FallenOak's 55 gal. Drum Pasteurizer Tek

Discussion in 'EDIBLE & MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS' started by FallenOak, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. FallenOak

    FallenOak Mushroom Cultivator Mushroom Doctor

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    I will preface this Tek by saying I am in no way an electrician. Because this design uses materials in ways they were never meant to be used and involves 240/120 volt power and water, it is essential to use your best judgment and common sense when building and using this appliance. Also, fresh cut steel is extremely sharp so be very careful and wear gloves ideally. Basically try not to electrocute, burn, slice or otherwise maim yourselves or others if you choose to follow these instructions :D

    First and foremost is the drum. I was able to buy a used bio-oil drum from my local 'green' auto repair shop for 20 bucks cash.
    IMG_0589.JPG Notice the Drum has a small and large bung (LOL). The larger bung opening is 2" NPT and the smaller one 3/4" NPT. The larger bung will be used to accommodate a 240 volt screw in water heater element, while the smaller one will have a hose-thread valve for filling and draining. To fit the element into the 2" bung you need to attach fittings to drop the thread down from 2" to 1" (element threads are 1"). There are several ways to do this, the simplest being a 2" pipe nipple with a 2" to 1" reducer coupling. This is the design of my older boiler (pic below)
    IMG_0619.JPG
    I like this design because it can be used as a water bath as well as a steam pasteurizer because the element is totally recessed in the pipe. My new design has its merits also though. I was able to set the drum down lower by having a shorter nipple, making loading and unloading much easier. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find the 2" to 1" reducing coupler at my local big box so I had to get creative with the fittings. The point of this ramble being these are the fittings I got to house the water heater element:
    IMG_0578.JPG IMG_0579.JPG IMG_0581.JPG IMG_0582.JPG

    The element: IMG_0584.JPG
    Make sure it is a fold back element and it is the darker matte alloy, far better performance that the shiny metal ones. Get a 240 volt element even if you can only run it on 120 volt. I run mine on a 240 volt dryer outlet, which you will need a cord for if you chose to do so as well: IMG_0583.JPG

    The valve: IMG_0587.JPG
    3/4" NPT to 3/4" hose thread valve. I like the quarter turn valve instead of the hose spigot type which take a million turns to turn off and on. Was stoked that this one is specifically a boiler valve, used hose ones before.

    The last fairly specific item on your shopping list is a weber bbq grill grate: IMG_0588.JPG
    It has to be the kind that fit the weber 22.5" charcoal grill, which is the standard waist height UFO looking thing that everybody has rusting in their side yard. So if you can scavenge one and not buy it, more power to ya.

    OK lets run that list down again and add some more things:

    -55 gallon steel drum
    -2" diameter (3" long) galvanized steel pipe nipple
    -2" coupling
    -2" x 1 1/2" bushing
    -1 1/2" x 1" bushing
    -3/4" valve
    -240 volt dryer cable
    -22.5" weber charcoal grill grate

    *more things you will need*

    -plumbers tape
    -electrical tape
    -four cinder blocks
    -burlap bag or old beach towel to cover top

    Tools you will need:
    -Phillips head screwdriver
    -Large pipe wrench
    -Smaller crescent or channel lock wrench
    -Angle grinder---- most important one, don't know of a better way to cut the top off a barrel. Get extra cutting wheels and a grinding wheel to smooth sharp edges.
    IMG_0597.JPG

    Ok now that you have everything you need, lets get started. The first thing to deal with is the half gallon of oil still sloshing around in the bottom of this barrel. Find a spot that you don't mind making a mini oil spill (maybe an excuse to try mycoremediaton?) get some biodegradable soap, I like doctor bronners, and pour a cup or so into the barrel. spray inside with a hose till it foams up and dump and rinse several times. you want to do this before you cut so you don't end up with a flaming exploding oil drum from the sparks that the grinder throws. When you are ready to cut, flip the drum upside down so that the bung openings are on the bottom and the bottom is now the top. Put something heavy on top of it to make cutting easier and cut around 3/4" below the lip, all the way around to fully remove the top. IMG_0600.JPG IMG_0602.JPG IMG_0603.JPG

    Be very careful at this point because the edges are sharp. I cut myself a couple of times doing this. If you have a grinding wheel, go ahead and smooth those sharp edges, It will reduce mycobag casualties later on also. IMG_0604.JPG

    There will probably be a good bit of oil left on the inside, which I cleaned out with more soap and hose. IMG_0607.JPG

    Now flip the barrel cut end down to install all the fittings...

