Lil’ Terp Passive BHO Extractor

 Passive Butane Extractor and Reclaimer

What if you want to make your own BHO and reclaim your butane, but don’t have the money to assemble a Terpenator?  See:

What if you have lots of time, but limited financial resources?

A simple system like the Tamisium Essential Oils Extractor comes to mind, but while of quality design and manufacture, they certainly aren’t cheap.

I started looking at passive butane recovery, which simply requires that the extraction pot be in hot water, and the recovery pot in an ice bath.  I even designed a simple minded system from scratch, so as to get the price down, but alas, local machine shop costs still made it expensive and outside the resources of most maw and pa patients on fixed income.

Hee, hee, hee, a serendipitous order mistake at Glacier tank almost gave me a wet leg, because I had previously asked for 6″ diameter sanitary spools, and was told that they were not available.  As fate would have it, they did order a number of them on a special order, which fell through, and I was able to score four 6″ X 12″ 304 SS sanitary spools for $105 apiece.  Ahwoooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

The spools are 12″ long, so one is enough material to make the two tanks required, simply by cutting them in two pieces and welding on new bottoms.

I also grabbed two end plates, and tri-clamps, so that the two tanks will have tops, as well as a 1 1/2″ tri-clamp ferrule, and a 1 1/2″ tri-clamp to 1/4″ female NPT adapter, plus the two 1 1/2″ tri-clamps.

I grabbed a 1 1/2″ spool 6″ long for the column, which should hold about an ounce of dried prime bud, that has been sized and the sticks removed.

I picked up three 1/4″ stainless ball valves at Paramount Supply, along with two 1/4″ NPT 304 stainless half couplings.

For bottoms to the tanks, I ordered 1/2″ X 6.5″ diameter 304 blanks laser cut from plate, and dropped the parts off at a retired friends machine shop to have them machined to shape, as well as mill the holes in the 6″ end plates for the 1 1/2″ ferrule and the two 1/4″ half couplings.

Pictures when those return, but until then, here is my simple minded conceptual:

Little Terp Parts List








1 1/4 male flare to male NPT JB-A31484 3 $8.28/5 $8.28 RSD
2 1/4″ 304SS Ball valve 1000# 34-92303 3 $12.05 $36.15
3 1/4″ 304SS close nipple 34-06105 3 $0.54 $1.62 Paramount Supply
4 1/4″ 304SS 1/2 coupling 34-07136 2 $0.71 $1.42 Paramount Supply
5 1 1/2″ End cap X 1/4″ Fe NPT NPT25-FM 1 $10.95 $10.95
6 1 1/2″ Tri-clamp CSH-1500 2  $5.90 $11.80 Glacier Tank
7 1 1/2″ X 6″ Sanitary spool SP-150-006 1 $29.00 $29 Glacier Tank
8 1 1/2″ Tri-clamp weld ferrule F150-28 1 $3.90 ea $3.90 Glacier Tank
9 6″ Sanitary spool end cap Cap-600 2 $35/ea $70 Glacier Tank
10 6″ Tri-clamps CSH-600 2 $25.27 $50.54 Glacier Tank
11 6″ X 12″ Sanitary spool Sp-600-012 1 $105 $105 Glacier Tank
12 Tank bottom blanks N/A 2 $32 ea $64 Moody Machine
13 1 1/2″ Buna-N seals and 20 mesh screens N/A 2 $15.90 $31.80
14 6″ Buna-N seals W181663 2 $14.92 $29.84
15 1/4″ X 36″ Refrigeration hose 1 $51 $24.95 Northwaysmachinery
16 Total $479.25


Lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu  lu  lu  lu lu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I picked up the parts for the new passive butane recovery system from the machine shop today and will drop them off at the welders tomorrow.

Couldn’t resist mocking up some shots of the components stuck together, before actual welding.  As you can see from the pictures, the tanks are both made from the same 6″ X 12″ sanitary spool, which I scored from Glacier Tank.  I had them cut into two pieces, to make the wrappers and triclamp closures for both tanks.

The bottoms were laser cut from 1/2″ 304SS By BBC Steel in Canby, and were machined by Moody Machining inMilwaukie.  Besides a clean up cut on all exposed surfaces, the bottoms were grooved to accept the tank wrappers.

The collection tank lid has two holes cut in it, to receive a 1/4″ 304SS half coupling and a 1 1/2″ Triclamp weld coupling.

The butane recovery tank lid was machined to receive a 1/4″ 304SS half coupling.

The rest are all screw together parts!  Hee, hee, hee………………..

More after welding and a test run!  Ahwooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!1


Lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu!!!!!!!!!! Hee, hee, hee, the welded parts are back and Gibson aerospace welding did a gorgeous job as usual!

Once a weld engineer for a metal fabrication company, I was certified as a ASTME Section IX boiler code welder, but with a cataract on one eye, I have no fine depth perception, and eschew welding until I get it fixed.

Even though Gibson’s is not certified to Section IX boiler code, he is certified to numerous aerospace welding specifications that are as restrictive, or more so, and one of the best TIG welders that I met in my professional career.

He sure does purdy work too and noted that the material welded exceedingly clean and was a pleasure joining the two 304 SS components using 309SS wire.

The collection tank is welded inside and outside, so there are no internal seams or cracks, but the butane recovery tank is welded only on the outside.  None of the other welds actually required outside welds, but we welded both sides, to give them a more finished appearance.


I bolted it all together and will boil the system in hot water and detergent today, to get it ready for when the backordered 6″ clamp arrives, so I can try it out. Probably play with the extractor half using a pump until then, snicker, snark, snort………….








1 1/4 male flare to male NPT JB-A31484 3 $8.28/5 $8.28 RSD
2 1/4″ 304SS Ball valve 1000# 34-92303 3 $12.05 $36.15
3 1/4″ 304SS close nipple 34-06105 3 $0.54 $1.62 Paramount Supply
4 1/4″ 304SS half coupling 34-07136 2 $0.71 $1.42 Paramount Supply
5 1 1/2″ End cap X 1/4″ Fe NPT NPT25-FM 1 $10.95 $10.95
6 1 1/2″ Tri-clamp CSH-1500 2  $5.90 $11.80 Glacier Tank
7 1 1/2″ X 6″ Sanitary spool SP-150-006 1 $29.00 $29 Glacier Tank
8 1 1/2″ Tri-clamp weld ferrule F150-28 1 $3.90 ea $3.90 Glacier Tank
9 6″ Sanitary spool end cap Cap-600 2 $35/ea $70 Glacier Tank
10 6″ Tri-clamps CSH-600 2 $25.27 $50.54 Glacier Tank
11 6″ X 12″ Sanitary spool Sp-600-012 1 $105 $105 Glacier Tank
12 Laser cut 304SS tank bottom blanks N/A 2 $33.50 $67 BBC Steel
13 1 1/2″ Buna-N seals and 20 mesh screens N/A 2 $15.90 $31.80
14 6″ Buna-N seals W181663 2 $14.92 $29.84
15 1/4″ X 36″ Refrigeration hose 1 $24.95 $24.95 Northwaysmachinery
16 Sub Total parts $482.25
17 Machine tank bottoms 30 minute 2 $60 J Moody & Co
Part spool 1 $15
Port top plates 2 $45
18 Weld and blend components $75.00 Gibson Welding
19 Total parts and outside labor       $727.25  
20 5% Contingency $36.36
21 Grand total est. cost   for Little Terp       $763.61  

Lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just learned that Glacier Tank has some 6″ diameter X 6″ long sanitary spools due in this month, which you could make a tank out of just by using another  end plate and a clamp for the bottom.  The only welding would be for the plumbing fittings.  Hee, hee, hee, snicker, snark, snort!!!!!!!!!!



Hee, hee, hee, snicker, snark, snort, awhooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!1  Ah just loves it when a plan comes together.

Here is the first cleaning run on the Lil Terp, and as you can see, it works slick!  I wish I could say I pulled this one out of my nether regions, but alas, I did not.  Hats off to the inventor of the Tamisium, for his insight in using passive recovery in this application!

Since this was a cleaning run, after I washed everything in denatured alcohol and then boiled it out in hot water and detergent, we ran donated mixed trim destined for topical application.

