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Steampunk's "Build Yourself a Lab" thread


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#1 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 20 November 2015 - 09:50 PM

I started talking about the home "Alchemy" lab for pursuing chemistry experimentation on another, somewhat unrelated thread, so I decided to start a thread just on this topic.

So every good chemistry lab needs some essential equipment, glassware, lab stands, chemicals, etc. This stuff can get expensive if you don't know where to look or how to improvise or build your own stuff.

So, that is what this thread is for... To demonstrate ways to do "real chemistry" without breaking the bank.

Nothing is stated or implied as to how these laboratories will be used, this is instruction only in how to construct a Lab for benign learning purposes, of course.
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#2 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 20 November 2015 - 10:05 PM

Part 1: Lab Stands

IMG_20151107_175208492.jpg IMG_20151107_175140765_HDR.jpg IMG_20151107_180712488_HDR.jpg IMG_20151108_200407834.jpg

Labstands are expensive, costing about 15 dollars a peice, and all the are is a rod and a cast iron plate of metal. The idea being that you need a non reactive substance that is heavy enough to hold up whatever is clamped to the rod.

So I used pavers, which are half thick bricks. Alder informed me they are made of Portland cement. Then using a masonry drill in my drill press, I drilled holes at one end, but not all the way through. Then I cut 2 foot sections of 5/8 inch steel rod and glued them in the holes using Durham's water putty. This stuff dries harder than the brick!

Finally, to keep out spills and make it look nice I spray painted the stands with black enamal paint.

I estimate each stand cost me under 2 dollars.

Saved about 50 bucks!
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#3 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 20 November 2015 - 10:22 PM

Part 2: Roller Mixer

Ok, so you thought part two would be glassware, or bunson burners....ha! How wrong you were!

When mixing two immiscible liquids like...oh, I don't know, lets say just for example, naptha and highly basic water solution containing a substace that disolved in non-polar solvents....well you could mix that a dozen times by hands, hour after hour.

Nah! You need a roller mixer that can also be used as a ball mill. That's two uses for this tool!

Here's how we build it...

IMG_20151108_155329197.jpg IMG_20151108_155548272.jpg IMG_20151111_201903788.jpg IMG_20151115_201906874.jpg

Find an old pair of your kids roller skates. Take out 4 weeks. Cut out the center where the bearings push in. Grind the outside of that down until it fits into two lengths of pvc pipe and epoxy them in.

Using threaded rod, build a plywood frame and run the rods through so the two pipes are parallel. Now you have a dollar base.

Get yourself a slow speed motor. I had my sons old "rock tumbler" which was perfect. Using an old coster wheel as the drive turn bottles (plastic or glass) at a nice place gently mixing those liquids while not creating nasty "emulsions".

Edited by SteampunkScientist, 20 November 2015 - 10:24 PM.

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#4 skitsofrantik75

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 04:24 AM

Wow this is pretty cool. I'm liking this so far, I'm assuming that there is more to come. Cause I really hope so. Approaching it with this train of thought a dude could have a decent diy lab without the extremely high dollar content. A good friend of mine on here was telling me that he thinksnif you enroll in a chemistry class st your local college, they cut you a serious break on the cost of materials. So that may be something to look into as well.

Good luck, but I must say it looks like you gots it pretty well under control
Keep us posted.
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#5 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 04:51 AM

Yea much more to come! I shall show how I motorized the rolling mixer one its complete as well.

#6 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 08:17 PM

While we wait on my lazy butt to get that motor finished, lets talk about another essential peice of equipment: The Buchner funnel.

Part 3: The Buchner funnel is a vacume operated funnel and filter all in one and looks like this:

IMG_20151110_200238427.jpg IMG_20151110_200246994.jpg

The large heavy 1000ml flask has a "side tube" attachment where the vacume pump hose connects. The large funnel fits inside the flask through a cork ( not shown in the picture). As you can see from the second picture the funnel has a plate full of holes. You place filter paper disks in the funnel and when you pour you product into the funnel, with the vacume on, the liquid us efficiently pulled into the flask, and air passes through your "filtrent" drying it. This size funnel works with regular 10 cup size coffee filters, or you can use Tyvek disks, or order disks from various lab supply companies.

The flask you see here was being thrown out by a chemistry department because it had some dried gunk on the bottom. I used hydrcloric acid to clean it up. A forty dollar value!

The Buchner funnel itself was purchased on amazon for about 8 bucks. It's a polypropylene 2 peice unit that is much easier to clean then the more expensive ceramic version.

Finally the vacume pump. You can actually get hand pumps for the Buchner funnel, and owing to the superior filtering capability, its a worthwhile investment. Obviously if you can afford to buy or build a vacume pump, well they have many other uses (like boiling off solvent at room temp for example).