    IMG_0610.JPG

    ...starting with the nipple (LOL), making sure to plumbers tape all the threads. IMG_0611.JPG

    Next, the coupler: IMG_0612.JPG

    Then the larger bushing:
    IMG_0613.JPG
    I cranked everything really tight with the pipe wrench at this point... IMG_0614.JPG ...add the final smaller bushing, and crank everything down again.

    Below is the entire assembly snugly tightened.
    IMG_0616.JPG

    Now here comes the fun part. Grab your element and squeeze the folded part to fit it into the pipe, it may take some finagling. IMG_0617.JPG

    Once you have it in you want to tighten the threads down just until the rubber gasket starts to mush. Do not over tighten the element or it will leak. IMG_0618.JPG

    Last plumbing job is to screw your valve into the smaller bung. Pretty self explanatory. IMG_0623.JPG

    Now lets wire this baby up! I use 240 volt dryer outlet because it is high amperage and can really heat the water quick. Only thing you need to know here is that the middle wire on a dryer cord is the ground wire. If you are using 120 volt this wire is usually color coded green. IMG_0624.JPG

    The other two leads are hot and neutral. You do not need to know which is which because these elements will run the same either way you wire them. So get your phillips head and screw the outside two wires to the terminals.
    IMG_0626.JPG

    Get the ground wire so it is touching metal and use elecrical tape to secure it. IMG_0628.JPG IMG_0629.JPG

    I then wrap the thing up so the wires are secure and none of the terminals are exposed, there is no science to this, just go willy nilly.
    IMG_0630.JPG IMG_0631.JPG IMG_0632.JPG

    Now pat yourself on the back because your pretty much done!

    Flip the barrel back over and set down on two cinder blocks on their side so that the element is elevated.
    IMG_0633.JPG

    Looking inside:

    IMG_0635.JPG IMG_0639.JPG

    Final assembly:

    Get your other two cinder blocks and set them on their side in the barrel.
    IMG_0643.JPG

    set the grill grate on top of that... IMG_0647.JPG
    And Voila! It is complete! Fill it up to an inch or so below the grate, load it up with sub bags and plug it in!

    It can run for a good 12 hours without burning out the element from lack of water. Also the larger water body means more even heat. IMG_0651.JPG

    I hope y'all got something out of this tek, any questions just holler.
    Enjoy!
     

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  2. rogue

    rogue ♥ Hooked on Mycelium ♥ Moderator Mushroom Doctor Supporter

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    Nice job :super:

    I'd feel more comfortable for you if you made the ground wire more secure. If it's called into action you want it to "hold"!
    Tap weld it, clap it, ..., just a suggestion for your safety.

    I'm no electrician either but I do know just enough to get myself into trouble ;)
     
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  3. FallenOak

    FallenOak Mushroom Cultivator Mushroom Doctor

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    Good point rouge, safety first! prolly could just drill a hole in the lip of the drum and bolt the sucker to it. In fact I may make that mod sometime before her first run.
     
  4. rogue

    rogue ♥ Hooked on Mycelium ♥ Moderator Mushroom Doctor Supporter

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  5. FallenOak

    FallenOak Mushroom Cultivator Mushroom Doctor

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    The ground wire mod got modded :) thanks for the advice rouge.
    If you are gonna follow this tek, ignore the part where you tape the ground wire and do this instead!

    Tools needed: Power drill with metal bit, screwdriver, small wrench
    Additional materials needed: Small bolt and nut

    The pictures say it all...
    IMG_0660.JPG IMG_0661.JPG
     
  6. rogue

    rogue ♥ Hooked on Mycelium ♥ Moderator Mushroom Doctor Supporter

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    Thanks, I feel better ;)

    Now let's see that baby in action!
     
