the drill. That left one hand free to deal with cooling the saw. I decided to offset the hole from the center line a bit to make the drain well easier to get a hand into for cleaning after the element is installed. I drilled a 1/8" pilot hole, then used two more larger bits before using a 1/4" bit that matched the pilot bit of the arbor. I got a good clean round hole that only required a little deburring with a round file. I don't think the hole saw is still sharp enough to cut another hole in stainless steel, despite the fact that I cooled it almost continuously with WD40 while drilling the hole, but it did the job. This is the hole before deburring.




    This is the fit of the heating element before deburring. I actually had to screw the element in, but after deburring, it was just a tight fit.



    This is the inside with the heating element in place.



    I can only add four images to a post so I'll continue in the next post.
    Last edited by Cedar Eater; 05-04-2015 at 07:20 PM.
    CE
    44° 41′ 3″ N

    2019 -- 44 Red Maples - My home and sugarbush are for sale.
    2018 -- 48 Red Maples, 7 gallons
    2017 -- 84 Red Maples, 1 Sugar Maple, and 1 Silver Maple , 13 gallons
    2016 -- 55 Red Maples, 8 gallons
    2015 -- 15 Red Maples, 6 Birches - 3+ gallons maple syrup
    An awning over my deck is my sugar shack.
    An electrified kitchen sink and an electrified steam table pan are my evaporators.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Alcona County, Michigan
    Posts
    1,134

    Default

    Standard heating elements are threaded 1" NPSM, not 1" NPT, so I've ordered a special 1" NPS locknut with an O-ring groove to snug the element against the sink wall. When this arrives, I'll be able to test with 120 VAC.

    The next major hurdle with a sink is dealing with the drain hole. Ideally, you want to be able to drain from it using a 1/2" or larger pipe, but it's a huge hole. I could pay someone to weld a plate across and then drill a hole and put a bulkhead fitting through it, but I'm going to try using the drain fitting that came with it. I disassembled it, because it was installed with plumbers putty. I think I can get a food grade sealant after I clean all the old gunk off. There's a food grade red RTV available from Amazon, but I may have to use a large nitril gasket. Here's the funnel section next to the hole it fits through.



    I cut the spokes using ordinary wire cutters. I'll probably have to file the nubs off.



    I reassembled the drain with an ordinary steel SAE washer in it. It fit very well. It has the 7/8" hole that would be required to fit a male 1/2" bulkhead fitting. If I can find a stainless steel replacement, I think I can find O-rings and gaskets to get a tight seal. I can test without a working drain, but I will definitely want it working before I boil sap.

    Last edited by Cedar Eater; 04-13-2015 at 10:57 PM.
    CE
    44° 41′ 3″ N

    2019 -- 44 Red Maples - My home and sugarbush are for sale.
    2018 -- 48 Red Maples, 7 gallons
    2017 -- 84 Red Maples, 1 Sugar Maple, and 1 Silver Maple , 13 gallons
    2016 -- 55 Red Maples, 8 gallons
    2015 -- 15 Red Maples, 6 Birches - 3+ gallons maple syrup
    An awning over my deck is my sugar shack.
    An electrified kitchen sink and an electrified steam table pan are my evaporators.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Cortland, NY
    Posts
    51

    Default

    The pictures didn't attach, at least from this computer. I'll try a different machine and see if it's a local problem.

    Sounds like you're almost ready to make syrup! The fancy nut with the o-ring groove is the cat's pajamas. The squishy washer that comes with the heating element is good for one fitting. It gets all wonky and you'll never get a good seal the second time. Can't wait to see how you handle the drain. I really like the thought of using a bottom drain. Just bought stock in WD-40 so go drill some more holes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Alcona County, Michigan
    Posts
    1,134

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyreaway View Post
    The pictures didn't attach, at least from this computer. I'll try a different machine and see if it's a local problem.

