The Mk III Terpenator

Those of ya’ll who have been following our progress with the Mk I and II Terpenators, as well as the Lil Terp passive extractor and Enabler compound fractioning still, will be interested in our new Mk III Terpenator, based on the Lil Terp chassis.

This is just one more configuration possible with the Lil Terp tanks, simply by changing out the modified lids and bolting on readily available parts.

You will note that the collection tank is a simple 6″ X 6″ sanitary spool, with a standard end plate and clamp for both top and bottom.  We laser cut and machined new bottoms for the first Lil Terp series, but that is not necessary starting with a 6″ spool.  The top plate is the only piece in the whole assembly, that is not standard off the shelf at either Glacier Tank, or at Paramount Supply.

This picture is a mockup of both Lil Terp and Mk III Terpenator parts, but I will post the final assembly with the correct parts, when they arrive back from the machine shop and welder.

The column shown holds about two ounces, but the system will accept longer columns.  Cycle time is unknown until we run trials with our prototype, but with the same sized pumps and smaller volumes, we are expecting it to be faster than the Mk I, which processes about half a pound per cycle.

Here is the lid maching detail.  I’m also replacing the long Tee for butane injection, with a more petite one made from a short reducing spool and a 1/4″ 304SS nipple.  I’ll post pictures when I get the pieces back from the machine shop:

Here is a preview treat of the Mk IV layout mockup, which also has parts out for machining”

Hee, hee, hee, the Mk III parts are back from the machine shop and ready to be welded.


Lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1  It lives!  The Mark III lives!

Hee, hee, hee, here is the purdy lady and her butane storage tank complete and ready for testing!


Lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu, whoop, whoop, ahwhoooooooooooooooo!! Hee, hee, hee, snicker snark snort………………

The Mk III worked ran like a Formula I on the Appion twin, and actually beats the throughput of the Mk IA, albeit with a column change in the middle.

Not counting the first cleaner load running leaf, I ran five column loads, of three different strains and material grades, and they weighed from 135 to 200 grams, all packed in the same 1.5 X 24″ column.

The thing that is mind boggling after running the Mk IA, which will process about 470 grams per hour of prime bud, is that although the Mk III has a column capacity 33% less than MklIA, it processes it through the same number of cycles in 12 minutes.  It therefore can run four cycles per hour, vis a vis the Mk IA’s about 25 minutes per cycle, or two cycles per hour.

That is not counting the 5 minutes hard soak at the end of a series of runs of the same strain, which both the Mk IA and III add on to a series, but not to each cycle.

The Mk IA processes about 470 grams in two 235 gram cycles, in the same amount of time that the Mk III processes about 600 grams in 4 cycles.

The Mk III is actually so fast using the Appion, that the pressure gauge on the first reclaim cycle, looks like the minute hand on the clock as it falls.

The second flood and recover cycle is not quite so fast, as more butane made it through the second cycle, and the third is of course the long one, because it is evaporating butane out of the now open column as well.

As I don’t have column heat on the Mk III test sled, the columns iced up on the last cycle, which was slooooow compared to the first two, so I will add column heat.

That was the only time available to stuff the next column, because the other cycles are happening too fast to not pay close attention.

Peak operating pressure in the Mk III ran about ten psi higher than the Mk IA, at 45/50 psi, compared to the Mk IA’s 35/45 psi.  All well within the component pressure ratings.

The only thing that didn’t go very well, was my picture taking, with most of the equipment in mixed shadows under a tree, but got one  that demonstrates the point.  Alas no good oil shots, as the light wasn’t suitable for in the pot and we washed it out with ethanol for winterizing.

I promise to do better with the pictures next time and will report the yields after winterization is complete.

One thing that we did do, that departs from the original plan, is to use a 50# refrigerant recovery tank, instead of our fabricated one, to speed thing up with its greater condensing area and lower price.

Here is the parts list and costs.  I will try to get a more finite breakdown on labor, with the next build.  The total included building a storage tank as well and extra set up time for a single run, so ostensibly future labor will be less.

Mk III Terpenator parts list

1 1/4″ 316SS tubing/.035 wall $0.97/ft $3.88 Paramount Supply
2 1/4 NPT to 1/4″ Compression 304 SS 4CM4316 2 $6.8 $13.60 Paramount Supply
3 NPT 1/4″ female X 1 1/2″ triclamp end cap 304 1 $10.95 $10.95 Glacier Tank
4 1 1/2″ Sanitary triclamp 4 $5.90 $23.60 Glacier Tank
5 1 1/2″ X 24″ Sanitary spool piece 1 $45 $45 Glacier Tank
6 1 1/2″ Teflon sanitary seals 2 $1.20 $2.40 Glacier Tank
7 1 /12″ Buna N sanitary seals with screens N/A 2 $15.90 $31.80 Brewery Gaskets
8 6″ Buna N sanitary seal W181663 1 $14.92 $14.92 Sustainable Supply
9 1 1/2 X 1″ Sanitary concentric reducer 1 $12 $12 Glacier Tank
9.1 1 1/2″ sanitary X 3/4 ball valve 1 $25 $25 Glacier Tank
9.2 1/4″ X 4″ 304 SS Schedule 40 nipple  1/2 used 1 $1.41 $0.71 Paramount Supply
9.3 Modify by machining 1 * * Moody Machining
9.4 Weld 1 * * Gibson Welding
10 1/4″ Ball valve 3 $11.17 $33.51 Paramount Supply
11 1/4″ MPT X 1/4″ Male flare brass 3 $8.29/5 $4.98 Paramount Supply
13 1 1/2 X 12″ (1/2 of) sanitary spool 1 $35 *$17.50 Glacier Tank
14 6″ Sanitary end cap Cap-600 1 $35 $35 Glacier Tank
14.1 Modify lid by machining 1 lot * * Moody Machining
14.4 Weld 1 lot * * Gibson Welding
15 6″ Sanitary tri clamp 1 $25.27 $25.27 Glacier Tank
16 3/8″ 304SS half coupling 1 $1.20 $1.20 Paramount Supply
17 3/8″ X close 304SS nipple 3 $1.11 $3.33 Paramount Supply
18 3/8″ 304SS cross 1 $6 $6 Paramount Supply
19 3/8″ X 1/4″ 304SS bushing 2 $0.94 $1.88 Paramount Supply
20 1/4″ X close 304 SS nipple 4 $0.92 $3.68 Paramount Supply
21 3/8″ 304SS ball valve 1 $12.05 $12.05 Paramount Supply
22 3/8 MPT X 3/8″ male flare brass 1 $0.76 $0.76 Paramount Supply
23 1/4″ X 7″ 304SS nipple/Threaded one end 1 $4.32 $4.32 Paramount Supply
24 6″ X 6″ sanitary spool from 6″ X 12 spool 1 $105 *$52.50 Glacier Tank
25 Tank bottom laser cut to size 1 $32 $32 BBC Steel
26 Tank bottom machining 1 * * Moody Machining
27 Weld tank bottom inside and out 1 lot * * Gibson Welding
29 Total materials $492.88 Materials only
30 Actual machining and welding labor $180 Labor only
31 Total cost to build $672.88

* Breakdown not available.  Use actual lot costs for total

** 1/2 left over for a potential second unit.


Progress has been made!  I set up an aerospace quality manufacturing network to build Mk IIIA kits, and we licensed manufacture and distribution to Specialized Formulations, who now has a sample lot of five Mk IIIA lid and injection tee kits being machined and welded, to the latest design.

The Mk IIIA design differs from the original Mk III, from the standpoint that the 3/8″ half coupling was replaced with a 3/8″ nipple and the cross assembly welded in place to clock it properly and eliminate two threaded joints.

The Mk IIIA design also incorporates a 6″ X 6″ sanitary spool for the lower tank, as opposed to splitting a 6″ X 12″ sanitary spool and welding on a new bottom.  The new arrangement uses a tri-clamped end cap for a bottom, which costs less overall and allows easier cleaning.

The Mk IIIA can use either passive heat and cold techniques for recovery, or a refrigeration pump to reduce cycle time to less than 15 minutes, as with the Mk III.

1.0 Glacier Tank          
1.1 NPT 1/4″ female X 1   1/2″ end cap 304SS 22MP-6025 1 $10.95 $10.95 Glacier Tank
1.2 1 1/2″ Sanitary   triclamp MHM-150 4 $5.90 $23.60 Glacier Tank
1.3 1 1/2″ X 24″   Sanitary spool piece SP-150-024 1 $45 $45 Glacier Tank
1.4 1 1/2″ Teflon sanitary   seals 40MPG-150 2 $1.20 $2.40 Glacier Tank
1.5 1 1/2 X 1″ Sanitary   concentric reducer B3114MP-C150-100 1 $12 $12 Glacier Tank
1.6 1 1/2″ sanitary X 1″   ball valve BV-2CV-100 1 $69 $69 Glacier Tank
1.7 1 1/2 X 12″ (1/2 of)   sanitary spool SP-150-012 1 $35 *$17.50 Glacier Tank
1.8 6″ Sanitary tri clamp 13MHM-600 2 $29 $58 Glacier Tank
1.10 6″ X 6″ sanitary   spool SP-600-006 1 $97 $97 Glacier Tank
1.10.1 Or 6″ X   12″ sanitary spool (cut into two 6″) SP-600-012 1 $120 *$60 Glacier Tank
1.11 6″ Sanitary end cap 16AMP-G600 2 $42 $84 Glacier Tank
1.12  Total in Mk IIIA configuration       $419.45  
 In Mk III configuration $382.45
1.0 Special Seals          
1.1 1 /12″ Buna N sanitary   seals with screens N/A 2 $15.90 $31.80 Brewery Gaskets
1.2 6″ Buna N sanitary seal W181663 2 $14.92 $29.84 Sustainable Supply
1.3 Total       $61.64  
1.0 Tank Bottom blanks required only for Mk III, not the MK IIIA          
1.1 Tank bottom laser cut to   size 1 $33.50 $33.50 BBC Steel
1.2 Total       $33.50  
1.0 Paramount   Supply          
1.1 1/4″ 316SS tubing/.035   wall 3405630 4′ $1.07/ft $4.29 Paramount Supply
1.2 1/4 NPT to 1/4″   Compression 304 SS 4304913 2 $7.56 $15.12 Paramount Supply
1.3 1/4″ X 4″ 304 SS   Sch 40 nipple/ 1/2 used 3406164 1 $1.57 $1.57 Paramount Supply
1.4 1/4″ Ball valve 3492303 3 $12.41 $37.23 Paramount Supply
1.5 1/4″ MPT X 1/4″   Male flare brass 1719939 3 ~$3 $9 Paramount Supply
1.6 3/8″ X 3″ 304SS nipple   cut in half 1 ~$2 $2 Paramount Supply
1.7 3/8″ X close 304SS   nipple 3406253 1 $1.37 $1.37 Paramount Supply
1.8 3/8″ 304SS cross 3449726 1 $7.41 $7.41 Paramount Supply
1.9 3/8″ X 1/4″ 304SS   bushing 3408515 2 $1.16 $2.32 Paramount Supply
1.10 1/4″ X close 304 SS   nipple 3406105 1 $1.14 $1.14 Paramount Supply
1.11 3/8″ 304SS ball valve 3492311 1 $14.88 $14.88 Paramount Supply
1.12 3/8 MPT X 3/8″ male   flare brass 1719980 1 $0.93 $0.93 Paramount Supply
1.13 1/4″ X 6″ 304SS   nipple/Threaded one end Special 1 $5.33 $5.33 Paramount Supply
1.14 Total       $102.59  
1 Glacier Tank $419.45
2 Gaskets $61.64
3 Paramount Supply $102.59
4 Total parts $583.68


Terpenator Operating Instructions

The Terpenator series are operated as follows:

1.0       Open all valves, except for valve #4, the butane supply valve.

2.0       Turn on high vacuum pump and pump system down to -29.5″Hg.

3.0       Close valves #1 and #3.

4.0       Turn off high vacuum pump and turn on the recovery pump.

5.0       Place one hand on the vent line exiting the top of the column and turn on valve    #4.

6.0       When you feel the sudden chill of liquid butane reaching the vent tube, close  valve #2, and then valve #4.  Record the number of seconds required to flood the column with the existing packing density.

7.0       Continue to pump with the recovery pump, until the internal pressure is reduced to -10″Hg.

8.0       Open valve # 2 and valve # 4 for the same number of seconds that it took to flood the column the first time.

9.0       Close valve #2 and then #4 and continue to pump, until the system pressure is again reduced to -10″Hg.

10.0     Repeat steps #8 and #9 for as many cycles as you choose to run.  Typically three cycles for the Mk IA and II, and five cycles for the faster Mk III and IIIA.

11.0     At the end of the last cycle, when the gauge hits -10″Hg, open valve #2 and then valve #3 to dump column.

12.0     Continue to pump until the system reaches -22″Hg, at which point close valve #5 and turn off the recovery pump.

13.0     Open valve #1, and turn on the high vacuum pump.

14.0     Pump the system down to -29.5″Hg and close valve #1.

15.0     Shut off the vacuum pump and allow the system to sit under hard vacuum for 5 minutes to purge.

16.0     Remove product from lower collection tank.


Heads up!  Beta testing revealed one leaky lower dump valve thus far, and as there is no packing adjustment on the valve, we have replaced it with a three piece, adjustable and rebuildable 1″ ball valve, that sells for $69.  The part number is BV2CV-100.

We bought the last ones Glacier Tank has in stock and new ones are out 8 weeks, so as an alternate, will use a Dixon three piece triclamp ball valve at $115 in the interiem.  It is available from Paramount Supply as PN 115-BV 2 -GG-150-CC-A.

For those of ya’ll relying on the Mk II parts list for hoses, we have also replaced the 3/8″ recovery hose with one from RSD refrigeration supply.  The hoses listed has undersized ports and substaintially increases recovery time.


Mk IIIA Terpenator Parts List



1 Wyott RCW-11 Commercial soup pot 1 $180
2 G-5 Appion Twin refrigerant recovery pump. 1 $680
3 Vacuum pump 1 $185
4 Hoses
1/4 $55
 3/8 RSD refrigeration supply house 3/8″ X 5′ heavy duty   charging hose 1 $37.55
50# Refrigerant recovery tank 1 $103



Depending on what you are extracting the oil for, you can vary the recovery pot temperature from ambient to 212F.  As the temperature increases, the oil becomes more decarboxylated and looser, and the plant sugars caramelize, darkening them.

Here is a picture of oil extracted at 85F, showing how blonde it starts out as carboxylic acid shatter.

Cold extract-1-1


An option to the Appion G-5 or the CPS-T-21, is the Caresaver Universal refrigerant recovery machine, which can be viewed at

They are designed to pump R-600 and R-600A refrigerants, which should gladden the hearts of the fire marshals, but they are not oil less, so we don’t use them ourselves.

More information can be had from Mathew Ellis at, or at  720.412.5194, and they sell for $2380 ea, plus applicable taxes and shipping, in units of one and $2240 for five or more


Hi ya’ll!

Here is an updated Mk IIIA parts lists compliments of David.  Also check with Specialized Formulations for pricing and availability of complete kits at

Mk IIIA parts from David1 001Mk III parts list from david2 001Mk III parts david 3 001Mk V list from david 4 001Mk V parts list by david5 001

606 responses to this post.

  1. […] More Mk III info at Reply With […]

  2. Posted by sean on February 20, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    wondering where i can buy a MK III ?

  3. Posted by Lk on January 12, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    I think I’ve got some moisture build up in my recovery tank. I’m currently running my mkIIIA with a Ek-032 mf on the incoming butane line. I’d like to put another filter before the appion pump. What would you recommend, and how often do you replace these?

  4. Posted by Jon on January 3, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    Hey SPR,

    Is it possible to purchase a MK3 prebuilt? I think I will have a difficult time trying to assemble one myself.


  5. Appion G5 ? = When doing the seal rebuild is there another source for the hard plastic seal on the piston? The one that goes over the 0 ring on the piston. I ruined one trying to get it on the piston and would like to not have to buy a whole new kit just for one of the hard plastic seals. thanks as always. stay warm friends.

  6. Posted by Scott on December 18, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Hey SPR,
    I wanted to start by thanking you for all the information you have shared. I went and read every question and response on this post, but have not found my question asked yet. I’ve finished putting together my MKIIIa and have done three runs now, but my end product keeps coming out very dark, almost black. I am using a thermometer in the soup warmer and H2O temps start around 80° F, climb to 95ish then drop to mid-40s on final purge. Do you guys use anything below your collection pot so that it is not sitting directly on the soup warmer? I have a feeling that the H2O may be around the 80’s but the metal is hotter.
    Thanks for everything!!

    • For blonde shatter, we set the Mk III beside the soup pot, and only occasionally dip it in it to de-ice the lower end so we can what level the puddle is at. That takes the internal temperature to 25/50 degrees below zero.

      • Posted by Scott on January 3, 2014 at 2:35 PM

        Ok, so I did as you explained and processed without using any heat and I ended up with a nice golden crumble. To obtain shatter or wax from this I would need to vacuum purge and apply some heat?

    • Most of the time when I see oil come out dark or black when the temps are in range is due to several factors in my experience.

      1- If the starting material has been ground up. Don’t grind your material. Check out GW’s “Nug Buster” for the best size.

      2- Some strains are very dark. This is rare, but some strains produce a dark product vs. a blonde product.

      3- Old material that was decarboxylated due to poor storage conditions.

  7. Posted by spooneyluv on December 8, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    We are having further problems with valve leakage. This time, we are seeing small bits of oil coming out of the large 1.5″ ball valve (#3), or the “dump valve”. This is on top of having major issues with butane leakage from the normal valves, even when they are new. Have you seen this issue with the large dump valve before? What do you recommend to fix the issue, replacing the valve or cleaning it out?

    • I infer that we are talking about leaks at the valve stem, in which case I have seen leaks at the stems on both types as received and pressure tested, but except for one occasion, was able to seal it by simply tightening the packing gland nut. On that occasion, it was the large three piece dump valve from Glacier, and I returned it.

      I’ve also seen valve packing wear out, requiring repacking or valve replacement. The one piece valves are under $20 each from Paramount Supply, so we just replace them, and the whole reason for the more expensive three piece valve, is that complete rebuild kits are available for them.

      Have you taken the handles off all the valves and tightened the packing gland nut yet?

    • I’ve had this happen with the 3/8″ and 1/4″ WOG valves from paramount. Tightening the packing gland nut on the valve did the trick.

      I would recommend taking the large sanitary dump valve apart and cleaning it with acetone and > 90% isopropyl rubbing alcohol. The packing glands are made of Teflon and the entire assembly is rather easy to clean and put back together.

  8. Posted by Steve on December 8, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    I have a brand new never used Mk 3 Terpenator with a extra tube and tank, all hoses, fittings, recovery tank & pumps, soup warmer, this is a full set up all you need is material to run and we have that as well. Every thing is new but the vacuum pump but it is only a year old with very little use. We have decided to go another way. Email me for details…Cash

  9. Posted by step on December 5, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    Hi Guys,

    We have had a lot of luck extracting dry material at about 150g per 1.5″x24″ column. However, in switching over to processing fresh, frozen material we have experienced column blockage at packing densities over ~175g per column. Symptoms include low gauge pressure during floods and short recovery times. The coffee filters at the top of the tube seem to become saturated with water and act as a barrier to the butane.

    Is standing water on our fresh material causing these filters to wet? Are we at risk of dissolving any water into our butane at this operating temperature? We have been taking the vacuum bags out of the freezer and allowing the material to dry to the touch before packing, or so we think.

    We did a test without coffee filters and were able to see more traditional pressure readings for flood cycles with ~20F butane (~15psi), but of course a little bit of debris made it to the recovery pot.

    How much fresh material do you all normally get in a column of this size?

  10. n last on the column heast question is , Is this stuff comparable to the tape from Platt ?


  11. Is this the animal you recomend or is there another “controller part ” not in this setup I would need to make it work on a 24″ column? thanks again. I’m trying to get over this “damn it s cold out” hump as quick as I can.

    • It is 7 watts a foot. Which is one watt more than the expensive stuff from platt and it sez it protects pipes down to – 40 F. You can’t spiral it though and I figured a person could run it back and forth to cover as much surface as possible. Any thoughts on this idea as “maybe too much stress on the wiring bending etc.”? I like the heat blanket it is just to expensive today. thanks again.

    • We used about 24 feet of pipe heat wrap on the Mk I and II and we’re using Briskheat silicone heating pads on the Mk IV and V.

  12. situation = When dumping the column appion pulls to about 18 and then stops and actually loses ground to about 16. It also takes longer than before. Then if shut down and vacuum pump to 28 and then turned back on after shutting down the vac pump still the appion will lose ground back to about 18. The pump had the fan clutch go out and I replaced that. The appion in the bench test pumps to 500 in less than 30 seconds. It pumped the mk iii down to 22 when it was just air.Outside Air temp is around 40 F and water in cooking pot is between 75 F and 120 F. Recovery tank temp about 32 to 40 F. Figure it is the seals or valves but am making sure it isn’t because of the outside air temps. Thanks.

    • Yeah, the low outside air is playing havoc with us’ns too. I have been relying on watching the ice formation on the tank, to tell where the boiling level is, because the vacuum gauge is virtually worthless at low temperatures, because the boiling points are are lowered so far by the refrigeration from evaporation.

      Column heat will help speed that part of the cycle up and I will be experimenting with a thermocouple inside the Mk IV pot, to see if we can monitor what is going on, by tracking the pool temperature.

  13. How much would be saved by adding column heat on a 24″ x 1 1/2″ column in a air temp of 36 F ? Is it possible to run without column heat at 40 F degrees air temp with a 95 F cooking pot? thanks. and stay warm n dry. happy holidaze

    • You can run without column heat in cold weather, but it really slows things down. The longest part of the cycle is reclaiming the butane soaked into the plant material in the column.

      You can cut that part of the cycle at least in half with heat.

