Shatter From Bad Trim
Making good shatter from beautiful flower is much easier than making good shatter from bad trim using alcohol extraction (QWET). I figure if we can master making good shatter from bad trim we will be able to make something amazing with better starting material. I will be making hillbilly shatter from the worst trim I could get my hands on. This not only provides value but also the satisfaction of crafting something nice from something not so nice.
In addition to the Source we will also be using a single-stage vacuum pump and vacuum chamber. Using just the Source will create a nice wax and a shatter like result if done well and cured in a very thin layer. However, to achieve an end product that’s more substantial, stable, and fully purged like you would find in a dispensary we will use a more powerful vacuum for the final stage. Its a little extra work, but beauty has a price……..
I am writing this post on making shatter as a beginner for beginners, but if you have a question at any level of sophistication please feel free to ask and I will endeavor to find the answer if I don’t already know. Your questions help me learn as well! If you don’t want to post comments here you can always email me at Ichibancrafter@gmail.com
Source extraction unit (Extractcraft)
2 Ziplock bags
Buchner funnel and flask (or coffee filters)
Glass cup that fits inside the Source’s metal cup (or platinum grade silicone cup)
Vacuum pump and vacuum chamber
Heat source for the vacuum chamber
Place the cannabis and Everclear into separate ziplock bags and put them in the cooler with the dry ice. The amount of dry ice depends on how much cannabis you are planning to wash. For small amounts just a few pounds of dry ice is sufficient, then the more cannabis you are preparing the more dry ice you will require. After about 1 hour the solvent should reach the target temp of -40°f. If you don’t want the added expense and hassle of using dry ice you can simply put the solvent and cannabis in the freezer overnight. Dry ice substantially lowers the solvent temperature far lower than the freezer can which is instrumental in reducing green leak from choppy trim, but, it’s not as necessary with good flower.
When using dry ice the wash can be anywhere from 1 minute to 10 minutes. For a long wash it is important the solution is kept at -40 the entire time. Opinions differ on wash duration but from my non-scientific experimentation yields between clean extractions don’t vary substantially with time (I believe it has to do with saturation points, but if someone knows differently please advise).
When the wash is finished the ideal color is a golden/yellow. You want to avoid getting any green tint in the solution. If the solution begins turning green at all move onto strain/filter asap.
To ensure a clean extract and avoid the green leak its most important to get the solution separated from the cannabis as quickly and efficiently as possible. By ‘straining’ I refer to quickly removing the solid cannabis material from the solution and ‘filtering’ means eliminating any particulates from the solution that was strained.
I have been using a Buchner funnel and flask because it makes me look like a freaky cool scientist as well as the efficiency in filtering. It quickly strains and filters at the same time. Alternatively, you can use a wire mesh strainer followed by unbleached coffee filters to finish. Either method will most likely require a second or third filtering to get it crystal clear.
At this point if there is a little green tint you can use sunlight for a short period to get rid of it (a trick learned from Monsoon on fuckcombustion.com). The time and exposure to the UV shouldn’t have much effect on the overall THC component.
(An interesting side note, the chlorophyll molecule is quite large and difficult to abolish, so while the sun will get rid of the green the chlorophyll is still actually there. In fact, during the concentration process you may notice the concentrate takes on a fall leaf, dark brown/red, color just like when the leaves die and fall.)
Edit: After posting this and further experimentation it became clear that 2-3 additional filtrations through the Buchner funnel with a slow filter (or two) followed by a proper winterization finish results in a far cleaner terpy smelling oil. When using higher quality flower and good material the winterization may actually reduce the terpy nature and flavor so be thoughtful with the process choices and experiment to see what works best in your opinion and let me know.
Reduce in Source cup
Run the solution in the Source until it is as thick as possible without risking it sticking to the metal cup and getting caught in the corners. When it’s semi-thick, but still workable, I transfer the oil to a glass vessel that fits comfortably into the cup provided by the Source. I often use food grade platinum rated silicone cups as well.
Reduce in glass vessel
I use this secondary vessel to reduce the surface area for the concentrate and make it easier to harvest once it’s ready. Run the Source again with the oil in the glass vessel inside the Source’s cup until the earl. The Source isn’t meant to run dry like this so it will heat up due to the lack of evaporation dissipating heat. I normally complete this step before the internal temp exceeds 110-115°f. When the oil is as far as you think it can go without hardening on the glass remove it carefully with a mini spatula onto an appropriate size piece of Slick Sheet.
Put oil in vac with heat
Put the Slick Sheet with the oil into a Vac with the temperature 95-105°f. Some people use higher temps up to 125°f, so it is up to you to experiment and see what works best for you. My only advice would be if you are extracting quality flower then keep the temps low all the way around and take your time.
I pull the maximum vac level with my single-stage vacuum pump and watch the bubbling develop into a muffin top with great excitement. Unless you have a cold trap for reclaim the solvent released by the bubbling will need to be released by ‘burping’ the chamber, replacing the alcohol vapor ridden air with clean air, and setting the vacuum to full again. After burping a few times in the first hour I leave it under full vac for around 6-hours. When you can touch it quickly without it sticking to you it is ready for flip/fold.
Flip/ Fold etc
After about 6-hours when you can touch the concentrate quickly without it sticking to you it’s time to fold it into a slab shape. Fold one side onto the other and press down a bit to consolidate the two sides. In all likelihood both sides will stick to the paper so hold one side onto something frozen for a few seconds and that side will peal away from the Slick Sheet very easily. Once the concentrate is warmed up again and not rigid from the cooling, repeat the folding and pressing until you have the shape you desire (it doesn’t have to be perfect because the continued heating and purging will change the shape again), flip it so the original bottom side is now facing up and put back in the chamber under full vac with the temp around 100°f.
For the remaining duration of the purging flip the slab over every 6-12 hours. Depending on how far you want to take it (meaning how patient you can be) you will have a nice stable end product after 24-72 hours.
The final product will be rigid, shinny, pockmarked. If you prefer a smoother finish put the slab between two pieces or Slick Sheet and apply just a little heat and pressure with a flat metal object for a very short couple of seconds to each side. This will take the shinny characteristic away but it will be smooth, its simply personal crafting style.
These two pieces were processed together at the same time and the only difference in treatment was the final flattening. The piece on the left is the one flattened by a little heat and pressure as demonstrated above. The piece on the right is how it finished directly out of the vac chamber.
Anyone following my blog posts know it has been a learning process for me to get to this point in my extraction prowess and I still have a lot to learn. From the beginning Skunkpharm has been huge resource for me and I encourage anyone with any cannabis curiosity to explore there.
With this particular post I took most of my method from a process laid out by Monsoon on fuckcombustion.com. His directions for QWET Dry-Sift Shatter can be found here: http://fuckcombustion.com/threads/advanced-dry-sift-based-qwet-tek.20800/
Hit me up with some comments, questions, or weed jokes!! Thanks for checking out my post.