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extraction: x-phase

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#1 Hippie3



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Posted 17 March 2006 - 06:19 AM

All of this is from memory, so I apologize if any numbers are incorrect. Please see the Notes section at the end.

5.5"Lx 1"D brass nipple (NPT)
Two 1" to 3/4" female/female (NPT) brass reducer couplings
3/4" male (NPT) to 1/8" female (MIP) brass bushing
3/4" male (NPT) to 1/2" female (NPT) brass bushing
1/4" male (tube) to 1/8" male MIP straight brass needle valve
1/2" female (NPT) brass pipe cap (see "ONLINE")
11/32"x 1/8" rubber grommet (fullD=11/32", holeD(rimID)=1/8", rimOD=1/4", rimW~1/16") (see "ONLINE")
Two #14 (15/16"OD x 3/4"ID) O-rings
Power drill and bench-mounted vise (or drill press with clamp table, or lathe)
9/32" Steel drill bit
3/4" auger bit (optional)
3/16" Steel drill bit
Steel center punch (or hardened steel nail) and hammer
Pipe dope and/or Teflon tape
Pipe "monkey" wrench or strap wrench
Two Large (~1.25" max) crescent wrenches
Small (~3/4" max) crescent wrench
Small brass wire brush (toothbrush size)
Fine semicylinder file (looks like a D from the end)

*These items may only be available in bulk orders, but you may be able to get single samples if you're nice to the distributor (ask for a sample, but offer to pay for it and shipping).*

1/2" male NPT (both ends), Viton or Buna-n sealed check valve (stainless plunger)
15 micron (porosity), 7/8" diameter x 1/16" thickness sintered bronze disk

If the grommet or cap weren't available at hardware, you should find them online, though the hardware store may be able to order them for you (usually only in bulk, since they are so small and cheap, individually). Also, you can forego both of these items for a #1 one-hole stopper which may be available at hardware (See Optional step under Input End section).


General assembly instructions:

Prior to assembly, but after any machining, clean all threads with the wire brush and gently file off any metal burrs on the edges of the parts. Wash the parts in hot soapy water, rinse with cool water, shake dry, then rinse with acetone. Let acetone evaporate.

The needle valve can be disassembled for cleaning. Just make sure it is dry before reassembly. Be very careful not to crossthread the handle stem going into the valve body; the threads are very fine and can be easily damaged. The nut around the handle stem can be adjusted for a looser or firmer valve movement (according to personal preference), but don't overloosen or overtighten it. The rubber gasket under it is prone to pinching. Screw in the valve handle all the way, then push the gasket down to the body till it stops, then screw on the nut covering it.
Remove the tubing connector thingy supplied with the valve (it's a small flared brass tube). Leave the head nut and compression ring on the outlet side of the valve, though, screwed down only just enough to seat the ring without compressing it (not even finger tight; just screw down gently until it stops). This provides a smooth outlet surface so that no butane or oil sips itself up around the threads of the outlet. *Do not put pipe dope on any of these threads.*

Just before screwing two parts together, brush or wipe a bit of pipe dope onto the male threads of the joint. Make sure it gets down into the threads. Only cover 1/2 to 3/4 of the length of the male thread from its tip. Lay a folded paper towel on a piece of cardboard or a thick pad of newspaper. Press the tip of the male thread down on the towel and twist it a few times back and forth (this cleans the tip to avoid contamination later). There should be a black ring on the towel if you did it right. Use another paper towel rolled up to clean out any pipe dope that happened to get inside the rim of the part.

Make sure the threads are straight, and gently screw the joint together by hand until you can go no further, then use wrenches to tighten. Make sure the two opposing wrenches are close to each other when you are using them. The further apart they are, the less control you will have. Also, don't be a gorilla about tightening; that will only harm the threads (brass can be fairly soft with the right kind of leverage). When it starts to "stick" after a strong turn or two of the wrench, it's done. "Don't jerk the wrench!" This means you shouldn't jerk it on purpose, but it also means that if the joint is so tight that any further turning causes the wrench to jerk beyond your control, it's plenty tight. Just stop already!!