I installed the 1 1/2″ X 12″ column, which held approximately 2 ounces of material, after first packing in two wadded up coffee filters, against the 20 mesh screen at the end of the column, and two more on top of the material, between it and the top 20 mesh screen.

I started out by weighing the collection vessel, which weighed 15 pounds 3 ounces.  I then calculated the internal capacity of the 6″ diameter X 5″ tall collection tank as 141 cubic inches.

I calculated that 141 cubic inches of water at .0361 lbs/inch cubed, times the .601 specific gravity of butane, would weigh about 3 pounds, so an 80% fill would weigh about 2.4 pounds.  That means that 2 pounds 7 ounces is a maxim fill, to allow for hydraulics with temperature changes.

Next I pumped the supply tank down to -29.9hg and after soaking it in an ice water bath for about thirty minutes, sat it on a refrigerant scale to establish the 15 pound, 3 ounce tare.

I  then connected it by hose to the dip tube of a butane supply tank and filled it to a total weight of 17.1 pounds.

Next I connected the collection vessel to the supply tank by hose, and sat the collection  vessel and column in ice water.  I held the supply tank upside down and opened both valves, so that the butane flowed through the material in the column, and collected in the collection vessel.

After a couple of minutes, I weighed the supply tank, and it again weighed 15 pounds, 3 ounces, so I shut all the valves and disconnected the hose.  A minimal amount of butane was lost when I disconnected the hose.

Next I turned the collection tank upside down, so that the butane again saturated the material in the column, and flipped it about four or five times for about 30 minutes, including the final setting the column upright and letting the it drain.

I then connected the recovery vessel and the supply tank by hose, and sat the recovery vessel in a 109.4F hot water bath in an electric soup pot, and the supply tank in an ice water bath.

I kept track of the temperature of the fittings on top of the recovery tank and the supply tank with a laser pyrometer, and when the temperature of the fitting on top of the collection tank was 98F and the fitting at the top of the supply tank was 31.1F, I again weighed the supply tank, and found it again weighed 17.1 pounds.

Except for the losses when we disconnected hoses, recovery was 100%, and the losses were not measurable by weight.  I disconnected the system and opened up the collection vessel, to find the attached scene.

Even though I used trim set aside for topical and it was a cleaning run, after inspecting it for petrochemical contaminants with a black light, I still had to taste some and though the material it was extracted from was aged and dried enough to have little floral undertones, it still had a clean crisp hashy flavor.

There were no contaminants revealed under black light, so looks like the system is clean and tomorrow we will have to get serious with some bud!  Hee, hee, hee………………


Lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The 6″ X 6″ sanitary spools came in, so here is a new parts list, as well as a picture of the Mk III prototype construction underway using one.









1 1/4 male flare to male NPT JB-A31484 3 $8.28/5 $8.28 RSD
2 1/4″ 304SS Ball valve 1000# 34-92303 3 $12.05 $36.15
3 1/4″ 304SS close nipple 34-06105 3 $0.54 $1.62 Paramount Supply
4 1/4″ 304SS 1/2 coupling 34-07136 2 $0.71 $1.42 Paramount Supply
5 1 1/2″ End cap X 1/4″ Fe NPT NPT25-FM 1 $10.95 $10.95
6 1 1/2″ Tri-clamp CSH-1500 2  $5.90 $11.80 Glacier Tank
7 1 1/2″ X 6″ Sanitary spool SP-150-006 1 $29.00 $29 Glacier Tank
8 1 1/2″ Tri-clamp weld ferrule F150-28 1 $3.90 ea $3.90 Glacier Tank
9 6″ Sanitary spool end cap Cap-600 4 $35/ea $140 Glacier Tank
10 6″ Tri-clamps CSH-600 4 $25.27 $101 Glacier Tank
11 6″ X 6″ Sanitary spool Sp-600-012 2 $97 $194 Glacier Tank
12 1 1/2″ Buna-N seals and 20 mesh screens N/A 2 $15.90 $31.80
13 6″ Buna-N seals W181663 2 $14.92 $29.84
14 1/4″ X 36″ Refrigeration hose   1 $51 $24.95 Northwaysmachinery
15 Total       $624.71  



166 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by bird on December 13, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    I just received the ss from glacial tanks , im not seeing how you are connecting male flare fittings together , when the butane container is in the rocovery position. i understand that a refrigerant hose is used

  2. Posted by AJ on November 9, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    I was wondering if i could get some advice. I have a N-butane tank with a liquid siphon and when i put my storage tank that the butane is being transfered too in a cold bucket of ice to cause a vacuum it seems like im barely getting any fill.My pressure on my gauge goes to 15psi and then i stop getting any liquid fill. DO you have any recommendations to make this process easier. thank you for your help

  3. Posted by Darrell Bunger on October 10, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    I was planning on building one of these lil guys but I’m having some troubles deciding which plan to follow. I do have a very good certified metal fab joint that’s willing to work with me. I’m working with about 800-900 bucks, will not be doing more than 8oz per run and absolutely believe in solvent recovery. Having said that, is the lil terp a good choice or would the Mk IIIa be a better option? Is the info on the pages sufficient to do the build or do you have plans available? Thanks in advance.

    • $900 won’t build a Terpenator and purchase the pumps and other ancillaries. A full Mk IIIA setup would cost around $2500/3000 to bring on line.

      • Posted by Ryan on October 27, 2013 at 7:09 PM

        Do you guys have any plans at the moment for a sort of in between extractor that can be made for very cheap and can recover most, but probably not anywhere near the amount of butane as the lil terp? Maybe flexible material that can be used like a balloon or bag to condense the butane vapor in a dry ice bath. Just a crazy thought I’m throwing out there.
        I’d love to lower the investment price so there will be far less butane being wasted and hurting our atmosphere. It should also remove some of the higher BP contaminants in the butane for cheap if needed.

  4. One concern/question/brainstorm: Before use the system is not being purged with inert gas (nitrogen or argon), thus a certain amount of moisture and oxygen are present at time of extraction. The headspace on your butane collection/storage vessel had oxygen that never condenses out (freezes). So each time you recharge the butane supply cylinder you introduce oxygen and moisture. While the O2 percentage is low, it seems to be increasing with each recharge. Water may eventually decrease extraction efficiency, meanwhile the accumulating O2 becomes a very serious threat for combustion conditions.

    Haven’t gotten that far but are the better protoypes equipped with O2 and H2O scrubbers?

    Curious to know your thoughts and what I might be missing….

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Our reclaim pump filter remove s H2O and we burp the tank of atmospheric gasses when we recharge. We chill first of course.

    • Posted by Dave on November 27, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      I just got off the phone with a gas supply company who are now forced to limit their refills on all butane orders to 20lbs. You can order multiples, but they must all be 20lb fills. Apparently some guy in LA blew off his legs when he was transferring butane from a 110LP to smaller tanks. They said he wasn’t vacuuming and purging the smaller tanks. I built a Lil Terp and this is one of the situations I was worried about. Can anybody offer input on where to learn to be even safer when handling butane and this specific process? Thanks

      • If you vacuum the atmosphere out of the smaller tanks first, there is no oxygen for an explosion.

        • Posted by Dave on November 30, 2013 at 4:39 PM

          Ok, I understand there not being a risk of explosion being as there is not oxygen in the vacuum environment, I guess the objective is to just keep a vacuum during the entire process? So we also vacuum down the column and oil collection tank as well as the butane storage tank correct? Then vacuum down the butane storage tank once more before transferring the butane back again for storage?

          I guess I was thinking that during the purge to get rid of any propellants or propane, atmosphere could get in. Then I noticed that even after the rush of air escapes, there is still a small flow of evaporating air pushing any possible oxygen back out of the butane storage tank.

          • You vacuum everything before starting, but once you have vacuumed your butane storage tank and filled it, it has butane vapors in in it, where there is no liquid. No need to ever vacuum it again, unless you empty it and open it up to atmosphere.