  7. Pistilwhipped

    Pistilwhipped Grower

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    Damn Fallen Oak, you really deliver! Thanks for the great write up on this ...and the upcoming weekend project.. it is what I need to get going on a bigger scale. I started off growing the mushrooms for a friend who does an in-home (goes to the clients home) catering business and giving the overflow away to my own clients and co-workers. I've also been approached by a local organic market interested in carrying a small inventory. My small scale setup makes satisfying these requests simultaneously a full time job on top of my 'real job'. Your steamer design puts me a lot closer to handling their needs while retaining enough personal time to say hello to the wife in the morning.

    You Rock.
     
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  8. FallenOak

    FallenOak Mushroom Cultivator Mushroom Doctor

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    Hey man, I appreciate the kind words. I wish you the most success with your operation. I was working for a small scale mainly oyster growing start up two years ago that totally fizzled, since then I have been stuck to the idea of making my own mushroom business and succeeding where they failed. I know that I would not be able to do this without such a cheap and efficient way to pasteurize 20-30 mycobags at once. That is over 100 lbs of substrate being pasteurized barrel load.
    I hope that this frees up your time enough to give the wife a smooch in the morn' :) Looking forward to seeing your build...
     
  9. FallenOak

    FallenOak Mushroom Cultivator Mushroom Doctor

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    IMG_1929.JPG IMG_1931.JPG IMG_1939.JPG
    Difficult to photograph steam, this is the best I got. :)
     
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  10. FallenOak

    FallenOak Mushroom Cultivator Mushroom Doctor

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    One addendum I should mention. I said above that in 240 volt wiring there is a hot and neutral wire, this is incorrect. A conversation came up in another thread (oh crap a filter) recently that enlightened me to the fact that 240 volt is actually two hot 120 volt leads out of phase with one another. Thanks for the knowledge bomb J horn :D
     
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  11. That_Idiot

    That_Idiot Member

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    This is awesome. Now, and please excuse my ignorance, what's it used for? I see that you've talking about doing bags of sub - are those enriched? And then once you cool them off, how do you inoculate - is this for spawn? Is it for fruiting blocks? Grain? Sawdust? So many questions - So little time to read all the things to read.

    And everything I know about pasteurization of straw is about immersing straw in water at 150 deg. or so for a couple of hours. This seems like it'd be much hotter and for much longer. Is that because it is sawdust - or because it is in a bag?

    And what do you figure it costs to run for a "run?"
     
  12. FallenOak

    FallenOak Mushroom Cultivator Mushroom Doctor

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    Enriched sawdust substrate, I was using coffee back then, so yes I was routinely overcoocking and compensating by spawning carefully in front of a flow hood, had great results. Also yeah, you are right in that it takes much longer to process in the bags.
    Two barrels ran 5x a month cost me around 70-100 extra on my utility bill, but my new controlled setup should be much more efficient.
     
  13. FallenOak

    FallenOak Mushroom Cultivator Mushroom Doctor

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    Paul Stamets describes processing sawdust bags like this "atmospheric steam sterilization" or "super pasteurization". Although he calls for holding it at 190-212 for 12 hours, which I think is overkill. I have only ever done full boil for 9 hrs.
    But this is all talking about supplemented sawdust substrate, straw, agricultural waste and composted substrates needn't be pasteurized beyond 180 degrees.
     
  14. That_Idiot

    That_Idiot Member

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    OK. Now I get that you'd want the flow hood to inoculate the supplemented sawdust substrate. But could you get away with open air inoculation when using straw/Ag. waste/composted subs?
     
  15. FallenOak

    FallenOak Mushroom Cultivator Mushroom Doctor

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    Yes sir you are correct, open air is fine as long as you are careful and keep a clean workspace.

    :murray:
     
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  16. Vincent Emerson

    Vincent Emerson New Member

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    How many 10 lb blocks will fit in this design?
     
  17. PitcherCrab

    PitcherCrab Supa Fresh Supporter

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    Nice work! I have a similar one I made out of a 55 gallon drum. I also used great stuff spray foam and poly-iso insulation board around the outside to help keep it at temp. A cook takes about 18h running my element on a 120v circuit. My only complain is I wish I would've made it out of a stainless steel barrel because it gets super rusty. Unfortunately the 55 SS barrel I want is $500.

    Is yours Stainless? It's looking pretty clean inside!
     
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  18. Nichrome

    Nichrome Well-Known Member

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