  14. Posted by Classico on November 20, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Once again I’d like to thank you for all the help and timely advice you’ve given me and everyone else so far, it’s been invaluable. With that said, I’ve got yet another question.

    It was suggested about two months ago to start doing the extraction with a water bath temperature of 80 degrees F, since then (and the possible connection only just occurred to me now) our extraction times went from two runs in ten hours to one run in 17 hours. Now, we are using a much larger column, so that’s why it took ten hours to do two runs, and we were very happy with that, but the amount of time it is taking now is pretty much untenable (I can’t expect to be paid for 17 hours work for each run). My theory is that with such a low temperature in the bath we reach an equilibrium of sorts and are making the recovery pump do all the work of removing the butane rather than allowing the heat to do the majority of the work. Does this make sense?

    My boss vacuum purges the product once it is removed at 120 degrees F, but thinks 80 degrees in the machine leads to a more shatter-y product, whereas I’m of the opinion it doesn’t matter since he is increasing the temperature to 120 anyway…

    We’re going to test this the next batch, but we both thought it would be prudent to ask you.

    Thanks again.

    • New material starts out as shatter or carboxylic acid and becomes softer as it is decarboxylated.

      We get maximum speed out of a Terpenator by cranking the hot pot temperature up to simmering water, and produce a partially decarboxylated oil on a summer day in about 15 minutes.

      Running without heat on the lower tank takes about an hour per cycle, or about four times as long. This winter, with temperatures closer to freezing, it takes two or three times that long, so we run column heat on all the larger machines.

      The issue is, that as the butane is evaporated out of the plant material in the column, and the pool in the tank evaporated away under vacuum, the latent heat of vaporization produces considerable refrigeration, and lowers the butane temperature to below its boiling point, stopping the process until it warms a bit.

      If we add back the amount of heat it takes to negate the refrigeration and keep the boiling going, but not raise the temperature, we can still extract light carboxylic acid shatters.

  15. Posted by N0K7U12N4L on November 17, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Hey guys,

    I recently started purchasing the parts to build the terpenator III and would like to know if I’m off on the right foot. First I would like to say you may have answered these questions on another page or earlier on this page so my apologies, but I have been trying to do all o this from my phone so its quite difficult. My first question is, the extra 6X6 spool you bought for the terp you mentioned was for a storage tank, but after looking at your pictures and diagrams I fail to see it being used so I assume the extra storage tank was for another purpose? Secondly, I started buying all the spools, and fittings and already have my appion and a mastercool 115 vacuum pump I have for use with my vacuum chamber. My question is the vacuum pump is only rated to 1.5CFM, and the one you spec’d was a 6CFM pump I believe. Now In my mind I only see the pump being used to pull the initial vacuum and the apion does the rest of the actual recovery so CFM wouldn’t make a huge difference it would just take longer to initially pull a full vacuum correct? The flood times and everything would still be the same no? Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    • The flood times and everything would still be the same no? Thank you for taking the time to read this.
      We found that a 50# refrigerant recovery tank was cheaper and faster, so we no longer make the original Mk III butane storage tank.

      A smaller pump will work, it just takes longer for the two vacuum cycles.

  16. Posted by Ari on November 14, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Greetings, Do you have an available systems diagram for engineering this machine? I would like to build.

  17. Posted by spooneyluv on November 13, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    Can you describe the procedure for clearing out the blasted material from the columns? What kind of air compressor do you use? How high of pressure is required? We have tried a 100 psi compressor, and the air just shoots through the center of the column and doesn’t blow any material out. Not sure if we have a leak or if our compressor is just too weak.

    • Using a pancake Porter Cable nail gun compressor at 125psi.

      If you are just blasting out the center, try leaving the filter in the pressure end.

    • Posted by Father Earth on November 17, 2013 at 10:54 PM

      Spooney, Yea if you pack tubes to max capacity its hard to get em to blow out @100psi. 125psi will get most of your tubes blasted out, Im using a dewalt that adjusts up to 125 and nearly all my tubes blow out. Whereas before using 100psi 50% or less would actually clear. Pack em a lil looser if need be, beats digging em out with whatever is handy.150g or less..

  18. GW. hello brother and i hope all is good with you, i am still struggling on my returns somewhat but have got improvement and thanks for the help. well long story short u know us men are hard to keep happy and want to try to be the best we can at what we do, so i was wondering bout the terpinators here would they give me a better return using this vs a glass column? i have been reading but their is so much its hard not to jump around and read a little of everything. but i was interested in the returns on the terp. thanks for taking the time to read and give help.

    • We average between 20 an 25% return on prime bud and about half that on trim, with the best run 28.1%.

      We averaged closer to 18/20% before hand, unless we dumped and repacked a couple of times and our best run was 21.6%.

  19. Posted by Classico on November 7, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    Good evening again. I’ve got a hopefully quick question for you all.

    We’ve got an extra Appion and recovery tank laying around. What I’m thinking of doing is filling the other tank with butane, and connecting the inlet lines to a tee, and the output from the machine also through a tee back into the two pumps. The idea being that running them in parallel would surely increase the speed of recovery. I Should mention we’re running a 3 inch four foot column, so the speed increase is highly desired. Thanks ahead of time for any advice.

    • Pretty hard to control which tank the butane goes to when they are teed together. We tee two pumps into one 100# tank on the Mk V and it works OK, but haven’t tried into two tanks.

      If you try it, please report back, and do watch the tank weights after recovery to insure that one isn’t overfilling.

      • Posted by Father Earth on November 17, 2013 at 11:08 PM

        When Teeing two tanks to the G5 make sure the hoses are the exact same everything(length, diameter, ball valves etc) and the the tanks are in the same ice bath. The temps must be the same or it will effect how they fill. Also if you leave the vapor ports open and connected to the G5 , and they are the same temp the butane/ pressure will equalize on its own given enough time. Before you store or transport the tanks weigh them to be sure they are in the safe zone and below 80% capacity. I leave my tanks vapor valve open between days when connected to the tee’d system. so that any pressure build up is shared between tanks before I weigh them and put them away for storage. Our system is used everyday so this is the reason for leaving them open. Currently running two MKIII’s on one G5 with two tanks, everyday for a week now with no troubles.

      • Posted by Classico on November 20, 2013 at 3:11 PM

        I shall absolutely report back, still waiting on a few parts. I weigh the tank after each run anyway to keep track of any possible losses of butane, so I’m not terribly worried about an overpressure, if this turns into a concern I might affix an inline gauge to each tank and adjust the pump valves accordingly.

  20. Posted by tylerdurden71 on November 7, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    for the guy who experienced high temps… your system is clogged at that spot and the heat is a result of pressure building up. probably because the butane can’t get past that blockage. immediately dump your column and reclaim so that you can fix the issue

  21. Processing with the MkIII

    The easy part for me was the simple machining & welding it took to get a bullet-proof MkIIIa assembled together (although buying the parts piece-by-piece took me over a year). No leaks, right out of the gate. I cleaned out a light film of mystery oil after loading up the system with 5x. Ran a couple loads with a 12” tube. And WOW…’s a thing of beauty, and I do not see any petro indications under a black light. Sweet!

    But alas, my shining mechanical aptitude has been trumped by my ignorance of alchemy. My first goal is that sinfully tasteful BHO that has some flow to it. Mine has a nice color, but seams too waxy and has no flow until warmed up.

    Process used- Collection pot kept at 115-120 degrees during extraction. After extraction, the same 115 degrees held for 3-4 hours under -29.5 hg. Then kept at -29.5 overnight at room temp.

    Questions related to oil for vaporizing-

    What should I use to wash the walls of the collection pot? Can this oil be reclaimed?
    Is there more processing that needs to be done after the vacuum purging to get to more of an oil?

    Thanks in advance for any advice on this.

    • We clean out pot walls with 190 proof ethanol and reclaim both the ethanol and the left over oil.

      If you want a looser oil, crank up your collection pot temperature. For maximum oiliness, keep it at boiling and to retain the extraction as carboxylic acid shatter, don’t use any heat.

  22. Posted by Lk on November 4, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    Is it possible to run the mk III with a 2″ column with a 1.5×2″ reducer on both ends? Or, would I need a 10″x10″ collection tank on the bottom to compensate for the extra volume?

    • Not longer than about 33 inches. You can dump about 80 cubic inches of butane in the tank and still be far enough from the pump intake, to not aspirate liquid.

      • Would a 12″W x 24″L recovery tank/storage tank be fine for a material tube of 48″x36″ ? and still be fine for liquid butane in the tank with no aspiration issues?

        • A 48″ X 36″ tube would be huge, so I infer that you are talking length. If so, we are using 4″ tubes up to 48″ long should work on a 12″ X 24″ lower tank.

          • Posted by Chrispi on January 2, 2014 at 9:46 PM

            Question. Building a bigger Version. i would like to run 6 inch tubing that is 36″ in length. how big of a recover vessel will i need?

          • Assuming it is sanitary tubing and is 6″ OD, a 36″ length would hold about 935 cubic inches. I like to keep at least 6″ between the bubbling pool and the pump intake, so if it was a 12″ OD lower tank, it would have to be about 15″ tall.

    • Posted by Classico on November 7, 2013 at 7:13 PM

      Yes, it’s what we do, only with a four foot, 3 inch column. I should mention though our recovery vessel is a two foot spool and not the same size as designed.

  23. Posted by Gonzo Farms on November 2, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    First a huge thank you to the whole Skunk Pharm Research crew. You information is a blessing. I have been want to go the route of making a MK III and was for budget reasons hoping to go in stages, starting with a more or less standard passive pass through column system. Assuming that the solid end capped is machined to receive the butane nozzle and I place coffee filters on both ends of the column does this look like a function setup:

    Qty Item Price
    1 TriClamp 1 1/2″ Sanitary Tubing Spools 18″ Length

    1 TriClamp BUNA-N Screen Gasket 20 mesh 1 1/2 ”

    2 TriClamp 1″-1 1/2″ Single Hinge Clamp HD

    1 TriClamp End Cap 1-1 1/2″ w/1″ Cut out SS304

    1 TriClamp End Cap 1/2″-3/4″ SS304

    • You need two gaskets, whether they both are screened or not.

      Not sure what you are planning with the end caps??? I use one with a female 1/4″ NPT hole in it and it would be easy to bush down to injector size.

      If the bottom is where you are planning the 1″ cutout, it should work if you will pack a couple of coffee filters on top of the material, before putting the screen in place. I would do so on both ends, so as to help diffuse the incoming butane and guard against blowing back particles, if you release the injection pressure by moving away the can.

  24. Hi,

    Apologies if this has been covered (and it probably has and I just haven’t found it…)

    Is it necessarry to have the column completely filled with dry material? Or can it be safely operated partially filled?

    Our cooperative does 20+ varities- some just as trials or on the request of patient members with specific needs, and we would prefer to keep all extractions single varietal rather then potentially having to mix to fill the column completely, or, more to the point, having to build at least two different size tubes to maximixe the machines usefulness.

  25. Posted by tom on October 28, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    You guys parts list is a little off, but i got all my parts and Mark3 all put together and pressure tested. Ready to do my first run. Wish me luck.

    • 304 or 316 are both suitable.

      I purposely kept all the material in contact with the medications stainless steel, but PTFE would be my first choice for plastic, in this application.

      The diagrams should work for the lid and injection tee, which are the only modified parts.

    • Good luck and bon appetite!

    • Posted by david on October 30, 2013 at 11:56 AM

      Hi Tom,

      I’m still putting mine together, my goal with the list was to find errors, do you mind pointing out what mistakes were made? You would be doing me a great favor :)


    • Posted by tom on November 7, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      Well we just ran over 5P threw the new system..Good SHATTER But i still say my SHATTER blown threw my glass tube is better

      • Hee, hee, hee, sounds like a shoot out is in order! Mind if we bring our own Terpenator shatter for comparison?

        • Posted by Manny on November 15, 2013 at 11:27 AM

          This is touching on what I am seeking. I too experienced better shatter through an open blast than in a closed loop. After seeing a second unit do a run which had pressure gauges, it seems to be that the combination of vacuum in recovery unit and pressure in the gas tank are the key in dialing in the best and cleanest texture of shatter. Question, is the pressure necessary specific to the closed loop system being used or is it universal and the same vacuum and pressure combination will work in all closed loops.

      • Been running the Terpenator for about 3 months now. I will take the Pepsi challenge against glass open air runs any day! ;-)

      • Posted by tom on November 9, 2013 at 6:32 AM

        Hey lets have a Oregon cup? We are thinking of having a OMMP BALL in Feb. That would be a good time for a oil cup?

        • Posted by Father Earth on November 17, 2013 at 10:45 PM

          An Oregon Concentrates Cup is definitely in order. River City is abut to be the West Coast capitol for concentrates.

      • Posted by Father Earth on November 17, 2013 at 10:49 PM

        lol, you are doing it wrong. Get you frequent terpenator miles up, then come back with my open tube is better line. I promise with some practice you wont miss your glass tube…

  26. Can I put filter driers on the intake line coming off the butane tank safely? I would like to ensure NO H2O gets into the system. As in wetter material and the effect on future batches if the inline vapor filter gets wet. thanks.

  27. Posted by Beau Paul on October 23, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    Hey there SPR, just want to start by saying thank you so much for all your guys’ hard work. You’ve really changed things for the better.

    Anyway on to my question. I just got my MkIIIA kit assembled and ready to do pressure testing and an old trim run to get everything cleaned and in proper working order. As it just so happens, I have a number of other, off size sanitary spools from past extractor projects (a 1.5″ x 18″, and 2 1″ x 36″) and I would like to use them all on my terpenator.

    I did a little looking around and found this PTFE-lined, stainless steel braided hose

    I went ahead and ordered one as there was only 1 left so I grabbed it. I am wanting to use this hose to replace the rigid vent tube, so I am able to swap in any size column without having to also swap or adjust vent tubes. Does this seam feasible? I figured since it was PTFE-lined it would be safe with butane, and at 48″ long, can accommodate any reasonably sized column.

    If this hose isnt suitable for this purpose, I am sure I can find another use for it somewhere :)

    • PTFE should work fine for the vent tube.

      • Posted by Beau Paul on October 24, 2013 at 9:09 AM

        Groovy, glad to hear I didn’t just waste 75 bucks. I will report back and let y’all know how it works :)

      • Posted by Kevin on December 5, 2013 at 2:40 PM

        Hello GW,

        I am also considering purchasing a PTFE lined hose to replace the 1/4″ SS hard line. I spent a little time on the unisource site looking at the different PTFE lined hoses. While doing this I noticed that they sell a style that has a carbon additive to the lining designed to make it conductive. This is to avoid static build up while pumping certain fluids which can then arc through to the SS sheathing causing the hose to fail.
        Is static build up a concern with pumping butane? If so, is it ok to use the one with the carbon since it comes in contact with the medicine?

        Thanks for all the great information.

  28. Posted by Mr. Trick on October 23, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    I’ve been running the MkIII since july now and have started having issues with my Appion pump. I think the bottom line is that I should have used a filter drier all this time cause I’m suspecting that I might have pulled oil into the pump.
    For some reason it’s not pumping all the butane back into the 50# tank. Instead it keeps a considerable amount of it and after about a minute from turning off, it starts hissing gently and I can smell butane in the front left vent of the Appion. If I turn the pump back on for just 5 seconds and turn it off again, the leak stops but starts again after about a minute.
    I unplugged the hoses from it and was messing around with the valves when I noticed that it started spewing out butane from the left (blue) valve when the valve was turned to 50%. It stopped when I turned it up or down more. It only spews butane when the valve is turned to 50%.

    Why is there so much butane left in the Appion?
    If I have contaminated my Appion pump with oil, can I fix/rebuild it by buying replacement kits? Which one?
    Do I also have oil in my 50# tank in this case? How could I clean that out?

    Ready to order a filter drier…. my bad for not so earlier on.

    • You can rebuild the upper end of the Appion with parts from Century Tool, or others.

      I run with both valves wide open on the Appion and use the valves on the Terpenator to control flow.

      If you have oil in your tank, and run it through a Terpenator, it will take the oil out.

  29. Posted by Classico on October 14, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Good evening, a friend of mine said he filters his n-butane through activated carbon, however upon trying this after packing the column with the carbon we got no noticeable flow. Then we took off the top end cap and discovered some sort of reaction had taken place, with the upper column becoming very hot. Can you both tell me whether filtering the butane is a good idea, and possibly explain why the heck it got so hot?

    • Not sure what kind of carbon you used, but coarse prills work better than a finer grind.

      Not sure where the heat would come from. Nothing in the activated charcoal, or that showed up on the butane analysis, that would appear to cause that reaction. Sounds like a missing third piece of information.

      We haven’t tried post fractional distillation filtration with charcoal yet, and are leaning toward bentonite clay, zeolite, or ditomaceous earth for final polishing.

      • Posted by tylerdurden71 on October 16, 2013 at 7:41 AM

        heat is a result of pressure build up. do you have your system configured properly?

    • Posted by Holden Oversoul on November 4, 2013 at 7:51 AM

      Recently experienced the same reaction. I even took photos of my laser thermometer pointing at the column. I filled the 24″ column with Pro-carb activated Carbon. I assembled and configured the Terpenator exactly as I would for a normal run. Pro-carb says on the label “lab grade”, FWIW. Ambient temp was 73 F, as expected, the bottom of the column became cold when injecting the butane. Meanwhile, the top of the column got hot and was reading 89 F.

  30. Posted by icdog on October 14, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Would this filter drier work?

  31. Posted by icdog on October 14, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Can anyone list some alternatives to the parker 303 and Ek032 MF or EK084 MF filter driers. I’m trying to find some on ebay and there are many different models and brands. Will basically any filter drier work as long as its the correct size?

  32. Posted by Guthrie on October 13, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Hi GW,
    I’m trying to find an effective way to add heat to the columns. I’ve found a couple options and would appreciate your opinion if they should work or suggestion of a better alternative.

    1. Insulation and heat tape – place thermostatically controlled heat tape along the length of the column, cover the tape in 1/2 inch foil faced fiberglass blanket insulation, secure with duct tape and plug in the tape. Total cost should be $20 per column. If I could find a means of making the insulation easily interchangeable between columns or at least removable with out having to duct tape it together again this seems like a decent solution.

    2. I found a company, Powerblanket, that makes gas cylinder heaters for controlling temperatures of propane, butane, nitrogen and other compressed gases. The website claims its products have been used by railroads whose propane became to cold to vaporize and is extremely energy efficient. I like this option because it the cylinder covers easy to put on or remove and would do a better job than me making sure the columns are heated evenly. They sell a 2″ by 10′ pipe heater for $169 so I am hoping the column heater would be around the same price.

    Thanks again for your help,

    • We used pipe wrap from Platt Electric on the Mk I and II columns.

      Haven’t seen Powerblanket, but will check them out.

      Take a look at the heat blankets that they use to bend plastic electric conduit.

  33. Posted by Vince on October 2, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Hey GW,
    I am using 12″ spools rather 6″ for my recovery pot on the MKIII, thinking that it would help minimize the chance of oil getting into the recovery port. However I have noticed accumulation of oil on the underside of the lid near the recovery port! Because your original design called for 6″ spools, I am thinking that I must be over-filling the recovery pot with butane during the process. Even when I use ~7 second flood cycles, I still see oil on the top. Any suggestions on how I can improve this? I can imagine that these kind of questions must be super elementary to you so I really appreciate that you take the time to respond! Thank you so much.


    • Usually oil on the underside of the lid means that you opened the vent valve too fast, and the down pipe blew oil all over the inside of the chamber.

      • “Opened the vent valve to fast”? What do you mean by this = What is the vent valve? Is this the valve controlling flow back into from the 1/4″ TUBE FROM THE TOP? and what is “too fast”? I would of thought the oil was collecting on the top because it was unheated and hardened up there. curious as I usually get a very lil bit there also and just figured it was due to no heat available to keep it liquid.peace n thanx

        • The vent valve is the valve between the 1/4″ vent tube in the top of the column, and the lower tank.

          Open it slowly means look at the pressure gauge when you open the vent valve and bleed the pressure off slowly, rather than abruptly, because abruptly blast the pressure that has built up in the column, through warming of the butane, into the pool at the bottom of the tank, blowing oil in all directions.

          • ah ha, another learning curve for not making it to a class yet ahwell,makes sense as I look at it that way. Thanks again as I am thinking my sidewalls will NOW bw much less messy to clean off.

      • Posted by Vince on October 3, 2013 at 9:04 PM

        Thanks! I will be conscientious of that next time.. Should the dump valve also be opened slowly?

        • Yes, but not as critical as the vent valve, which equalizes the pressure.

          • Ah, I didn’t know about the reasoning behind opening the valves slowly but I saw your explanation to “c”, very helpful! I did a run today opening the vent valve slowly but I guess it still wasn’t slow enough. Will try even slower next time keeping the principles you explained in mind.

            When doing a flood cycle, should the butane valve also be opened very slowly too to prevent a huge surge of butane from flowing down the vent tube?

            Also I was wondering how essential it is to open the vent valve first during cycles and the final dump? Also, would simultaneous opening/closing be more ideal than sequential?

          • The butane flow won’t surge, because it has to filter through the material in the column.

            It is important to open the vent valve first, to slowly equalize the pressure, if you want to minimize internal cleanup. That said, the system will operate opening the two valves in any sequence.

  34. Posted by David on September 27, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    Hello GW,

    Let me just say wow, you do/know so much I’m blown away by the level of information you and your associates have made available. That being said I’m having a bit of a hard time consuming all of the information and retaining only the most recent/relevant information. As I read through your comments I see people talking about finding parts here and there, and about how Glacier Tanks now carries some parts they did not. I tried putting together a shopping cart following the latest of the parts lists you’ve made available but some of the parts just are not listed, either by part number or by searching through the inventory for the correct part. Also a lot of the parts are not in stock. For example the 12″ and 24″ spool for the column and the 6″ spool for the tank. I realize it is a lot to ask but would you by any stretch of chance be able to make a new parts list? I’m sure I’m not the only one who would benefit from this. I would like to make an MKIIIa with a sight glass and I currently have none of the required parts. Normally I would study the material more and try to pull my way though but I currently have about 10 lbs. of trim that is ready to run. I need to process it asap. I completely understand if that is out of the realm of your ability at this time but I thought I’d try. As things are I am already in your debt for all of the information you’ve made available for everyone.