  5. Posted by Cody Stewart on September 9, 2013 at 12:21 AM

    I have a TE 175 2 ounce model Tamnizium butane oil extractor. I love it I’ve been getting full recoverys. and good yielding runs however I’m finding it takes me almost an hour to get a full recovery. My manual says that time is correct but I feel like I should be able to do it faster. Another question I have is I’m running 99.5 N butane What is the difference between CP grade instrument grade medical grade and 99.9-99.5? My last question is I’ve been running product that is older and has been cured for a fairly long time but it’s very high-grade product but no matter what I do the oil I get seems to come out darker and softer. This same product when packed in a glass tube and ran with a can of power butane produces a sort of blonde waxy oil…. Am I running into this problem because the product is not fresh enough? I never turn my water temperature over 110° and of my vacuum oven never goes over 110° as well so I feel like I’m not darkening the oil but I’m wondering if in the hour-long process of recovering the butane if the butane is somehow affecting the oil? I have been told by people that I’m not totally sure if they’re credible or not that running older more cured product through a machine like mine will extract more Chlorophyll and things that I don’t want that a can of butane in a glass tube doesn’t create the pressure to extract. Sorry to bombard you with questions.

  6. Posted by Dave on September 1, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Greatly appreciate all the info. I have been collecting all the parts for a few of these and the active system as well. I am starting with the passive Lil Terp. My question is how often do you change out the butane in this system? Does the butane ever get contaminated with moisture? Electric green hue? How long have you left butane in the storage tank? Thank you

  7. Graywolf,
    Sir can you please contact me asap? Im terribly concerned w/ this mystery oil and am ready to take the financial plunge on closed loop. HELP! I tried to email specialized formulations to no avail. Thanks for all you guys do.

    • She’s been out of town on business and teaching classes, so probably still digging out. Try Specialized Formulations land line at 503-775-5003.

      • Thanks for the #. Call made, message left. ;)

        • Ohmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

          • Ok. So, I need this device NOW! So while I wait for the return call, I went ahead and started ordering things from glacier, and where ever else I could source it from. Went w/ viton seals. I think all I need is a couple holes and and some welding in the 6″ end cap and im good right? Id like to add a sight glass to the collection vessel. Any suggestions how I could do that? Id also like to make this auto. I have a 7cfm JB platinum, so i need a recovery pump and im good in that department right? Sorry, I know you’ve answered this a bazillion times, im pretty dense. Id really love to attend a class or 5! Thanks for your continued correspondence.

          • The Lil Terp is designed to be a passive extraction system, so if you are going to use a recovery pump, consider building the Mk IIIA Terpenator.

            The Lil Terp has a machined and welded lid on the extractor and the storage tank.

            The Mk IIIA has a machined and welded lid, and one machined and welded injection tee, but uses a 50# refrigerant recovery tank, instead of the one I originally designed.

            Have fun with your build and hope to see you in class!

  8. Posted by Austin on August 15, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Does glacier tanks have them and does the can fit right into it

  9. Posted by Austin on August 15, 2013 at 4:23 AM

    Is this lil terp used for cans of butane as in vector and if so what is that nozzle on top and what part is It on the parts list thanks in advance GRAYWOLF I am curious I’m on back order with glacier tanks

  10. Posted by Vince on August 14, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Not sure if my first comment posted so sorry if this is a repost. I just set up my Lil Terp but right as i was about to run it I realized it was impossible because my refrigerant hose only has the mechanism to depress the 1/4 flare fitting needle on one end. The other end of the refrigerant hose is female and does not have the needle-depressing mechanism. I am wondering, did I get the wrong flare fittings, or the wrong kind of refrigerant hose, or missing out on a step? Thanks for everything, this information has been a great asset to the world.


    • I take out all the Schrader valves, as they slow down progress, so you don’t need any depressors.

      • Posted by Vince on August 15, 2013 at 2:16 PM

        Ah thank you! I did not even know that thing was called a “Schrader valve.” I will be looking into how to take it out. In the meantime I actually found that using a 1/4 flare union to connect two hoses effectively made the kind of hose I needed (both ends with the schrader valve depressor).

        Do you have any recommendations about how much teflon tape to use? When running the thing I noticed that I had leaks everywhere and had to re-tape what I could. Some parts I could not get out (like the 1/4 nipple connected to the ball valve) so I am just buying new ones and going real overboard on the teflon tape this time around.

        • As you just noticed, 300 series stainless to stainless fits gall badly, so I use the yellow gas line tape and put about 4 to five wraps on it, instead of the typical three. Those two compression fittings are the location of the highest percentage of leaks.

          • Posted by Vince on August 23, 2013 at 11:16 AM

            Thanks! Good to know that leaks are not a problem only experienced by beginners. I am thinking of using some Rectorseal #5 in an attempt to leak proof this thing for the future. In your experience is the fight against leaks a never ending one, or one of those problems that you fix for good and never think about again?

          • I would stay with the yellow gas line Teflon and just make sure there is enough there to keep the stainless to stainless fits from galling when you tighten them tight enough to not leak.

            The only leaks that keep popping up after ours are bubble tight, are leaks that develop at the valve stem packing, requiring packing gland tightening.

  11. Posted by Vince on August 14, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    I have almost set up my Lil Terp for its first run thanks to all the information on this page. As I was getting all excited to begin my first extraction, I realized that the refrigeration hose doesn’t depress this pin located in the 1/4 flare fitting. I am thinking I either ordered the wrong kind of hose, or the wrong 1/4″ flare fittings? I hope this question is not too elementary. I have tried to look at other resources but I am such a beginner in this area I can’t even put together a search.

    Thanks for everything!


  12. Posted by johnnyb on July 29, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    what type of pressures do you see in the collection chamber?

  13. Posted by TheNewGuy on July 10, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    I have been researching bho a lot lately, mostly with your great site and info.
    I am planning to make a Simi passive system, using 2 storage tanks, both initially set up with a vacuum, but only one filed with butane. that way I can use the second tank to provide a vacuum and speed up the process. effectively eliminating the need for temperature difference and/or a running vacuum pump. I am planning right now to use a paint sprayer can for the collection Chamber. and I am thinking of using two small camping propane tanks for the storage tanks. can they be used for the storage tanks? thanks!

    • I’m sure the camping propane tanks can be made to work with a plumbing change, but you will also need to clean out any ethyl mercaptans left behind by the camping propane, or it will taste like rotten eggs.

      • Posted by ron norman on July 10, 2013 at 10:36 AM

        Can you obtain propane with out the mercaptans readily and what is the difference in using propane as compared to butane? Is butane that much better than propane?

        • Mercap free Propane is as readily available as is n-Butane from the air gas companies.

          Both Butane and Propane make a nice extraction in a Terpenator, but Propane wouldn’t work in a passive extractor like the Lil Terp or Tamisium, because it’s boiling point is about -42F.

          Propane takes about twice as long to extract with using a Terpenator, and extracts about half as much.

          • Posted by TheNewGuy on July 11, 2013 at 9:51 AM

            good call about the ethyl mercaptan. after a day of research there doesn’t seem to be much GOOD info on the Web for mercaptan removal. my first thought is that if it is soluble in propane then butane would work.. what would you recommend? also I am thinking of using co2 or oxygen tanks instead. any problems /suggestions? I like the idea of using something I know was made and designed to store gas for a long time. and it should be cheaper by a little.

          • The sulfur atom makes it polar, so it might wash out easier with a polar solvent.

            A refrigerant recovery tank is relatively inexpensive and is what I use.

          • Posted by ron on July 11, 2013 at 12:32 PM

            Thank you.

          • Posted by ron on August 7, 2013 at 5:18 PM

            “Mercap free Propane is as readily available as n-Butane from the air gas companies.” Was there a typo in the above sentence, you meant n-Propane?

          • Thanks for the heads up bro! I actually left out the word “is” and have now fixed it.

  14. if i wanted to use canned butane to charge this system how many cans can i put in. a 6″x6″ sanitary spool is 169.71 cubic inches. which is 2781 milliliters . if i use 300 ml cans which are 10 oz how many can be put in? Does N butane and canned butane have different weights and Z values?

    • The question is more how many can should you put in a 6″ X 6″ sanitary spool, given that an 80% fill is all that is recommended, due to hydraulics if heated.