Yes, this is not necessary in a home lab, but it sure makes filtration a snap, especially when small particulates clog the filter paper. The vacume pulls the solution through.

Edited by SteampunkScientist, 21 November 2015 - 08:24 PM.

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#7 wharfrat

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 09:40 PM

looking good :thumbs_up:


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#8 Myc

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 10:12 AM

**Archive Material**


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#9 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 10:43 AM

Mini topic: Bossheads, ring stands, and clamps.

Along with the expensive labstands, are the various clamps used to securly hold your glassware. These clamps are also ridiculously expensive. I've seen prices for a single 3 fingered clamp as high as 27 dollars! That's nuts!

Well, the truth is you can find much better deals on amazon or eBay, but even then it gets expensive. I just bought a set of 4 Bossheads (99 degree clamps) for 15 bucks.

Here is a pic of a Bosshead:
4-PCS-Metal-Alloy-Lab-Stands-font-b-Boss-b-font-font-b-Head-b-font.jpg

Is there a way to make these or something that will work like one?

Yes. Using small diameter (1 inch) Heavy pvc, you can drill holes 90 degrees from each other, offset just enough so the rods pass through, and the add a smaller hole tapped so a thumbscrew can be screwed in to secure. These are not as strong as cast metal, but are still quite strong enough for most purposes.

The reason I purchased 4 of these is that I have a 500ml sepratory funnel, which I got for almost nothing, but which are normally very expensive. When filled with fluid the last thing you want is for the clamp to fail.

I shall post pics of these diy Bossheads when I can.

Ring holders and standard clamps can be made using heavy wire or uncoated welding rod, and for clamping, sugar tongs can be fitted to a rod (welded if you have a welder). Again, pics as I get them.

Edited by SteampunkScientist, 22 November 2015 - 10:56 AM.

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#10 Alder Logs

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 11:48 AM

Is 99 degrees a standard? If so, why was this angle chosen?



#11 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 05:32 PM

90 degrees, because the stand is verticle but the clamp is horizontal. See pic.

#12 Alder Logs

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 07:28 PM

I was obviously responding to a typo (in parentheses in your post).  Never mind.  Sorry.


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#13 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 08:31 PM

I was obviously responding to a typo (in parentheses in your post). Never mind. Sorry.


I did not even see that Alder, thanks! Of course now I can't fix it....
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#14 Alder Logs

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 09:48 PM

And here I thought I was going to learn a secret known only to chemists.  Actually, thinking about it, it would more likely have been called an 81 degree clamp.  Doh!



#15 skitsofrantik75

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 03:12 AM

Wow this is what I love about this site. I'm not that smart of a dude but I feel like I am in the company of such great minds.

#16 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 08:04 AM

Wow this is what I love about this site. I'm not that smart of a dude but I feel like I am in the company of such great minds.


I agree there are some great minds on this site, Alder there being one (he's so damn humble he will hate me saying so) I consider him the Shaman of the site!

At this point, I just feel I need to try to give back just a little bit for the tons of info, love, constructive criticism, and support I've gotten here. Hopefully someone can get inspired by some of this stuff. There are just so many interesting things to explore!
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#17 skitsofrantik75

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 08:13 AM

Man you ain't kidding. That's what I want to do is give back as well. That's the great thing,I'm learning,about mycology, is there are so much to learn. It's not like other hobbies. I like messing around with my guitar and I'm learning on that but eventually I'll get to where I'm comfortable with what I know and won't feel the need to go any farther. But with this, you learn cubensis, then you go onto to mono, then you go onto something else, it's like a never ending cycle of learning but in a good way. It's not like some things where you find something else to learn and are like arrggh, with this it's like cool something else to learn. I hope that makes sense to other people and not just in my head. Soo many great minds and they are all so willing to help in any way they can. I'm very willing to help and don't care to in any way, but right now m6 knowledge is very limited, I do know however that with everyone here I'll be able to expand upon what I know. Very cool indeed.
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#18 Heirloom

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 11:53 AM

Steam you would probably get to this but I see you are very busy, might I suggest an eye wash kit, and a fire ABC extinguisher .

Reading every installment of this awesome instruction paper/ booklet


Edited by Heirloom Spores, 23 November 2015 - 11:53 AM.

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#19 happy4nic8r

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 01:15 PM

Here's a po'boys version of the vacuum filter:

 

oct29 (16).JPG


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#20 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 01:23 PM

Here's a po'boys version of the vacuum filter:

oct29 (16).JPG


Excellent happy! That's exactly what I'm trying to get on this thread, all the ways you can save money but still build a fairly complete Lab! Excellent...if you would, please describe how you built it.
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