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  1. #31
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    Let me begin this second phase by introducing my Poormans Rotovap.

    A Rotovap or rotary evaporator is a common piece of equipment found in most any high-end cannabis processing lab nowadays. It's basically a modified distillation setup. There is a glass flask to hold the "charge" or solution to be distilled in a container of heated water.


    The main difference is the flask holding the charge solution is mounted such that it can be constantly rotated. This does two things. It keeps the heat evenly dispersed all around and it stirs the solution to speed up the evaporation process. A vacuum is applied to cause the charge to evaporate faster. From there the distillate (in this case ethanol) is collected in a cooling chamber and dripped into another flask. What's left in the first flask is what we're after. That's the purified cannabis extract or "oil"

    These cost thousands of dollars depending on size and features. They also require a fair amount of charge solution to work properly. A few millimeters won't cut it so even if I could afford one, it would be of no use to me on such a small scale. There is (like there always is) another way to accomplish basically the same thing.

    Meet my Poormans Rotovap




    What I have here is a coffee cup warmer mounted, with double sided tape, to a dental vibrator unit. This gets me the mild heat I need to evaporate the ethanol (more on that, later) and the constant movement of the solution to increase the surface tension and speed up the process.

    Very simple, low cost solution anyone can afford. This dental vibrator sells for under $100 on Ebay. Some others as low as $50.
    Last edited by Maryjane; 01-28-2018 at 10:25 AM.

  2. #32
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    Winterization Method #1: Part 1

    My goal, here, has been to come up with a simple and safe way for me, and anyone else who might also be so inclined, to produce good, safe and cheap vape oil. Not too much ask, I thought. I'm doing this only for myself. I do not sell or give to others. Maybe some day when things loosen up, but not today.

    The Poormans Rosin Press got me the crude plant extract for very little investment. But, now, what to do with it?m

    Experimentation has shown adding anything to the product only serves to both dilute and contaminate the end result. Vaping extracts, flavorings and dilutions being sold to unsuspecting folks, me included, are both dangerous and completely unnecessary.

    I wanted my concentrate to ultimately be free of chemical pesticides, devoid of questionable additives and clean of plant by-products. I wanted the same pure concentrate I was having to pay $70 - $100 per half gram at my medical dispensary.

    The only way to accomplish this was to try and duplicate what the big-boys were doing with all their expensive and fancy high tech lab toys. Was that even possible?

    Well, as you will soon learn, it is.

    You can find my Winterization Method 1 described, above. This is the complete process I used, with some minor tweaks, from start to finish. I will go into more detail about each step, now.

    First, I pressed out about two grams of my just recently (12/28/17) harvested AK-47 strain. Being less than a month old, I obtained my clearest bounty to date. Luscious gobs of golden colored oil from each puck. Almost no bits of dried plant. Way clearer and thicker than my early pressings with some AK-47 harvested in October of last year. I can tell you for sure, the earlier you press after harvest, the better the product will be.



    I took my two grams of candy and dropped it all into a test tube. To this, I added some warm ethanol. In my case, 190 proof Graves grain alcohol from my local package store.



    I placed the test tube in some water in a candle jar and let it sit on the coffee warmer for a while. Every so often I would shake the test tube to mix up the contents.



    After about ten minutes, the candy was more or less dissolved into the ethanol. A bit more time and a few more shakes and it was all dissolved.

    I poured this brew into a 10ml syringe and added additional ethanol to fill it up.



    Basically, I ended up with a five to one mixture. You need at least this amount of ethanol for the lipids (the fats) and plant extracts to thoroughly dissolve into.

    The syringe was dropped into a drinking glass along with a couple of syringe filters and placed in my kitchen freezer running at a bit lower that 0 degrees F. There it sat for some 24 hours.

    The next day I retrieved the glass, removed the cap from the syringe and attached one of the filters. With steady, slow pressure I squeezed... drop by drop, until almost all the solution was sitting in another candle jar.

    Last edited by Maryjane; 01-27-2018 at 07:17 PM.

  3. #33
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    Winterization Method #1: Part Two

    What was left sitting in the syringe was the cannabis lipids and unwanted plant extracts.



    This fatty mucus is what you breath into your lungs, along with any chemical additives you or your dispensary have added to make your vaping that much more "pleasurable".

    Not very appealing, is it?

    I think "yuck" pretty much describes it.

    The candle jar was placed atop my Poormans Rotovap and taped down to keep it from sliding around.



    I adjusted the vibration to cause a strong agitation in the solution but not so intense that it was spitting oil up and out of the jar.



    There it sat, with my checking it from time to time with the flame test.* After about an hour I had no more flame outs so that indicated to me the ethanol was completely gone... or as gone as it was going to be.



    I pulled up what remained in the candle jar into a 3ml syringe. As it turned out, I ended up with about one millimeter of pure oil. Enough to fill two standard .5 gram cartridges, although I prefer not to fill them all the way. I find I get a better result by just covering the wick. With the Liberty 9 carts, I will probably fill them all the way... .5 grams.