      The 6″ is an OD number, so 5.75 ID would hold about 156 cubic inches. 80% of that is 125 cubic inches.

      Butane has a specific gravity of .601, so 125 cubic inches X .0361 lbs/cubic inch weight of water X .601 specific gravity = 2.7 pounds of butane.

      125 cubic inches X 16.3871 ml/cubic inch = 2048 ml

      2048 divided by 300 ml = 6.8 cans

      • yeah sorry got confused by the n tane instructions on tamisium website saying times ml by .577 to find out the weight in grams . but when you look at a 300 ml can of butane says it is ten ounces . i would have figured its weight was 300 ml x .577 = 173 grams. when you times 2048 x .577 = 2.6 lbs . so it works there you also just taught me a new way to arrive at the figure thanks wolfman How about getting all the cans to go into the recovery tank. Its gets harder to put each subsequent can in and eventually it seems like it stops taking them period .

        • Fluid ounces and ounces aren’t necessarily the same with all liquids, which is why I go the long away around.

          There is a limit to how much butane you can easily put in passively. How many cans are you trying to load?

          • about 5-6 on the later cans it just seems not to take them. would chilling the recovery tank and heating the cans help the butane into the system

          • Yes, we always place the recovery tank in a ice bath to fill. Heating the cans will help discharge them, but you will have to extract the added heat to get the butane to liquify again.

  15. Posted by Vince on May 31, 2013 at 6:43 AM

    Hey SPR, I am in the process of putting together my own lil terp based on your design. The person doing welding for me is curious why you chose to use 309 filler wire on 304? Keep up the amazing work!

  16. Posted by crispybrofy on May 20, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    So I just ran my system for the first time. I vacuumed the recovery tank to -30hg, then proceeded to fill the reservoir tank with approximately 2.5 lbs butane from cans of vector butane. I accidently let some butane escape from the tank as i was filling it… I’m wondering if this would have messed up the vacuum, because when I turned the tank upside down to run into the collection chamber, it only took apx 1.4 lbs, then even worse news, when I put the collection chamber in a hot bath and the recovery chamber in an ice bath, I probably only recovered 1/2 lb of butane. I eased open the valve on the collection chamber and it’s definitely still under a lot of pressure, so there is more butane to recover, it’s just not going into the recovery chamber. Now I have my butane divided between 2 chambers and i can’t seem to get it back into the recovery chamber. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank You.

    • Did you burp off the propane? It won’t recover in a passive system at the temperatures involved.

      • Posted by CrispyBrofy on May 27, 2013 at 10:04 AM

        I guess I’m a little confused on that part. I actually was able to recover about 90% the second run so that’s good, but I want to be sure of the right way to burp off the propane. Do i just open up the valve on the recovery chamber once it’s filled and ice cold? I did that, but I shut the valve immediately, afraid my butane was escaping. How long should gases be escaping from the valve? Thanks for your help.

  17. I am very interested in building one of your extractors. I am just trying to figure out which is the best one for me. I want to use the 1 1/2″X 24″ colum to run at least 1/4lb at a time. It would be great to be able to do more. What do you suggest?

    • The Lil Terp can run a 1.5X24″ column, which holds about 157 grams of 10 mesh material, or about .35 pounds.

      • Ok. I am going to make it a small hobby to start collecting all of the parts for the Lil Terp! Yiphaaaaa! (that was my first Skunk Pharm style cheer!) I am positive that I will have a ton of question as my parts start comming in. Thank you!

  18. Posted by CrispyBrofy on April 22, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Got everything in except my my 6″ gaskets. WHoOOhoo! and I got another question: Do I need lubricant on the gaskets for them to seal properly? Thank You.

  19. Posted by andrew on April 17, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    What sort of return are you getting. obviously more that 10% ?

  20. Posted by joe on April 11, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Me and my pops are entertaining the idea of building a butane recovery system. My pops works for a fabrication company and has the know how and access to equipment.
    My question is, is it possible to use stainless steel pressure cookers as our collection and recovery tanks?

  21. Posted by CrispyBrofy on April 7, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Hello again. I have another question then I think I got this. Do I need a Buna-N seal for every tri-clamp connection point including the bottom endcap? (I’m using your latest design for minimal welding)

    • I would use Buna-N or Viton for all of the seals. Viton if you are washing the pot out, or cleaning the seals with alcohol. Teflon will work, but it’s durometer is too hard for many folks to get a good gas tight seal without using a wrench and stripping threads.

  22. Posted by William Draghi on April 5, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Your information is second to none!! I had a quesiton as i am in the process of building one of these now. If i am going to use a 6 x 6 spool for the solvent tank, extract recovery tank, and extra solvent recovery tank, what would be the maximum column size you would suggest not exceding?

    • For passive, you don’t have to worry about bursting bubbles near the pump intake under vacuum, so ostensibly it would work up to an inch or so of full, but would be pretty slow.

      The tank has about 155 cubic inch capacity, so at a 4 or 5:1 ratio, the most efficient maximum size would probably be a 1.5 X 24″ column.

  23. Posted by CrispyBrofy on April 3, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    Are the 2 sections of 1 1/2″ spool clamped together simply for holding more material at once? And if so would an 18″ spool work just as well? (is the 6″ x 6″ collection tank large enough)

  24. Luckily for me there is a lot of buildings here going for cheap per square foot. I was just looking at a 20000sq/ft facility that listed for $15k, it’s in a less desirable industrial area on the east side of Detroit, but still would be a steal, though I will probably throw more at the building and end up somewhere a little nicer. Still hoping to secure 10-20k square for the right price. Lately I’ve been brainstorming methods for a little more automation, especially in the area of refining the product. I used to work in plastic manufacturing, specifically in hdpe injection molding, and think that would be a good place to draw ideas from, specifically in the area of hoppers used for loading the barrel, and potentially a piston to pack the material to desired pressure. I was thinking of the possibility of using an 8″ column, with thermocouples on it, much like the barrel on an injection molding machines to heat it during extraction, long soak times to pull everything out, and then working out a refining process to remove all the extra impurities. Being able to isolate cannabinoids and terpenes would be slick, especially if you could formulate particular profiles for certain patients. I’ve got some hobbyist organic chem background, so I’m familiar with equipment and certain procedures, but I think I’m going to have to hit the books again and maybe enroll back in school to advance my knowledge. Have you guys given any thought to isolating certain cannabinoids?

    • $15k for a 20,000 sq/ft building would be a gift around here!

      Good idea! We’ve had similar thoughts on automating the loading, using a hopper with a bin shaker or auger feed and a pneumatic ram.

      Joe is working on isolating the individual cannabinoids and terpenes, using chromatography for separation and light refraction to switch the stream from the column as the different constituents emerge.

      • Posted by ballsagnaftw on April 4, 2013 at 2:02 PM

        Yea that building is a little too hood, but there is a huge surplus of commercial buildings in my area, for a hopper I just tape a 5 gallon water jug, the water cooler kind, same diameter as my column, lucked out using the 2″, and use a PVC with cap as packing rod, I just tape the jug with packing tape and pack it, I’ve got to stand on a small ladder but it works. I’m sure you could DIY an adapter with a funnel and cut to size for your column size.

  25. Posted by ballsagnaftw on March 28, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    I got my machine out of the shop the other night, pressure tested at the shop to 100psi, and immediately took it home to get to work. Cleaned it out thoroughly, froze supply tank, which is 6″x10.5″ filled it with a case of vector, refroze, purged off the majority of non-compressible gases. Loaded the column, it holds 350g, first run with a few inverts yielded 36g of nice clear yellow/orange shatter. I could have gotten a cleaner golden color, but I had my helper crush it up a bit as he loaded it and he went a little to fine at first. It is looking like a 3 or so hours of work in the process, which will be shorter once I get my new vac pump, and instrument/lab grade n-butane. Can’t thank you enough, this machine is slick. Pics will follow as soon as I get some downtime. I’m hoping to buy a commercial facility to build out a lab that is spec’d for working with flammable solvents in this manner. I was scoping your guys gas chromatograph machine and I’m very envious. I am going to be keeping my eyes opened for a used ones soon as I get caught up…

  26. Posted by CrispyBrofy on March 26, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    I just ordered a 12 pack case of vector butane. Would it be possible to fill the supply/recovery tank with the right fitting, or do I need a butane tank? and do you think a hand vacuum pump would be sufficient for achieving -29.9hg? Thank you much for any advice.