Put your 1/2" pipe cap flat-side-up into the vice, with the wood under it as you may have done with the bushing (the top of the cap should be facing you, and the open end should be flush against the wood). Use the punch (or nail) and hammer to ding a little pit in the very center of the top of the cap. This is very important, otherwise your drill bit will wander over the smooth surface as you start drilling; you want the bit to stay centered for both safety and accuracy.

Put the 3/16" bit (the smaller of the two) into your drill, and drill a hole straight down through the cap. Now put the larger 9/32" bit into the drill collet. Auger away a little of the brass around the hole you just made (don't drill too deep, use gentle pressure); you should end up with a slight inward slope around your hole, and no sharp edge on the outer rim of the slope. Do this same thing on the other side of the cap by turning the cap over in the vise so that the threads face up. *Be careful to keep the bit straight. You don't want to nick the threads with the sides of the bit.* After all this, you should end up with a 3/16"D straight-sided hole with a beveled rim at both ends.

Press the grommet into this hole. Easier said than done. You may need to use a toothpick to press the rubber lip through the hole, just be careful not to puncture the rubber. When the bottom lip is fully inside the cap (on the side of the hole closest to the threads), use the toothpick to straighten it. Do this by plucking gently at any tucked edges. One lip should be fully on top of the cap, and the other on bottom (covering your sloped area on both sides). You should end up with a perfectly circular "rubberized" hole. Buy a few grommets in case you destroy one trying to figure this out.

Screw the modified cap onto the doped inlet side of the check valve (put your mouth on it and blow if it doesn't have an arrow... do this *before* you apply pipe dope, please).

(Optional) Now that you know how to make a good inlet, you can forget about it and make a quick and dirty one instead, if you prefer. Just get a #1 rubber stopper with a hole in it, and stick it into the inlet side of the check valve. No cap or grommet necessary. Works like a charm, though sometimes it can pop out when you remove the butane can. Beside that, it's silly looking. I'm just a stickler for clean, aesthetic craftsmanship... but straight functionality is great for experiments and prototypes. ;)

Dope the outlet end of the valve and screw it into the female side of the 3/4" to 1/2" bushing. Dope the bushing and screw it into the 3/4" side of one of the reducer couplings. Finally, dope one end of the pipe nipple and screw it *only hand tight* into the other side of the reducer. Make sure you dope and wipe all threads according to the general assembly instructions.


(Optional) If you want the entire output end to be just like the X-phase, you will have to use an auger bit (or lathe if you're lucky enough to have access to one) to give the 3/4" NPT male to 1/8" MIP female bushing a concave conical surface at its inlet (3/4" male) side. Try to find a 3/4" auger bit with more than one cutting edge if you can, as it makes the metal cutting process more stable. If you have access to a drill press with a clamp table, use it. Otherwise, put the bushing *male-side-up* into the vise jaws and clamp it tight. Put a scrap block of wood underneath the bushing to keep it from pushing out of the vice with downward force (wood will be wedged between the vice screw and the bushing).
To cut, just insert the auger tip (already in the drill collet) into the hole on the bushing's male end (drill should be facing straight down). Start drilling at lower RPM, and push down firmly (don't lock up the drill) while increasing RPM; be careful that you are centered at all times. You may angle the auger bit slightly toward a side of the bushing surface if you see that side is wider than another, but be careful not to slip out of the bushing. Take a break if your arm gets tired; just pull the drill out while still spinning, then let it stop. Don't touch the bushing (it will be hot). Continue drilling until the edges of your conical hole meet up with the edge of the original flat metal surface of the bushing. In other words, the outer rim of your cone should be like a circular (somewhat dull) knife edge. Let the bushing cool for a few minutes, and remove it.

This is optional, but highly recommended. If it is not done, there will be a flat surface facing the direction of fluid flow in the device. This could cause buildup, which results in product loss, fluid stalling (imagine butane and pressure in the device when you didn't expect any to be in there), and a need of frequent cleaning.

