site  contact  subhomenews

Distiller DIY assembling the frame

December 31, 2019 — BarryK

I posted yesterday, the start of constructing the simple basin-type solar water distiller, for which it is intended to publish DIY plans:

Today I cut the pieces for the wood frame, and screwed them together.

I mentioned yesterday that the frame could be cut with just a handsaw. However, I mostly used a rotary (circular) saw, as this made it easier to cut nice straight lines, and vertical cuts -- what I mean about "vertical cuts" is when cutting the wood want the cut to be 90 degrees to the plane of the wood -- I have trouble with this with a hand saw, usually end up with a slight slant to the right.

Of course, it would be nice to have a wood-working bench, but as I only have a table, have to improvise. For example, this is the setup to cut across the 235x19mm pine:


...three g-clamps were used, and the metal square is extremely helpful. I quickly learnt exactly where to put the wood guide for the rotary saw to cut along the desired line.

There were five pieces cut, and I put four of them together on the table prior to screwing:


...that is of course upside-down.

When constructing the previous prototype, I used some silicone sealant to hold the corners in-place and left it to set overnight, then screwed it the next day. I received an email from Rick about this:

With regards to holding the sides together for screwing. You could just use a block of wood, or even the thicker side of a set square, together with two clamps (G or sliding), align until satisfied and screw together. No waiting for silicone to dry. 

Yes, I did one corner with two g-clamps, after that used just one clamp, like this:


...that provided enough alignment, and used one hand to press the corners together and the other hand to hold drill. Worked OK.

Regarding the insertion of the screws, I have watched those house restoration shows on TV, where they just bung the screws in, no pre-drilling. Well, I pre-drilled. I do this from prior experience with MDF, that de-laminates very easily. Pine is much better, however as screwing into the end of the wood, I decided to play-safe and pre-drill.

I used 6G 40mm countersunk zinc-plated wood screws. I firstly drilled the full 40mm depth with a 2.5mm drill bit, followed by a 3.5mm drill bit drilled only 19mm deep (I put a pen mark on the drill bit to get this right). Finally, used a 7mm drill bit, held by hand, to gouge for the countersunk head.

One extra detail: as the back of the distiller is two pieces, I used three 6G 30mm zinc countersunk wood screws to lock the two pieces together. No photo yet, but this detail should show in a future photo.

Todays shopping list, from Bunnings:

6G 40mm, zinc countersunk wood screws, 25 pk
6G 30mm, zinc, countersunk wood screws, 25 pk
AU$3.98 small detail, the Zenith 40mm screws have recently been rebranded as 38mm. 

EDIT 2020-01-11:
A clarification: the screws I used are self-tapping wood screws, actually designed to be used without pre-drilling in soft wood. Example link: 


The five pieces are now screwed together. Tomorrow, the plan is to install a mounting frame for the plywood floor. 

Tags: nomad