    • Yes, you can fill a supply tank by chilling the tank and squirting the butane into it from the can. You can make an adapter by drilling a 1/8″ hole in a 1/4″ flare fitting cap.

      You would then typically chill the butane to below 30F and burp off the atmosphere and propane.

      You could do the initial tank evacuation with a hand pump and strong forearms, but not cold boiling. You can also use a faucet vacuum aspirator down to about -28.5, which is low enough to work.

      If you are doing any serious alchemy, might I suggest picking up a cheap single stage vane pump?

  27. [...] onto a thread at ICmag, that led back to a home made kit called the "lil terp" posted on where they sourced out all the parts to make your own for about $600 and change. so who doesn't [...]

  28. Posted by ballsagnaftw on March 15, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    So everything is on its way after some slight hassle about glacier having inventory on their website that was not in their warehouse. They did not have my 6″x6″ spool, 2″x36″ spool, 2″ single hinge clamps, but they upgraded me to double hinge clamps, 2″x12″ and 2″x24″ spools with gasket and clamps at no added charge. Which works better for me as now i have the three different column configurations I really wanted. The 6″x6″ spool was a mistake as I can see now anyways. I had originally thought your lil terp had a 1.5″x36″ column for some reason so I thought upping to 2″ wouldn’t be a huge issue. Either way now I’m getting sent a 6″x24″ spool that my friends are going to cut and weld to the two 6″ ferrules I ordered. I really don’t think I’m going to be using them for too long as I’m going to get a binks pot within a few weeks and appion unit. I’m going to be doing a little math here shortly to figure out what the best sizes to cut that 6×24″ spool will be, it’s not ideal for surface area for the recovery, but it’s ideal for my pockets at this time. My only concern is possibly having oil run through the recovery line if there is not enough head room, but I think I may be ok. I may just fill a little less butane. my material will get two runs, one for clean oil, then a warm run to pull some oil suitable for edibles or topicals, just to make sure I get everything out.

    • Yeah, Specialized Formulations probably bought the last of their 6 X 6″ spools and their last container from China was rejected by US Customs after finding a beetle, and sent back to China.

      Good for Glacier for working with you! I like that about them!

      Paramount was able to supply some of the missing parts, but not all, so some of Specialized Formulations customer orders are also awaiting parts.

      Good luck with your project! Look forward to seeing and hearing how it turns out!

      • Posted by ballsagnaftw on March 20, 2013 at 1:02 PM

        Everything is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, my fabrication friends are on night shift so should be able to get it in and out of the shop tomorrow night. I’m loaded down with material for the foreseeable future. I had one slight oversight, which was not having a 2″ ferrule for the end plate that attaches the collection tank to the column, so for a short period of time I’m going to be using a 1/2″ half coupling on the end plate, with close nipple, to 1/2″ npt to flare adapter to 1/2″ female flare swivel coupling to connect the column to collection vessel. I look forward to upgrading this system soon with a binks pot and appion unit.

        I had seen some people using syringe filters for materials contaminated with mold/mildew, one person was enquiring if I could run his material, winterize it, and filter it, and I was curious if there is something slightly larger than those syringes available that anyone knows of? I’d prefer to not even work with material with contaminants, but its a good friend that’s trying to prevent total loss of his meds..

        • Posted by ballsagnaftw on March 20, 2013 at 1:12 PM

          Actually disregard the question about filtration, read up your section on polishing extract.

  29. Great info and I applaud your stance on trying to be economical with peoples funds. I need some new equipment myself and will be exploring more of your review type posts. Any thoughts on products from Eden labs? I was considering a coldfinger type apparatus.

    • Cold fingers have their uses, what would you be using one to accomplish and what kind of solvent will you be using?

      • Hi, actually I wrote a direct mail and you were kind enough to respond so thanks, more ‘customer focus’ from you guys ;)

          • Posted by bigjohn on March 15, 2013 at 11:59 AM

            be a tig welder for 25 years those are some nasty looking weld those welds should have been purge with argon and fully penatraited just m y 2 cent

          • Hi John! Thanks for sharing!

            If you Tig welded for 25 years, congratulations on your steady hands and good eyesight. I was certified in GTAW, as well as GMAW to ASTME boiler code, but worked as a welding engineer as opposed to day to day welding. I used to weld my own prototypes, but alas my eyesight is now long gone and my hands are no longer steady, so I now let others weld my prototypes.

            In this case an aerospace shop certified to Aerospace and Navship standards, and a welder that is only about a decade younger than MOI and whom worked for me as a welding trainer in the 80′s.

            Could you share which welds are nasty looking and why? He will be broken hearted!

            I agree on the argon, but all of these welds were done with a WP-20 torch under argon, as well as well as an argon shield on the backside.

            I didn’t design them as full penetration joints, because they don’t have to be and it limits distortion. They are also vacuum welds, which are typically only done from one side, so as to make it easy to find leaks. Alas, skip welds on the opposing surface looked unfinished, so we added a cosmetic weld to make them purdier.

          • well, they refuse to supply outside of USA, (beaurocratic bs, not their fault) no wonder the world is fooked :-) anyone know anyone building good equipment in Europe?

          • You can always get the modified parts from Specialized Formulations in the US, and pick the rest up in Europe off the shelf. Maybe at a brewery equipment supply house or sanitary food equipment supply.

  30. Posted by j13bird on February 28, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Hey guys , love the work . I spoke with a rep from glacier tanks yesterday , he assisted me with the order below , due to a few part #s that have changed . I also upgraded to a double hinge 1 1/2 clamp for slightly more $ because of availability . I hope this helps . I have a few issues / concerns that i dont wish to share in an open forum , if you could send me an email i can send my contact info or send yours to me with best contact time , again thanks

    SKU: SP-600-006
    TriClamp 6″ Pipe Spools 6″ Length 6″ TriClamp Ends
    Price: $ 97.00/Each
    Qty: 2
    Sub-Total: $ 194.00

    SKU: 16AMP-G600
    TriClamp End Cap 6″ Stainless Steel SS304
    Price: $ 42.00/Each
    Qty: 4
    Sub-Total: $ 168.00

    SKU: 13MHM-600
    TriClamp 6″ Single Hinge Stainless Steel SS304
    Price: $ 29.00/Each
    Qty: 4
    Sub-Total: $ 116.00

    SKU: SP-150-006
    TriClamp 1 1/2″ Tubing Spools 6″ Length 1 1/2″ TriClamp Ends
    Price: $ 29.00/Each
    Qty: 1
    Sub-Total: $ 29.00

    SKU: 22MP-G025
    NPT 1/4″ Female to 1 1/2″ TriClamp Stainless Steel SS304
    Price: $ 10.95/Each
    Qty: 1
    Sub-Total: $ 10.95

    SKU: 13MHHM-DP150
    TriClamp 1 1/2″ Double Hinge Stainless Steel SS304
    Price: $ 6.95/Each
    Qty: 2
    Sub-Total: $ 13.90

    SKU: 14AMP-G150
    TriClamp/Weld 1 1/2″ Ferrule Stainless Steel SS304 Length 28.6mm Length
    Price: $ 3.90/Each
    Qty: 1
    Sub-Total: $ 3.90
    SUB-TOTAL: $ 535.75

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    Glacier Tanks
    12518 NE Airport Way
    Suite 148
    Portland, Oregon 97230
    Ph: 503.253.5919

  31. Posted by Resinator on February 26, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Have a curious observation, wonder if anyone else has too: Using stainless steel tube for n-butane extraction produces a slightly different product in comparison to using borosilicate glass. The tube size is similar for each, and the exact same process and solvent, n-butane. The glass seems to produce a nicer looking and tasting product, so what might be responsible for the difference? A friend thought possibly micro-cracks in the stainless tube wall surface might be an issue, but they are polished inside, and no appreciable noted difference using new ss vs. well-seasoned ss. I can also make a comparison to the Tamisium which suffers more degradation from the length of time the plant material is exposed to the butane, ie takes longer to purge after left in recovery mode for hours, results are darker, and as some may know it’s a real pain to remove the “epoxy” from the bottom of the vessel without losing a quarter of it in your forearm hair.. Also was curious if anyone knows what micron size are coffee filters?
    Always appreciate your thoughts and comments very much!