    • I’ve asked Specialized Formulations to make up such a list.

      • Posted by David on October 7, 2013 at 6:51 PM

        Thank you so much GW,

        Will it be posted here? I ask because I don’t believe their website is finished yet. I’m sure the community would appreciate it being made available here, but would I be better off emailing them to get it sooner? I am hoping to assemble one as soon as I can as you know ;) or am I on my time crunch still better off trying to figure out the missing pieces on my own?

        I and the community thank you,

        • Yes, I will post it here.

        • Posted by Beau Paul on October 13, 2013 at 7:45 AM

          I too was having a hard time locating these parts, as Glacier Tank seems to be out of everything we need! Found this place thanks to Father Earth, looks like they got the goods :)
          I just ordered a bunch of extra tubes for my MkIIIA

          • Good site! Kudos to Father Earth!

            That is where we originally got the screened gaskets, before Glacier Tank agreed to stock them for us. They don’t have the selection that Glacier does, but are one of the places we go for items that they do stock, when Glacier Tank is out.

          • Posted by David on October 13, 2013 at 9:29 PM

            Yeah it looks like they have a lot of the parts we will be needing, some cheaper than glacier tanks, I’ve sent GW a list I believe has sourced about 99% of the parts we need so hopefully we get something official put up soon. Can’t thank you guys enough.

          • Thanks David! I answered your questions in red and posted your chart.


          • Posted by david on October 16, 2013 at 9:12 AM

            I’ve been in contact with brewers hardware, apparently they have a ship full of the parts we need awaiting x-ray due to customs being shut down as a result of the government shutdown so no idea when their shipment will actually come in. Also it looks like glacier tank does not have the welded on bottoms in stock anymore either and I haven’t been able to find a source of 6″ spool shorter than 3′. I have placed an order with brewers hardware for the 6″ end caps but as it is held up I could maybe order 8″ caps and try to get some 8″ spool from glacier tanks, Is there anything I would need to worry about when changing the diameter of my collection vessel? And out of curiosity why would the Viton seals be required around the sight glass while only the PTFE are required on the rest of the column, don’t they all use the same triclamp/triclover fittings? Wouldn’t they all be exposed to the same amount of pressure? Would you be able to explain the need for the upper end rebuild kit? Or link to something that would explain it for me? Would you not recommend a used tank due to contamination issues or because of safety? And lastly while looking over that list was there anything you noticed that I missed or anything else I will need besides butane?

            thank you for your immense help in this,

          • The 8″ spool would give you more surface area, so it would be faster with the same size column and have more capacity for larger columns. It will also take longer to recover, using the same size pump.

            We use Viton on all of our seals, because PTFE takes too much pressure to reliably seal.

            I suggest Century Tool for parts: 1-866-277-0888

            I don’t want to eat out of something that was used for lawrd knows what, so I always get a new nitrogen filled tank.

            Hoses, valves, fittings, PTFE gas line tape. We like JB Kobra hoses for the purpose and Paramount Supply for the plumbing stuff.

          • Posted by david on October 16, 2013 at 9:29 AM

            I’ve found a single 6″ x 12″ spool, would it be possible to just leave it its 12″ length without complication? Would it just make collecting the oil out of the bottom more difficult?

          • We use a 12″ tall spool, or stack two 6″ spools for some of our processes and it works fine. It does slow down recovery some.

          • Posted by david on October 28, 2013 at 9:51 AM

            Hey GW,

            I’m starting to get my parts in the mail! Its exciting putting it all together. I’ve made a mistake though. I ordered the 36″ column and a sight glass but made the oversight of only ordering 4′ of SS tubing for the vent tube from paramount supply. When I went to order a longer piece they said they would only be shipping them in 4′ pieces and charging $31.00 shipping for my $7.00 order. I don’t think I will be ordering my vent tube from them. I’ve been looking around at other options. It seems I can source 304 SS tubing especially welded in loo of seamless pretty cheaply. My question is would it matter if my vent tube was 304 or welded or do I need to find a 316 seamless tube? I’m also looking at flex hoses as I’d like to have the flexibility to use various sized columns but they are very pricey. What would you recommend?

            Also I did order a 12″ x 6″ spool for my collection vessel. I’m about to send the lid parts out for fabrication. Are there any modifications I might want to make so that it is more conducive to my taller spool or should I just follow your diagrams?

            Thanks for all your help along the way,

          • Posted by david on October 28, 2013 at 11:33 AM

            Also does it matter if it is brush finished?

          • Not on the tubing. Stainless finish just needs to be easy to keep clean.

    • sadly glacier is out of stock till the next container comes in about 3+ weeks and most of that is already sold out too. if you don’t order from glacier now, you don’t get on the waiting list, and the waiting list is long already and they get first dibs. paramount has in stock for all their stuff. because waiting a month or two for parts probably isn’t in the cards, i’d look at brewery websites. they sometimes call their tri clamp parts tri clover and they are interchangeable.

      the part number for the sight glass gasket upgrade is sgp-100-viton

      • Posted by David on October 8, 2013 at 5:23 PM

        Awesome thank you, would I still want the 24″ column with the sight glass? It seems like it might be easier to get my hands on pieces that are either longer or shorter for the column and collection tank, would I need to worry about changing any of these dimensions if I wen’t changing the diameter of anything?


        • Posted by David on October 8, 2013 at 6:27 PM

          Do you have an email address I could talk to you though? I have sourced what I believe is all you need from current sources. Would you be willing to look it over or have SF look it over to let me know if I’ve got it all right or am missing anything? I would post it here but I’m not sure the comments is the best place for it due to length and formatting.

        • You can use up to a 1 1/2″ X 36″ column on the Mk IIIA and still have capacity for a 6″ sight glass.

          Make sure the sight glass that you use has seals compatible with butane and is rated for at least 120 psi.

  35. It wouldn’t let me reply where you posted it last but No chance of oil in the appion as we got the filter on its intake so,,,,,,,,, I’m still thinking that if it wasn’t because we left it hooked up the whole time it was because are heat source couldn’t keep up with the temp when the column got dump[ed and then did a lot of dry running well the heat came back up. I did take the time to call mathew in Colorado though and had a wonderful convo with him on the pump from the UK, def the way I want to go when I can afford it. As always thanks for the info , I’m gonna just take the appion down and see what is in need before I order the kit. If its just the seals kit its only $80 so,,,,,,, easier for us right now than the full $250 onward thru the fog peace

    • Good luck and please report back on what you find!

      • thanx I will let you know when I open it up. I am working outside so I am waiting for this next dry spell to see what’s up. I am also thin king I burned it up quicker cuz I didn’t have enough gas in the tank for some of the runs so,,,,,,,,

      • fan clutch destroyed itself. I think it was because I may have pumped some liquid butane through it because of not heating the collector pot enough. Holds pressure good and seems to pump fine. Guy at the store in eugene actually GAVE me a new fan unit for free. Blessed Be! Anywho any problem running a 12″ x 6″ bottom? How much bigger could the top column safely become with the lager collection vessel? peace c

        • With a 6″ X 12″ column, you could run far larger columns that you could efficiently recover, because of the limited surface area ratio to depth.

          The lower tank holds about 26 cubic inches per inch of depth. You can fill it up to about 6″ of the pump intake with out flooding the pump, but it would be highly inefficient.

    • Posted by spooneyluv on September 25, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      What is the UK pump? Is it better than the Appion?

  36. Hey GW, looking to move my setup indoors since it’s getting colder. Looking to do a 10×12 shed, curious if ~4100cfm of ventilation (2000in and 2000out) using explosion proof axial fans will be enough to keep the space safe? Works out to almost 4 air exchanges per minute..

  37. GW – How’s it going ? I have another run to report, same Triangle Kush material, I weighed it this time. Just under 160 grams of whole nugs packed in to the 1.5×24 tube put 40 grams in to the collection pot. I couldn’t/didn’t scrape up every last gram and swiped 36 on to parchment. Takes me about 60 seconds to flood the tube with whole nugs running frozen tane and ambient temp water bath , also I never see over 20psi, is this a function of running ambient temp water? I remember in class that soup pot was pretty hot

    • Yeah, frozen butane doesn’t have much pressure, so the system relies on the push pull of the pump for flooding.

    • Posted by r0kud on September 16, 2013 at 10:37 AM

      Veg N Out,

      Some of the trim I’ve been packing at 2.7 grams per cubic inch has been taking over a minute to flood (~ 1:20 sometimes). However I’ve been running the 1.5 x 36″ colum versus a 24″ column. But for the most part I’m seeing the flood travel about 1.5″ – 2″ per second with a 15% yield and pressures hardly over 40#. The soup pot is kept around 120F.

  38. Posted by r0kud on September 14, 2013 at 10:10 PM


    Where is the calibration screw on the back of the Just Better compound gauge? I’ve got one that looks exactly like the one you had in class. I see four screws near the base of the 1/8″ NPT and a rubber stopper near the top of the gauge. There is a sticker that says “never remove rubber plug”. Is the calibration screw under the rubber plug I’m never supposed to remove?


  39. Just ran a column of whole Triangle Kush flowers did 3 washes and recovered 36 grams. MK3A is working great!

  40. […] rn rn rnrn rn The Holidaze came early this year for our little Family rnrnrnrnSkunkPharmzrnrnStill waiting on the recovery pump rnrnrnMuch, Much more to come, stay tuned Y'all […]

  41. Posted by spooneyluv on September 9, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Hi GrayWolf,

    Thanks for all the advice this past summer. We have been running the MKiiiA since June with good results. I am hoping you can offer some advice on our current problem:

    We usually get yields around 15% from trim, and have gotten as high as 18%. However, lately we have seen a marked drop in yield to 5-9 %, despite using high-quality, sorted, fresh, properly dried and cured trim, with a good amount of bud, shooting for 25% moisture content. I believe this might be a result of a mishap: the blue knob on the recovery tank was left open overnight, and the tank was empty a few days later when it was checked (kept outdoors, under sun cover). We had only about 4 lb of butane in there. Upon discovering that the tank was empty, I injected 24 cans of butane via the vac line, as you have described on the site, and I have safely done many times before. After the fact, I realized that I should have pumped out the recovery tank before re-filling it with the 24 cans, but I ran some washes anyways. The “column injection time” (to feel the cold in the capillary line) increased from the usual 6-9 seconds to a whopping 20 seconds. Additionally, the pressure after the 20 seconds was extremely low, around 12-15 inches, where it is normally in the range of 30-45 inches. This was not due to column packing density, as I varied the density and the ~20 second-column injection time and the low pressures continued over the course of another 15 columns, and it did not improve. This ~20 second-column injection time and low pressures coincided with the low 5-9% yield I mentioned earlier.

    My thought was that I have air and/or propane in the tank, and I should burp it, like you suggested in the forums. I tried this burping after cooling the recovery tank, and initially for maybe 2 seconds, there was some gas released, but very quickly it began spraying liquid butane, so I stopped the burping. Then I ran some test washes and the above problems persisted. I think the problem is with the recovery tank/butane, and the Terp is fine. I thoroughly washed out the Terp and the columns with IPA and that did not solve the problems. What do you think? What should I try?

    I also wanted to ask you if you guys typically blast multiple tubes into the same recovery pot? What is the best process for this? How many tubes/how much oil is too much to extract into a single pot? Is there any concern for quality loss doing this? We’ve been washing about 8 columns into a pot and recovering maybe 100+ g.

    Thanks so much for the help

    • The vapor line shouldn’t be spitting liquid. Have you weighed it to see how much butane do you have in the tank at this point?

      I would check the pump for leaks, by closing the outlet valve, while leaving the inlet valve open. It should pump up to about 500# and shut off. If you leave it in that state, it shouldn’t cycle.

      It depends on the material, but 6 or 8 columns per tank is about our limit.

      • Posted by spooneyluv on September 9, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        Oh, I think I burped the tank on the liquid line, not the vapor line. That makes sense. I will try it the right way this week. I have weighed the tank, we have something like 7 lbs of butane in there.

        • Good luck burping this time with the blue valve!

          • Posted by spooneyluv on September 23, 2013 at 4:56 PM

            Ok, back with an update on our work.

            We tried burping the blue vapor line, and butane came out immediately. Just to be sure, we burped for a couple minutes. The burping did not solve the symptoms of long injection times (~20 sec) and low injection pressures (~15″), but it did lead to a reasonable recovery in yield, up from our low of 7.8% to 11-12%, but we couldn’t be totally sure that the increase in yield was due to the burping, because the material was different.

            We thought the two symptoms mentioned above may be due to running the tank at a low butane level, so we injected another 24 cans of butane to take it to about 12-14 lbs of butane. This also did not correct the symptoms, but our yield continued to get better, now around 13-14%. So perhaps the symptoms aren’t worrisome, but I sure would like to know why the injection time and pressure isn’t like it was during our first 2 months of running.

            On the last 2 days of running last week, we noticed that the butane recovery rate during use was dwindling fast. For example, we used 1.5 lbs of butane for 8 columns on Monday, and by Friday it was 3.75 lbs used for the same number of columns, doing the washes the same way each time. Clearly, the Appion is not recovering properly (the recovery tank holds the butane overnight without loss). Also, we are noticing a butane odor from the exhaust vent of the Appion, and it was stronger today than last week.

            Today I tried to fill the tank with 10 lbs of butane using the Appion to recover it into the tank (as usual), and we only got 4 lbs into the tank. I tried the leak test on the Appion recommended by GW, where the outtake valve is closed and intake is open. He said the pressure should build to 500 psi and then the Appion will automatically shut off, and you can listen for leaks. However, when I tried it, the pressure did not build at all beyond zero, and I had it on for 1/2 hr. So we are now obviously shut down looking for answers and ideas, and of course a replacement Appion and/or a rebuild kit.

            Help? Any suggestions?


          • Was the intake valve open, without a hose attached to it, and the exhaust valve closed? It won’t build pressure if the intake is under vacuum.

            You should smell no butane odor, ever, so if you are, I suspect a leak in the pump.

    • Posted by Robert From San Diego on September 11, 2013 at 10:50 AM

      My system was the first one to have this happen it is your appion the test should tell you everything

  42. Posted by sunset ltd on September 9, 2013 at 5:03 AM

    re the 3/8″ evac hose coming from valve #5: the vapor port on the G5 is only 1/4″. the same goes for the reftec and emmerson filter dryers you use. i need a 3/8 x 1/4 flare reducer, yes? and if i’m reducing to 1/4″, aren’t i effectively reducing the flow in to the appion to 1/4″? at that point, what benefit do i derive from using 3/8″ hose instead of 1/4″?

  43. Hi , I have ran my MKIIIA 7 runs and have developed a leak in Valve #4 (Butane Supply Valve) , the valve iced over and I could smell gas..

    I have the blue handle paramount valves that are supposed to be rebuildable. Can you please describe the rebuild/tightening process? Do I just take a ratchet to the nut on the 1/4 turn handle and tighten it down?

  44. I developed a lead in my g5 recently. spoke with their tech support and they said that recovering butane will lead to the seals failing in 1-3 months. i believe a complete seal rebuild would run under $100. what he suggested was running a thimbles worth of refrigerant oil (mineral oil) through the unit with both ends open to help lubricate things and extend the life of the seals. since you are blowing the oil through the g5 without any hoses attached, i’d imagine the amount of oil being introduced into the system when running the terp might be negligible. with all the noise the g5 is making, you might not realize it is leaking either. anyway, thoughts GW?

    • There is a simple test for leaks with the Appion, and that is to open the inlet valve, and close the exit valve before turning it on. It should pull up to about 500 psi and shut off automatically. You can then listen for leaks and cycling from leaks, should the pressure drop below the safety switch setting from leakage.

      The upper end kit is actually $230, and we don’t recommend lubricating the seals as the butane is a lubricant itself. We burned out the first seals in under a week, trying to recover every last drop of butane, but after the first rebuild we stopped recovering at -22″ Hg, and have over a year on the original pump.

      • Posted by tylerdurden71 on September 6, 2013 at 8:15 AM

        the tech guy gave me specific part numbers for just the seals, but i didn’t see them listed at trutech.

        although the butane might lubricate, the guy seemed to be saying that the butane would dry the seals out due to them not being rated to handle it. isn’t this a similar situation to you guys not using certain seals on the terp due to them not being rated for butane? i suppose the guy could have been blowing things out of proportion, but it kinda makes sense. i also don’t reclaim anything close to -22 as we run our system cold. it could be that there was a pre-existing issue with my unit?

        is your concern with lubricating with mineral oil that it might get into the final product?

        • I have two concerns.

          The first is that if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. We’ve had very good luck overall with the Appions and haven’t needed to lubricate the seals.

          The second is that anything that you put into the pump will end up in your medications. Better to replace seals occasionally.

          • So question is the seals the only thing to replace or do you need to get the piston and all as in $230 compared to $80 for just the seals? I ran one for about 3 months on and off and need to replace something as it doesn’t pull to 22 anymore and makes a HELLOFALOT of knocking only sometimes. I am thinking it burned out faster because of low operating temps on the collection pot. or did it happen because I kept the pump hooked up the whole time? Thanks as alwayz!

          • Knocking doesn’t sound good, but so far I’ve only had to replace the seals and poppet valves once.

            Any possibility that you sucked oil into the pump?

  45. Posted by Austin from Austin on August 30, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Hi GW,

    I got all the parts ordered for my MK III build. However there is just one thing I can’t seem to find. Maybe I’m doing it wrong.
    The Just Better compound gauge I found has a 1/8″ NPT male connector. Where can I find the type of adapter to go from a 1/8″ male NPT to R12 Male (3/8″)? This way I can connect the R12 charging hose to the Compound Gauge. This seems pretty trivial, however I’m falling flat on my face trying to locate this connector.

    Much appreciated bud! :)

  46. Posted by ryan-i on August 28, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    Hey GW! I have 2 questions:
    1. Ive been using my mkIII for 7 months now, and consistently get shatter or pull/snap about every time. I recently upgraded to a 3″ column and everything since then has been coming out really sticky and messy. It has also been more humid since I made the switch, which I initially thought the problem was. would using the 3″ column produce different results, for some reason, or do i have a different issue on my hands?

    2. I also recently swapped out the butane in my recovery tank, thinking it may be water in the butane causing the stickiness. After I filled it, I realized I forgot to pull a vacuum on the tank first, and now the butane evacuates the tank extremely sloooowly. Is there a way to remedy this? thanks!

    • What length column are you running and how much heat are you using during recovery?

      Freeze your tank to below 30F and blow off the non condensible atmospheric gases, by opening the vapor valve and bleeding off the high pressure until you smell the propane.
      You can also use dry ice and a denatured alcohol bath to drop the temperature below -41C, so that only the compressed atmospheric gases are producing pressure.

      • Posted by ryan-I on August 31, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        The column is 2ft total, but there is a 1.5″ flange welded to a 3″ cap on each end, so the “work area” is probably 20-21″. I added a second 6″ spool for the collection pot. I keep my water bath at 100-120f, although I do run it a bit hotter during the final purge, to compensate for the rapid temp drop that happens when the colletion pot is full. Its nice because it processes 4 times as much per run, but I’m not getting the desired product. Color and flavor are good but its very sappy. I did a comparison with the same material and I achieved shatter from the small column and sap from the big.

        • Sappy extracts of fresh material is usually retained solvent or it is partially decarboxylated by the process.

          With the double bottom, you have deeper pools of oil to purge the butane out of, which takes more time and heat to purge than a shallow one. You could have one or both……..

          You might try vacuum purging it at 115F and -29.5″ Hg, to see how much retained solvent is still there. If there isn’t any, your heat has decarboxylated the material.

      • Just wondering, are there any issues with running the 3″ x 24″ sanitary spool rather than the 1.5″ x 24″ spool in the design? I was also considering this idea but figured there must have been a reason why you did not mention this as an alternate configuration to the MKIII.

  47. Shooooot! I knew i’d mess it up! Shoulda waited for S.F. to get in touch w/ me. Im such an impatient mofo sumtimes. Looks like I can use what i bought already for the lil’ terp, just need more stuff now too! Im off to read! Thx a bunch

  48. Posted by Caliseeds on August 20, 2013 at 9:53 PM

    GW, I have two g5′s. do you think I can run both on one terp for faster recovery?

  49. I see. … that would explain my minimal return does there need to be a coffee filter of some sort at the top of the vent? I found some particles in the final product, on the other hand I only stuffed the modified cone piece were valve 4 meets the column with 1 coffee filter. How bout that green color? I read your piece on chlorophyll pick up I still got to read it a few times to understand it but I think that has something to do with that dark green ish color?

    • We wad up and stuff two coffee filters into the tube before packing the material to be extracted, and finish up with two coffee filters. The screens just hold them in place.

      Hard to end up with dark greenish using butane, but it will hold up to 32 ml per L water and you can end up with a light electric green color. It isn’t harsh tasting, but may be off putting to customers.

      We control whether or not we get green, by how many cycles we run. With the Mk IIIA for instance, after three or four cycles, an electric green hue may appear.

  50. Jus finished my first run today was kinda nerves but I think everything went all right. … I
    Had uh few mistakes 1) I didn’t put my lp5 tank in ice while I was running my first cycle an the tank got a little warm! 2) I’m not sure if I ran enough butane through the column? It say’s “to repeat steps 8&9 for as many cycles as you want typically 3-5 with the mk III”am I suppose to wait for the sudden chill at the top of the vent 3-5 time s or do I wait for the sudden chill at the top of the vent 1 time, close
    valve 2&4 wait till the gauge reads 10hg then open valve 2-4 again and wait again for the sudden chill at the top of the vent line for the same second s it took the first time. Am I suppose to do that 3-5 Times or am I suppose to dump the column each time I flood the column?I’m not sure that made sense let more rephrase that, when I open valves 2-4 an
    Flood the column am I suppose to dump that into the recovery pot, then start over an flood the column again? I would think you have to cuz wouldn’t the column over flood? Oh an my return was minimal. … they may have something to do with the material I use tho? It came out dark with a dark green color.

