How To Make A Moonshine Still

Learn how to make a moonshine still and why you need to for use at home or for survival!

In this article:

  1. Why Is a DIY Moonshine Still Worth Your Time?
  2. What You Need for a Moonshine Still Construction
  3. Homemade Moonshine Still Directions

How to Make a Moonshine Still Step-by-Step

What is a Moonshine Still? A moonshine still is a device you use to distill liquid mixture by a process of heating, then cooling, thus separating or purifying the liquid through the vapor collected.

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Why Is a DIY Moonshine Still Worth Your Time?

A moonshine is actually what you call the liquor produced at a time when it was illegal to do so. A moonshine still, then, will not only produce distilled water but liquor too, which is handy in survival situations.

While we have the process of purifying water in mind in making this still apparatus, it doesn’t hurt to know you can make high-proof liquor with it, too. Liquor, which may be handy for preserving food, medical purposes, and a little sip every now and then when the going gets tough in an SHTF scenario.

What You Need for a Moonshine Still Construction:

Moonshine tools | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Moonshine tools | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Before we get started though, do note this is not an electric moonshine still. Without further ado, here’s what a homemade still kit consists of:

  • Aluminum pot with an aluminum lid (we used a tamale steamer from a place that rhymes with Target…Doh!)
  • 5-Gallon bucket
  • Drill
  • 1/8 inch drill bit
  • 3/8 inch drill bit
  • Cooking Thermometer
  • Teflon Tape
  • Hot glue gun with high-temperature hot glue sticks
  • Metal File
  • 3/8-inch to 3/8-inch compression adapter (found in the plumbing section)
  • 20 ft. Refrigerator coil
  • Ice
  • A stove or other consistent heat source (when using the still you need to keep whatever you are boiling at a very even temp)

Homemade Moonshine Still Directions

Now, seriously, let’s get this moonshine still going!

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Step 1: Start with the Cover

Drill a hole in the lid | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Drill a hole in the lid | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Drill a 1/8 inch hole into the lid of the aluminum pot for your still. Throw the lid over a piece of scrap wood to make it easier and drill a hole a few inches back from the edge of the lid.

Step 2: Prepare Thermometer

Wrap the thermometer with Teflon tape | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Wrap the thermometer with Teflon tape | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Wrap the thermometer with Teflon tape. Originally, we were just going to wrap the thermometer with Teflon tape to create an airtight seal. But, we decided we wanted to secure this thing in place even more with some hot glue (rated for high temps).

You can probably get away with just using hot glue at the end of the day and ditching the Teflon.

Step 3: Set Up Cover and Thermometer

Teflon-coated thermometer | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Teflon-coated thermometer | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Slide the thermometer in the hole.

Place in the top of the lid | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Place in the top of the lid | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Thread your cooking thermometer through the hole so it sits nice and flush on the top of the lid.

Step 4. Secure Thermometer

High-temperature hot glue | How To Make A Moonshine Still

High-temperature hot glue | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Secure the thermometer with hot glue. For those concerned that hot glue is a bad choice for this project (since it will be in direct contact with hot steam), it’s important to note that high-temperature hot glue sticks have a melting point well above the melting point of water (100 °C).

This is also true for the melting point of “other liquids” (78 °C). There are other adhesives you can use, including high temp silicone and even high temp resins. Just make sure whatever you use is rated for heat well beyond what steam your liquid will be creating.

Step 5: Drill Another Hole

Drill a hole | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Drill a hole | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Drill a 3/8 inch hole in the pot lid. Begin by drilling another 1/8 inch hole in the lid.

This will act as a starter hole for the much bigger 3/8 inch drill bit. Put it roughly opposite from the thermometer across the lid.

Drill a hole in the pot lid | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Drill a hole in the pot lid | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Drill a 3/8 inch hole with the 3/8 inch drill bit.

Hole in the lid | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Hole in the lid | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Step 6: File

Grind the burrs down | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Grind the burrs down | How To Make A Moonshine Still

If there are any burrs, this can cause some problems when inserting the compression fitting. Take a file and grind the burrs down until they are gone.