    • I suspect the darkening is more of an issue of temperature than stainless versus glass. The Tamisium uses 110F to transfer the butane and we have never retained blond temperature above about 75/80F, using a Terpenator.

      I need to experiment more with the Lil Terp to see how low it will transfer the butane at, before having anything to offer on how low you might run a Tamisium. I’ve only run the Lil Terp at around the 110F mark, for a 1 hour and 45 minute recovery cycle.

      When I’ve run glass columns, the butane made a single pass through the column and evaporated away so rapidly that I had to float the receiving container in a hot tap water bath, to keep ice from forming at the edges of the pool, due to evaporation. The only real heat that the oil saw, was when I subseqently finished purging residual butane.

      Lastly, with either a Lil Terp, a Terpenator, or the Tamisium, you can over soak the material, and the butane will pick up some of the water present, along with some of the water solubles and an electric green tint from a small amount of chlorophyll. Folks do that less often with a single pass column, because it requires toooo much butane to want to waste it.

  32. Posted by ballsagnaftw on February 21, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    Thank you for the reply, I’m about to order my parts and was considering potentially using a 3″x36″ spool for the column. I understand that the column is typically preferred to be as narrow as possible to get as much flow to pass over the material, but was wondering if it would matter much if I would be inverting it to soak a few different times. I can’t see why it would be an issue as it would be with a single pass. If I do go with the 3″ spool, I’m going to use the 6″x12″ spools for the recovery/collection vessels. Should bring me to about 6′ with fittings, also considering putting one of their triclamp sight glasses on it for extra style points, really would love to have a viewing window but dont want to have to deal with more welding than necessary on this one, when I build a terpenator I will have my viewing window on collection vessel. One question, I know you went with flare fittings, and I know you addressed why in a forum somewhere, maybe because of refrigerant lines, or something to that effect… Any reason why it’s not a good idea for me to use qd’s on my little terp? Also, do you think with the increase in size stability may be an issue at the points of connection? When I invert to soak it will be a highly controlled rotation with me and another strong person that’s 6′+ tall with a pulley/rope attached at the center of column for safety/minimizing load during rotation..

    • A wider column works fine with a soak.

      Typically the collection tank should hold 4 to 5 times the volume of the column and have the largest surface area for evaporation possible. You would be better off using a 10″ paint pot for that much volume, rather than a 12″ tall 6″ spool, for the larger surface area.

      If you put a sight glass on it, be sure to use a compatible seal. The ones from Glacier come with a silicone rubber seal, which isn’t suitable.

      No problem with quick disconnects, other than they impede and slow down the gas flow and don’t always reliably seal. Tamisium uses a Dixon qd for the purpose.

      The whole thing will be tipsy, but the 3″ column connection should be plenty strong.

      • Posted by ballsagnaftw on March 13, 2013 at 12:05 PM

        Having worked with tami’s extensively, hundreds of cycles, I understand how important surface area is with the recovery, but I’m not really sure if the relative column volume is as important with the collection vessel. I ordered my parts,and due to lack of time to postpone the project any further I went with a 2″x36″ extraction column, and 6″x6″ recovery, and 6″x6″ collection vessel. My main concern is head room for reaction @80% fill. From your math I should be able to fill with 1000g of butane, and with my column size I estimate it should hold 10oz/280g of material, which should be enough butane for a good wash. Lack of funds is preventing me from getting an asme paint pot, but soon enough I will have a bunch of different columns and will be turning the whole thing into a terpenator. I guess I’m just wondering if there’s any huge risk that ending up with 28-42g of oil in the collection res, instead of 7g would cause any problems, as far as I can tell that is the only difference between what is going on during recovery. I wouldn’t mind the extra recovery time, or using slightly less butane as 750-800g of tane should wash it well, and every load will be ran a second time, with warm butane to pull some dirtier oil suitable for edibles or topical. Any thoughts on this? I just don’t want to pull oil through my recovery line and into recovery vessel. Also what formula are you using so I can figure out how much butane the 6×6 spools will hold @80% max? Unless it’s faster for you to just tell me lol. I was going off of your 6″x5″ number to get the roughly 1000g+ figure.

        • Having worked with tami’s extensively, hundreds of cycles, I understand how important surface area is with the recovery, but I’m not really sure if the relative column volume is as important with the collection vessel.

          I ordered my parts,and due to lack of time to postpone the project any further I went with a 2″x36″ extraction column, and 6″x6″ recovery, and 6″x6″ collection vessel.

          A 2″ OD, 1.75 ID column X 36″ holds about 87 cubic inches, which is about a 56% fill of the collection tank. It should work, albeit slow, as the ratio of surface area to volume is low.

          My main concern is head room for reaction @80% fill. From your math I should be able to fill with 1000g of butane, and with my column size I estimate it should hold 10oz/280g of material, which should be enough butane for a good wash.

          I calculate 1223g capacity at 80%, and at 4.2 gm/cubic inch packing density, should hold about 365 grams of 10 mesh 10% moisture content material.

          Lack of funds is preventing me from getting an asme paint pot, but soon enough I will have a bunch of different columns and will be turning the whole thing into a terpenator.

          I guess I’m just wondering if there’s any huge risk that ending up with 28-42g of oil in the collection res, instead of 7g would cause any problems, as far as I can tell that is the only difference between what is going on during recovery.

          I wouldn’t mind the extra recovery time, or using slightly less butane as 750-800g of tane should wash it well, and every load will be ran a second time, with warm butane to pull some dirtier oil suitable for edibles or topical.

          Any thoughts on this? I just don’t want to pull oil through my recovery line and into recovery vessel.

          A Terpenator does require more clearance between the intake and the bubbling action, and you will have less than three inches with your current design, so I would suggest getting the larger recovery vessel for the 2X36 column, or use a smaller column.

          Also what formula are you using so I can figure out how much butane the 6×6 spools will hold @80% max? Unless it’s faster for you to just tell me lol. I was going off of your 6″x5″ number to get the roughly 1000g+ figure.

          A 6″ ID, 5.75″ ID column 6″ tall holds approximately 155 cubic inches. Butane has a specific gravity of .601, and water weighs .0361 lbs per cubic inch, so .0361 X .601 = .0217 pounds of butane per cubic inch.

          155 cubic inches X .80, X .0217= 2.7 pounds of butane.

          2.7 pounds of butane X 452.8 gm/lb = 1223 grams of butane at 80% fill.

      • Posted by Benjamin Pelletier on March 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        I was going to start buying parts soon as well but I had a few questions. I was going to skip the 6×12 spool for the two 6x6s (with the two clamps on top and bottom for ease of access) but does this affect the recovery, because the original system is designed to work on a 7 inch storage vessel and 5 in recovery tank? I also have a few other questions, can I email you? You are doing some really cool things here, keep it up!

  33. Thank you for the reply! About to build a 36″ column with the 2″ spool. Was going to use 36″x1.5″ but they seem to always be out of stock in those. Can’t wait for the parts to arrive. After I get it running I will be building a terpenator off of your MKiii build, or whatever is most current.

  34. [...] We built our own passive extraction system and named it Lil Terp! Here is the build list:…and-reclaimer/ Reply With [...]

  35. [...] from Airgas or Matheson, is less of an issue and worth considering. We just paid $263 for 23 lbs.…and-reclaimer/ Attached [...]

  36. Posted by Moses on January 10, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    I’ve been doing a lot of research on the tamisium extractor and I’m definetly making one in the very near future… Thanks for all the info, very informative.. I’m really curious about using co2 with it, I need to know what kinda pump to pump the co2 to the right psi

    • Hi Moses,
      The Tamisium is a fine extractor, but alas, it won’t do CO2 extraction. Tamisium’s owner Dave is knowlegable on his products capabilities and would be a good person to contact on the issue of CO2.


