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Thread: Homemade Evaporator ideas

  1. #1
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    Default Homemade Evaporator ideas

    I'm going to upgrade from my cinder block arch this year. I've considered a barrel evaporator, but I have access to a local auction house that frequently auctions off old restaurant equipment. Can anyone think of a reason (steel to thin or something) that building an evaporator out of a used commercial freezer wouldn't work? They are steel on both the inside and outside. Though I'm not sure if the type of insulation they put in the walls of one of those would be susceptible to melting and exuding toxic gas of some sort.

    If that's not workable, I thinking of buying a 4 pan warming table. I'd probably have to add some sheets of steel to build the firebox, but it seems like it would be a good starting point.


    I only realized after posting that my title was incorrect. I'm looking to upgrade the arch, not the evaporating pan. Sorry for the confusion.
    Last edited by elitts; 07-14-2018 at 07:03 PM.

  2. #2
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    Most refrigeration equipment has a sprayfoam or foamboard core and is wrapped in pretty thin steel or plastic
    Matt Durrell
    2012 - 12 Taps hand me down 2x2 and made a barrel stove
    2014 - 20 Taps 8x10 timber-frame shack
    2015 - 25 Taps
    2016 - 28 Taps new 110 acres
    2017 - 12 Taps january, 55 Taps spring and 15 Taps fall, same ol 2x2
    2018 - Helping another sugarmaker 5000 Taps, 57 at home

  3. #3
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    Foam insulation will not be a good way to go. My suggestion is to find a used pan the size you want that if soldered it is leadfree solder. Then build an arch to fit the pan. This time of year is the best time to find a pan or pans, as it gets closer to next season it is often harder to find a decent pan. There are several threads on this forum by those who built an arch [the rest of the evaporator less the pan(s)].
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, down to about 700 in '16, up to 1000 for 2019?
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    added a gooseneck equipment trailer and F350 to tow it to haul more sap
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    http://s1041.photobucket.com/albums/...anssugarhouse/
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  4. #4
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    I think you could get by with pretty thin walls if you use ceramic blanket and brick it. You would still want to remove the foam insulation, I'm betting it will not hold up to the heat. It would be great if you could get it out and slide in blanket. My arch is actually fairly thin sheet metal, but I have ceramic blanket inside it then firebrick over the blanket and sealed up with refractory. I can put my hand on the side of the arch when cooking.

  5. #5
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    That's correct, the metal is not usually very thick on an arch and if you could remove the inner layer of metal, take out the foam and add ceramic blanket, then add refractory brick it would be great. It would also work OK if you just brick it after removing the foam but you would loose some heat thru the sides. At any rate, unless the outer skin has enough strength, you will need to build a frame to hold the weight of the pans with sap jumping in them. Until the late 1900's no or very few evaporators had any insulation , just fire brick. If I were building one now, I would add ceramic blanket, but mine currently only has firebrick except under the brick under the flue pan I have vermiculite too.
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, down to about 700 in '16, up to 1000 for 2019?
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    added a gooseneck equipment trailer and F350 to tow it to haul more sap
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    http://s1041.photobucket.com/albums/...anssugarhouse/
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  6. #6
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    Dang I read the start of this thread and held back on commenting because I was trying to wrap my mind around why making and EVAPORATOR out of the skin of a refrigerator would be easier than spending money on a used pan. Then i realized it morphed into a discussion about .................well I'm still confused because words and terminology have meaning.

    He said if it wasn't workable using the fridge he would use a 4 pan warming table with steel for the fire box. Forgive me but what is being constructed. Are we discussing making the Evaporator ( the part sap goes in) or the arch the part the Evaporator sits on?

    Because if the idea is to use the skin off a commercial SS refrigerator to skin the outside of the Arch I say Hell YA. Clean the crap off the inside and use it like any other metal siding. Now if you do a piss poor job of cleaning it then your eyes will burn and the shack will be toxic for a few boils but over time it will clear up.

    Once again I apologize if I sound like I'm nit picking but The simple act of boiling sap into syrup is one of simplest of adventures..................UNTIL you try and explain it using the pictures from your smart phone to a spell bound audience of Norwegians at an outdoor beer fest.

  7. #7
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    OH and I'm not picking on Norwegians I was married to one from Bergen once or twice and trust me family reunions were a real trip.

  8. #8
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    I'm going to upgrade from my cinder block arch this year.
    Haynes,

    I think the first part of his statement was the reason everyone assumed he is building the arch not evaporator pans.

  9. #9
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    And then he said "building and Evaporator". Buckeye I agree that most people that posted assumed he was talking about the arch. But I will admit my brain got all twisted up with the use of the terms.

    Now when we all get to talking shop and someone asks what kind of Evaporator do you have we all assume it's the entire system that your inquiring about. I know I get hung up on terms Like saying your going to use a Zero tank as a releaser NO YOUR NOT.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2018
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    Caledonia, MI
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    Default Yup. I used the wrong term

    I'm sorry for the confusion, yes, I'm talking about an arch, not the evaporating pan.


    Since it's been confirmed that a commercial refridgerator has non-heat tolerant insulation, I think I'll go with the Warming pan table idea.

    Mostly I like this idea because I can find a wheeled broken warming pan table for about 20-$40 that would provide the structure I'd need. Then I'd just need to weld up a little larger space for the firebox and insulate and firebrick it. Then depending on how much that cost me, I can either use catering pans for a year or two, or have a custom pan made right away.

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