The following water distiller design is derived from the design that Mike offered on the Troubled Times website. This design, with it's condensing pot, can produce a 1/2 gallon of distilled water every hour, or 1 cup (8 oz.) every 7.5 minutes. The parts are all stainless steel. Water distillation is the one and only method recommended by the Zetas to purify your water. In all likelihood, water distillation will be needed before the hour of the poleshift even arrives. Building a water distiller seems simple but it is not all that easy. An efficient water distiller that can be operated with any heat source, most importanly fire, cannot necessarily be bought, so many look to other ways of water purification, mainly the water filter. It will always be a matter of opinion, but for those with children who will depend on them, it is urged to take a hard look at reality and what a water filter can do for you in the long term. Survival is no easy matter regardless of preparations, but since water is one of the most important aspects of survival, it should be one of the first steps taken.

I've been experimenting with different distiller designs for several years now, all the while I knew Mike's design was the best. I was intimidated by it since I had no metal working skills and wood was hard enough to work with. All the designs I came up with didn't even come close to what Mike's design could accomplish, so I sort of gave up for a while. Finally I got my act together since I don't like giving up, and created a prototype using aluminum and copper parts, since they are easier to work with than stainless steel. There were a number of failures on my part and the feeling that I wasn't going to conquer this task. I do not have welding skills, but I bought a mini kit and soon found out that I can't even keep the flame lit once the oxygen is turned on. After about 10 seconds of trying to weld, the flame would burn out, and make a loud noise at the same time which added to my insecurity. I finally bought a simple and safer propane torch and decided on lead free solder. It took me a while to get the hang of it and I found that you need the soldering flux that plumbers use or the solder will not bond well. But once it's properly done, the connection is very sturdy. Finally I had a complete distiller made of aluminum and copper that performed to my expectations of a 1/2 gallon every hour. Then the complaints came in that distilled water leached aluminum and copper, making it unsafe to drink in the long term. Apparently only stainless steel was acceptable. I didn't buy into this myth because logic and common sense tell a different story (note water tests for proof), but in an effort to appease the crowd and hopefully make a difference in the lives of children that must rely on adults for their future, an all stainless steel water distiller was made which costs more and is a metal that is much tougher to work with.

Plans are provided by Howard based on the specifications given to him and these can be taken to a metal worker if you do not feel comfortable making one yourself. In fact, I would recommend it since welding would be considered stronger and more reliable than soldering. If you choose to solder like I did, it should be noted that solder does not bond well with stainless steel, so all connections will have to be made extra tight to begin with and the solder acts like more of a gasket. But with aluminum and copper, the solder bonds very well.

This distiller utilizes a stainless steel pot to boil the contaminated water. A stainless steel pizza pan then sits on top. By using a pizza pan, it can be used on just about anything that can boil water, making it versatile. The steam travels up the 4 stainless steel tubes, into the stainless steel pie pan, where it hits the bottom of the stainless steel condensing pot that sits on top of the pie pan. The water in this pot creates the necessary temperature change to condense the steam into distilled water, where it collects in the pie pan and empties through the stainless steel drain tube. A high temperature, inert food grade silicone tube can be attached to the drain tube in order to allow water to drain into a collection container of your choice. Make sure the silicone tube has the same OD (outer diameter) of the drain tube, in this case 1/4". If the silicone tube is even just a bit larger, chances are it won't fit tight enough. To enlarge the end of a silicone tube to fit perfectly, heat it up in boiling water and then insert an object such as a pen to enlarge the tube just enough to fit over the stainless steel drain tube perfectly.

The part that will have to be constructed consists of a 16" stainless steel pizza pan, a 9" stainless steel pie pan, 4 pieces of stainless steel tubing - 1/2" OD (outer diameter) - cut to 8" each, and 1 stainless steel tube - 1/4 " OD - cut to 7-8" as the drainage tube. High temperature silicone tubing also comes in handy. It's guaranteed inert for beverages and withstands temps of up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. I use 1/2" OD silicone tubing, split down the middle with scissors, and place it around the lip of the bottom boiling pot to create a better seal so steam will not escape and the system remains pressurized. The top condensing pot provides weight that seems to keep things tight enough so steam will either not escape, or very little escapes. I find that even if a small amount of steam escapes, the production results are the same. If enough steam escapes though, the system won't be pressurized very well and production can be cut in half, which is actually still more water than most electric distillers on the market can produce.

Feel free to experiment if you wish with the design. Whether you make your distiller from all stainless steel, or an aluminum/copper combo, you will have a means of purifying any water source at your disposal in the aftertime. Bacteria and viruses will be killed by the boiling process and all heavy metals including lead and mercury will be left behind as the water evaporates on it's way to the condensing chamber. Further testing will be done to deal with chemicals that also evaporate and condense such as alcohol and petrol chemicals. You will know if this is in your water in any case from both the smell and the sheen it would produce on top of the water. I will be testing to see how long it takes to boil these contaminants off, or if they can be removed effectively enough through regular charcoal and/or sand. All results will be posted and it's encouraged that others try as well and post any constructive ideas.

The following water purity tests were conducted with a TDS meter. TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids which are the total amount of mobile charged ions, including minerals, salts, or metals dissolved in a given volume of water. TDS, which is based on conductivity, is expressed in parts per million (ppm). TDS includes any conductive inorganic element present other than the pure water molecules. TDS affects everything that consumes, lives in or uses water, from fish and plants to plumbing and laboratories. For people, the lower the TDS level in the water you drink, the more efficiently your body's cells are hydrated. The higher the TDS level in water, the greater the probability of harmful contaminants that can pose health risks or hinder the absorption of water. The U.S. EPA's Maximum Contaminant Level of TDS for human consumption is 500 ppm. Though I've seen water testing done first hand at a water treatment plant, and after the first stage of purification, the water was at 500 ppm and it looked dirty and smelled rotten. The purest water after all treatments was 50 ppm and was worthy of any bottled water. After this water made it's way through all the pipes to your house, it would no longer be so pure. TDS meters can be used to check the performance of water filters and ensure your tap water is acceptable.

The TDS meter used for these tests is brand new and I manually calibrated it using a hydroponic calibrating solution set at 342 ppm. When choosing a calibrating solution, make sure to get one that is closest to your target readings to ensure maximum accuracy. For example, 1500 ppm would be too high, but would still give you acceptable accuracy. The TDS meter used in these tests has an accuracy discrepancy of +/- 2%, which is very acceptable. Each water sample was tested multiple times to ensure accuracy as well. Here are the results from round 1 -

Hot tap water stored in a tank - 200 ppm
Iced Tea sweetened with HFCS - 180 ppm
Cold running tap water - 145-150 ppm
Cold tap water run through a Pure Source 2 water filter - 130 ppm
First cup of distilled water from aluminum/copper water distiller - 10 ppm
Second cup of distilled water from aluminum/copper water distiller - 7 ppm
First cup of distilled water from all stainless steel water distiller - 2 ppm
Third cup of distilled water from all stainless steel water distiller - 1 ppm

That is correct. There were only 1-2 particles per million detectable in the distilled water from the stainless steel distiller. It just doesn't get much purer than that. There were a few more particles detected in the aluminum/copper distilled water. The condensing pot used with that distiller was also aluminum. A very old pot that looked questionable but I used it anyway for the sake of science. 7-10 ppm is still incredibly pure and is too small of an amount to cause any long term problems. I would be more concerned about what the 130 ppm is in the filtered water, but still, that is as pure of water as a person really needs.

That leaves one of the final arguments, which is that somehow you will lose minerals by drinking distilled water. This one is hard to prove but I advise would-be survivors to use their common sense here. Nobody can say they rely on water for their mineral intake. You get these from the edible greens around you. Dandelions and Amaranth, for example, have all your minerals. I'm willing to bet that your kidneys will be happy at the increase in your distilled water intake, as you're easing their work load. Here is a link to some information about drinking distilled water and various regions that rely on it. There have never been any tests or experiments that prove distilled water is dangerous in any way. Many doctors say there is nothing wrong with drinking distilled water. The purer the water, the easier it is for your body to utilize and absorb. Your body works hard to purify the fluids it's given and distilled water eases the burden. There will be real problems in your midst that will take all your focus and energy. Having distilled water on hand will only make your life easier in the aftertime.

Here is a full view of the distiller with condensing pot on top. I ended up using the smaller 12 quart pot on bottom and the larger 16 quart pot on top.

Here is the distillation unit that has to be constructed. A 16" pizza pan connected to a 9" pie pan with 4 stainless steel tubes.

Close up of drain tube.

Here is the drain tube connection from inside the pie pan. It must be as flush as possible to allow for instant drainage.

Inside of the pie pan where distilled water collects and drains. Notice how the center has been pounded up and the area where the drain tube is connected has been pounded as flat as possible.

Here is the bottom of the pizza pan that sits on top of the bottom boiling pot.

Here is the 1/2" silicone tubing, split down the middle, being applied to the lip of the boiling pot in order to create the tightest seal.

Here is the silicone tubing fully applied

And finally a pic of the copper/aluminum prototype

Here are the plans provided by Howard that can be used by a professional metal worker or anyone with welding skills that you might know.

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@ Quo Vadis, as long as the JB Weld is not applied within the condensing chamber where distilled water comes into direct contact, it should be safe. Distilled water does not pick up particles as much as some of the alarm ringers would have you believe. Feel free to test your water results as well so you will know without doubts. I would be willing to bet that distilled water that DID come into contact with fully cured and dried JB Weld will still be impeccably safe. Don't let the irrational fears of distilled water worry you, you will be glad you have access to it.

There is also high temperature silicone based sealants which can withstand temperatures of 400 degrees F, much higher temps than your distiller will be exposed to and also when dry, it's inert, meaning it won't leach into your water. However, like I mentioned before, distilled water won't even come into contact with whatever sealant you use since the connections will be tight to begin with, and all sealants applied on the outside of the unit.

MegaMontana- Good add. Yes, JB Weld (if you use it) OUTSIDE of the chamber and you will be golden. I had also forgotten about silicone sealants and will get some tubes for our supply.
Hello MegaMontana, I love this blog! Very stimulating! You said you thought the limiting factor on distilled water output was the 9 inch pie pan. What about using a stainless plate cover like those used for hotel room service? I found covers a large as 12 inches on the Internet. Would using the larger plate cover for the condenser increase output? I have another idea that may be helpful. First add a small pipe with a needle valve for flow adjustment and a coil in it for a heat trap, running from the side of the upper part of the cooling water pot down through the pizza-pan-lid into the boiler pot to add more water without having to break down the distiller. Also attach a funnel to the side of the cooling water pot with a tube attached to it long enough to reach within an inch of the bottom. This will allow cool water to be added to the cooling pot without too much mixing of the colder water with the warmer water being drawn off into the boiler pot. In theory this should provide more continuous production. 

SerenitysLove, your idea to drain the top condensing pot into the boiling pot is brilliant. My main concern would be any extra holes releasing steam. I believe it would be possible to install two valves, one in the condensing pot and another in either the pizza pan or boiling pot. These valves could be securely installed several ways, welding being the most reliable probably. They also make brass valves without any rubber o-rings these days. These valves could be connected a number of ways as well, when it is time to use them. The valves would be closed until it's time to refill, then open the bottom valve first, followed by the second valve at the top, draining the heated water from the condensing pot into the boiling pot with ease. The top pot could be refilled easily after that, after closing the valves, bottom valve first to stop the steam immediately and the second top valve last. I do believe that running the distillers will be a job for older children while adults focus on the more complicated matters. The easier to operate the better. I believe this idea you've come up with, could make operating these distillers much easier and safer. Though gloves will probably be needed to touch the metal valves.

It should also be noted that you would be filling the top condensing pot with contaminated water in that case. However, if one fills it with clean water, you would have heated clean water on hand for doing anything from dishes and laundry, to cleansing and washing. A person could decide on either advantage they wish. Heated clean water, or ease of operation and increased production time.

The reason I believe the 9 inch pie pan used as the condensing chamber is the limiting factor is that when I use a massive 6 gallon pot to boil the water, the production is exactly the same, despite more steam being produced. When running 2 distillers, you get double the production because two 9 inch pans are in use. You would get the same production if both of those 9 inch pans were one 18 inch pie pan. So to increase production requires a larger condensing surface and chamber. Wider, not taller in this case. My personal opinion is that using multiple distillers instead of increasing the size of one distiller, would be a wiser choice when it comes to survival.

MegaMontana, today I started collecting parts to build my pot distiller. At a local restaurant supply house I found an 11 inch stainless steel plate cover that mates up well with a 12 quart stock pot for the condenser water. Matched up with a 5 quart dutch oven, I am thinking that you can get by with a somewhat smaller pot for the condenser since you are adding water to it which drains into the boiler pot. I'll know better how all these things work out after construction and a test run. I am also working on an idea for a ball type valve that is in the boiler pot and that is closed by a float when the boiler fills up. With the right tweeking of the design I hope to build a distiller that runs more or less automatic and the only thing the opperator needs to do is keep the fire going and fill the condenser pot as needed and change the container that collects the distilled water. Thanks again for your inspiration and encouragement in this discussion!

PS Where do you find one of those water testers that you mentioned in your post?

SerenitysLove, your efforts are admirable and it's wonderful that you are going to get your hands dirty to not only secure a water distillation technique but to try and improve on the design to make it as automatic as possible.

A TDS meter can either be bought online or at a gardening store, but not every gardening store. TDS meters are commonly used by indoor gardeners who specialize in hydroponics. They are pricey though.

I also wanted to make sure to let people know that further testing will be done on the presence of alcohol or petrol chemicals that may end up in your water. At the moment, my personal feeling is that whatever water source a person utilizes, they are not going to find huge quantities of these chemicals in their water to begin with. You will know from sight, smell, and taste that these chemicals are present in your water.

It's important to look at the big picture. Distilled water will be purer than any source around you, even if you can't get it to be 100% pure. The lesser of two evils here. It is assumed that a person will have access to a decent water source where fishing can also be done, as the Zetas recommended to utilize fishing since water based ecosystems will rebound the quickest after the poleshift due to the iron incited algae blooms. But even rain water is unlikely to be heavily contaminated with alcohol or oil. During the hour of the shift we will see petrol chemicals coming down in a rain of fire and volcanoes spewing ash like no ones business, but at some point the chemicals in the air will disburse. I don't see acid rain being continuous like the result of mankind's pollution.

It all seems complicated and could dissuade a person who lacks energy to contemplate these matters, but as long as you get to a safe location with your water distiller, that's all that matters. The arguments against water distillation will have been silenced with the poleshift as people who survived will either be in shock or pushing forward with everything they have. You will be thankful for distilled water in any case you encounter, guaranteed. The Zetas know this well.

MegaMontana, I concur that clean safe drinking water in the Aftertime will be one of our most, if not the most important concern we will have. For some reason I am attracted to this area of concern. (Perhaps in the Aftertime I may come to be known by the name of Waterman.) It is my understanding that if you bring your water to a hard boil that will drive off any alcohol or petro chemicals that may have came through the distilation process. Is that correct? My idea for making a ball and float valve to control the water level of the boiler may be more problematic than I expected. The problem with making a float out of copper or brass is that the metal has to be so thin to make it lite and bouyant enough to close the valve. You are right that getting ready for the PS involves a lots of preparation. Thank you for the info on the TDS meter. Thank you for your labours of Love. May Papa's Love always be with you and your loved ones.

Hi Malou,


I will let you know how my steam juicer goes when it arrives in the next couple of weeks from the USA.  I will try it on a variety of fuels and see how long it takes if that helps.

Malou (Marie Louise) Geleff said:

Thanks for your input(s), Howard. I was happy to see you mention the juice steamer above, as I´m short of a lot of money but will be close to huge amounts of trees=firewood.

Hi Carrie !  - many thanks ! - I DO just trust that it´ll distill water, which is what I´ll be wanting it to do... I´ll be able to try it out on the wood stove + camping gas when I go to Norway with a load next month..

:-)  looking forward to that so much...  I have Katadyn tablets and a small stock of bottled and contained water, which is fine, considering I´ll be right next to a lake...  

I wish I had someone to make this fabulous design for me as well.  I might buy all the parts just in case.  In this community, there's bound to be someone who can help.  I think we will need at least three or four distillers, if not more.  I might also get some extra tubing for the steam juicers, as each one is only a few dollars.

I´ll definately be getting some extra tubing... that would be a ridiculous place to save a buck ! - I´ll go for a pressure cooker for back-up - can use extra tubing there as well...


Carrie Stevenson said:

I wish I had someone to make this fabulous design for me as well.  I might buy all the parts just in case.  In this community, there's bound to be someone who can help.  I think we will need at least three or four distillers, if not more.  I might also get some extra tubing for the steam juicers, as each one is only a few dollars.
Yes that is much like the SS gas line I used but seems to be on a longer roll (instead of 48" sections).  The fittings are the same.  Very flexible and seems to hold up well. I agree on the dangers of copper tubing (even though it get used in plumbing lines in this country anyway-another reason to always filter tap water) plus it can kink and break very easily-especially if one anticipates frantically running around with it!

Spockymuc said:

Hi all,

first of all I want to thank MegaMontana for this excellent blog and inspiration! One thing which everyone should consider is not to use any copper-material (tubing etc.) because without propper handling and cleaning the distilled water might contain copper rust (C4H6CuO4 ) which is harmful to health!

I have found a perfect and cheap felxible tubing material on ebay made of stainless steel used in solar technology which costs about 3,50 € and the propper fittings/gaskets and operates at pressuers of 10 bars (burst pressure is 140-220 bars) . All you have to do is take a stainless steel pot with a lid (u can seal it the way MegaMontana did) - drill holes in the lid and apply the fittings to it. No soldering is needed, the flextube is very lightweighted and it is all very rugged and can easily be transported! As soon as I get the material I will buil my own and show pictures on how to assemle it...

Here is the link to the materials one needs:



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