+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: DIY Barrel Evaporator Build (Detailed)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    NYS
    Posts
    10

    Default DIY Barrel Evaporator Build (Detailed)

    Iím new to sugaring, and MapleTrader has been a great resource, so I figured Iíd add my experience in hopes it will help someone the way so many posts have helped me.

    Build take one: Bought a 55 gallon drum from craigslist; burning paint smelled awful, wonder if it was carcinogenic.

    Take two: Bought an unfinished 55 gallon drum from local company. Used a six-inch deep steam pan. Only evaporated one gallon per hour Ė WAY too slow. Lots of soot around pan, probably because I cut the hole a little too big. Burn created tons of coals in the arch.

    Take three: From the ground up:

    Foundation is some pallets I picked up for free locally. The idea is I can move it around with the tractor from storage to the driveway. Also raises it up so I donít need to bend over as much. I bolted the arch to the pallet. Price: $0 for pallets, plus a few nails, and $8 for stainless hardware from Lowes. Tools used: crowbar, hammer, drill, screwdriver.

    Barrel is an unpainted one from a local company. Price $30.

    Legs and door are from a barrel stove kit from Tractor Supply. Price $50. Tools used: angle grinder to cut holes (cutting wheel plus sanding flap wheel, true for all following angle grinder use), drill, screwdriver, wrench.

    I lined the bottom of the barrel with firebricks I had lying around.

    I bought a cast iron grate to get air under the fire. Price: $50 from Amazon. Tools used: wrench.

    Angle iron used to hold pan. Price: $10 for angle iron from local welding supply, a buck for the hardware. Tools used: angle grinder, drill, screwdriver, wrench.

    I used ceramic blanket insulation at the back of the pan. I had a hard time cutting the hole to be perfectly tight, so I cut it a little long and utilized the insulation to tighten it up. I used part of the barrel cut out for the pan hole to create a bracket to hold the blanket. Price: $14 for insulation from Amazon, a buck for hardware. Tools, angle grinder, drill, screwdriver, wrench.

    Stack is a six inch connector I cut up to connect to the back of the barrel, a 90 degree pipe, and two three-foot sections. Price: $40 for pipe from local Ace, plus a buck for the hardware, and a few bucks for stainless sheet metal screws from Lowes. Tools used: tin snips, angle grinder, drill, screwdriver.

    Pan is a 20x30Ē flat bottom stainless welded three channel from Vermont Evaporator Company. Came with brass valve, needed only Teflon tape to install. Price: $270 on sale at an open house, normally $320.

    Pre-heater is a half width steam pan. I used some 1 ľ inch aluminum angle to hold it in place. I cut some short pieces to make brackets to pinch the evaporator pan to hold in place. The ball valve to let sap out is stainless and weldless. Price: $28 for pan from Amazon, $7 for angle aluminum from Lowes, $4 for stainless hardware from Lowes, $27 for valve from local brewers supply place. Tools used: angle grinder, drill with step drill bit, screw driver, wrench.

    Total price = $544. Add in the previous failed barrel arch attempts and the cinder block evaporator I built the year before thatÖ well a bunch more money.

    Takeaways:

    It took a few attempts, but Iím happy with what I built. Itís totally possible for other first-timersóIím fairly handy, but havenít ever really done any metal fabrication before this.

    The barrel evaporator made by Vermont Evaporator Company is VERY nice. And although I initially thought the $900 price was steep, I no longer think that. I saw it in person, itís very nice. It has a big door with a good sized air inlet. It has tall legs. Itís painted nicely. And it converts to a woodburning grill, how neat! Plus, the people who make and sell it are super nice and helpful.

    If you canít afford or donít want to bother with a sugar shack for a permanent instillation for something like a Leader Half-Pint, I think either a homemade barrel stove or the Vermont Evaporator Company Sapling is a great option.

    IMG_5529.jpgIMG_5595.jpgIMG_5600.jpgIMG_5608.jpgIMG_5611.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Winter, Wisconsin
    Posts
    138

    Default

    One of the better barrel evaporators I've seen, nice work! You may consider adding another 4' of stack to help with draft since you are coming out of the barrel with a 90.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Thornton, NH
    Posts
    35

    Default

    A grate for fire to sit on and a hole in bottom for ashes? More importantly hole lets in air.
    You'll notice a hotter fire. Tractor supply has generic fire place grates.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Did you ramp up the fire bricks past the grate? Very nice build!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Delaware Co New York
    Posts
    121

    Default

    Wow looks great good luck with it welcome to the addiction
    55 gal drum w/ custom made pan fueled by wood
    homemade 24x36 electrical pull box w/ custom pan for standby evap
    RB-5 RO-Bucket
    Started 2011 with 17 taps
    2018 72 taps Drop lines in 5 gal water Jugs

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    NYS
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rock Bottom Maple View Post
    A grate for fire to sit on and a hole in bottom for ashes? More importantly hole lets in air.
    You'll notice a hotter fire. Tractor supply has generic fire place grates.
    I do use a grate, but don't have a hole. Thinking about that now, thanks!

    IMG_5597.jpg

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    NYS
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by themp View Post
    Did you ramp up the fire bricks past the grate? Very nice build!
    No, because I don't have enough bricks. I did think about getting some more and doing that, perhaps I will this year.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    NYS
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Austin351 View Post
    One of the better barrel evaporators I've seen, nice work! You may consider adding another 4' of stack to help with draft since you are coming out of the barrel with a 90.
    This is a great idea, I think I will add four feet for better draft. Thanks!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Westfield, NY
    Posts
    163

    Default

    When I had one, I welded a plate to the back that went above the stove pipe opening. It looked like one of those file folder holders that mount on a wall only it was steel. It forced the draw from the top of the plate so I did not need to build a ramp. Its was a reverse ramp sort of. It allowed me to use longer pieces of wood to as the space inside was not shortened up. I dont have pics and that arch is loooooong gone.
    backyard hobbyist
    2014 - roasting pan on 55 gallon barrel -1 gallon syrup 6 taps on buckets
    2015 - added blower to door -3 gallon syrup 10 taps on buckets
    2016 - 3 gallon syrup and 2 lbs. sugar 16 taps on buckets
    2017 - new Mason 2x3 w/AUF shooting for 20 to 30ish taps and more sugar
    2018 - did not boil
    2019 - Added RO, sudo 8x8 sugar shack, 72 taps
    N 42* 18' 31."
    W 79* 34' 15."
    https://www.saptapapps.com/map/31868...-aab748a6394e/

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

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