The Milking Chronicles
Part: Something-or-other ...
Good news & Bad news:
The bad news is the milker-lids I outlined above didn't function for me and I had to scrap them. Firstly the silicone I used between the lids wouldn't dry even after many days , and it exuded a white liquid "milk" of its own which dirtied the water when I tested it. Also the lid was near impossible to screw off the jar once it was tightened into place. It took near Herculean effort to get it off.
Back to the drawing board ...
The Good News:
I amuse myself often and don't mind failing , but there comes a certain limit of time/effort/money-spent where you just have to call off the R&D and go with something with a high chance of success. Early on I had been eying up 2 and 3 inch rubber couplings but didn't have a jar lid on me to test how they fit. After the last round of failures , I decided to go to the hardware store armed with lids to see what fits.
Here's what the 2 inch rubber coupling looks like.
Things I like about the rubber unit:
- small wide-mouth mason lid fits perfectly inside the rubber tube (with coaxing)
- the unit has hose-clamps to tighten snuggly
- its made of thick solid rubber and can easily withstand pressure cooking
- sturdy enough to handle a large jar attached to it from above
- easily cleanable
The first thing I did was loosen the hose-clamps and heat up the end of the rubber under very hot water from the tap. If your good you can skoot the rubber over the lid with your fingers , else use a butter knife to pry it over the last part. If you fail get the rubber hot and try again. Once each side was done I tightened the hose-clamps as low as they could go , careful not to tighten to much and cause the lid to warp.
All I did was insert lids and silicone ...
With both lids in place inside the rubber tube , I noticed that the top of the lid created a ledge all the way around that would most likely cause water to get trapped on it , which would suck when you go to take the milker off a jar - having it trickle out all over the place. What i decided to do was take knowingly PC-able silicone (GE II) and blob it around the inside of the tube on top of the lid rim. This serves two purposes ... it keeps the water from pooling on the lid rim , but also prevents water from running out between the lid and the rubber.
Next I took a lid and drilled clean holes with my metal drill bit. After many trials I noticed that firstly the lid that holds back the grain needs to be shiny side up , which creates a small well for the water to drain into. Also I saw that holes near the very edge help because the last bit of water when you drain the jar can escape there easier than the holes in the middle. The tests I did on the rubber milking-rig went very well , no leaks , great drainage , easy to get on and off ... but one issue was that when I removed the milking-tube the draining-lid stayed on the collection-jar , making it a hassle to remove the milker with one hand and place a closed lid on the jar with the other. To rectify this I modded the lid with a thick rubber band stretched around. It's PC'able and works great at keeping the milking-lid inside the milker when you pull it off.
Milking disc shown here enamel-side up. It's flipped to shiny side when in use for better drainage.
I smeared GE II silicone on both sides of the milker-lid and then poked it through the holes with a nail to clear holes. This silicone is to prevent rusting of the lid (which happens fast when cut/drilled). The rubber band keeps the lid inside the milker when I pull it off.
Here's what the rig looks like hooked up. Everything fits nice and tight and the rubber is very rigid so it can hold the wait of even large full jars.
After much testing I'm ready to give these milkers a proper go with colonized jars of popcorn. I feel really good about how they are performing and the simplicity in them. Almost any hardware store will have 2 inch rubber coupling like this. I also made a model exactly the same but in 3 inch for use with wide-mouth jars.
Now I'm ready to try the tests again , this time with proper equipment with good drainage (very important). I have several jars of colonized grain from the last round that I will milk , collect and super-inoculate with. My biggest challenge is dedicating a space with heat and the time to do it , but I'll make it happen.
Meanwhile in other news the small clone I took from the first fatty-keener pin in my popcorn has crested the egg-carton (mycelium grew through).
Pardon the quality ... tried 3 times to photo.
I'll add a small amount of PC'd popcorn to that jar very soon. When That colonizes i'll flood the jar and make mycelium-clone syringes.
The jars from the previous experiments on super-inoc had to be thrown out except for one. No contams , but they got bacteria rot in the bottoms because they weren't drained as they should have been. Next time I'll take greater care to drain properly. Also I'll do G2G vs. Milk-fed test again and will attempt to super-inoculate a line of jars all from the same milk-jar.
Edited by hyphaenation, 04 December 2014 - 06:28 PM.