RELATED: How To Build A Salt Water Distiller | Survival Life Guide

Step 7: Set Up Compression Fitting

Insert a compression fitting into the lid | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Insert a compression fitting into the lid | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Insert a compression fitting into the lid of the still. Insert the male threaded nut of the compression fitting into the hole by twisting it through from the bottom of the lid.

The fit won’t be perfect, but don’t worry if it jiggles around a little bit.

Place the fittings | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Place the fittings | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Step 8: Seal Fitting

Seal the fitting with hot glue | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Seal the fitting with hot glue | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Seal the fitting with hot glue. This seal needs to be airtight to prevent steam from leaking through it.

It’s time to bust out that trusty glue gun again! Make sure you put hot glue on the other side as well, working well around the seams.

Step 9: Attach the Copper Coil to the Lid

Holds a nut that came in compression fitting | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Holds a nut that came in compression fitting | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Take the female-threaded nut that came with your compression fitting, then attach it to one end of the refrigerator coil.

Ferrule | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Ferrule | How To Make A Moonshine Still

This end of your compression fitting has a part called a “ferrule” that comes with it. It’s a small circular ring that looks kind of like a grommet. The ferrule helps create a tight connection between the female and male ends of your compression nut.

Copper coil to the lid | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Copper coil to the lid | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Screw the female-threaded nut onto the male-threaded nut protruding from the lid of your still.

Attach coil to the lid | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Attach coil to the lid | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Step 10: Drill a Hole into the Bucket

Drill hole in the bucket | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Drill hole in the bucket | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Drill a 3/8 inch hole in the bucket. Use a 1/8 inch drill bit to begin a pilot hole in the 5-gallon bucket. Put it about two inches above the base.

 Drill hole in the bucket | How To Make A Moonshine Still

 Drill hole in the bucket | How To Make A Moonshine Still

With a 3/8 inch drill bit, drill a 3/8 inch hole where the pilot hole is.

Hole in the bucket | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Hole in the bucket | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Step 11: Insert Second Compression Fitting

Insert compression fitting into the bucket | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Insert compression fitting into the bucket | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Insert second compression fitting into the bucket. Screw the male-threaded nut of the other compression fitting into the bucket.

Step 12: Make the Seal Watertight

Seal watertight with the hot glue gun | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Seal watertight with the hot glue gun | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Make the seal watertight with the hot glue gun. Just like you did with the lid, seal this dude nice and tight with the glue.report this ad

Step 13: Tighten Refrigerator Coil

Cylindrical to help you reshape | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Cylindrical to help you reshape | How To Make A Moonshine Still

If needed, tighten the refrigerator coil. If your coil is currently too big to fit snugly in whatever bucket you are using, you want to close down the coils first.

Use something cylindrical to help you reshape it, like this coffee that can be grabbed from the kitchen. Anything with a cylindrical shape will do the trick.

Work fairly gently so you don’t ding up your tubing, pressing down on the coil rings to collapse the system to fit. Lastly, attach the coil to the bucket to finish up your DIY moonshine still.

Cylindrical | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Cylindrical | How To Make A Moonshine Still

Check out the rest of this project and the full instructions here from DIY Projects!

Watch this comprehensive video tutorial on how to make a moonshine still courtesy of Jake Foster:

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Now you know how to build your own moonshine still, you’ll have an alternative in case you run out of water heating options. Sure, a homemade still will require a handsome amount of materials, but having one at your disposal will definitely come in handy.

Are you planning to build your own moonshine still? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Up Next: 25 Ways To Get Clean Drinking Water In An Emergency

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Placard | Moonshine still | How To Make A Moonshine Still | https://survivallife.com/make-moonshine-still/

Placard | Moonshine still | How To Make A Moonshine Still | https://survivallife.com/make-moonshine-still/

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 15, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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Originally posted on Survival Life