    • You will only feel the chill the first time. If you timed how long it took for the butane to flow through the column, then you flood the column for that many minutes on the subsequent floods.

      The butane flows up through the column and out the top vent, then down to the collection tank on all but the last flood. After the last flood, when the pressure drops to 0 psi, open the vent and then the dump valve, so that the column drains the last time in the opposite direction.

  51. Posted by sunset ltd on August 15, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    clear on most things. will you check my understanding of can tapping please?

    1. when pulling vacuum to start, the only valves that should be open are 1, 5, and the blue valve on the butane tank, yes?

    2. when evacuating the cans into the tank, it makes more sense to me to close the red valve on the butane tank instead of just #4. you conserve a little more gas and you don’t run the risk of bursting #4.

    3. at class, instead of just hooking the tapper to the yellow vacuum hose, you had a stubby piece of 1/4″ with a ball valve on it. got a picture? it’s what, 1/4 female flare w/ ball valve to 1/4 male flare?

    • Posted by sunset ltd on August 15, 2013 at 2:10 PM

      already got item 3 answered. the hose between the tapper and the vacuum line is a kobra 6″ whip end w/ ball valve. the yellow one to match the vac line is JB part # CLV-6Y.

    • For starters, open all valves but the butane supply valve number 4 and pump all of the atmosphere containing oxygen out of the system. Close vacuum pump valve number 1 and turn off vacuum pump.

      To tap cans close vent valve 2 and dump valve 3, and start up the recovery pump.

      Disconnect the hose from the vacuum pump and attach it to the can tapper, via a short whip with a ball valve. Make sure ball valve is closed and then open valve number 1.

      Tap the can and open the ball valve on the whip to tranfer the butane into the Terpenator tank, where it is pumped away as a vapor and deposited into the storage tank.

      Close the valve on the whip when the pressure reaches 0 psi, and tap a new can, before opening it again.

      Not much risk of an ANSI 150lb valve bursting at -14.7 psi, or plus 50 psi, which is the maximum range it should see during butane transfer.

      No picture of the whip, but it is a JB Kobra and we got it from RSD refrigeration supply. It has a female flare on one end and a male on the other. You can use Valve #1 instead, but can’t do it as easily sitting back in a chair.

  52. I’m about to attempt my first run with this system wish me luck! Any tips n tricks would help, I’m going to follow the steps posted above if there’s any update to those instructions posted above please let me know.

    I’m aiming for that blond look above oh yeah, if my material is all ready dry do I still have to dry it in the oven more?

    • You don’t have to dry the material further to run in the Mk IIIA.

      If you don’t heat the lower recovery pot, you will end up with the blondest color possible, though it will take about four times as long.

      • Posted by sunset ltd on August 15, 2013 at 8:37 AM

        1. do i remember correctly that 85°F is where you’ve observed the product beginning to darken considerably?

        2. to achieve blonde, what is the ideal dryness for the material?

        3. after cycling the material, what are the differences in the procedure that will yield crumble, honeycomb, or shatter?

        4. what is the best way to keep COOH in tact after extraction? i was thinking deep freezer, but then moisture would likely be a concern, yes?

        • 1.0 Yes.

          2.0 Young sativa material produces a blonder material, but we get blonde from 25 to 15% water content, and varied material consistently. We’ve even gotten white shatter from bubble hash.

          3.0 Unless it is old material, it starts out as shatter and everything after that has reduced levels of THC and lighter terpenes.
          If you start out with shatter, and vacuum it and heat it long enough, the remaining oils and waxes will form a hydrate, and dry up to form crumble. Honeycomb is inflated by the residual gasses, and dried while still inflated..

          It will have more surface area exposed, and can therefore be highly aromatic, but the added surface area also results in faster terpene losses and faster oxidation.

          4.0 In a dark blue, or opaque air tight container, in the refrigerator or freezer.

  53. Posted by Chris on August 14, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    I’m wondering about top feed vs. bottom feed columns. When the column of the MK III is full of liquid butane and the recovery machine is started, does any liquid get to the collection tank or is it boiled off in the column leaving the oil behind? The only time you have oil and liquid butane in the collection tank is after the column is dumped by opening the 1″ ball valve? My unit is top fed and the column gets filled and dumped with each pass. I do 3 quick soaks (1 min.) and a final long soak (10 mins.). I have the parts to convert to bottom feed. Do you think one style is better than the other? Why?
    Thank you.

    • The butane feeds in the bottom of the column and washes the oil out the top of the column, down through the vent, and into the lower collection pot, where the butane is pumped off as a vapor, leaving the oil behind in the chamber. On the last wash, the dump valve is opened, dropping the butane in the column out the bottom, and into the collection chamber.

      I specifically designed the Terpenator as a bottom feed, because the column is fully flooded and there are no un-wetted surfaces, as there can be if the column never fully floods. Although the system starts out under vacuum, as soon as you introduce butane it has an atmosphere, which needs to be vented to allow the liquid to follow. In the Terpenator system, the vapor is floated out the top by the butane entering the bottom.

      If your system allows you to fully flood from the top, so that the butane soaks, the results should be the same. We are operating differently, in that we don’t do any full dumps until after the last flood. We push pull the oil laden butane out the top vent, so that the column is always soaking, contrary to yours, where you dump the butane from the column several times, leaving the material out of the solvent part of the cycle.

  54. hello GW have 90% of parts for mk111a are there more detailed build instructions available thanks brother burt

  55. Posted by Lk on August 8, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    I’m thinking about adding a drying filter to my mkiii, and was trying to get some input. What would you suggest?

    • We use a small Emmerson EK-032MF dryer filter in front of the pump to protect it from ingesting oil, but you can put any size dryer filter there that you want.

      You can also pump the liquid in you tank through a dryer filter and then back into the tank, as a separate operation.

      • Posted by sunset ltd on August 15, 2013 at 5:13 AM

        i noticed that you only had a filter-drier in front of the recovery pump. as an added failsafe, wouldn’t it make sense to put one in front of the vacuum pump too?

  56. hello , ordered everything on the mk111a parts list came across a post back in march where you said you would post order # for single compound guage from rsd,also do I need to buy1/4 hose & 2- 1/4 flare fittings or are they on the list ? thanks brother burt

    • We like the Just Better M2-250B refrigerant compound gauge that we pick up at RSD refrigeration supply.

      We get the 1/4″MNPT X 1/4″ M Flare fittings from either Paramount or RSD.

      The hoses are on the list, but we now specify Just Better Kobra hoses as our first choice, after one builder complained of bad hoses off e-Bay. They have a nylon inner sheath, which is suitable for butane at the temperatures that we run, and are actually made by Goodyear.

  57. Just posting to let y’all know I successfully transfered the butane into the recoVery tank. Things went smooth when I pumped the system down to 29hg(which I didn’t do last time! ) disconnected the yellow hose from the vacuum pump attached my can taper, turned on the recovery pump, when I taped my first can the gauge went up, as the can was being sucked into the recovery pot the gauge slowly going back down to 29hg.after I was done with one can I closed the valve and tapped uh knew can oh yeah, if you tap to long an pass the 29hg Mark the can will compress an make an implode noise an scare the dog shit out of you!

    Oh yeah the terp recovery pot being in hot water helped a lot! When you say you vacuum off the compressed air when you berp off the lp5 do you mean you use the ribbon air vacuum pump to achieve this? Can I hook up the ribbon air pump directly to the vapor port of the lp5 an purge it that way?

    • You can hook the vacuum pump directly to the LP-5 port if the tank is empty of butane. After the first full vacuum, it typically isn’t required again.

      We only vacuum our cans down to zero, before switching to a new one.

  58. Hey thanks for getting back to me, excuse me for all these repeat questions so with the terpenator all hooked up like the picture shown above the recovory pump running, I have the red and blue valves open on the lp5 tank, I pump the system down first to 22hg close valve 1 disconnect the yellow hose from the robin air vacuum pump, connect the yellow hose to the can taper, tap the butan can open valve 1 up let it inject into the terp recovery pot which will be suckef up from there is this right?

    The last time I tried to can tap the red valve on the lp5 tank was closed an so was valve 4, I didn’t pump the system down an when I was done tapping my last can I closed valve 1 up an the butane was jus sitting in the terp recovery pot, it looked like it was slowly being sucked into the lp5 it actually took so long I shut the system down took the tri clamp off the terp recovery pot an jus tossed out! I’m doing something totally wrong here!

    It would be nice to have some Kind of picture d step by step!

    • You pump the system down to -29.92″ Hg before starting, but otherwise your procedure sounds right.

      If you aren’t heating your lower Terpenator pot, the evaporating butane cools below its boiling point and it takes longer to transfer it. I set the pot in hot water when I transfer butane.

      Watch your pressure gauge and it will tell you what is going on in the system. With the pump running, the system won’t achieve the required vacuum levels as long as something is boiling inside.

      Hang in there and we will have a video out!

      • Posted by ubjt415 on August 1, 2013 at 12:21 PM

        You are a savior for sure man! Makes a lot of scenes now why it wasn’t moving into the storage tank! 

        Let me ask you this, does the butane boil off as a vapor thru the red hose then turn into a liquid thru the blue hose going into the storage tank? I’m not sure if I said that right. …. it goes thru the recovery pot as a liquid via can taper, then the liquid boils off  as a vapor an goes thru the recovery pump via the red hose, then into the storage tank thru the blue hose? 

        Can wait till that video comes out! Once again, Thank you for your patients and knowledge an excuse my redundancy. 

        From my Android phone on T-Mobile. The first nationwide 4G network.

        • The butane exits the storage tank through the red valve and is injected into the Terpenator as a liquid through the red hose.

          It is pumped off as a vapor from the lower collection tank, and returned as a vapor to the original storage tank through the blue hose and valve.

          It recondenses into a liquid, as it cools back down in the storage tank,

  59. First off thank you for this priceless knowledge you have graced us with.

    First question: when you tap your first butane can into your recovery pot do you pump the system down to 22hg, then turn on your recovery pump, then tap your can?

    Second: after you have tapped your last can and your all done, how do you properly shut the system down?

    Third:when you say to berp it an smell for petroleum, do you disconnect the blue line from the lp5 tank put it in an ice bath wait for an hour then slowly open the blue valve an berp it that way? You say you vacuum pump it out? Can we take the can taper off an reconnect it back to the vacuum pump an vacuum it that way? I’m pretty much using every same pump brand In the links you have in the parts list.

    • I only pump the system down to zero between tapping new cans. I have the recovery pump running the whole time and open and close the valve to the can tapper when changing.

      Shut down depends on what else you have been doing, but I shut down by closing the red liquid valve on the storage tank and opening the butane supply valve on the Terpenator, with the recovery pump running, so as to vacuum the butane out of the line.

      I then allow the system to pump down to -22″ and close the inlet valve to the recovery pump. After it runs for a couple of minutes, I close the blue vapor valve on the storage tank and shut off the recovery pump.

      To burp, I soak the storage tank in an ice bath for an hour or so, and then open the blue vapor valve on the tank, so as to allow the entrapped high pressure air to escape.

      At 30F, n-Butane has almost no vapor pressure, so what will come off is the air, and then propane, and eventually Isobutane. I simply smell what is coming out, to detect when the stream shifts from air to propane.

      I don’t understand your last question. Could you elaborate?

  60. Posted by father earth on July 25, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    more ventilation than outdoors with fence for walls? wow thats hard to imagine Tyler. come over to icmag and let’s talk.

  61. Posted by spooneyluv on July 22, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    We are interested in improving the speed of recovery in the MkIIIA system. We are thinking of increasing the size of the recovery hoses. We are currently using a 3/8″ Yellow Jacket hose between the MkIIIA and the Appion, and a 1/4″ hose between the Appion and the MT69 CPS Molecular Transformator Recovery Submersible Subcooler, as seen here:
    Others have suggested upgrading to a 1/2″ hose, such as–6ft_p_1646.html
    I am wondering, for faster recovery, would I need to upgrade both of these hoses to a larger diameter? Or just upgrade the hose from the MkIIIA to the Appion?
    We are also considering adding the low-T heat wrap around the column. What other things could we do in order to improve recovery time/efficiency?


    • I would just replace the vacuum hose from the Mk III to the Appion with 1/2″, as the pressure hose from the Appion to the tank, will take care of itself.

      Heat wrap does speed things up. We use it on the Mk I and II and will have it on the Mk V.

      You can use an after cooler like a CPS MT-69.

  62. Posted by FatherEarth on July 22, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Questions, details, pictures, how to and how not… Ask and you shall receive!

  63. I too have blown hoses and spewed butane, it was a bit frightening to say the least! With the amount of butane that let loose x the butane in the tank if I was indoors I would have been toast. To put it nicely running the MK III indoors is simply ignorant. The man who designed the system says its not safe, and somehow you know better? Best of luck, your going to need it. Everyone’s number comes up someday, you can’t win em all, it’s purely a numbers game.


    • Posted by tylerdurden71 on July 24, 2013 at 8:06 AM

      interestingly i’ve never had this happen. with the issues you’ve had, i wouldn’t advise you running indoors either :/ ignorant, no, but i am extremely cautious and my kitchen is actually better ventilated than the outdoor room you work in.

  64. Posted by tylerdurden71 on July 21, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    You make excellent points across the board… All I can do is be cautious, go slow, double check things, etc. Although way more complicated than my Tami, I had no issues with that in the last 1+ years I used it.

  65. Posted by tylerdurden71 on July 19, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    So although this is not how the unit was intended to be run and potentially dangerous, i thought i’d let people know i am running this unit indoors. my kitchen/house layout allows me to open the back of my kitchen up and get a nice breeze through my house. i pressure test the unit with every column change, which is a quick process, and my vac pump has a hose on the exhaust that vents outside. i’m also going to repurpose a fitting from my tamisium that allows me to open a valve to exhaust outside via a 1/4″ poly tube. i also turn anything off that might turn on suddenly like my refrigerator. i’ve also marked every handle on the unit 1 to 5 to make sure i’m not turning open the wrong handle, etc.

    • Sorry to hear that brother!

      Ostensibly, the butane is safer in the 150 psi rated Mk IIIA, than in the can it came in, but there are always things that can go wrong, go wrong, go wrong……………

      That is why we never recommend running a Terpenator indoors, unless it is automated to remove the operator from proximity and in a specially constructed spark-less exhaust cabinet, that has a high enough exhaust rate, to keep any leaks below combustible limits.

      It also needs to be in a stand alone structure, away from other structures, and designed for the purpose.

      Ask yourself what your insurance company or the fire marshal’s reaction would be, and consider the repercussions if something did go wrong, go wrong, go wrong.

      They are now locking folks up who blow up residential structures extracting indoors with butane and insurance companies are taking the position that the damage isn’t covered by home owner policies.

      If someone is killed, expect all involved to be tried for manslaughter, and if they are simply maimed or disfigured, for felony assault.

      Then there are of course the civil actions against you and your assets, by damaged folks.

      So far, I’ve seen leaks from loose valve stem packing nuts, loose hoses, loose clamps, and gaskets not kept clean or installed improperly. That is in addition to the brand new valves that I rejected when they failed the initial pressure test.

      With any gamble, there is both the question of the odds, as well as the cost to pay when you lose. The odds look good, but the down side is pretty severe for us’ns heah.

    • Posted by c on July 21, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      Bad idea buddy. To be truly safe requires major ventilation. I wouldn’t run one inside unless I had a bank of plastic fans behind me like a wall of turbines.and then what if the power crapped out .say at the same time a hose blew etc.

  66. Posted by spooneyluv on July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    A question regarding the MkIIIA operation: When I inject butane, I tend to feel the cold in the narrow return tube fairly quicky (3-5 sec), but the column doesn’t really get cold until the final “dump” procedure. I don’t understand why the column gets colder at this point after the dump, when I would assume the residual butane in the column falls below to the recovery pot. What am I missing?

    • The vacuum is evaporating the butane that is soaked into the plant material, and the refrigeration produced is responsible for the ice. When something goes from a liquid to a gas, it gives up the heat of vaporization.

      n-Butane is also known as R-600, which is an environmentally friendly refrigerant used in some refrigeration applications.

      • Posted by c on July 18, 2013 at 10:13 PM

        I am interested in the time you find is usual for the cold to hit the 1/4″ tube? At the top of the column I am assuming. I have had it be around 10 seconds for loose pack partly full to 40 seconds when packed super tight. Never only 3 to 5 seconds. Is mine blocked somehow causing the longer times. I am only concerned if it could cause a safety issue. The 40 second runs are fine otherwise. It is usually about 23 to 25 seconds though.Also if it is packed super tight do you notice a reduced yield as opposed to packed less tight? thanks it is a slick design. Best I’ve seen yet!

        • We pack our prime bud at 4.2 grams per cubic inch, after drying it to about 15% water content and reducing to a 10 mesh. At that packing density, it takes about 5 to 10 seconds for the butane to hit the vent tube.

          Our experiments suggest that looser and heavier packing reduce yield, by either allowing the butane to find an easy way out, or by shielding parts of the material from the solvent.

          For loosely broken buds, the packing density is less, even though we use about the same pressure on the packing rod.

          Thanks for the good thoughts!

          • Posted by tylerdurden71 on July 19, 2013 at 9:37 AM

            he could use a refrigerant scale to get a feel for how much butane he is using.

    • Posted by spooneyluv on November 8, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      Hello. We have been having a lot of valve failures, the 1/4″ valves from Paramount. We will occasionally see butane slowly leaking out, or oil slowly bubbling out of the crevices. Have you all seen this too? We are replacing faulty valves for now, but we are going through too many that perhaps there is another solution. How do you go about cleaning up a valve, or would you not bother and just replace it? Thanks for any advice.

      • Have you tightened up the packing gland underneath the handles? That is the only failure that we see.

      • Posted by Beau Paul on November 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

        I was having the same problem with one of my valves. It was bubbling small amounts of oil out when I was running the MkIIIA. Indeed all that is needed is to take the valve apart and re-tighten it like SPR has mentioned. Takes 5 minutes to take it apart, clean it with 99% isopropyl alcohol, then put it back together nice and snugly. Haven’t had a problem with it since I did that :)

  67. Posted by spooneyluv on July 18, 2013 at 12:43 AM

    We are having some trouble getting over 90 g packed into the MkIIIA 1.5″ column. I seem to remember you guys getting more like 150-200 g. Any tips on packing or material prep?

    • What is the material and how are you preparing it?

      At 150 grams, we were packing prime bud reduced to 10 mesh. We got as low as 135 grams using trim and as much as 203 grams using a strong young gorilla to pack the column.

      • Posted by spooneyluv on July 18, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        GW -

        What does 10 mesh mean?

        We were packing buds that were finely ground in a Cuisenhart. I thought our packing was fairly dense, but certainly somewhat dryer than what you guys demonstrated for us, but I didn’t think that would make that big of a difference. You are referring to the 1.5″ x 24″ column, correct?


        • Ten mesh means that it was passed through a screen that had ten wires per inch.

          When we are talking about the Mk III, it usually is a 1.5″ X 24″ column unless otherwise identified. They will run a 36″ column, we just usually don’t, as we can use a Mk I or II for larger runs.

  68. Posted by father earth on July 17, 2013 at 2:21 AM

    best way to keep your tank cold and cheapest in the long run… reusable cold paks, and frozen blocks of ice. I keep my tank in a cooler filled with the above mentioned. Fill tupperware half full of tap water add lids and stack in the freezer, free ice blocks. If I have to use bags of ice I don’t break em open they last MUCH longer. I’m not sure I’d feel safe putting my tank in the freezer between runs. Also if you shut down the appion properly you won’t have any gas in the lines. In hvac it’s illegal to release refrigerants to atmosphere, they are made to empty the lines. First while the appion is still running close the recovery line and allow it to pump for around 45 sec to 2 min depending on how cold your tank is, then close the vapor port on the tank, now shut down the appion. If the vapor port is open when u shut down the g5 it wil fill the line again…. sorry for the punctuation, finger typing on an iPad..

  69. Posted by tylerdurden71 on July 16, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    OMG… 50 min to run 5 cycles through activated carbon including the 5 min wait time under hard vac at the end. WOW!!!! Thank you so much for having the genius ability to design this amazing contraption!

    • Thanks for the good thoughts! Bon appetite!

      • Posted by tylerdurden71 on July 18, 2013 at 7:56 PM

        using the cps mt69, the first cycle is crazy fast, and the third and fourth cycles are about 2:45, and the final dump of column takes about an additional 7 min.

    • Posted by spooneyluv on July 18, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      tylerdurden71, does 5 cycles mean you are running 5 different packed columns into one recovery pot, or do you mean 5 washes of a single column? And what is the deal with activated carbon? How do you use it and what is it for? (I’m a fellow MkIIIA user as well).


      • Posted by tylerdurden71 on July 19, 2013 at 9:44 AM

        sorry, i should have been clearer, 5 washes of a single column. i didn’t have waste material to pack the column with and figured the carbon might help pick up some residual oil from the machining process for the various parts or impurities in the butane. i had to use a mix of n-tane and canned since local oil blasters have ruined any chances of me getting anymore n-tane from praxair or elsewhere. still, i find you need to do about 15-20 washes with a column change at some point to make sure you are no longer picking up oil in the system.

  70. Posted by tylerdurden71 on July 15, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Have a question regarding the hose between the G5 and recovery tank. I followed your instructions regarding using the can tapper and loading up the IIIa and then using the G5 to pull in rec. tank. when i noticed the rec tank wasn’t gaining wait, i sorta assumed everything had been pulled into the tank. i closed all my valves and when i disconnected the hose between the rec tank and G5, a lot of butane came out of the hose. so i’m wondering if this will happen every time or if there is a way to prevent this from happening in the future? everything before the G5 was perfect… go figure :) thank you!