    Visually, I think you can see the difference between the solution in the test tube and what is now in this syringe. Under the microscope it's like night and day. The early solution is cloudy with small bits of grey crud filling the image. The latter is as clear as can be.

    This is about as good as it gets, IMHO. A cannabis concentrate that is clean, pure and completely safe to vape. About all anyone can ask for, and, frankly should be entitled to.

    I'm pleased, very pleased.

    Hopefully, the rest of you vape lovers will take all this to heart and keep yourselves safe. I'm a lot older than probably most all of you folks. I didn't make it this far by being stupid.

    *Performing the flame test:

    You will need a paper clip (one with no plastic sheath). Open it up and put a small hook or loop in one end. Bend it so the loop will be flat with the top of the candle jar. You just want to pull up enough of a sample for the test to be obvious, one way the other.

    You can practice using clean ethanol so you can see what happens. Dip the wire into the ethanol and take it out. Quickly, move the open flame from your lighter up underneath the sample. As you get to within about half an inch, you will see the sample flame out. Much like lighting a gas pilot light. That is the ethanol burning away. That's what you want to not see happen.

    When you test the sample finally clear of ethanol, instead of the flame out you will just see the cannabis oil burn away like it's supposed to. It's really that simple.
    Last edited by Maryjane; 01-28-2018 at 10:16 AM.

  4. #34
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    I must tell you, once you have experienced pure cannabis extract vaping there is no going back. There is just no comparison between vaping a pure, unadulterated product and one that contains lipids and, perhaps, chemicals additives like PG, VG and PEG.

    Last night was my second experience with the pure concentrate I made. What I notice first and foremost is how very smooth and pleasant the vaping is. There is absolutely no throat hit or harshness when I inhale. That was something I disliked about my earlier attempts using purchased additives/thinners.

    What is also noticeable is how little vapor is exhaled. I realize, now, those gigantic clouds I see folks blowing out on YouTube videos have to be the result of adding chemicals to their product. You don't get that from vaping a pure concentrate. Who needs it anyway?

    The AK-47 strain, so far the only one I have any experience with, tends to come on slowly taking several minutes to create a full body feeling of calm and well being. Very potent when it does take affect.

    I'm now interested in experimenting with various vape pens and cartridges. My battery has only one voltage at 3.5v. I plan to order one that has three voltages. I feel, with the lipids removed, I may get an even better result by vaping at a lower voltage and thus a lower temperature. They make batteries that offer 2.4 volts as a selection.

  5. #35
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    Update: Improved method for using the Puck Maker

    When I started using the fresher, more recently harvested flower in my pressing I had a problem with it sticking to the puck maker I made. The trichomes are so darn gooey, I needed to use a razor to free the pucks.



    The solution was to place a piece of unbleached parchment paper between the flower and the puck parts. The piston is 1" in diameter. They make these small paper punch devices for the hobby/crafts market and they have one that makes a perfect 1" diameter punch. So, I bought one for around $10.

    A bit of double-sided tape take holds one dot to each side of the puck maker. I found it best to place the parchment between a two pieces of paper for a cleaner punch.

    Now the pucks come free with no effort.

  6. #36
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    Testing the Liberty V9 cartridge

    My sample Liberty V9 "510 thread-style" cartridge arrived the other day. Truly a work art, IMHO. You really have to hand it to the Chinese. The quality of the design and superb execution is second to none. How they are able to sell these so inexpensively is truly amazing. The V9 is just the latest in a long line of vape cartridges from Itsuwa. Designed for use with thicker oils, they blow the doors off the cheaper plastic carts.



    What you notice at first glance is the all metal construction and Pyrex glass chamber. The center post, removed be unscrewing the mouthpiece, gives you clear access for easy filling. A marking, etched on the glass, indicates the exact amount to add. Replacing the post, which houses the vertical ceramic coil... there is no wick... and you will have loaded exactly .5 grams in concentrate.

    Just under the mouthpiece is a ring for adjusting air external air flow. Turning it one way or the other gives you closed, two, four or six air ports.

    My first try with the V9, running my pure concentrate, proved an eye opener. All I can say is, WOW! The difference is striking. The reason being those tiny little 1mm holes. They allow you to draw in air from the outside as you draw in the vapor. What that does is give you a stronger hit of vapor... way stronger.

    Now, I'm not a major user by any means. I work a full time job so I can only vape in the evening after all has settled down. I usually need around four or five draws on my pen to get me relaxed and mildly stoned. In other words, I can still function. Not drive a car, but get around the house without falling on my face. That's where I want to be.

    Last night was way different. With all the vents open and taking only two draws from the V9 I knew I was in for a wild ride. I could tell the vapor had gone much deeper into my lungs than anytime in the past. That additional air helped to push the vapor further and faster... like a jet engine. In no time I was flying high and my head spinning. It was a bit disconcerting. I prefer to have a better handle on my faculties, but it was fun. I stopped vaping at that point.

    I will need to play with those vents and find a happy medium. I do like the V9 though. Much easier to draw from and very cool looking.
    Last edited by Maryjane; 02-01-2018 at 02:22 PM.

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