  37. Posted by NinjaKaren on January 8, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Thank you so much for posting this. I, and many others, really appreciate the effort you put in to making this possible for those of us who are a little less fortunate.

    I am trying to save as much money as possible. Would the following modifications seem reasonable to you? Please feel free to correct me if you think these mods won’t work.

    1) Can I drill and tap the fittings in place of welding the 1/4″ half couplings–just have the fitting screw directly into the lid instead? I don’t have a lid here to look at, but it seems like it would be thick enough to support it. The savings on labor could be pretty substantial…I’m sure there are many people who have a friend who has a drill press, but less who have a friend who is capable of welding stainless steel. Of course, the 1 1/2″ center fitting would still need to be welded, but it would still be a substantial savings.

    2) For the recovery tank: yours has just under 200 cubic inches of volume. If I went with a 4″ diameter 24″ length spool instead, it would be ~300 cubic inches of volume. This would save ~$80, given the price of the lids/clamps. Is that feasible, given my intent to use/fill a 18″ column? Is there some kind of a ratio you’ve based your column/recovery tank volume?

    Using the pricing available today from Glacier Tanks, the math on that assuming each recovery tank requires 2 clamps, 2 lids and 1 spool:

    6″D, 12″L, t’s $239 (~200 cubic in);
    4″D, 24″L it’s $157 (~300 cubic in);
    3″D, 36″L, it’s $136.50. (~250 cubic in).

    So if size is not an issue, you could save more than $100 using a taller, as opposed to wider, recovery tank. I suppose this could be an issue when cooling the tank, but i think the savings could outweigh the inconvenience for many, including myself. (I sure wish there was a 4″D 18″L option!)

    I genuinely appreciate your efforts, and hope that these modifications will be helpful to others. If they work, the price of the “Lil Terp” could be even less!

    • The lids are about .440″ thick, as I recall, so you could drill and tap the exhaust port, but somehow you have to get a down tube through the lid, and since you also have the issue with the 1 1/2″ column port anyway, welding is a cheap easy solution.

      Surface area is more important than volume, when it comes to recovering butane. The largest diameter spool, gives the largest surface area, and the rest of the volume is a mixed blessing. The vapor port has to be far enough away from the evaporation surface, to not be sucking up bursing bubbles from boiling butane, but the larger it is, the slower it is to recover, because of pumping inefficiencies as the internal atmosphere becomes thinner.

      • Posted by NinjaKaren on January 9, 2013 at 4:22 PM

        Thank you for your response.

        Can you explain what you mean by a down tube through the lid? I thought everything attached outside of the lid via the NPT/flare fittings? (And of course the welded 1.5″ port)

        I don’t disagree with you that it would be not that much more effort to weld the other 2 ports, but given the quotes I’ve gotten for welding the 3 ports vs 1 port, there is an appreciable difference. (For me, in LA, it’s about a $50 difference.)

        I think maybe I don’t understand then, how this unit functions. Do you mind answering a couple questions/correcting me?

        Here’s how I thought it worked:

        Plant material in column, butane/oil mixture goes into collection tank. close that ball valve, open the one to the recovery tank.

        Heat up collection tank (with hot water bath) so butane becomes a gas and flows into the recovery tank, which is in an ice bath (to condense the butane).

        Once the correct temperatures are reached (as indicated above), you rinse/repeat.

        Where does surface area come in to play for the recovery tank? I thought you just turned it upside down and poured it back into the column? I absolutely see where it would matter for the collection tank, but am uncertain how it would affect the recovery tank.

        Many thanks!

        • I just went back and read your original post and it looks like I had my brain on Terpenators, as opposed to the Lil Terp when I answered. Sorry for getting confused.
          There is no down tube in the Lil Terp and you can easily just tap the recovery port into the .440″ thick lid, using a 1/4 NPT tap.

          Both puddle surface area and the internal surface area of the storage tank come into play.

          It is the puddle surface area that is boiling during recovery, and it is the surface area of the storage tank that is transferring heat from the vapor, to the ice bath. They are both linear formulas, so if you double the surface area, you double the reaction.

  38. Posted by clowntown on September 29, 2012 at 7:26 AM

    GW, that was an extremely classy response.

    Thanks for all your efforts.

    Much respect,

  39. Dear Sir/Mam:

    This letter is to provide you with NOTICE of Pending US Patent Application
    Patent Pending 61/217,911, which is owned by my client David McGhee.
    You should contact your own attorney immediately.

    Steven Thrasher
    Thrasher Associates
    391 Sandhill Drive
    Richardson, TX 75080
    972-918-9312; 214-291-5991 (fax)

    Steven Thrasher

    David McGhee
    President Tamisium Extractors Incorporated.
    TamisiumExtractors Incorporated

    • Hi David, Steve!

      Sorry to take so long to respond, but I’ve been away on vacation.

      Steve, thanks for the heads up regarding Dave’s application for a patent under Patent Pending 61/217,911! I will surely obtain a copy to see what you’ve covered.

      Assuming it is eventually approved, how do you see it applying in this case, as we are not building and selling Lil Terps, we aren’t selling products made from them, nor are we even selling the information on how to build a better unit cheaper? Nothing is being sold, no profits are being made, or money exchanging hands.

      We simply give away free information for the benefit of medical marijuana patients, whom are unfortunately too poor to afford your cheapest Tamisium, even in groups.

      You will note that we’ve only addressed your very cheapest offering and may take heart in the knowledge that we have no plans to offer larger passive system designs, as our focus is the poor folks, and we believe the Mk II Terpenator is a more effective system for larger scale operations anyway.

      I will add a disclaimer, advising followers that if they build and use a passive extraction system for uses proscribed by any patents that may be issued, that you will have legal remedy against them, in the event your patent is granted. If you would like to finely word that statement Steve, I will copy it in the disclaimer, or add a link to it.

      Dave, as you will be footing the legal cost of recovering the profits made in violation of any patents granted, feel free to include your own notes.

      For what its worth, I admire your simple design and quality execution. If you will share my goal of providing an affordable unit for the poor folks, albeit slow and without bells and whistles, I will not only promise to not develop further passive systems that compete with yours, I will provide Skunk Pharm Research consulting support to you for free and endorse the new product on international forums.

      The free consulting will include our insights into medical marijuana needs, which you may not be aware of coming from a staunch non-medical marijuana state, where you ostensibly produce a product for general legal essential oil extractions.

      As one of your loyal Te 175 customers just challenged the Lil Terp to a side by side runoff on your behalf tomorrow, consulting will also include any hands on insight we acquire using your actual product.

      The big question, is can we address the poor folks needs as a team, or must this be a contest?

      As a side issue, someone other than you questioned us providing links sending potential customers to your business site. No affront was intended, and as a businessman perhaps more aware of the concepts of guerilla publicity, if you don’t want the opportunity to show the folks why your system is superior to a Lil Terp from Hicksville, say the word and I will happily replace the links with instructions on how to use our unit.


      • Posted by jeff on January 8, 2013 at 11:51 AM

        wow – very tactful response to a potentailly “sticky” situation— was a pleasure to read that—

    • Posted by zlessley on September 2, 2012 at 6:37 PM

      That was impressively respectful GW, I would have just replied with “lol”!

      • Tattered old wolves don’t casually start fights and Dave, nor Steve have said or done anything to be disrespectful of so far. I would have objected too, were I in Daves position, and Steve is doing what he is paid to do as a personal attorney. Certainly nothing deserving of casual dismissal or personal attacks.

        As for TO, who knows what the story is or why they think they have to speak for Dave?

  40. GW,

    Could you elaborate a bit on the use of a recovery pump with this system? Will it speed up the process by pumping the butane back into the recovery vessel?

    Also is there a way to not have to invert the recovery vessel?



    • Yes. It would speed up recovery to minutes, instead of hours. Passive recovery is designed more for low volume folks, with more time than money. An Appion recovery pump, for instance, by itself costs about what it takes to build a complete Lil Terp.

      As far as process, using an oil less refrigerant recovery pump like the Appion, you would hook the inlet hose of the recovery pump, onto the flare fitting in the top of the collection tank, and the discharge hose from the recovery pump to the flare fitting in the butane storage tank.