    • Alas, when you disconnect the system, the butane in the vapor hose is lost. One way to trap it, is to use a refrigeration hose with a check valve on the end. That will retain it in the hose, which will work for short periods, but not for storage.

      We moved our Mk III’s to a cart, which the butane bottle also sits on, so that we don’t have to tear down between runs. Setup simply involves lifting the recovery pots off the lower shelf of the cart, and setting them long side in an ice water tank.

      • i wasn’t sure if it was my error not keeping the tank chilled or not. i’ll actually be running the cps mt-69 and that requires hoses with ball valves, so it won’t happen again. sadly the place i ordered them from took forever to ship :/ i also have mine on a cart, but i’d like to be able to disconnect the tank and keep it in a freezer between runs

        • Yeah, the MT-69 does lose a lot of butane when you disconnect it!

          • Posted by tylerdurden71 on July 19, 2013 at 9:46 AM

            i’m using hoses with ball valves at the end and reclaiming via the g5. the only downside to not using a manifold is that i can’t tell how long the recovery process takes. did about 2 min and there was a negligible amount of butane in the mt69 or the hose going from the g5 to the recovery tank.

          • You can tell the state of recovery by watching the single compound pressure gauge.

            We recover down to -10″ between floods and pull to -22″ on the last cycle, before evacuating the balance using the high vacuum pump.

    • Posted by spooneyluv on July 18, 2013 at 12:54 AM

      Yeah we have had the same experience. To keep butane out of the injection line (red), we have been closing the red liquid valve on the recovery tank itself after we are done soaking. Then we leave the valves open to the red line itself and use the recovery pump to clear the line of any butane.

  71. Posted by OutdoorEnzo on July 14, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Ok ,so a 2″x36″ column on a 10″ spool sounds good to me, but what about my query regarding increasing size of solvent down tube to 3/8″ ? Think this would this speed things up & be easier on the appion ? Or would the higher flow be detrimental to column flooding pressure ? Yes, the picture of the high pressure column evacuation procedure is quite humorous and handy but there are many ways to skin a cat….

  72. Posted by OutdoorEnzo on July 13, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    I was contemplating a larger manually operated mk III type unit based upon 2″x36″ column on a 10″ spool and going to a 3/8″ downtube & valve instead of 1/4″, using the appion and other peripherals from mk III. Do you think that would be a feasible scenario?. Would using the same 1.5″ x 1″ ball dump valve with a 1.5″ x 2″ concentric reducer be appropriate for the larger 2″ column? I am also working on a simple system that pumps and recircs hot or warm water up from the soup warmer, and down around the column that works real good to keep column from getting or staying to cold, that I will share once it is dialed in. Do you see any problematic issues with either of these Ideas?

    Thanks, OE

    • No, as long as the intake to the recovery pump is far enough above the bursting butane bubbles to not aspirate them, after you’ve dumped a full column, you can use various sized columns and lower tanks.

      The more tank surface area that you have relative to its depth, the faster it will boil off.

      A tall skinnier column is generally more efficient for extraction, than a short fat one.

      Any column over about 36″ can get to be a pain to unload, unless you use air pressure.

  73. Posted by Organic Gold on July 2, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    The first time I ran the MKIII I had a goodyear recovery hose. I foolishly did not purge the hoses when I finished running some material. I returned the next day to remove the hose and when I did there, was butane in the recovery hose. It spewed out and coated the 3/8″ port with a red gooey oil that was not from the material. I found this goo nowhere else but iinside the recover hose. The rest of the machine was squeeky clean. I also noticed that once you run your first two test runs with leaf that the valves especially 3 become hard to open and close, indicating to me you have got to the ball valve oil and it is cllean. I have pictures and fairly good documentaiton of my Terpenator MKIII runs and troubleshooting. I have yet to put together a thread about my test runs. Just a suggestion GW, maybe you would consider starting a skunk pharm forum? That could be most helpful. I would certainly volunteer to help with the upkeep if needed. Thanks.


    • I would be happy to, but this Word Press format won’t support it, so we would have to start over and redo everything else that you see.

      What I will do, is start a Terpenator operation and troubleshooting thread, that you can use the comments column in, and which I will enable everyone to see each others post, after I read and approve them. I can’t make one thread open forum, without making them all that way.

      I’ll whomp something up and announce it upon posting.

      We use Kobra hoses, which have a nylon liner, rated excellent for butane. Goodyear actually makes hoses for Kobra, which makes me wonder what kind of Goodyear hose you had and what it was lined with? Nylon wouldn’t bleed red, even if it was breaking down. On the other hand, Goodyear air hoses have a red liner that certainly would.

      Might you share the part number information, so I can investigate further?

  74. Posted by tylerdurden71 on July 2, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    yeah, i saw that about the oil. I’m not sure if the system comes put together or not. if not, i was going wash/scrub everything in Dawn and then do a wipe down with alcohol followed by assembly and running with activated carbon. also using black light to check for oil residue. does it matter what kind of activated carbon, or should i be using lab grade?

  75. Posted by tylerdurden71 on June 30, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    does the 3/8″ charging hose have 1/4″ fittings on either end?

    • No, it requires an 1/4″ Female flare to 3’8″ Male flare adapter.

      • Posted by tylerdurden71 on June 30, 2013 at 6:23 PM

        woops, i should have asked… is the connection point 1/4″ on the IIIa? i did find some 3/8″ hoses with 1/4″ fittings on them already.

        • One of the 3/8″ hose connects to the 3/8″ Flare fitting in the top of the Terpenator cross. If you made this 1/4″, it would restrict the flow.

          The other end attaches to the filter protecting the recovery pump inlet. You can use either a 3/8″ flare filter here, or a 1/4″, because the other end hooks to the recovery pumps 1/4″ flare intake fitting. A fitting to change from 1/4″ to 3/8″ is needed on one end or the other.

          The reason for the larger hose and fittings right up to the pump, is to reduce resistance to flow and therefore back pressure.

        • Posted by Organic Gold on July 1, 2013 at 11:52 AM

          The appion Mega Flow recovery hose is well worth the extra money. Be careful some hoses are suitable for what we need and will leave residues or breakdown and contaminate your oil. The mega flow hose is alot faster with 1/2″ diameter and 1/4″ flare fitting on one end and 3/8″ on the other. Highly reccomended.


          • Thanks for the heads up bro! We will check that one out.

            Quality refrigeration hoses have an inner liner to contain the solvents and keep them away from the more vulnerable hose components. Usually that is a thermoplastic like Nylon, which stands up to butane well at the temperatures it is used at. The Kobra hoses that we use, have such a liner, but we have only been using 3/8″ hose on the Mk III because of the 3/8″ port. We use 1/2″ hoses on the automated Mk II, so I will use one of them on the Mk III to compare times.

          • Posted by tylerdurden71 on July 2, 2013 at 7:54 AM

            could this be the cause of the oil people are finding in the recovery tank? i purchases hoses from your link and picked up a couple smaller yellow jacket plus II hoses. hopefully there won’t be issues with them :/

          • We never did determine the source of the oil, a couple of users have reported, but a quality refrigeration charging hose has a butane resistant liner, so you should be good with Yellow Jacket.

            It is possible to suck oil from the vacuum pump, by leaving the vacuum pump isolation valve open, while pulling a vacuum with the recovery pump, but the folks having oil issues, didn’t feel that was the case.

  76. Posted by Brian on June 29, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    For anyone having trouble with oil in their extractions-
    Check your dump ball valves
    Just found oil oozing from the inside of the valve where the ball meets the housing. If your finding oil in your extracts and arent sucking it in from your vacuum pump this may well be the most likely cause.

    • The Mk IIIA dump ball valve is completely rebuildable with kits from Glacier Tank, but it shouldn’t be leaking this soon and I would ask for a replacement if yours is. At around $70, it is too expensive a valve to stand for poor performance.

      Glacier Tank replaced the original non rebuildable valves, when they leaked soon after installation, so I have faith in their customer service. We switched to the more expensive valve after two customers experienced failures.

      If it is the vacuum pump isolation valve, it is a ANSI 150 pound Paramount Supply valve and so far we have seen butane leaks at the stem packing, but no leaks through the ball valve. The stem packing has a packing gland nut that will usually stop the leak if tightened, but eventually do wear out and start to leak, so as to require replacement, as they aren’t rebuildable. Fortunately they are under $15 each.


      • Posted by tylerdurden71 on July 3, 2013 at 10:49 AM

        i wonder if installing a larger vac check valve might be advantageous in terms of reducing the chance of human error with potentially sucking pump oil into the system?

        • No question that it would be a nice fail safe, but all check valves have pressure losses through them, and we are trying to achieve at least -29.5″ Hg at the surface of the oil. That means that even at sea level, the maximum loss can be only .42″ Hg. A normally closed spring return full port ball valve would work if it was fast enough. When you cut pump power, it would also cut power to the valve, which would cause the spring return to close it.

  77. Posted by tylerdurden71 on June 24, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    i find it utterly disappointing that the people at can’t even return an email to find out pricing. i’ve emailed them multiple times over the months and never one reply. hard to take them seriously when this is the case

    • I understand your frustration TD and have expressed your concerns to those in a position to correct the problem. They have committed to fix the problem, so please contact me at if you don’t hear from them later yet today. As with many start ups, they’ve experienced some growing pains, with records lost.


    • Posted by ryan-i on June 25, 2013 at 10:38 AM

      folks should be patient and understand that this isn’t a business thats ready to just take your money. these are folks that have selflessly donated time, resources, and money to to research, develop, and test these processes and mechanisms and then SHARE for FREE with all of us. i don’t think it was initially intended to be a “business”, per se – they’re just trying to help folks get the equipment they need. this site/forum has easily become one of the top resources for us extractors, and is constantly getting more interest/traffic so on top of all of the r+d, classes, etc. that these guys are busy with, im sure they are inundated with new emails, and it takes time to respond to all, and inevitably some get lost in the shuffle. please try to keep this in perspective. i am not affiliated with skunkpharm or specialized – just a client, but wanted to share my observations.

      • Thanks for the good thoughts Ryan, and pleased that your experience was more pleasant!

        You essentially hit the nail on the head, I just didn’t want to clutter up the issue with the facts, because we don’t endorse poor customer service, regardless of the circumstances.

        Terpenator kits at the price that Specialized Formulations’ delivers them, are a service, not a business. Their business is extractions and formulations.

        The Mk IIIA design was gifted to public domain with open sourcing and Specialized Formulations offers the kit an minimal markup, so that there is a system available to the masses, that ma and pa can afford. There is no margin in the price for hired help, and the well meaning hired help filling in, sometimes made conditions worse

        There have also been mass shortages of parts from China, created by the unexpected high demand at Glacier Tank, because I also gave the plans and open sourcing away free to DIY builders, who order directly, at the same price for all but the modified parts. Specialized Formulations only marks up the modified parts and delivers the balance of the parts at retail.

        There was also a massive shortage when the entire container of parts were returned to China by US Customs, after they found a beetle inside.

        SF however, delivered dozens of kits during the time in question, so I have to believe their lack of response was related to their start up computer replacements, staffing, training, etc.

        I know that their intent is to provide a professional level of service and I know the professionals involved, so I have faith that they will fix the problem.

        If any of ya’ll are still frustrated, please give them another chance at, or call them at 503-775-5003. If that fails, contact me at and I will get price, delivery, and shipping.

        For the purpose of comparison, those number change with the ongoing changes in component prices, but last I heard, the base kit was just under $1K, with an average of around $160 shipping.


        • Posted by tylerdurden71 on June 26, 2013 at 11:55 AM

          just to let everyone know, i did finally get an email back from them. i think part of my frustration is that i had emailed them several times to inquire about products. Carla has been quick responding with questions which is greatly appreciated :)

  78. any reason why the outfit associated with skunkpharm that is putting together these kits doesn’t return emails??

    • Hi, Tyler. Great handle! Sorry for the delayed response. There has been a rush of inquiries in the last week. It seems you have somehow slipped between the cracks.

      I have kits in stock and am making all efforts to keep parts on hand at all times so that anyone wishing may get one immediately. If that is your desire, please do call Specialized land line, 503 775-5003. I will give you the appropriate information to make you decision. I look forward to talking to you!

  79. Posted by Granite on June 22, 2013 at 7:19 AM

    Yesterday I ran a cycle when my appion started clanking something fierce. I might have missed my count and I think that the pump sucked in oil filled liquid. Seems like I destroyed the pump(at least it will need a rebuild). Have you ever had a pump make bad sounds? I think I’m going to have to rebuild the pump, but don’t know which parts

  80. Posted by c on June 20, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    After the tank has been charged with gas from say 22 cans of butane how many batches about before a person needs to add more gas and then how much? As in how much gas is used per batch with the basic 24″ x 1 1/2″ column ? n thanks as always. You r literally lifesavers!

    • How much gas you use per load, depends on how you run your Terpenator and what butane you are using. You can recover most of the butane, by running the recovery pump for extended periods, while heating the pot and column, but we’ve found the most economical place to stop is at about 22″ Hg on the last cycle, which leaves about 26% of the volume of the system in butane vapors. On a Mk IIIA, that would be about 41 cubic inches of butane vapor, which has a 233:1 liquid to vapor ratio, so that would be .17 cubic inches of butane or 2.8 milliliters.

      Not only does that save time to discard the butane below -22″ Hg, but it reduces wear on the recovery pump.

      If you run the system cold, the losses are greater and some people like to open the Terpenators while there is still butane present to aid in producing blonde wax products.

      • if i wanted to put a blowoff safety valve on my recovery tank, like on the tamisium recovery tank , what psi rating should i use. the one on the tamisium is 125 PSI. the recovery tank will be used in an active system with a appion g5 twin . Any help would be great . I was planning on 165 PSI any help would be greatly appreciated

      • Posted by tylerdurden71 on June 26, 2013 at 12:04 PM

        i’m curious what you mean about people making blonde wax this way. care to elaborate? :)

        • The color of the extract using a Terpenator, is highly dependent on the extraction temperature, as heat darkens plant sugars.

          I will post a picture of a blonde extraction done at about 85F, which demonstrates what I mean.

  81. Posted by Chris on June 19, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    I got an extractor today, its not a terpenator but I will make the best of it. The recovery machine and vacuum pump should arrive any day now. My extractor came with a 6×6 collection tank and a 4×10 storage tank. I suppose that is okay but the 3×36 column seems a tad large. No big deal, I want to make it a bottom feed column like yours. Can you suggest a flexible return line to replace the stainless tubing? Would a refrigeration hose be okay, or some type of plastic? I was also hoping to get a suggestion for the proper size collection tank for the 3×36 column.
    Thank you for all the help.

    • Your 6×6 collection tank only holds about 156 cubic inches of liquid and your column holds 214 cubic inches. Clearly it won’t allow you to dump the column with space left over for a vapor head to pump from.

      We use a 10″ paint pressure pot for the 3″ X 36″ columns, but Glacier Tank also just received some 10″ X 12″ stainless spools, that would make a good lower end for your size column.

      I don’t like to run the butane containing the oil through anything other than stainless, because an isomer’s resistance to the aromatic alkenes are less predictable than simple alkanes like butane and propane. If I had a detailed list of what all the different aromatics are, I might feel more adventuresome.

      If you are just running butane, a refrigeration hose, or a neoprene one is suitable. Refrigeration hoses are usually lined with a thermoplastic like nylon.

      You can also get convoluted stainless hoses, which will give you some flexibility.

      Ostensibly a PTFE lined hose would also work.

      • Posted by Chris on June 20, 2013 at 12:29 PM

        A million thanks! I ordered a better sized column today. One day I will build the 10″ collection tank for the large column. I think I finally understand column, collection tank, and storage tank capacities and how to properly size them and calculate the amount of butane needed. I found all the info on this site!
        Thank you.

  82. Posted by ronkingroll on June 7, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    couldnt find a better place to post this question, sorry. Recently theres been some talk around here about extracting with R134-a. Whats the deal? I seemed to remember something about poisons being formed from any left over solvent. Whats the deal?? Thanks

  83. Posted by c on June 3, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    In instruction 1 you say to open ALL valves but #4 . If valve # 5 is open what keeps the vac pump from evacuating the holding tank? I imagine that the pump is some sort of stop gap. If so why the need for valve #5, to keep any contaminants from coming back into the oil? thanks again.

    • The vacuum pump does evacuate the holding tank of air. We leave no air to support combustion with the butane. It doesn’t evacuate the storage tank because the recovery pump has poppet valves that are closed . Valve 5 is to isolate the recovery pump during the 5 minutes of high vacuum rest at the end, to eliminate any possible sources of back fill, so that the gauge reading is meaningful.

      • Posted by c on June 6, 2013 at 1:12 PM

        thank you. I just finished filling my tank for the first time. Those can tappers r scary at first but by the end I had it figured out. I’m in a wheelchair now from an explosion in 84 so I’m all about taking it slow these days.Thanx for helping with my baby steps. Off topic wow I never realized hso was such a high concentration by volume. Good job on making it easy to get inside people at amounts that can make a difference. Thanxz again and onward through the fog.

  84. Posted by Chris on May 26, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Can this system be modified to run a larger column, say 2lbs at a time?

    • It can tolerate up to about a 36″ columm at about half a pound per run. The Mk I and II will do up to about 2.3 pounds and the Mk V about 5 pounds per run.

      • can a system be built using 10″ triclamps from glacier tanks. They are rated for 100 psi at 70 F . ?

      • Posted by c on June 6, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        Could a person use a wider column by using a different reducer? Like a 2 ” or 3 ” one? at say 24″ or 36″ ? Was wondering if it would still flood the column efficiently.

        • The limitations are how much butane ends up in the lower tank. If the pool depth is too close to the recovery pump intake, your pump will aspirate liquid from the bursting bubbles from boiling under vacuum.

          • Posted by c on June 7, 2013 at 10:01 AM

            So then using a spool that was 12″ deep instead of six would be the way to expand then to deal with the increase in butane because of the 3″ column compared to the 1 1/2 ” one. If 6″ x 6″ handles a 36″ x 1 1/2″ column then would a 12″tall x 6″ base have the capability to handle the 36″ x 3″ column? Not needing it today but my mind is always looking towards the future. Thanks again for doing all this stuff.

          • The 12″ deep would allow larger columns, but wouldn’t boil off any faster because of the 6″ diameter surface area.

  85. Posted by Organical on May 18, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    saw this on PDX craigslist and was wondering if you know these guys?

    looks like a terpenator just a way higher price. Obivously they are getting their design from here and looks like glacier tank parts…? Just curious.

  86. Posted by E on May 17, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    I have added a sightglass to the top of the column so I can see as things progress. In regards to closing valve 2 and then 4 when filling up the column, I have a full column of butane and material and then when I open 2 and then 4 during step 8, does it just cycle the butane thru continuously? (5lbs butane in gas cylinder) If so, isn’t that basically a soak? Do I have to actually dump it via 3 to remove the butane from the column to remove the butane from the material and then open 2 and 4 again to flood the column? If I open 2 and keep 4 closed, I get lots of bubbles in the column. Is that butane being recovered?

    • When valves 2 and 4 are open, the recovery pump is push/pulling the butane through the column and out through the vent tube, to the lower chamber. That time, plus the time it takes to recover the butane in the lower chamber, while valve 3 is closed, soaks the plant material.

      The only to get the remaining butane out of the vertically flooding column, is to open valve 3.

      If you vacuumed your system first, the bubbles are butane and following your vacuum gauge is the easiest way to tell whether you have recovered all the butane or not.

  87. Posted by E on May 16, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    I attached a glass sight glass to the top of my column so I can see what’s happening. When I am in the process of steps 8 and 9, I fill the column and then close 2 and 4. When I then open 2 and 4, shouldn’t I be able to see the liquid drop? I feel like its just a continuous stream. What would happen if I kept 4 closed with 2 open and then empty the tank into the tube? Would that work? I tried it and I get bubbles in the butane. Is that butane being recovered? Doesn’t seem to drop when I do that, though. Using ice bath and heater.

    • When both valves are open, you are push/pulling the butane through the material in the column, flushing the essential oils through the top vent tube and down to the lower tank. The system will push/pull liquid faster than it will vaporize the butane under vacuum and recompress it back into the storage tank, so if you just leave the valves open, the system will eventually flood the lower chamber.

  88. Posted by c on May 9, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Hya, so after you shut down the vac pump in step 15.0 How do you bleed off the vacuum before you open the system or do you just open the clamps and that’s enough? Thanks on the cleaning the tank info by the way.

    • I remove the vacuum gauge line and let the pressure bleed off.

      • Posted by c on May 10, 2013 at 10:37 AM

        ah,that seems easy enough. thanks

        • Posted by c on May 10, 2013 at 10:07 PM

          How many runs can you do with the same collecter pot before it is too full and needs to get emptied? IE how far can the oil be up the pot before itz time to wash it out?

          • About an inch of oil before you start blowing it around inside the collection pot and adding to the cleanup effort.

          • Posted by c on May 12, 2013 at 11:09 AM

            Is it mandatory to have spent material in the column for cleaning purposes or can a person just run it without material at first to get out any unneeded gunk,etc.? Also have you ever run anything besides cannabis like other types of flowers say lavender ? n once again thanx for the info as always it is the BEST clearest out there today!

          • You can run it without anything in the column. It just takes longer and more butane.

            Yes, it will extract other plant terpenes. I’ve done hops and douglas fir needles so far, but we will be experimenting with others like lemon zest and rose mary.

  89. Posted by c on May 6, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    sanitary spools are way cool. Thanks for showing the way.