Get the two #14 O-rings and the 15 micron, 7/8" diameter sintered bronze disk. Dope and screw the bushing into the reducer, then turn over so that 1" side of reducer is up. Insert one O-ring down against the "circular knife edge" of the bushing. Then lay the disk (rougher side down) over the O-ring. It won't be perfectly snug against the threads; don't worry about it. Insert the other O-ring against the disk.

Grab your brass nipple (yeah, I said it). Dope the nipple (hehehe) and screw it into the 1" side of the reducer. Make sure you are gripping only the pipe (monkey or strap wrench) and the reducer (crescent wrench). *Do NOT attempt to tighten both reducers at the same time by using two crescent wrenches. Something will get overtightened, and a wrench will probably go flying from the angular torsion.*

Finally, dope and screw the 1/8" MIP side (the un-capped side) of the needle valve into the bushing. Note that this is the only part of the needle valve with any pipe dope on it. Use the small crescent wrench over the body of the valve to grip it.

Please see the manual for instructions on use.


Fill the device according to the manual and submerge it in water. Look for bubbles (even slowly growing ones). If there is a bubble at a joint, the joint will need to be re-done. Dry the device and unscrew the joint, reapply and wipe excess dope, then screw it back together. Re-test. If the same leak shows up again, re-do the joint again. It may be frustrating, but remember that the more you do this, the smoother the threads will become (from the clay in the dope), and the tighter they will seal. It's like wetsanding with the finest abrasive available. :)

D = diameter
OD = outer diameter
ID = inner diameter
W = width
L = length

NPT = national pipe thread (this is what almost all brass fittings come in)
MIP = male iron pipe?? Dunno, but it doesn't really matter. It fits the needle valve.

Some of the parts have been measured during this writing, because the part bags have long since disappeared. Unfortunately, sometimes parts will be referred to at a size smaller than what they actually measure (I have no idea why). For instance, a 1/2" outer diameter pipe by measurement may be sold as a 3/4" diameter pipe... even if neither inner nor outer diameters are actually 3/4". It's really stupid. I apologize if any of these values are incorrect according to the package or catalog. You can be assured that they are correct by measurement, though, so bring a ruler to the hardware store, and always ask the sales rep to measure the part if ordering by phone or online (don't worry about the disk, just the brass pipe stuff).
I always take the approximate outer diameter, because inner diameters are weird (like 13/16"ID on a ~1"OD pipe... which may be sold as a 3/4" pipe for some ungodly reason). The needle valve's numbers are direct from the package. You may notice that the MIP end is nowhere near 1/8" in any of its actual dimensions. Yeah. WTF?

You may be thinking "Why can't I just skip all the bushings and lathing and just get a 1" to 1/2" NPT or 1/8" MIP reducer?" Trust me when I tell you that nobody manufactures a proper female/female reducer coupling that goes straight from 1" to 1/2" NPT, and especially not down to 1/8" MIP. Again, it boggles the mind to wonder why the hell not.
You may be able to find 1-1/4" bell-type reducers, but they are very rough inside, which is bad for fluid flow, and they have seams which reduce their pressure rating. Neither one of these factors is too important, really, but the bell reducers sometimes have crappy threads, can't be turned with a crescent wrench, and they're ugly... and you still can't get them in 1" NPT to 1/8" MIP. So there.

Can you use a ball valve instead of a needle valve for the outlet? Yes, but small brass ball valves with gas-rated seats can be very pricey and hard to find. You'll need to find one with a "T" handle so it doesn't get stuck on the higher fittings, and you'll probably need a different size bushing to screw it into.

Speaking of valves, You can use a needle valve at the inlet instead of the check valve, since the proper check valve is pretty hard to find. Just be sure to open the inlet and close the outlet when you inject the butane, then close the inlet before you remove the can from the grommeted inlet hole.

Along with the check valve, the disk filter is the one of the hardest parts to get, but you can use a metal screen holding down a bit of coffee filter instead. Just insert a round bit of coffee filter (maybe two layers for strength), then push a round bit of brass or stainless screen over top of it. Forget the O-rings. Just remember that the filtration must be at least good enough to hold back solid particles under pressure, otherwise chunks of stuff could foul up the outlet needle valve seat and cause problems. "Oh crap! It won't turn off! AAAAAAAAAARGH!!"

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