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Extracting terps from flower with vacuum and cold trap


Well-Known Member
So apparently you can capture the terps that come off the plant at any temperature, even those you smell at room temperature, by putting the flower under vacuum and using what's called a 'cold finger' cold trap between your vacuum vessel and the vacuum pump?

I bought a vacuum setup, with a vessel and pump to purge ethanol extractions. I got the cold trap to lengthen the time between pump oil changes... it helps reduce solvent gases that get back to the pump and contaminate the oil. I read everywhere how expensive they are but I got one for $26, the last apparently on amazon. Elsewhere you can find the same model from Chemglass for $76.


After purchase I was browsing to find out the best way to submerge this trap... sitting in a container of ice seems to work, and if one trap doesn't cut it you can simply daisy chain more than one side by side.

So this is all well and good to keep the nasties out of the pump and increase it's lifespan.

Next I ran across a video of cold trap sales person talking about one of their expensive models, saying it could be used to collect terps directly from the plant with only a vacuum and no heat.

I see some speriments in my near future! I got 10 zips from my recent harvest I can play with.

Perhaps this is just a very cheap steam distillation method. I've read how notoriously small the output is from steam distillation, so maybe the amount collected will not be worth it and I should stick with the original intention to keep the pump healthy.


Well-Known Member
I found a 2016 article titled "Terpene Traps are Here!", from a cold trap manufacturer that says,

The CF series Terpene Trap utilizes the Peltier effect to create a cold trap which will retain your terpenes that your vacuum pump is currently off gassing into the atmosphere. Not only will you be capturing terpenes, but you will be prolonging the life of your vacuum pump which are typically not designed to have terpenes move through the housing.
NOTE: This is not going to produce a crazy amount of terpenes. Yields of 1ML to 3ML of terpenes from 10lbs to 15lbs of material have been reported.

Umm that would be TINY amounts, and I think I can trust this info as accurate. At that rate I could get a drop or two from all 10 ounces! lol Oh well I had a hunch it wasn't much or it would be bigger news.

Still good to protect the pump though! :)
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