  90. Posted by Outdoor Enzo on May 3, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    OK GW, oil/grease that I am assuming is either from the valves on the new robinair recovery tank that I am using or the Appion itself, is showing up in my terp tank.Have run six cleaning cycles with unit empty of material & it is still showing up-a little less each time but still there-I am not loading it until I see a clean tank and know that the system is as pure as ivory soap possible.Is it possible to run a second line dryer/filter on the end of the supply hose at the #4 inlet valve and filter any solvent entering the system? OR are they only for the vapor side of things? Or how about a second one after the appion on the return hose at the tank & cycle till tank shows clean? I know the terp is grease and oil free as it has been meticulously cleaned like five different ways during assembly-the only place I can think it could be coming from is the tank or its valves or the recovery pump.Does the Appion still weep/seep petroleum products although it is of an “oilless design” Do I need to disassemble it and clean it internally ,poppets etc? Call me crazy, (lots of folks do!) but I am thinking that new tanks should first be disassembled and rinsed/cleaned with denatured alcohol,as well soaking and manually degreasing the valves, followed by a second ethanol rinse,before reassembly and use. I don’t want to just blow off the case of newport in there to take it apart and clean it, so it looks like I must get another tank and clean it first and then transfer the butane via the system,through the line dryer/filter. It is bummer to have your system and solvent contaminated before first use by new equipment that is a part of it ! All components have been purchased new for this use to ensure safety and purity. I don’t believe that the problem is just going to go away with another six hour session of cycling butane through the system,as it seems to always pick some oil up somewhere and leave it in the tank. I am becoming discouraged as have invested lots of time and $ in this project,and feel I am really close but still real far away from justified results. I need safely processed and petroleum free pure meds ! How do I/would you go about rectifying this situation ?

    • Not sure where your contamination came from, but if it isn’t going away easily, I would pick up a clean tank and replace my hoses. Your health is worth more than a gamble.

      I would then fully disassemble and re-clean the Terpenator with hot soapy water and rinse with denatured alcohol, before running a cleaning run.

      I would try to clean the tank by removing the valve and washing it out with denatured alcohol. A second tank will come in handy anyway, if you start purchasing n-Butane in LP-5 butane bottles, because you can transfer the butane to your storage tank, instead of paying demurrage on the suppliers bottle.

      The Appion lubricated parts are totally remote from the two rods that move back and forth in the isolated cylinders and the valves are just a couple of spring loaded plastic poppets. Running clean butane through it, should clean it, but it is easy to take apart and rebuild. Alas, the rebuild kit is $230, so I would start by just flushing it.

      You also have a heat exchanger and some plumbing to consider when flushing out the Appion.

      You can get liquid refrigerant filters, that may help. RSD refrigeration supply has them or you can get them at places like

      • Posted by c on May 6, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        Reading all this I’m thinking to just take out the valve and clean the tank is a good thing anyway. Is it going to harm the tank to remove the valve? Or are they designed to come off and be put back together. My tank is still a few days away on delivery so I’m not looking right at one but I’m thinking it is just like for propane as in changeable valve.

    • Posted by A6 Grower on May 4, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      I’ve had the same issue. Bought everything new, cleaned everything beforehand and when i transferred my butane from the can to tank there was a ton of oil/grease in the recovery tank. It went Butane can > can-taper > hose > recovery tank > Hose > filter > Appion > hose > 50# tank in ice water. After i ran a case and a half into my #50 tank i open up the recovery tank and saw that it was covered in grease/oil. I ran my butane through activated charcoal about 6 times, doing 6-8 passes each time. Each time i found little and little of oil. My last run seemed to have almost nothing, so i ran it with garbage material a couple times to clean. The oil thats coming out looks likes its clean but i’m not quite sure it is. My uv inspection light shows just oil but i find the oil still has a strange smell. Im hoping its the material and the new stuff i try today tastes better. I never really found where my contamination came from which is the most annoying part. I thought maybe the butane but that didn’t really make sense to me since the butane looked fine when sprayed on glass. I hope you figure it out, as it caused me quite the headache for the first few days with my MKIII

      • What brand tank and hoses?

        • Posted by A6 Grower on May 6, 2013 at 9:52 PM

          Cheap ebay Hoses –

          I suspect those hoses but theres would have had to be A LOT of oil in that one hose going from the can tapper to the recovery tank to produce the oil that was in the tank after i recovered almost 2 cases while never opening up the recovery tank till the end.

          It has since cleaned up, but it did take quite a few runs of activated charcoal to clean it all up.

          • Mastercool is a well enough know business to not be likely to be repainting used tanks and selling them for new, so the hose sounds most suspicious, but from the standpoint of material selection as opposed to oil. No refrigerant tank or hose should have oil in them, because they would contaminate even refrigeration systems.

            It may be the hose dissolving.

            I infer that you have replaced the injection hose, so you might try cutting it open and splitting a section to see if it has been attacked by the butane.

          • Posted by A6 Grower on May 12, 2013 at 9:52 PM

            I cut open the hose, it looks fine, no signs of being attacked by the butane. Im down to about 5lb now so im going to release it and clean my tank and everything again. This time i might find some lucienne or colbri instead of vector. Also this time when filling my tank i won’t dump 3 cans at a time into my recovery pot to be recovered by the pump. Just stick to 1 can at a time. Do you keep the recovery pot in ice while transfering from can to tank? I was thinking of switching from ice while draining the can then move to hot 150F+ degrees for recovery so with 1 can at a time im not sitting outside for 2 hours.

          • It occurred to me training some new operators to run a Mk III, that it would be easy to pull oil into the system from the vacuum pump, if you ran the recovery pump with the vacuum pump valve open. Is there any possibility that may have happened?

          • Posted by A6 Grower on May 13, 2013 at 9:05 PM

            Nope on the vacuum. When i filled my tank I vacuumed the system down then disconnected the vacuum pump and connected the can taper hose. After that i just used the recovery pump to get the recovery pot to -10 or 20 hg before draining more cans. Also when running i have so far not messed up and left any valves open, but the contamination started from the beginning im sure when filling. Recovery pump was brand new, along with everything even the can tapper. I dont know, im just going to drain the 50# tank, clean everything and start fresh again and see if that helps.

          • Indeed a puzzlement!

      • Posted by mike on July 24, 2013 at 10:49 PM

        I’ve had the same issue red oil smells kinda rubbery, has anyone solved this? I Purchased everything new mastercool tank, robinair hoses, and everything else from trusted links. after about ten clean runs with no sucsess. Then I just left valve 3 open and ran a few clean runs, only to find it easier to clean and Identify. after trying that a few times I left the collection tank open and sprayed a little butane through a napken. and found red oil. then i sprayed a little out of the tank without hose on a napkin and found no oil. so I think I narrowed it down to robinair hoses or the valves. Which one do you think would create red oil? if I bought yellow jacket hoses do you think my problem will be solved?

        • Posted by mike on July 25, 2013 at 2:02 PM

          Ok so today I sprayed the liquid line hose into a napkin and no surprise red oil. so now I’m 90% sure its the hose’s. So my question now is why didn’t more people with robinair hoses have issues. Is it possible the cheap Korean butane I have, has helped breakdown the hose?

          • No clue, but Robinair refrigerant hoses should have a thermoplastic liner, that isn’t vulnerable to butane.

            We are currently using JB Kobra hoses with a nylon liner with good results

        • I would suggest buying Just Better Kobra refrigerant hoses, until we sort out where the red came from. They have a nylon liner.

  91. Posted by Outdoor Enzo on April 30, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    OK ,GW would you explain the change in the specified amount of butane to be run in the MK III? Previous to the recent post of 4/19,where you state that you are running 10 lbs with what I assume to be the 50# tank in the system,all references are based on running 4-5lbs,as you stated in numerous posts preceding 4/19. Are you running more now to get the cycle times down? Is the surface area enough @ 10 lbs to cause the required condensation? Clarify,please. Thanks again for all the great open source info !

    • Good point OE! We are now running 10# in the 50# tanks, after extensive beta testing. It will still work at 5#, but you have to refill the tank more often to account for any losses, now that practice tells us that it is better to lose a small amount of butane in the spent material, than rebuild the pump seals from running them essentially dry.

  92. Posted by H.Organics on April 27, 2013 at 1:08 AM

    So about the butane… a single 10oz 300ml can of lucienne 4x refined weighs approximately 74 grams empty. A full can of lucienne butane, right out of a master case weighs approximately 236 grams. This seems pretty straight forward with the math leaving me with 162 grams of butane per 10oz can.
    multiplied by 72 cans = 11,664 grams divided by 448 = 26.035714286 lbs of butane minus whatever is lost during the can tapping and end procedure atmosphere and propane burp once finished. Am I missing something with this math?

    thanks in advance..

    • It would work, but not as fast as its big brother.

      • okay second question on the 1 /12″ Buna N sanitary seals with screens from brewery gasket,screens coarse of fine? thanx for breaking trail on all this once again!

      • Posted by c on May 1, 2013 at 3:26 PM

        If a person was operating at lower temps like 110 F would the smaller pump decrease recovery time even more or would it be operating in line with the available gas because of temp etc.? Then the bigger pump wouldn’t really be faster right? Then the smaller unit may be better as it uses less parts to break etc. or is this flawed thinking? I’m not familiar at all with these kinds of pumps so,,,,,, curious before spending money I barely have is all.

        • The larger pump is faster. The high vacuum pumps are a small part of the process, so the savings is minimal.

          The slow part of the process is recovering the butane from the material packed in the column, using the refrigerant recovery machine. A larger pump is an advantage here.

        • The larger pumps are faster.

          The high vacuum pump is of such short duration that the savings is minimal.

          The long part of the cycle is the final recovery of butane from the column, and the larger pump makes a big difference.

  93. Posted by Dr teeth on April 18, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    I am selling my MkIII if anyone is interested. It is very lightly used, discounted and can be shipped.

  94. ? being could a person use a longer column to increase productivity? Also could a person have more than one column and interchange them to make things faster?
    also how many 300ml cans of butane does it take to chrge the system and get going? Thanx for the chance to ask! peace c

    • You can use up to about a 36″ column, and we use two colums and two collection tanks to keep our Mk III’s constantly in production.

      We run around 10# of butane in the system, which is about two cases.

  95. Posted by Outdoor Enzo on April 14, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    here is the link for the MSD on the Mill/Rose stainless tape-
    This stuff is great ! what do you think? can we/should we use it?

  96. Posted by Outdoor Enzo on April 14, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    GW, here is some handy info for those assembling their own MK IIIA. The compound gauge is a yellow jacket # 49052,available at RSD, as previously cited.$15 & change.
    Appion has a mega flow recovery hose that has a 1/4″ fitting on one end and a 3/8″ on the other, with an ID of a 1/2″, pricey ,but I got mine here-–6ft_p_1646.html. Should speed things up and extend pump life a wee bit,and it is Xtra heavy duty! Tru tech also has a good price on the G5.


    I had to replace my 3/8″ 4 way cross with 2 tees,because while doing a dry pre-assembly (no tape) run through so as to get everything clocked right, I galled the threads on the nipple and the cross pretty bad and we are talking just a LOOSE HAND TIGHT quarter turn to far and it was stuck so bad that I had to use a pipe wrench to get them apart. I am pretty sure the cross was cracked and the threads were so damaged I could not even clean them up with a tap. I had to mill the end of the nipple on the lid off and chase the threads to get it right again.No big deal for me as I have handy access to a milling machine, but it could be a big headache for some one who does not. I could not come up with a stainless 4 way locally,so I was forced to use the 2 tees instead.I got a nipple with a 1/2″ between the threads to connect them.I clocked the one on the lid vertically and pointed the 90 leg out horizontally and attached the other tee to it with the nipple, horizontally. This allows one to install the 2 vacuum valves opposite from each other,and leaves the flare fitting for the compound gauge hose pointing up.I actually like this configuration better,as it is less crowded around the lid and the recovered tane has to go around 2 extra 90′s, maybe further preventing any goo getting close to the Appion.
    On the subject of tape, my local plumbing supply clued me into the fact that there is a specific type of teflon tape for use on stainless to stainless.I went ahead and used it, only to find out that it is not for use with food or oxygen, but ok for water.I am assuming that this is because of the high nickel content?Does not stainless contain some nickel?
    I have not found the MSD yet,but was wondering if I should disassemble and replace with yellow gas tape. What do you think about this stuff ? It works REAL good. I have yet to run the unit,but am not really into taking it all apart and re taping everything,as right now it does not leak and holds a nice tight vacuum.
    P.S. I almost setup an gravatar, but WordPress is under heavy ddos attack right now, and I am not going to risk it. So,heads up, redouble your password security with any WordPress linked accounts you have in order to maintain the integrity of this site !

    • Thanks for sharing bro!

      Good point on 300 series to 300 series stainless fits and gauling. They not only gual readily, they are just looking for an opportunity to gaul.

      All teflon tape isn’t created equal and some is thicker than others. We heavily wrap using thick PTFE tape, available at Paramount or RSD.

      I would avoid the tape with the nickle powder impregnated into the PTFE. It isn’t necessary and while stainless contains nickle and chrome, it isn’t free to disassociate. For instance, is the powder form in tri or hexavalent form, both of which are controlled heavy metals in food.

  97. Posted by Organics on April 8, 2013 at 6:28 AM

    How many cans of Lucienne do I need to get 4lbs of butane?


    Im making my own vacuum chamber out of an All american 941 pressure cooker.
    Inside diameter – 15 1/4 inches
    Inside Height – 14 1/4 inches
    Overall Height – 19 inches

    I was going to buy a 1/2″ thick sheet of lexan to make the lid but am wondering if it will be strong enough given the size of the opening? Should I go with 1″ thick plexiglas?

    Thanks in Advance,

    I found this in relation to figuring the thickness of the lid… I cant figure out the math though…

    “Even with a perfect vacuum, 14.7 psi is the maximum pressure exerted on the viewing port.
    PMMA has a Poisson’s ratio of 0.35, poly-carbonate 0.37 The loading case is a simply supported circular plate. Maximum stress will be:

    [Advanced Mechanics of Materials, Boresi/Schmidt pg 491]

    r is the radius, t thickness, v Poisson’s Ratio, and
    p the uniform load (100000 Pa atmospheric pressure)

    Feel free to use that formula for future reference on “porthole” like designs under either vacuum or pressurized conditions. Notably thick portholes may require a modification due to assumptions about plane strain.
    Both PMMA and polycarb have about the same tensile strength of ~50 MPa and elastic modulus. The only difference between the two is that polycarb has about 4 times the impact strength. Assuming the diameter of the pressure cooker is 30 cm he has about a 2x safety factor.”

    HAD says:

    Acrylic tends to “shatter” much more so than polycarbonate though. And make sure you consider the impact of scratches and other defects on overall strength.
    Reply Report comment
    • userjjb says: 
Worrying about minor surface defects like scratches is akin to worrying about stepping in a puddle in the middle of a hurricane.

    A Mode I crack occurring in plane strain can have a maximum depth determined by:
c = 2/pi * (K/yield)^2
where K is the fracture toughness of the material (PMMA ~1.2, polycarb ~2.2 MPa/(m^(1/2))
This is ~2mm for the PMMA and ~7mm for the 12mm thick plate. Those aren’t scratches, they’re cuts.

    • I would use the 1″. I always design for deflection rather than stress at the extreme fiber, because of high cyclic fatigue from oil canning. Consider welding a vacuum port on the pots metal wrapper, rather than weakening the lid with holes.

      • Posted by Organics on April 8, 2013 at 12:11 PM

        yea I wasnt cutting into the 941 lid.. was planning on using the lexan sheet as the lid. . I could just use the solid lid, but I thought Id want to have a look. I even thought about a wireless web cam inside the chamber with an LED light to watch the action..maybe I will…

      • budget caused us to use the 3/8ths inch lexan and I must say it will be the first thing I replace when I can. It sucks in about an inch when vac is full,totally trippy looking but I wear goggles when I use it.Its on a 22 qrt aluminum pressure cooker.We were able to use the gasket from the lid if it gets placed carefully.The harbor Freight 3cfm pump does very well though and so far the jar/solvent trap is holding up. I’m going to put a metal worm just before it in the ice water to condense it before it hits the s trap so to catch more going through . You suggested a series of s traps a while ago but I’m thinking this could work okay to. See any reason it would be wrong? thanks in advance.

    • Posted by Thanks on April 25, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      “How many cans of Lucienne do I need to get 4lbs of butane?”

      Quoted from THCfarmer
      “”We just moved to a wholesale supplier for our Lucienne 4X, and our price is now down to $123 for (72) 300ml cans (21600ml).

      21, 600 ml is about 5.71 gallons, or around 28.7 lbs at n-Butanes specific gravity of .601. “”

    • How does it work?

      • Posted by H.Organics on April 5, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        “Can be used for “Single” or “Multi-Pass” recycling.

        Our Recycle kit Includes;

        Large capacity filter-drier, Part# LLD303

        Sight Glass with Moisture Indication, Part# SSG FM3

        Sight Glass Reads in, ….CAUTION…..DRY……..WET

        TWO” Inlet and Outlet hoses

        (2) 36″ Red Hoses

        EACH HOSE:

        Red, 1/4″ Female Flare Swivel straight x 1/4″ Female Flare Swivel 45 degree with valve core depressor on one end.

        Recycle up to 125 lbs. of refrigerant, depending on the moisture and the contamination level of the refrigerant being recycled.

        Connect this Recycle filter between the Recovery unit outlet and recovery tank.

        Will clean (RECYCLE) one-pass, and check the refrigerant for moisture.

        The refrigerant can then be reused and called “RECYCLED”.

        Charge your customers for a flat RECYCLE fee instead of buying new refrigerant.”

        From the listing ^^^^

        Since the filter can become saturated and pass moisture through I was thinking it would be a good way to keep my butane clean after so many runs, and running frozen material etc..

        Another question, I got my can tapper. I noticed the needle that pierces the can is metal, puncturing a metal can. My thought was isnt this likely to make a spark? metal to metal to tap the butane can? You obviously havent blown up doing it, I may just be overly cautious….?

        • Ok, I see, it is a filter drier, as opposed to a pump. You can also attach a filter dryer to the recovery pump or put a molsieve column inline.

          The penetrator on ours isn’t steel and is unlikely to spark penetrating a mild steel can.

          • Posted by Red Dog on April 17, 2013 at 2:51 PM

            I’d like to know how you attatch the filter drier to the recovery pump. What are the specific fittings used? Do you “splice” the filter inline and secure it with hose clamps?
            Also, can you filter and dry the recover tank with the above mentioned kit seperately before or after the extraction process?

          • We use a filter drier with a female 1/4″ flare fitting on the outlet and a 1/4″ male flare on the inlet. We simply screw the female fitting directly onto the pump intake, and attach the intake vacuum hose to the 1/4″ male flare.

  98. Posted by MC on March 20, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    Hey, is the info on suppliers the most current? I am looking to get as much ready made as possible for fast start up time..

  99. Beautiful device. I would like to purchase your product and discuss other topics via email or telephone. Please email contact info or contact me via this email address.

  100. Posted by Paul on March 17, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    Hi, just finished my build, and I am running the second batch as I type this, however, I am not feeling a rush of cold on the top of the cylinder when I flood, and even with a infared thermometer i am only seeing a 1 degree drop after about 50 seconds of flooding, and with a reading of 50-60psi. Recovery times are 20 minutes. I do not know what I am doing wrong. One question I have is, are you flooding with the vapor recovery line or the liquid recovery line? Thanks for the help.

  101. Posted by Dr. Teeth on March 16, 2013 at 2:30 PM


    When running multiple flood cycles, do you/people see increased yields from this? I’m just a little confused why you run so many cycles through the material.

    • We have found through experimentation, that about three floods will extract most of the resin. Fewer floods leave material behind and more floods improve the yield slightly, but start to add electric green hues.

      • Posted by Dr teeth on March 17, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        If you had to quantify flood cycles, what would they be?
        1 flood = 10%?
        3 floods = 15%?
        5 floods = 20%?

        • It has been awhile since we ran the tests on the Mk I, but looking at pictures, it looks to me like flood 1 and 2 were close to equal and flood 3 was perhaps 5% and flood 4 was maybe 1%

          • Posted by Dr teeth on March 19, 2013 at 1:46 AM

            Forgive my ignorance, but can’t you simply allow the butane to soak into the material for a longer period and only run one cycle? I am not experienced in such matters, so I kindly ask for clarity. I am running off of logic, but there is most likely unforeseen factors at play.

            Thank you

          • The technical term for why we flood the column is “partition coefficient” it is loosely defined as the volume of solvent that dissolves a solute. Leaving the solvent in contact with the material only helps if you have more solvent than solute. Once you reach saturation all you are doing is wasting time. So we cycle fresh solvent to rebalance the ratio. Hopefully that clarified things for you.


  102. Posted by Sppete13 on March 13, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    Hiya SPR! I just wanted to update y’all on progress…

    Today I did my final cleaning run, and then first real run since getting this thing last month….

    The cleaning run showed I was leaking butane at the top of the stainless line coming out of the column… so after my cleaning run I put yellow gas rated teflon on it and then packed my column and went….

    at this point everything seems to be running good, I was keeping my pot at about 70-90 degrees… because I am looking for lighter colors and my material was somewhat aged…

    I noticed that the same fitting that I had just retefloned again was leaking and then i checked the whole system, and saw that the bottom fitting on the same line was bubbling out a little as well (The extra teflon bubbled a little not the pipe)

    After running 3 cycles and waiting for it to get down to 22hg I then shut it down and opened the hard vacuum line…. got us to 29.9 and then closed the valve and turned off the pump…. left it on hard vacuum for about 5-7 minutes… and opened her up….

    It looked like hard blonde hard wax on top… and darker pasty wax below…. I of course was making Amber Glass Shatter so I basically warmed it back up and put it in a vacuum my heater on Low… and VIOLA!!!

    Came out Perfect…. Now I just have to get those leaks stopped and take pics and video next run….

    Thank you soooooooo much

    Also…. Essential oils ordered to start production of Holy Shit…. do I have to rename it? Or can I keep your name on it?


    • Good show bro! Yeah, those stainless to stainless fits are harder to seal and require thick taping.

      Feel free to continue to call Holy Shit by our moniker, though I should warn you that our post was removed from one polite forum because of our coarse and vulgar language. In those cases, I call it HS oil, or HSO.

