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Using SolveSpace to design distiller

November 28, 2019 — BarryK

I wanted to explore the dimensions of a distiller constructed with different timber cross-sections. For the current basin-type prototype, I used 140x12mm dressed pine, and the distiller has a glass angle of 10 degrees.

For the next prototype, and what I intend to be the final design, I am thinking that a bigger glass angle would be better. Bunnings sell pine in profiles of 140x19, 184x19, 235x19 and 285x19mm. I would like to go for 19mm thick for the improved insulation.

Figuring out the dimensions and angles of the distiller is non-trivial, and there are many constraints. Fortunately, we have the superb SolveSpace application, that I wrote about recently:

I am not interested in the 3D aspect, just want a side view, to explore what angles can be obtained with different timber profiles. I have created a file in SolveSpace v2.3, in Easy Buster, and uploaded it:

Note that SolveSpace will be in the next release of Easy Buster, and ROX-Filer will recognise the mime-type, so users will be able to click on .slvs files to open them in SolveSpace.

Here is a snapshot of the file, exported to PNG and edited in mtPaint:


This is exploring using 235mm pine, which is the distance between A and B. CD is the bottom of the distiller, that will sit on a table. AE is the glass. Here are the constraints:

Lines AB and AE have to be at 90 degrees
Lines AE and ED have to be 90 degrees
The insulation thickness (yellow-filled area) is 35mm, except at the back where it tapers to 8mm
The length of ED is 63mm
The angle between AE and CD is 19.33 degrees
Lines AE and BC are parallel
Line CD is horizontal, as is top of insulation

With all of those constraints, the distance between A and B is 235mm. The beauty of this app is that any measurement can be changed and the result immediately seen. The glass measurement of 572mm for example, or the glass angle. 

A little detail about this design. With a glass angle of 19.33 degrees, and the angle of AB-AE being 90 degrees, it will mean that midday in midsummer in Perth, Australia, the AB back side of the distiller will be in shade, causing up to 40mm shade on the water. For most of the year, no problem. The reason for having the sides of the distiller at 90 degrees to the glass, is that is simplifies construction. Anyway, the shading can be avoided by putting some tapered insulation on the inside back wall.

EDIT 2019-11-29:
Playing around a bit more:


....for 235mm timber and vertical back side, can get the glass angle up to 23 degrees.  

Tags: nomad