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Extracting Essential Oils using StillDragon Equipment?

Is there equipment correct to making my own essential oils? Can you explain to me which products please?


  • edited November 2014

    Welcome to our exciting community, @EMcGuigan!

    And that's a very good question, I am wondering about myself. Hopefully someone with more insight in aroma / essential oil extraction (maybe @Mike ?) can tell us all about it.

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  • edited November 2014

    I have just supplied a 3" potstill setup to a customer for refining tea tree oil. Only reached him friday so it's not in use yet. I don't know a whole lot about it, but i'll ask him to chime in.

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  • edited November 2014

    You might want to hunt down the butane thread, I believe you may need to be granted permission to the members area to review it.

    That guy was doing some crazy crazy stuff.

  • Hi EMcGuigan,

    Most of what goes on here is spirits talk. But we would all love to learn more about the essential oils as well.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • BTW: I think, we have with @EMcGuigan a second lady distiller here! Welcome! :)>-

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • More here than you think.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • it is going to depend on what you are trying to get oils from but generally a pot still works with most oils. There are a few methods

    You want to use a pot still with a section you can pack herbs into, preferably with a screen at the bottom like this- Pack the section tightly with plant matter and run the still to collect the oil. You will have to separate the oil from the water. You can even put the plant matter in the boiler to boost production.

    Or you can run a pot still with a gin basket - Place herb in the basket and extract oils via steam. Generally you will want to use the highest wattage element you can run to produce the most steam.

    Some herbs will need to be soaked on alcohol and water to extract the oil first, discard the plant matter, and then run through a pot still.

    Then there are other methods like butane and CO2 extraction. Which are highly efficient. Although IMO only worth the set up costs if you are using it to produce commercial quantities of essential oil with little running costs.

  • @EMcGuigan welcome. i agree with what @cunnyfunt says re how to do it.

    i think that the big question relates to volume ie how much plant matter do you need to pack into the still to get a reasonable output? I'm assuming you are looking at a commercial use here...

    I know a guy who once made a still for tea tree oil on a trailer. He used 44 gal drums from memory & would tow it into the bush, load a lot of plant material into 1 drum which sat on top of another 44 which had water in it. He would then build a fire under the bottom pot & collect the output in another 44.

    Don't forget you can also use / sell the hydrosols (flower water) that the oil floats on ;-)

  • edited November 2014

    I do this every day all day long.

    Southern Oregon Made @ Instagram

    Supply local clinics and OMMP cardholders in Oregon with extracts of so far, 200+ genetics of Cannabis. Doing hops and other herbs as well now. Going to give samples to local brewery for flavor. Hit me up on instagram or Or here but response may be slow.

  • I will be selling these systems on after I am done writing and posting new content. The current site has poorly written content. I am looking for partners to help with importing of steel as the design I want to put into production is costly to have done locally.

  • Hello, Sorry if I sound a bit childish, but I'm new here.. My school purchased a Baine Marie Pot Belly Kettle to use it as a fermenter. I was wondering if I could use it to obtain essential oils either by Hydro Distillation or Steam Distillation. We have a reflux extension (I think) and maybe I could use that as a holder for my plant material to undergo steam distillation. Does anyone think that is possible? Being a double boiler.. are there any special settings for the temperature and pressure? Do I need special gaskets? I really don't know, because I never used the fermenter. We always obtained essential oils in a Clevenger apparatus.. but that one is way to small (30 g material plant). Thank you in advance!

  • edited October 2017

    I helped make up an essential oil still for a mate. The picture shows the basic setup with variations on the product condenser. He went for the Leibig version because of height constraints.

    The other thing you need is a glass oil separator. That goes under the output of the product condenser. It has an outlet a bit above halfway down where you take of the oil. At the bottom is a tap where you bleed off the water components. You need to adjust the taps so that the water component is always lower than the oil take off. The rate of oil flow reduces as the run goes on, so a constant adjustment is necessary.


    Essential Oil Still.jpg
    800 x 615 - 38K
  • Just resurrecting a thread for essential oils.

    Anyone have any good comments or what better to do or have any practical experience ??

  • Well, sure. The techniques for this process are centuries old. You don't need stainless, it didn't exist back then. You need a simple fire box, on which sits a vessel of water with a simple automatic top-up.

    This boiling water, mostly steam, then passes through a fine mesh or similar to extract the oils sitting above the liquid, in the vapour space of the same vessel heating the water. I use this approach.

    An alternate approach is an offset botanical basket, in my mind this just makes things more complicated and more expensive but nonetheless emploed by many around the world.

    So, all we've done to this stage is to create a very hot steam vapour carrying the essential oils of our botanicals.

    The next step is the condenser, really your only considerations here are how fast you want to condense and what the oranoleptic impact might be using various materials of construction. Stainless v Copper v Glass v Titanium or any combination of these. Don't stress too much, they'll all produce a great product of varying but subtly different outcomes.

    Now for the last step, you now need to separate the lighter oil phase from the more dense water phase. For this you ideally want a separating vessel which has a tall aspect ratio. Let gravity do the work for you but mire importantly the narrow and tall separating vessel allows you to make a finer cut.

    Cut a little short of where the oil layer starts if yields are super important to you. If you're also selling the recently decanted water phase as a hydrosol then allowing a very fine amount to carry over may not be an issue.

    If yield of oil is number 1, transfer the oil plus the little water to a smaller tall aspect vessel to make a finer cut again or alternatively, decant via an ever decreasing circumference to a very narrow glass or transparent section followed by a fine valve control for an accurate cut between the two phases.

    I'm not sure if I answered anyone's question(s) or if I simply waffled on.

    Happy distilling folks.



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