  103. hello gw from colorado wanted to build a mkIIIa is the parts list here good and does paramount ship to colorado thanks brother burt

    • Bob assures me that they ship to CO, and suggested going to their site and clicking on Skunk Pharm Research Parts, on the left side of their page. That should list the parts and they will ship anywhere!

  104. Posted by Mike on March 11, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    Hey. I have been very interested in the mkiii terpenator and has decided that I would like to build one. I just had a question for you. With the mkiii, do you still need to put the recovery pot on a heat source and the butane storage tank on ice? Or is that not necessary now with the Appion refrigerant recovy pump? Thank you in advance for your help and I’ll be looking forward to our reply. Take care.

    • It will work without heat and cold, but it would take a very long time. The heat is actually not needed to transfer the liquid in a Terpenator, it is to keep up with the refrigeration produced when you evaporate off butane under a vacuum. If you don’t add some heat, the temperature of the bath will drop so low from the refrigeration, that the process grinds to a halt.

      On the other end, the ice bath takes away the heat from the hot pot and from compression faster, so that the butane is a liquid at lower pressures, which makes it faster.

  105. Posted by Sppete13 on March 8, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    Hey I also found this in the appion manual:
    Appion refrigerant recovery machines are unique in that there is no refrigerant directly introduced into
    the compressor crankcase. This allows the G5Twin to easily and efficiently clear out refrigerant at the
    end of the recovery process. However, as with all recovery machines, trace refrigerant vapors may
    remain and should be cleared out when switching between different types of refrigerant.
    When you are changing between refrigerant types, any refrigerant remaining in the recovery machine
    should be drawn into a deeply evacuated cylinder before switching. Then, to prevent any cross-
    contamination, it is recommended that a vacuum pump be connected to the output port of the G5Twin
    (keep the Input Valve closed and the Output Valve open),
    and run the vacuum pump to completely
    evacuate the machine of any trace refrigerant vapors

    Apparently we can use a used machine…
    I still like your advice of replacing the 2 top seals…. but we now know that it can be cleaned out…

  106. Posted by Kgb William on March 4, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Almost up and running, questions about cold vapor traps.
    Do you use one?,Why not?, If so what kind?
    Thank you again and Carla too!!!

    • Depends on what we’re doing. We don’t use one for final purging of residual butane or alcohol.

      If I am cold boiling, I either use the MASH pump or a cold trap before the AC pump.

      • Posted by Kgb William on March 5, 2013 at 11:17 AM

        Thank you for your prompt replies GW. What about between steps 13-14 of the Terpenator operating instructions?

        • Could you elaborate on the question?

          • Posted by William on March 7, 2013 at 12:45 PM

            I have a Robinair cooltech 6 cfm 2 stage pump. I have read of the need to protect the oil from any gas vapors that somehow get inside. I just invested in a Cell Tech forline trap. It was used and still quite expensive. Just making sure I’m on the right track as this is a new project for me. Thank you again GW

          • There are a lot of different foreline trap designs, and I wasn’t able to successfully find Cell Tech foreline traps through Google, to see what kind it is. Do you have a link?

  107. Posted by luke on March 2, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Im in the home stretch gathering parts for my unit. But Im a little unsure on the starting process of filling the tank with butane. Thought that I had read something about a can filler attachment/hose but can’t remember. Not sure if its best to get N butane in bulk or just fill with cans. Was hoping for a little feed back. Thanks for all of the knowledge you’ve shared, you guys have been a huge inspiration to me!!!

    • First pull a good hard vacuum on the new tank, to evacuate all atmosphere and moisture. While under vacuum, set it in an ice water bath and set a Lp-5 container in hot water, with a hose connecting the vapor port on the refrigerant recovery tank and the Lp-5 valve. Open both valves and walk away for awhile, while it transfers by itself.

      We use instrument grade n-Butane from Airgas or Matheson, but resort to Lucienne 4X and a can tapper when supply is an issue. Here are some examples

      The way we fill it with a can tapper, is disconnect the vacuum pump hose from the Terpenator and attach the hose from the can tapper. With the recovery pump running, the can is tapped and the vacuum pump valve on the Terpenator opened, which allows the butane to inject into the recovery pot, and be sucked up by the recovery pump, which puts into the storage tank. When the can is empty, close the valve and tap a new can, before again opening the valve and repeating.

      After the tank is loaded in this fashion, cool it down in an ice bath for a couple of ours and then open the vapor port valve to atmosphere, to burp off compressed non condensible atmosphere. At 30F, butane has little to no gas pressure, but canned butane contains propane as a propellant, so first there will be a burst of air leaving and then the propane. I burp off just the air and close the valve once I smell propane with my nose held close.

      As the propane in lighter butane contains no ethyl mercaps odorant, the smell is not rotten eggs, but subtle and lightly petroleum.

      • Posted by Lk on March 2, 2013 at 7:53 PM

        Ok, that’s a big help. Once again thanks for all of information you guys have shared with all of us. You are doing amazing things, and have been huge inspiration!!!

      • Posted by Sppete13 on March 7, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        Hi Guys! I’m not sure if I am doing it right….

        Once you tap a can…. and it empties into the system… there appears to be some pressure in the system… but how do you know when the butane has been fully transferred to the storage container?

        I left the appion running (Which I’m not even 100% sure is working… I bought it used… it starts up but im not sure how I can test it?) for about 3 minutes after the can was depleted, then shut all the valves… I then removed the gauge hose to see if there was anything in the system and didnt hear anything….

        Oh and what side of the storage tank does the hose coming from the appion into the storage tank go into? Red or Blue?

        Help Im lost LOL

        • You can tell by the pressure gauge whether it is transfered or not. We exchange cans at zero pressure and pump the system down to -22Hg after the last can, using the Appion.

          The blue hose from the Appion discharge, goes to the vapor port on the tank, which on both of ours, is blue. Look on the top of the valve and see if it says vapor or liquid.

          I suggest checking by reading the logo, because in refrigeration, typically blue is liquid and red is vapor, but every refrigeration recovery tank that I’ve found, is marked exactly the opposite.

      • Posted by c on April 30, 2013 at 4:14 PM

        If a person did not have the appion unit yet but wanted to charge the system could they Hook the can tapper to the inline vapor side on the recovery tank and add about 20 10 oz. lucienne cans to a 50 lb recovery tank. ??? Then hook the tank up after burping off the air and propane ?????

      • Posted by c on June 7, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        does the butane look or feel different when it comes out? Is it colder or does it leave a film on your finger? How long does it take to purge out the air?

        • The butane never exits the Mk III Terpenator for us to feel or look at.

          We purge the air out of the system with a CPS 6.2 cfm vacuum pump, which pulls the entire system down to about -29.9″ Hg in less than a minute.

          • Posted by c on June 9, 2013 at 12:15 PM

            I meant when purging the tank of air for the first time. Not the terp itself. I’ll be clearer as in after filling the tank with the can tapper then the same question any visual id for the butane or textural on fingers or temperature as it is released into the air.? sorry for the unclear question.

          • It takes around a minute to purge the air to less than 100 microns, from a 50# storage tank using our 6.2 cfm single stage vacuum pump.

            After loading it with a can tapper, after chilling it to below 30F, it takes only a few seconds to blow off the entrapped atmosphere though the tank vapor valve.

            As it is a vapor, it leaves nothing on the fingers. If your butane is at 30F, you will have only air and propane left to blow off, so I just use my nose to whiff for the light, subtle, sweet petroleum smell of propane.

  108. Posted by Matt on February 28, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    Can i buy one from u guys?

  109. Posted by Classico on February 25, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    Could you please post some updated photos of the Mk.IIIA? Also, the Ball-075 from Glacier is a tri-clamp valve, it’s also 3/4″, is this correct? All I see in the photos above are threaded. There is also only one 6″ buna-n gasket on your parts list, shouldn’t there be two? I’m trying to get an idea of how to assemble this, and am getting a headache without photos or instructions. I’m also not quite understanding how the screens should be used, one at each end, or both in the same end with a filter between them… Thanks for your time.

    • What would you like a picture of?

      Yes, the Ball-075 is a 3/4″, but we have since changed to a 1″ BV-2CV-100 3 piece valve, which is rebuildable and has an adjustable packing gland. Thanks for pointing that out to me, I’ve updated the list on the site.

      Some of the prices have gone up since I posted that list, and Glacier Tank also now stocks both the Buna-n 6″ sanitary gasket and the 1 1/2″ screened gaskets for the columns.

      I will ask Specialized Formulations for an updated price list, as they have been pumping out kits and are current with pricing.

  110. Posted by Holistic Organics on February 25, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    I may have found a r600 suitable recovery pump but Im unsure if it contaminates the recovery with oil or not. It says maintenance free so and doesn’t mention adding oil but it does say

    “The unit uses a combined heat exchanger/oil separator during the recovery process. Oil from recovered liquid should periodically be drained, with the unit switched off, via the removable cap situated under the unit.”

    Here is the brochure, available in 110v made in the UK

    The operators manual shows a push pull set up..

    Will it work?

    Buyers Beware!

    I bought a G5 twin off of ebay supposed to be new in the box.. once I got it, it was obviously used! Case to the internal parts had been opened, screws were stripped and the condenser foils badly bent up. Looks like they replaced the inlet and outlet tubing for some reason. Stripped an allen bolt head on one of the twin cylinders. Im scared to use it for fear it may be leaky. Filed a claim with ebay but that takes weeks to see if I can even get a refund….. Wish I woulda just bought a new one for the extra money and saved myself a headache and weeks long setback…

    • Sorry about your bad e-bay experience! Sounds like you are dealing with a scoundrel.

      Also sorry that the links don’t give enough information to determine the suitability of the Caresaver unit for our purposes.

      Until proven suitable, I would infer not, as usually if it is an oil less design, it will say so, because they can be used with any refrigerant without changing the type of oil you use in the compressor.

      Peace, GW

  111. What temp fluid should the base of the collection tank be placed in during operation?
    I have some splatter in the collection tank and lid, is this normal? It concerned me when I noticed it on the inside of the port for the recovery machine.


    • The temperature of the hot water bath can be varied from aproximately 75F to 212F, depending on what product you are producing and how fast you want to run. The lower temperatures are used to retain the most carboxylic acid and lightest colored extracts, and the higher for oral meds that require decarboxylation anyway.

      At 212F the Mk III will do a three flood cycle in about 15 minutes, but at 75F, it takes two to three times that long.

  112. Hi guys, How does the Mk IIIA operate using a passive reclamation system?
    Also how much time does it take between cycles as a passive system?
    Thanks again for forging ahead on all this stuff!

    • The Mk IIIA isn’t designed to be run passively, so I’ve never checked speed.

      It wouldn’t be possible to reflood the Mk IIIA’s column by turning the whole assembly upside down, as you can do with the Lil Terp, because the Terpenator has a long center down pipe that would prevent the butane from draining back into the column when inverted. It is present in the Terpenators, to help prevent splashing being ingested by the recovery pump as a liquid.

      Ostensibly for simple recovery, if you connected a hose from the vacuum pump connection to the recovery tank vapor port, and set the Mk IIIA in 110F water and the recovery tank in an ice bath, the butane would transfer all by itself given a couple of hours.

  113. Posted by Elon on February 17, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Can you provide any more detailed pics of how the 1/4″/.035 wall 316SS Tubing is used? I’m not sure I understand. Is it a long thin tube that you have bent from the top of the tube to the bottom “collection” tank?

    • The tube runs from the top of the column, to the collection tank below the column, to transport the oil laden butane from the column to the collection tank, where the butane is pumped off as a gas, leaving behind the oil.

      Only on the last pump down is the lower dump valve opened, to vent the butane remaining in the column out the bottom and into the collection tank.

      • Posted by Elon on February 18, 2013 at 9:56 AM

        I’m unsure of the best way to bend the tube without possibly putting a kink in it. Can a hose be used instead?

        • Wrap the tube around a 2″ pipe, table leg, etc, for a mandrel and it won’t kink.

          It would depend on what kind of hose. Not all are compatible with butane or cannabis essential oils.

          As a personal choice, I prefer to keep all wetted surfaces in the system, except for compatible seals, stainless, so there is never any question, but a Polypropylene or PTFE hose would work.

  114. Posted by bubblerfly on February 14, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    12:40 wash 1
    12:44 wash 2
    12:49 wash 3
    12:54 wash 4
    12:57 wash 5
    1:02 wash 6
    1:07 wash 7
    1:10 wash 8
    1:13 wash 9
    1:19 wash 10
    1:21 dump
    1:33 hard vac
    1:39 done
    200 grams yield 7
    same material tested in a glass tube yielded 11%

    • We fully strip most material in three to five cycles, as verified by re-packing a column with spent material and rerunning it. There was barely a sheen on the bottom of the collection pot after rerunning 5 cycle material.

      Sean just independently tested his system sitting on a refrigerant scale larger than ours and it transfered 1.2 pounds of butane in 30 seconds.

      If you only have half after ten cycles, my guess is that you aren’t getting flow through your column.

      Our average flood time to having liquid start running out the top vent tube of a 24″ column, is about 8 seconds. How long does it take for yours?


  115. Posted by bubblerfly on February 14, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    How dry was it and how did your prepare it before loading?DRIED IN OVEN UNTIL CRUMBLY never over 200 degrees
    How many grams per column and what length column?150 24 INCH
    How many flood cycles and how long were they? RAN 5 ONLY GOT 4 G RAN ANTOHER 3 AND GOT 2G MORE. LESS THEN 5 MINUTES TO CYCLE.
    How long was the soak cycle between floods? 6 MIN

    I installed a dryer but I have less then 20 columns total run through it butane is clear after visual inspection. Any Ideas

    • Check the 1/4″ down tube to see if the ends were deburred after cutting, or if the hole is reduced in diameter. With a 5 second flood, it sounds like air is getting through, but not much liquid.


  116. Posted by Holistic Organics on February 14, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    “We use 4 to 5 pounds of butane in a Lp-5 size (50#) tank”

    Can you link me to this tank or show me the equivalent because I cannot find it as it was written. Was about to buy a refrigeration recovery tank like this one the
    mastercool 66010

    Thanks for your help GW,
    Im closing in on the first runs, just a few more parts and a filled tank and Im up and running…!

  117. Posted by Holistic Organics on February 13, 2013 at 5:24 AM

    The reason Im posting alternative sources is because ive had difficulty setting up an account with some of your sources. They flat out wont respond to my inquires or have declined my attempts to get an account. RSD also has a division of their company that is devoted to computer technology and control of those systems, lol.. You may stumble upon them if you ever type in .com for their address instead of .net Not sure why I have been black listed by them but I have a hunch.

    • Sorry you are having problems with our vendors and feel free to offer alternatives. This site is about resource information, not promotion of any specific product or supplier.

      I haven’t much of a clue why you are having problems, but I do know that demand on the Mk IIIA skyrocketed both directly and through Specialized Formulations, running the two major ones out of stock, with resupply 8 weeks out from China. As I understand it, those are expected soon.

      I also have gotten feedback from others, that RDS refused to do business with them without a refrigeration license, so that may be an issue. It is good to find out this things from others, as we haven’t suffered any of the same issues, and would otherwise be unaware.



  118. Posted by Holistic Organics on February 13, 2013 at 5:11 AM

    The Difference Between 3-2-3 and 1% Gauges

    Pressure gauges are classified as either analog or digital and are rated by their precision as it relates to the scale of the gauge. They typically come in two options. The first is 3-2-3, or Class B, gauges. With Class B gauges, the positive pressure range is divided into three sections. The middle half of the range is the most accurate, within 2% of the full scale. The first and last quarters of the gauge are accurate within 3% of the full scale.

    The second option is 1%, or Class 1, gauges. With Class 1 gauges, there is a single pressure range and accuracy is 1% of the full scale within the positive range.

    The variation between 3-2-3 and 1% accuracy may not seem significant, but the difference between 1 and 3 percent full scale is considerable. For example, if you’re working with an 800 PSI gauge, a 3-2-3 gauge can be off by plus or minus 24 PSI of the true reading, whereas a 1% gauge can be off by plus or minus 8 PSI of the true reading. For the highest accuracy, choose a Class 1 or digital gauge with 1% accuracy or better.

  119. Ohh, I forgot.
    How small of a recovery tank can I use/how much butane(lbs) do I need to have in the tank?
    I saw in a comment posted suggesting you had 4lbs in your tank, is that the target amount?

    Thanks Again

    • We use 4 to 5 pounds of butane in a Lp-5 size (50#) tank, because it is enough to work and the more condensation area on the inside of the tank exposed to ice water on the other side, the faster the heated and compressed butane is cooled back down enough to become a low pressure liquid again.

      Others have tried it with a Lp-3 30# tank, and it was significantly slower.

  120. Hi,

    First thanks for all the research you’ve made available and special thanks to Carla for all her time shes given me and the MKiii kit!
    I have a couple of questions if you have a moment.
    I have a WATSCO WC-6 recovery machine that has been used for refrigerant previously, would it be ok to use a used machine(I thought the butane would clean it, maybe purge some to atmosphere?). Second and more importantly is the machine adequate for our purposes. I do not have a problem buying the Appion twin. I don’t want to be wasteful if I have a good unit and of course mainly I’m having a hard time just looking at the MKiii, want to play with the new toy.

    Thanks for all the work and sharing!

    • Sorry, I can’t find the owners manual or specifications for a Watsco WC-6 recovery machine, and it looks like they may have closed the doors on their recovery pump operation. Do you have a manual or specifications?

      In general an oil less compressor is required, so that the compressor crankcase lubricant isn’t mixed with, or diluting the butane.

  121. Posted by Randal on January 31, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Greetings GW, Randal again. What kind of gasket material would you recommend for the vacuum chamber? Paramount supply said they could make a gasket of the correct size but wanted to know what material I wanted it made with. Also I need a hose for my vacuum pump, Carla said I could get it from RSD but didn’t know what type of hose to get. Thanks for your assistance. Randal

  122. Posted by Randal on January 31, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    Greetings GW, hope you are doing well. I want to make my own vacuum chamber. How thick should the Plexiglas be? I will be using a large cooking pot for the chamber. Thanks, Randal

  123. Posted by star crash on January 30, 2013 at 4:12 AM

    outstanding work grey wolf ….

  124. Posted by Ron Kingroll on January 27, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    I’ve built a Mk3 using the Appion twin and Robinair 15500. I’ve got a couple of questions. I can’t get even close to 8 oz in the 24″ column. I’ve started to lightly run the product thru a blender first and that has helped. How tight do you pack it? The other question is how long the pump downs take with the appion? Mine are running about 20-25 min each for a total of close to 2 hours. What are the average times of the cycles. Other wise very happy with everything it’s just taking much longer than I imagined. BTW, the first test was 73% :)

    • Depending on the material, we have packed from 135 grams to 203 grams in a 24″ column. We average around 157 grams at mine and Eloquentsolutions packing density.

      The material is prepared by baking it at 200F until it is just frangible enough to break up when rolled between the finger and thumb, and then scrubbed through a 10 mesh strainer, to size and remove the sticks.

      We run three flood cycles with our Mk III in 15 minutes, with the hot pot set at 212F. It takes longer as the pot temperature is reduced, but even at 130F, it takes less than 30 minutes.

      We did have longer times until we discovered that the gasket in our 3/8″ recovery hose, had only a tiny hole in it, which further closed on tightening. You might check yours.


      • Posted by ronkingroll on January 29, 2013 at 10:37 AM

        I’ve had my heat pot water temperature set at 104* i’m betting that will make a huge difference. Leaks! Yes, I’ve gotten very good at finding and fixing leaks. All these years and I had never heard of yellow teflon tape for air and gas fitting. Made a huge difference. White teflon tape works but it needs at least 7 wraps around the threads. Live and Learn :) Thanks for the help

  125. Posted by bubblerfly on January 25, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    chirp chirp terp terp. I have successfully completed my first run. We received our kit from Specialized Formulations last week (thanks Carla). Thanks to the entire Skunk Pharm team pics will follow soon. San Diego is terpinating!!!!!!

  126. Posted by Elon on January 22, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    Can anyone suggest a suitable filter dryer that won’t impede flow? Should the filter dryer be connected inline before the vacuum?

  127. Posted by Elon on January 22, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    Any chance you can upload a video of this baby in action?

  128. Posted by Randal on January 14, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    GW greetings, we were going to schedule a day to do the hexane wash. I will be at Carla’s on Wednesday. Also I don’t have a lab (yet) or the materials. Just some green ETHO that needs a bath. Randal

  129. Posted by BudHappy on January 14, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    If I make an absolute with vacumm purging and never heat it, after winterization and removal of waxes and such, can it still be buttered? or will it just be shatter/glass. My oil always turns hard unless I decarb it, then it becomes pliable.

    • Sorry, don’t know the answer to that one, as I’ve never tried to make budder on purpose. I have never ended up with budder by accident, after winterizing either, and have with the waxes remaining, so I suspect it has some effects.


  130. Posted by ryan-i on January 12, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    Hi GW – I’m curious if it becomes necessary at some point to purge the refrigerant tank and fill with fresh butane? I.e. does the butane degrade or become less efficient as a solvent after re-using it so many times? I’m asking because I’m noticing consistently lower yields as i progress with my extractions and can’t think of anything else to attribute it to. My first 30 runs or so consistently saw 20-22% yields; my past 20 runs are consistently 10-12%, using the same material/method. I’m pretty baffled but feel like the butane is less efficient at extracting. I’ve tried re-running the material which seems to extract the remaining oil, but it comes out more green. Any thoughts? I’m using the same butane I started with 50-ish runs ago, but i’ve topped off the tank a couple of times with 3-4 cans. thanks!

    • Butane will absorb up to 32 ml/L water and it sounds like you may be saturated. You might try adding a filter dryer, which you can pick up from RSD refrigeration supply in a variety of different sizes.