    Sounds like you're almost ready to make syrup! The fancy nut with the o-ring groove is the cat's pajamas. The squishy washer that comes with the heating element is good for one fitting. It gets all wonky and you'll never get a good seal the second time. Can't wait to see how you handle the drain. I really like the thought of using a bottom drain. Just bought stock in WD-40 so go drill some more holes.
    I needed to edit the links to imgur to get the photos to show. I won't be making syrup in it for a while, but hopefully I'll be boiling water soon.
    CE
    44° 41′ 3″ N

    2019 -- 44 Red Maples - My home and sugarbush are for sale.
    2018 -- 48 Red Maples, 7 gallons
    2017 -- 84 Red Maples, 1 Sugar Maple, and 1 Silver Maple , 13 gallons
    2016 -- 55 Red Maples, 8 gallons
    2015 -- 15 Red Maples, 6 Birches - 3+ gallons maple syrup
    An awning over my deck is my sugar shack.
    An electrified kitchen sink and an electrified steam table pan are my evaporators.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Cortland, NY
    Posts
    51

    Default

    Got the pics and she looks great. The bulkhead fitting should be an easy find and a nice solution.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Alcona County, Michigan
    Posts
    1,134

    Default

    I ordered a 1/2" MNPT bulkhead fitting last night. With any luck, the SS washer that comes with this fitting will fit the drain assembly. I'm looking for cheap 1/2" SS full port ball valves now.
    CE
    44° 41′ 3″ N

    2019 -- 44 Red Maples - My home and sugarbush are for sale.
    2018 -- 48 Red Maples, 7 gallons
    2017 -- 84 Red Maples, 1 Sugar Maple, and 1 Silver Maple , 13 gallons
    2016 -- 55 Red Maples, 8 gallons
    2015 -- 15 Red Maples, 6 Birches - 3+ gallons maple syrup
    An awning over my deck is my sugar shack.
    An electrified kitchen sink and an electrified steam table pan are my evaporators.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Cortland, NY
    Posts
    51

    Default

    The bulkhead fitting looks really nice. The low profile on the wet side of the sink will give almost a total drain.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    SouthWest Northumberland County in SouthCentral Ontario
    Posts
    99

    Default

    Loving this stuff. Keep it coming.

    It's great to be looking at this now and not at the beginning of the next sap season.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Alcona County, Michigan
    Posts
    1,134

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyreaway View Post
    The bulkhead fitting looks really nice. The low profile on the wet side of the sink will give almost a total drain.
    That was my thinking. there was another one with a coupling that stood up about an inch and could have a strainer of some sort threaded into it, which I'm guessing is for draining wort, but this one seems ideal for a liquid that isn't chunky.
    CE
    44° 41′ 3″ N

    2019 -- 44 Red Maples - My home and sugarbush are for sale.
    2018 -- 48 Red Maples, 7 gallons
    2017 -- 84 Red Maples, 1 Sugar Maple, and 1 Silver Maple , 13 gallons
    2016 -- 55 Red Maples, 8 gallons
    2015 -- 15 Red Maples, 6 Birches - 3+ gallons maple syrup
    An awning over my deck is my sugar shack.
    An electrified kitchen sink and an electrified steam table pan are my evaporators.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Alcona County, Michigan
    Posts
    1,134

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 67HEAVEN View Post
    Loving this stuff. Keep it coming.

    It's great to be looking at this now and not at the beginning of the next sap season.
    Thanks. I like your idea of finding a kitchen sink cabinet, but I'm picturing leaving this out on my deck, next to the gas grill. So I might build a frame from pressure treated deck boards. I might also put a faucet in with a garden hose connection for washing and maybe doing some boiling of corn or potatoes while grilling. I would probably need to have a SS heat shield to keep food from touching the element, but that doesn't seem too challenging.

    I found this for anyone who wants a ready-made e-Vaporator on a smaller scale.

    Condensate Evaporator Pan - 15 Quart 240 VAC

    There are smaller 120 VAC models also.
    CE
    44° 41′ 3″ N

    2019 -- 44 Red Maples - My home and sugarbush are for sale.
    2018 -- 48 Red Maples, 7 gallons
    2017 -- 84 Red Maples, 1 Sugar Maple, and 1 Silver Maple , 13 gallons
    2016 -- 55 Red Maples, 8 gallons
    2015 -- 15 Red Maples, 6 Birches - 3+ gallons maple syrup
    An awning over my deck is my sugar shack.
    An electrified kitchen sink and an electrified steam table pan are my evaporators.

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts