DIY Vacuum Pump

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Chiumanfu

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Description
I've documented my experiment with a DIY vacuum pump for transfering wine between carboys, degassing and eventually bottling. This will be a work in progress as the system matures and I optimize the setup.

Imploding carboys can be very bad for your health. Check your carboys for cracks before you put them under vacuum. A carboy could theoretically implode under any amount of vacuum even if there is no cracks. Do not move or contact the carboy with any foreign object while the carboy is under vacuum. I am not responsible for any damage or injury caused by the use of this information.

If you do not have the tools or mechanical ability to build the pump and are looking for something consumer grade, I suggest the All In One Wine Pump. It is a beautiful piece of machinery.

Much of this build was inspired by Wade E. Check his thread [thread=25630]here[/thread]


Parts list
  • 1 x Vacuum pump from All Electronics. $35.95CAD shipped to Canada. Thanks to [thread=18080]SLOweather[/thread] for the find. Link
  • 1 x Double Spout Carboy Cap from my local shop. $3.40CAD
  • 1 x Vinyl Braided Reinforced Tubing 1/2 in. OD x 1/4 in. ID x 10 ft. $8.80CAD Link
  • 2 x Curved Plastic Racking Cane from my local shop. $2.50CAD
  • 1 x Standard Racking Hose to fit the canes from my local shop. $2.00CAD
  • 2 x Hose Adapter 1/4 in. Brass Barb x Male NPT. $5.06CAD Link
  • 2 x Coupler 1/4 in. Brass FPT x FPT. $4.04CAD Link
  • 2 x Large washers from my junk box.
  • 1 x Jar from my wife.
Total damage = $73.35CAD


Receiving Carboy Cap



I chose to use a carboy cap instead of a bung. Although the cap does not make a 100% air tight seal with the carboy lip, it does seal well enough and I find it quite convenient for my setup. I had to cut 1cm off the top of the main spout to allow the racking tube to slide through. It is an extremely tight fit. Push the racking tube far enough so it reaches to the bottom of the carboy to minimize splashing and oxidation.




The vacuum tube from the pump connects to the secondary spout on the carboy cap. I used the end of a standard BIC pen. The barrel fit the carboy cap perfectly air tight but still loose enough that I can remove it when required. The hose end even has a barb to keep the hose tight. Couldn't be more perfect!




Here you can see the finished receiving carboy cap assembly. The hose I chose is PVC with a vinyl braid reinforcement. It's probably overkill but I can guarantee that this hose will never collapse at the pressure that the pump can generate. It's also a little unwieldly, I would have liked something a little more flexible but the selection at Home Depot was limited. The material is PVC so it isn't food safe, but this section of hose will hopefully never touch wine so I'm ok with that.


Overflow Tank



An overflow tank is required to protect our pump from sucking up any liquid. If the receiving carboy fills to the top and starts to draw up wine, it will first empty into the overflow tank which gives you an extra buffer to realize your screw up and shut the pump off. I never intend on running the pump unattended so I only chose a small jar as my overflow tank. I suggest you use a larger jar if you are easily distracted or the forgetful type. The overflow tank is really just an airtight vessel with two seperate hose barbs. You can make it with whatever materials you have on hand. Probably the nicest solution would be a Buchner flask if you happen to know a chemist.




Put one washer on the hose barb adapter and slather on the silicon sealant. I just used regular bathtub sealant because that's what I had lying around.




Drill the jar lid with two holes. Fit the threaded end of the hose barb adapter through the jar lid. Apply ample sealant to the next washer and place on top.




Put the coupler bolt on the back and tighten them down.




Clean up the excess sealant with a damp finger. This is your finished overflow tank lid.




This shows the inside of the lid. The coupler bolts are a little awkward but they were the only thing I could find with the correct threads. If you can find proper bolts, go ahead and use em. Make sure the inside washers do not interfere with the jar when you close the lid. Let the lid sit overnight before applying vacuum so the sealant can set.


Put It All Together



This is the completed system. Connect a short hose from the lower port on the pump (upper port is left empty) to one of the barbs on your overflow tank. Connect the other overflow tank barb to the carboy cap as shown. The pump needs 12 volts DC at about 2A when it is peaked out (pulling max vacuum). I'm currently using a 12V battery pack that I had in my junk box but I just ordered a 12VDC 6A laptop power brick from eBay for $10 that should work perfectly. I wired it through a common light switch to provide an easy way to turn the pump on/off.

Here's a dull and boring video of the pump moving water. 4 minutes to move 23 Liters.
[ame]http://youtu.be/G1PXBfUkUrA[/ame]


To-Do
---------------------
Power Supply. Ordered and enroute.
Vacuum gauge. Ordered and enroute.
Degassing configuration description.
Vacuum release button. Ordered and enroute.
Bottling adapter. Need a bottle stopper with two holes.
Hydrophobic filter. Drawing board.
Whole house filter. Ordered and enroute.
Build case. Drawing board.
 
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DoctorCAD

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Any idea of how many inches of vacuum it pulls?

I have the Wine Gasgetter air powered vacuum that I attached a cheap vacuum gauge and it will pull 25" (on that gauge, but I doubt it can really do that).
 

grapeman

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One thing I would change is the brass fittings to plastic. Brass reacts a lot with wine and corrodes. It is very difficult to clean well after that. I would probably not opt for the galvanized washers as the galvanizing contains a little lead in the zinc finish. Other than that, it should work great.
 

winemaker_3352

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One thing I would change is the brass fittings to plastic. Brass reacts a lot with wine and corrodes. It is very difficult to clean well after that. I would probably not opt for the galvanized washers as the galvanizing contains a little lead in the zinc finish. Other than that, it should work great.

I agree with Rich - i would switch the fittings and the washers..
 

Chiumanfu

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Any idea of how many inches of vacuum it pulls?
I have ordered a vacuum gauge from eBay that should be arriving any day now.

One thing I would change is the brass fittings to plastic. Brass reacts a lot with wine and corrodes. It is very difficult to clean well after that. I would probably not opt for the galvanized washers as the galvanizing contains a little lead in the zinc finish. Other than that, it should work great.
Yes this is one of things that bugs me about the build, but since the overflow should really never be in contact with the wine, I let it slide. I have yet to find a good source for nylon fittings. My friend told me that the indoor hydroponic shops should have everything I need but I have yet to explore that.
 

SLOweather

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  • 1 x Vacuum pump from All Electronics. $35.95CAD shipped to Canada. Thanks to [thread=18080]SLOweather[/thread] for the find. Link

You're welcome! I figured if I posted it here, someone would figure out how to make it useful. Thanks for the project notes. I might have to build one too...
 

Chiumanfu

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At full bore, the pump can pull about 23 inHg. Degassing works very well. I forgot to take a vid but I will next batch.

wine_vac11.jpg
 
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Wade E

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Doctorcad, your gauge is either off or your temps are too cold. Wine will start throwing lots of gas out at around 10" - 15" of vacuum. If your gauge is right thenm your not getting gas out as your wine is already degassed and your just pulling a vacuum through your wine!!!!
 

SBWs

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Thanks for the link to the pump, just got done putting it all together, works great! Some pic's attached, one of my small corner of the basement and the other is where I attached the pump, gauge, switch and 12 volt power plug to my storage platform. I still have one more trip to the hardware store. I got to get a longer vacuum hose so I can pump up to the carboys on the platform. That way I won't have to lift full carboys.

100_8044a.jpg

100_8043a.jpg
 

SBWs

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Thanks for the comments. The overflow canister is from a MityVac hand pump I was using for degassing before I got this stuff. That is where the gauge came from also.
 

Chiumanfu

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Post up pictures once you're done gird123. I'm very interested to see what you guys come up with for DIY overflow canisters.
 

olusteebus

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I am sure I have seen them but I cannot remember where. Where can I get a quarter inch plastic barb with a quarter inch male npt threads?

EDit I found some but only in a package of 25 at ten bucks. gonna keep looking. I did fine a nylon one for 5 but it was not food grade.
 
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gird123

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switch

I have been looking for a vacuum switch that I could use for degassing and have not used it for racking yet. Any one have a recommended vacuum switch and gauge?
 
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SBWs

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Some more pic's

I added a release valve to control the vacuum. I'm also working on a set up for bottling. I've used it one time and it seems to do the job. I want to find some stainless steel tubing and #3 stopper to make the final bottling adapter. For now it's all held together with clear silicone.

100_8046a.jpg

100_8047a.jpg
 
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