      If you then opened the valves and set the collection tank in hot water and butane storage tank in icewater, recovery would be a matter of a few minutes, vis a vis 1 hour and 45 minutes for a 12″ column, running 1 lb, 14 oz of butane.

      If you added a dip tube and used a recovery pump in push pull mode, you could eliminate inverting the butane storatge tank. That is how the Terpenators work.

      Just adding a refrigerant valve, with both a dip tube outlet and gas outlet, might transfer the butane from the dip tube side, with the addition of heat to the storage tank, so as to build up head pressure.

      You could also just add a separate dip tube port, instead of a refrigerration valve set.

      • GW,

        You have really elucidated both devices for me now. I really appreciate your free flowing of knowledge. For me it seems easier to build the Lil’ Terp with a larger column and then use the Appion recovery pump to speed the recovery process. I will report back once I can get all the parts from glacier!



  41. GW,

    If one wanted to use a larger column to process more material per run would a larger supply tank with more butane be needed? Or can this same amount of butane be used to process a larger amount of starting material?


    Burning Tree

    • Or switch columns after they are fully extracted without removing the oil from the collection vessel? Is this a possible route to process more material?



      • We routinely process multiple columns through the Mk I Terpenator before collecting the oil, so I see no reason that the Lil Terp wouldn’t do the same thing. I would expect the recovery time to go up, as the puddle of oil deepened.

    • The issue with the relationship between the volume of the column and the volumn of both the collection tank and the butane storage tank, is surface area relative to depth. The more surface area relative to depth, the faster it will be, and vice versa.

      The 5″ tall collection tank has about 141 cubic inches capacity, and a 1.5″ column has a capacity of about 1.77 cubic inches, per inch. That means that a 1.5″ X 79″ column would have the same volume. As that would leave no surface area exposed for the reaction to take place, something less than 79″ would be the maximum column height.

      I used a 12″ column, and recovery time was 1 hour 45 minutes. Ostensibly a 24″ column might take twice as long. To reduce the time to the same, would require the same surface area, or an 8.48″ diameter tank, instead of the current 6″.

      We have a 6″, 12″, 24″, and 36″ spool for trials, and will report back once we have had a chance to conduct them.

      We also have a local Tamisium owner wishing to compare performance, and hopefully he will be ready soon. He is currently awaiting some enhancement parts from the factory, and I expected to already hear from him by now, so will check on his status.

  42. Posted by jamieson wagner on August 11, 2012 at 5:13 AM

    sorry if i am asking too many questions i just want to make mine so i don’t have to flip it around and i saw the tamisium didn’t have that either so i did not know if that would be the smartest thing to do

  43. Posted by jamieson wagner on August 11, 2012 at 5:10 AM

    So if i was to put a valve there should i put a pressure gauge there and if so what should i let it get to or is the top of the collection vessel have a piece welded to attach the collection vessel top to the plant material vessel? thanks for answering back so fast.

    • There are no valves required beyond those at the top of the column and the top of the butane storage tank, because the pressure is contained in the column and tank. You can control the soak cycle by simply turning it upside down.

      The Tamisium uses quick disconnects instead of a flare fitting and hose. The advantage to that is that you don’t have to support the butane tank upside down while you drain it.

      You can screw a pressure gauge on any of the ports using a 1/4 flare fitting, to see what is going on, but I found the laser pyrometer and refrigerant scales to be the most valuable. They both tell you when the butane has transfered.

      Nothing in simply running the passive process requires recording pressure, though if you are experimenting with purge temperatures, or using a recovery pump, they are sure handy. I just attach the one off the Mk I Terpenator when experimenting, using the 1/4″ flare fitting.


  44. Posted by jamieson wagner on August 10, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    If you put a valve between the collection vessel and vessel so the vessel could soak would that make it more productive?

  45. Posted by jamieson wagner on August 10, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    Awesome cool idea how you made your collection i have not purchased the tamisium because of the smaller opening on the collection tank thanks for the post hope i will get up and make one

  46. Posted by luc336 on July 20, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    GW I love it. Thanks for putting the date on the update, it save me a lot of time. I still have a lot of material from last year that I need to process. Hopefully someone other than you can post a video on Youtube of the process, Thanks again to all of you at Skunk Pharm,

    • Thanks Luc! Videos in due time. We have the gear, just haven’t had the time. With so many projects coming together at once, we should have a hole in our schedule in the near future.

  47. Looks like a beauty of a tool you made. Way to go!

    • Thanks for the good thoughts MJ! I think we are going to have a lot of fun with this design, using it in ways that no one has tried, or fessed up to before.

      Besides passive capabilities, with a recovery pump, it is a fast easy way to process small quantities for folks that don’t need the half pound capacity of the Mk II Terpenator.

      Especially exciting is using it in in conjunction with a recovery pump to process fresh frozen material, so as to maximize terpene and carboxlic acid retention.

      • Hi,
        How hard would it be to hook up a recovery pump to a Lil Terp ? Could I use a 24″ column with the same cost basically of $700 in parts?
        and are there plans some where for this that I can get ,or a kit ? thanks again. I would like to get a MkIIIA together but I am thinking I could afford this first. and if I got an appion pump right away then I could speed up cycles. I hope I’m not being to crisp. I just don’t want to waste your time. I love your scene here and hope to get up t ptown for a class or 5. I don’t travel much right now ,But I am working on it!

        • If you simply hooked the recovery pump up to the lower tank valve on the Lil Terp, it will recover the butane and leave behind the oil. If you are going to do that regularly, you probably want to go to a 3/8″ nipple and valve, vis a vis the current 1/4″, to achieve better speed.

  48. Posted by healani on July 6, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Just stopped by to say Hi Gray! As of June 4, 2012, my dad was declared cancer free! Thanks for all your informative posts! Tallulahgirl

    • Whoop, whoop, lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

      Hee, hee, hee, that is what this is all about!!!!!!!!!!

      Bless both you and your dad and thanks for sharing sister woman!

  49. Hey there mentioned in another comment I have a tamisium, it would be real interesting to do extractions and recovery side by side with to see if there was any noticeable difference in any way, keep up the good work.

  50. Your site always is always updating its material every time I come here you have new photos and explanations on your processes. Thanks for keeping the site active and informative.

  51. [...] Passive Butane Extractor and Reclaimer [...]

  52. Posted by garhart aka Gary R. Butler on July 2, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    I have been contemplating reaching out for a used Parr Bomb on Ebay and modifying it. This is the more direct route. Very, Very nice. Have to say that I admire your looking out for patients on fixed incomes. I will look forward to hearing how it turns out for you.

    • Thanks bro! Watch this space!

      • Posted by ballsagnaftw on January 29, 2013 at 8:06 AM

        Hey Gray, I’m inquiring about the volume of recovery/collection vessel volume if I were to increase the column size to accommodate 400g to make sure there is enough butane to wash the material in one pass. I own a 2oz tamisium, and for 56-60g of material it holds 300 or so g of butane. I was thinking of using 2″ column to save on vertical space and doing an inverted soak for a period of about 20-30 mins with about 1/2-2/3 of the butane, then washing it down with the rest that I hadnt yet released from recovery vessel. Thoughts/advice on sizing? I was thinking about going with your 6″x6″ spools, or maybe upping to 8″ if required to give me the adequate volume for the incrsed extraction column size. Looking to order parts here in the next two days if you have the time to reply, otherwise I will just scale up and bite the bullet in parts costs. Thanks for all your hard work, there’s no way I could meet the costs of the 8oz Tami and still be able to provide the same low cost meds for my patients right now. Seriously thank you so much for your commitment to helping people.

        • Yeah, the Tamisium patent application specifies a 4 or 5:1 ration between the storage/recovery tank volume and the column volumn, and a 3:1 ration between the diameter and height of the recovery tank.

          Looking at butane saturation potential, the first ratios appear to be in the ball park. As far as the 3:1 ratio, the more surface area to depth ratio, the faster the system, because evaporation happens only at the surface.

          Thanks for the good thoughts!


  53. [...] Passive Butane Extractor and Reclaimer [...]

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