      • Posted by ryan-i on January 13, 2013 at 9:35 PM

        thanks for the reply. Is it possible to absorb water even if I have been using an inline filter dryer? I have always used one, and my material is always frangible when I run it, so I’m not sure where the moisture would be coming from. Although, the last time i added a few cans of butane, I noticed that the filter dryer completely frosted over, which seemed odd to me – maybe an indicator that’s it’s time for a new one?. I will pick up a new filter and start with some fresh butane.

        • Filter dryers saturate with water and have to be replaced or baked out periodically.


          • Posted by ryan-I on January 20, 2013 at 1:56 AM

            Thanks. So, I actually ended up getting a new recovery tank and filling it with fresh butane. I also replaced my filter dryer and hoses just to be safe. There was a little moisture in the filter but not much. Everything is running fine now, just as normal, but im still seeing only 10% yields on the same material that I previously saw 20%. Is there anything else you can think of that would cause this dramatic loss? Out of roughly 60 columns, the first 30 or so consistently saw 25-30g/column, the past 30 are consistently 11-14g. Same material, same method. If I flip the column and run again, I may see 2-3g more. I also re-packed the column and rerun with the same results. Are there any other factors that could cause this essential “lockout”? Its got me baffled.

          • Under the circumstances, it does appear baffling, so let’s look at the process in more detail and each assumption separately.

            What is your starting material?
            How dry was it and how did your prepare it before loading?
            How many grams per column and what length column?
            How many flood cycles and how long were they?
            How long was the soak cycle between floods?

            To put it in perspective, 25/30 grams on a 150 gram column is about average for our indoor bud extractions and average trim 15 to 18 grams.


    • Posted by Tech Buddy on January 13, 2013 at 8:41 PM

      You can try to re-use the material after you’ve done your normal number of cycles. For example if you do 5 cycles then do those 5 and after clean out the oil (like normal) but then put it back together without removing the material and run another few cycles. All you’ll really lose is time, but if the problem is the butane is saturated or otherwise less efficient then you should see a fair amount the second time around.

  131. Posted by Randal on January 11, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    Thanks for the response on operating temperature GW. Would manipulating the pressure in the collection tank help in purging the butane without raising the temp? Also I have some ETHO that I would like to perform a hexane wash on, would you be available to show me that procedure? Randal

  132. Posted by Randal on January 10, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Greetings GW, if my goal was to run a batch oil with the lowest possible temperature in the collection pot how could that be done? Is there strategy for getting the liquid butane in the collection pot to turn back into gas so it can be purged without heating that pot? Randal

    • Yes, it will work without any heat, but it takes dramatically longer, because the evaporation cools the pool below its boiling point.

      You don’t really have to heat the pot on a Terpenator, as much as replace the BTU’s removed by evaporative refrigeration. For instance, you can run your hot water at ambient temperatures, as long as you hold it at that temperature, instead of letting it drop and freeze.

    • Posted by Tech Buddy on January 11, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      Out of curiosity Randal why would you want to do that? Is there any benefit to keeping the temperature down?

      • Posted by Mr Zn on January 12, 2013 at 5:55 AM

        The reason I want to bring the temperature down is to get a lighter color, I know when I blast the butane through glass the oil comes out very light honey color, when we run it through the machine is comes out much darker. There is only two differences I can think of and that would be pressure and temperature. Carla said that her and I could run a couple of small batches next week at the lowest possible temperature to check this theory. I can’t market the darker oil, the amber colored oil I can take to market all day long. Can you and I schedule a day next week to perform the hexane wash on the ETHO? Should I winterise the ETHO before we wash it? Much thanks for your feedback, Randal

        On Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 4:46 AM, Skunk Pharm Research LLC wrote:

        > ** > Tech Buddy commented: “Out of curiosity Randal why would you want to do > that? Is there any benefit to keeping the temperature down?” >

  133. Posted by Bryan Cone on January 8, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    I contacted specialised and they have not replied. Are they still up and running or is it time to really buckle down and study the tutorial? Thanks!!

  134. hey grey wolf hope your feeling better i built a unit like dk double kindness works great but i keep blowing the orings out on the piston in the manifold gauge set i use a yellow jacket one for R134. Would there be any stainless steel option maybe an instrument manifold valve from anderson greenwood ? I use a vacuum charging (part #18975) to pull a vacuum on the system and introduce butane through a can tapper and the valve core seems to get blown out also. Are there chemical resistant valve cores? I got the system working well but i know it could be better. I also have a hard time recovering all the tane. I shut the low side gauge off and flip the recovery tank over and place it in a ice bath and the g5 is now pushing into to the high side of the gauge and then down the yellow center line to the recovery tank. but even when i draw the system to a full vacuum when i take it apart it still has some butane in it ? any suggestions would be greatly appreciated thanks wolfman

    • Adhere to KISS. I would pitch the manifold set, as you don’t need it and it is just more plumbing and resistance to gas flows.

      You only need a single compound gauge to tell what is going on in your system, attached directly to the pressure pot. Mine is attached via hose with 1/4″ flare fittings.

      I picked the gauge I like best from RSD refrigeration supply, but looking at my parts list, I don’t have the number. I used a stainless compound gauge from Paramount supply on the Mk II, but it doesn’t have the fine graduations I prefer, so let me get the RSD number and I will add it to our published parts list.

      In your case, I suspect that you can remove one of the gauges from your manifold set and adapt it for reuse.

      I remove all the Schrader valves and pitch them. Not only do they not last, they aren’t required and are just another resistance to flow.

      We introduce butane from a refrigeration recovery tank, which we may fill using a can tapper, so we connect the can tapper to the system via a hose with a ball valve in near the tapper, so we can shut it off between cans. We also chill the butane recovery tank, and then burp off any non condensable gases sucked into the system from atmospheric leaks.

      If you connect your recovery hose directly to the recovery tank using 3/8″ or larger, and measure vacuum at the connection point to the tank, using a simple compound gauge, when you reach -22″Hg with the Appion, you are about as high as you are going to get, unless you are also heating the collection pot to around 212F or so, with the refrigerant recovery tank sitting in ice water.

      On the other hand, at -22″Hg, there is only about 25% of the atmosphere remaining in the pot, and it is vapor as opposed to liquid. There is a ratio of 233:1 between vapor and liquid, so if you do the math, you will see that it is a few pennies worth of butane.
      For instance, a Mk III Terpenator collection tank, has about a 5.75″ID and is 6″ tall, making it 156 cubic inches or 2556 ml internal capacity. 1- 22″/29″ Hg x 2556 ml = 650 ml remaining vapor. 650ml/233 = 2.8 ml liquid butane left in collection tank. A 300 ml can of Lucienne sells for $2.29 locally, so a ml costs $0.0076 and the 2.8 ml left in the tank costs $0.02.

      When we reach -22″Hg, we switch off the recovery pump, and turn on the high vacuum rotary vane pump, to finish at -29.9″ Hg. That pumps the 650 ml of remaining vapor, off to atmosphere, at a loss of two cents worth of butane.

      Yielding a slightly less than average 20%, because it is a nice round number, a 150 gram column load would produce about 30 grams of BHO Absolute, so that is $0.00067 per gram.
      Besides saving time, it saves the Appion pump, which doesn’t like to be run dry, and its upper seals won’t last very long under those conditions.

      Alas, at the end of the day, even if you pull -22″ on the intake side of the Appion and then close the inlet valve, followed by the outlet valve, the line between the Appion and the recovery tank, is still going to have butane at tank pressure on it. If the tanks contents includes propane, even a tank reduced to 30F in an iced brine bath will still have pressure on it, and so will the hose.

      If it is n-butane and you cool it down before removing the hose, little to none is lost, because the pressure is close to zero.

      • thanks wolfman you are the foremost authority on this extraction process and keep up the good work. i make a variety of mesh filtering screens, agitation devices, etc check out my website and if you want anything hit me up and i will send some out to you for free thanks

        • Thanks for the good thoughts and kind offer bro! I checked out your site and it does look like you have some interesting products to offer,so may I make a proposition?

          We will test anything you want to send us no strings attached and honestly publish the results as we see them, on our site and the cannabis forums that we frequent. Similar to what we did with the KO Domeless nail and HMK swing pipe. Would such an arrangement interest you?

      • Posted by Tech Buddy on January 14, 2013 at 6:37 AM

        Hi GW – did you manage to find the part number for the gauge you use?

        They seem to have only one compound refrigeration gauge – the RIT 49138. Is that it?

  135. Posted by Elon on December 29, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Have you considered coating the inside of the collection tank with teflon?

      • Posted by Elon on December 29, 2012 at 1:15 PM

        Simplify collection of oils

        • We considered using a teflon bag, similar to what FOAF developed, but haven’t considered coating it. I typically eschew Teflon coatings, as they seldom stay put over time.

          The biggest reason we didn’t follow up on the Teflon bags, is that we winterize 99% of the oil that we extract anyway, and it is easy to just wash the pot out with hot ethanol.

          For those applications where we don’t winterize, the top and bottom both come off of the Mk IIIA, so we just use a plastic squeegy to scrape most of it up, and wash out the remainder with alcohol.

  136. We’ve built a MkIII, bought a G5, yellow jacket hoses, we continue to clean a greasy, oily film from the bottom, even after taking the pump completely apart and cleaning all the excess grease. How does one clean everything and know that your results are grease free? Thanks for sharing.

  137. Posted by Sam on December 26, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    looking at your designs, i cant help but feel like your tanks are a little bit on the large side… how close do you get to matching the column volume with the tank volume with your largest column?

    TIA, Sam.

    • I don’t match them volume for volume, because I need my gas intake to the pump distanced from the puddle at the bottom, so as to not aspirate the popping boiling bubbles present under vacuum.

  138. Posted by Sam on December 26, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    hey Wolf,
    I’m putting a “micro” terp together using 4″x6″ spools for the tanks and 1-1/2″x18″ for the column, its for personal use.

    how much of the extraction tank do you reckon i can safely fill up with liquid gas without worrying about the solution coming up through the line in the beginning stages of the evaporation phase?

    TIA, Sam.

    • The Mk III has 4.4″ clearance using a 24″ column, which works.

      You can also put a labyrinth on the intake, but it is just something else to keep clean.

      Part of the secret to the speed of the Mk III, is surface area under vacuum. A 4″ sanitary spool will be in the neighborhood of 3.75″ ID, which will give you a surface area of about 11 in/sq, where a six inch has 26 in/sq, so it will work, but be slower during the recovery cycle.

  139. Posted by cerkilr on December 21, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    hello just have a question, first I want to say thanks for all your hard work! could you tell me what size mesh you used on the buna n sanitary seals? again THANK YOU.

  140. Posted by Budforever442200 on December 13, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Sorry, I meant to say how do you do your very first initial runs to clean out anything in the machine. I am getting oil that I’m guessing is from the ball valves.

  141. Posted by Budforever442200 on December 12, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    How do you do your first cleaning runs? I have done 3 clean runs and still have oil. Thanks again. I will be sending you some pictures soon. It is a very beautiful machine.

  142. Posted by Budforever442200 on December 7, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    Where did you get your can tapper? It is hard to find quality n butane around here. Air gas quoted me 1,000 for 99.5% tank and fill. Thank you again for this wealth of information. I can’t wait to show you some pics.

  143. Thank you for your website, I haved learned volumes. I would love to come see one of your classes. Keep up the good work!!!

  144. Posted by paul fensome on November 18, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    May i ask if the oil left is fully purged and how is the quality compared to purging in say a hot water bath. Im from u.k and wanted to know what would be a rough cost for the complete set up including pumps ? over 3,000 dollars ? thanks im a bit stupid when it comes to this technical stuff.

    • The oil would be fully purged if you left it under vacuum long enough and kept the water bath at least 52C/125F, but not during the 5 minutes end of cycle soak at 29.9″Hg.

      We like to take it out of the Terpenator at that stage, for final processing.

      It depends on how handy you are and your mecahical resources. It cost me about $525 for enough parts and pieces to build the Mk IIIA prototype and about $1,200 for the rest of the pumps, hoses, tanks, etc. I just scrounge our ice barrels, but call that $25, and you are into it under $1,800.

      From a practical operating standpoint, you will want a refrigerant scale, which can be had for $30/$110 IE

      That still has your total under $2K.

      • Posted by Classico42 on June 8, 2013 at 4:29 PM

        I have to admit, we were under the impression that the five minutes under hard vacuum was enough to avoid having to purge in a water bath on a hot plate like we were doing, but this was recently evident to not be the case. Could you please give us exact or near exact figures for how long we would need to leave the product under hard vacuum in at least 125f water for there to be the least amount of butane left? We wanted to avoid the long hot plate purging process, it’s a large reason we built the machine. The last stuff we sent in to get tested was still 4 times over the PPM limit. We are looking into polishing ourselves, but that is two weeks out, and wasn’t our original time saving goal.

        While it’s possible I missed this during the many many many rereads of this page, it might be worth noting this fact above, and adding the information I just requested as well, so no one else makes the same mistake. Thanks for the help, we really appreciate it.

        • The oil doesn’t care whether you vacuum purge it in the Terpenator, or take it out and do it in a vacuum chamber where you can watch the progress. The only advantage of the vacuum chamber or oven, is that you can watch and tell what you are doing.

          Soooooo, if you removed some of the oil and purged it in a chamber where you could watch, and it took 1 hour at 115f and -29.5″ Hg, you could leave it in the Terpenator for 1 hour at the same temperature and pressure and achieve the same results, as long as the film thicknesses were the same.

          It is all those ifs that lead us to remove the oil and purge it somewhere we can watch.

          I have a Polycarbonate lid planned for the lower Terpenator tank, so that it can be used as a vacuum chamber with view, but at this point haven’t followed through, due to other projects.

      • Posted by tylerdurden71 on June 28, 2013 at 5:46 PM

        what does the refrigerant scale help you determine?

  145. Posted by Safety Team on October 31, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Ive often wondered of the hazards of using these HVAC pumps to remove flammable liquids. Mainly because they all say the same thing in the operating manuals.
    Pumps that remove flammable liquid/vapors (safely) are costly, although Id think they would be worth the price considering the potential alternative scenario.

    So… How do you use the Appion G5 twin for butane recovery?

    • Good question and thanks for sharing sections of the Appion manual with us, which I’ve excluded due to space, but strongly encourage anyone using, or contemplating one, to read the owners manual.

      What it says is that pumping inflammable liquids can be hazardous, and they don’t offer or recommend their equipment for that purpose. Specifically because they can’t guarantee that the operator will properly attach the hoses leak free, and that the flammable gases won’t be pulled through the electric motor brushes and ignited.

      I don’t blame them, I wouldn’t assume that liability either, and for what it is worth, the last thing I do before opening any valves, is to double check all the hose connections, and in fact, don’t consider the Appion the prime choice for the application.

      We also don’t recommend anyone’s pump for this application, but are telling you what we are using. Your choice of pump, is your business, and with it goes the liability of your choice.

      In addition, despite this being an enclosed system, we don’t use it indoors. Even with our fully automated Mk II located in a ventilated exhaust cabinet, the pumps and butane tank are still outside, with a fan blowing away any vapors.

      Not only can bad connections leak, so can valve stems and any number of other possibilities that seldom happen. We recommend always setting up and using the equipment with the thought in mind, that even if something goes wrong, you stay safe.

      Having said that, we are continuing to search out the perfect pump solution, and will announce it when we find it. What is required is a design that runs without lubricant in the upper end and isolates its crankcase from contamination and dilution.

      It needs to be able to pump down to around -22″Hg and up to at least 60 psi and be explosion proof, as well as affordable. Any reader input on options are appreciated.

      • Posted by Tech Buddy on January 14, 2013 at 7:56 AM

        Have you tried the Yellow Jacket RecoverXLT pump? Seems to have similar specs, except auto shut off at -15″ (where you want to run to -22″). But using your previous calculations the difference between -15 and -22 is about the same as -22 to -29… in other words $0.02 worth of Butane.

        It does seem to have lower recovery rates though – significant enough to take a fair amount of additional time per cycle.

        I’m mainly curious because I can pick up the RecoverXLT locally but can’t seem to find the G5Twin.

        Thanks again!

        • Sorry no experience with the Yellow Jacket, but the specs look good and I’ve heard of people lauding them for our use. It is oil less, which is a key requirement, but I can’t find enough information on their construction to form an opinion.

  146. Posted by Franklin on October 29, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    What are the brand and model numbers of the pumps you use? Care to make a blog post featuring various pumps that would work?

    • We use a CPS VP6D and a Robinair 5 cfm two stage vane pumps to evacuate the systems.

      We use an Appion G5 twin refrigerant recovery pump to reclaim the butane.

      We would love to feature a blog detailing the various pumps that would work, but alas none of us have made a deep enough study to support a serious article.

      What I was looking for when I selected the Appion, was an oiless design, where the butane was never in contact with the pumps crankcase or lubrication system. I first tried an inexpensive Micro Vac II, which didn’t work out well and then the Appion, which works like a charm after hundreds of hours.

      Part of the problem with the Micro Vac II was poor quality control, resulting in the inlet valve being misclocked, and the rest may have been running cylinders dry of any lubrication, which brings us to the topic of pump life and rebuild kits.

      The upper ends of recovery pumps are typically designed for ease of rebuild, because they periodically do require upper end seal replacement. Periodically, can be frequently if your process doesn’t accodate their weakness, which is that as the pump reduces the system pressure, it reduces the amount of butane that is acting as a lubricant to the piston seals. At high vacuum, there is little to no lubrication present.

      I first started insisting on 100% reclaim, but soon discovered that vacuums higher than about 22″Hg, took forever to achieve with the recovery pump, and after calculating that the difference between the -29.5″ vacuum that I wanted to achieve, and 22″Hg, was about 25% of the volume of my recovery vessel and considering that the ratio between butane liquid and vapor,is about 233:1, I was laboring to save less than one cents worth of butane.

      I therefore changed the process to pump off the remaining butane above -22″Hg, using the high vacuum pump, which purges the remainder in seconds, without pump damage.

      We found a few industrial liquid gas pumps, and some labratory pumps that would ostensibly work for recovery, but are expensive, and not needed at the small about a ~pound an hour scale that we are operating at.

      There are a number of larger Terpenators being built based on FOAF’s and my work, and as they share their solutions with me, I will share them with you, unless of course if they ask me not to share their proprietary secrets.


  147. [...] the super critical extractor I would assume.. waiting to hear bout the price and availability… Reply With [...]

    • The Mk IIIA uses butane at subcritical temperatures and pressures to extract. It recycles up to 100% of the butane.

      Sorry, I don’t know what the price and availability is, as Specialized Formulations is a separate business from Skunk Pharm Research. Last I heard, the kits were just under $1K, and there was one left from the pilot run. No insight on schedule or pricing on subsequent runs, but if you contact them at, I’ll bet they can tell you!


  148. I want one too. Any idea on how much they want for one? Where do I find
    “Specialized Formulations” contact info. Did a quick search and turned up nothing except this website….

  149. Posted by ryan-i on October 24, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    wow! thanks for all of the legwork you’ve done! i was actually planning to purchase a tamisium this week and just came across this while looking for reviews. i’m thinking i will build an mkIII now, but have a couple of questions…. between the l’il terpenator and mkIII there are a few different supplies lists, some with machine shop labor and some without – is it possible to build without having parts machined? Also, time is of the essence, hence considering the tamisium; would it be feasible to gather parts and complete the build over a couple of days? i’m in portland and have easy access to the supplies.

    • I haven’t come up with a way to build a Terpenator without some machining and welding, but if you are in Portland, there are a lot of resources. If you are in a real hurry, you might check with Specialized Formulations to see if any of their first 5 piece run of Mk III manufactured parts kits are still left. 4 were spoken for last I heard, and they haven’t yet been advertized.

      The rest of the parts, except for a couple of seals, are an easy pickup at Glacier Tank on Airport Way, and Paramount Supply on about SE 8th and Ash, or you might talk to Specialized Formulations about picking up all the parts for you. If Carla is going there for parts anyway, she probably won’t charge you any more to do so, and the part cost is the same.

      Until Glacer Tank receives their order, the special seals have to be ordered, but delivery has been good. Glacier Tank has agreed to stock them, and Rochelle at their number will know their status.


  150. Posted by Budforever442200 on October 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Can I start by saying this all looks amazing and thank you guys for sharing this information with us. I am in the process of taking notes to build one myself and was wondering if you could give me a quick list of the steps you take to run this sled( example, 1. Open this valve 2. Shut this valve. Ect.) the picture at the top has numbered valves and did not see a key to these. thank you so much for your extremely informative site.

  151. Posted by Anonamouse on October 15, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Thanks so much for your work on this, GW. Your engineering is really pushing the state of the art forward and hopefully will lead to safer outcomes.

    As a comp sci nerd, future clinical oncologist, and rookie engineer I salute you and what you’ve done for our community.

  152. Posted by Ron Kingroll on October 9, 2012 at 5:58 AM

    Almost finished with mine :) A couple of questions tho. First how many feet of heat tape are you using for a 24″ column? Second, I have Vector Butane in the cans and am wondering the easiest way to get it into the storage tank. I was going to order a lighter fill valve and thread a copper fitting to accept it, fill the Terpenator and pump it out. Third, how much butane are you using in the Terp3 ? Thanks again.

    • Interestingly, it works out that a 1 1/2″ X 24″ column takes about 24′ of heat tape and a 36″ column takes about 36′.

      I use a can tapper and pull the butane into the lower tank through the vacuum pump hose, and then pump it into the storage tank, using the recovery pump.

      I had four pounds of butane in our 50 pound tank and used only enough volume to flood the 24″ column

      • Posted by Ron Kingroll on October 12, 2012 at 3:37 PM

        Cool! Thought of one more question and that’s exactly how do you return the pressure to normal after the final reclaiming of the butane? If I understand correctly there would still be a vacuum inide the Mk3. I’m still waiting on the 1 1/2″ T but found a place called Brewers Hardware whose shipping is much more reasonable for small orders and have ordered the reducer and plan on just changing that to your newest setup. Glad I waited on the welding, I like reducer change. I can hardly wait for the first run after clean out!

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