Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Chemistry Hackspace: Can it be done?

Zander - 7-10-2011 at 10:17

Hello folks,

Being a long time fan of both hkparker and Nurdrage on Youtube, it's nice to actually find a forum dedicated to amateur chemistry. I've an idea knocking around in my head for a while and basically wanted to sanity check it with other folks who would be interested in it.

The fundamental idea is of a community supported laboratory, modeled after hackerspaces which have been springing up across the world You pay a monthly fee, you get open access to the lab for equipment use, chemical storage, and disposal.

This would bring a lot of benefits to the participants. No more having to hide your equipment out of fear of being mistaken for a meth lab. Availability of equipment that is priced out of range for most home chemists due to collective bargaining power. Having a physical meeting space to collaborate with other folks with your interests, not to mention having other people around in the lab in case things go sour.

The reason why I'm posting this in the legal forum is mainly to ask this question: What do you think would be required , legally speaking, to make this idea fly in the US?

Mixell - 7-10-2011 at 10:20

Most of the people here live quite far from each other (except for a few lucky ones), so I guess this idea isn't very practical...

Zander - 7-10-2011 at 10:25

Well, I know everyone here is a bit far flung, but I imagine there are a number of people in large enough city that could support such a lab. There aren't all that many people with interests in 3d fabrication, high energy physics, and etching their own circuit-boards, but there's enough to support, to my knowledge, four different hacker spaces in the greater Seattle area.

hkparker - 7-10-2011 at 10:35

I think how spread out we are would be the major set back. I'm not sure about the legality of it but I don't see a problem if its in the right zone. I know I would use it for more complex instrumentation and disposal, but the cost that would go into building a center like that is massive, and I don't think any area has enough home chemists to use it. I have heard of people going to the local universities and getting help using larger instrumentation though.

Also, welcome to the forum :), I'm glad you've enjoyed my videos.

497 - 7-10-2011 at 10:35

That sounds like a great idea to me. I would love to take part in something like that. Finding the right location could be challenging though.

Zander - 7-10-2011 at 11:05

I've been trying to find resources on how to start small biotech labs, which I imagine on paper is what this idea would most resemble, but I'm not finding anything useful on exactly what sort of zone it'd need to be in, or any of the practical guidelines one would need to follow involving any of the alphabet soup agencies requirements.

497 - 7-10-2011 at 11:20

In regards to the alphabet soup, locating it outside of the city, with no people directly adjacent to it would simplify things.

Wizzard - 7-10-2011 at 12:11

I had heard one was going to pop up around BFIT here in Boston... I dont know if it ever bore fruit, though.

Zander - 7-10-2011 at 13:12

I don't think the one in Boston ever got off the ground. The only thing I've found kinda like it is the Brussels Hackspace.

hkparker - 7-10-2011 at 14:54

I know Make Magazine has a few "tech shops" that have all sorts of shop machines you would ever want, and they do very well, though theres a large need for that kind of facility.

Zander - 10-10-2011 at 09:09

Really at this point I'm wondering what sort of person I'd need to talk to that would know how one goes about starting a professional laboratory. I imagine there is some discipline of lawyer that'd be good for this, but I have no idea what they'd be called or how to find one.

dann2 - 10-10-2011 at 14:48


A bit off topic but a believe you could rent a 'bomb' in a shop called 'Lawrence Corner Boffin Shop' (in London). It least there was a sign on it saying so!

Dann2

fledarmus - 10-10-2011 at 17:41

Quote: Originally posted by Zander  
Really at this point I'm wondering what sort of person I'd need to talk to that would know how one goes about starting a professional laboratory. I imagine there is some discipline of lawyer that'd be good for this, but I have no idea what they'd be called or how to find one.


I imagine the biggest problem in the US with this idea would be the liability, and you would need a lawyer that deals with commercial liability. You would also need a good administrative law person to help deal with the EPA, OSHA, DOT, Homeland Security, and everybody else that wants to poke around anything chemical, on a city, state, and federal level.

watson.fawkes - 12-10-2011 at 06:08

Quote: Originally posted by fledarmus  
I imagine the biggest problem in the US with this idea would be the liability, and you would need a lawyer that deals with commercial liability.
This is total overkill. You buy an insurance policy for general commercial liability. You read the fine print to make sure that chemistry isn't specifically excluded. It'll be much less expensive per year than rent.
Quote:
You would also need a good administrative law person to help deal with the EPA, OSHA, DOT, Homeland Security, and everybody else that wants to poke around anything chemical, on a city, state, and federal level.
You run your lab like a responsible, professional lab. You want the life and fire safety features anyway. You worry about unwanted attention when it arrives. It would be foolish to avoid starting a group like this for cowering fear in the face of threats that haven't materialized.

quicksilver - 15-10-2011 at 06:57

You could start with a simple (yet comprehensive) poll of areas where people live who would want to participate. That MIGHT give you some idea of where you would draw from. I've met a few folks from this forum however, I would always have to drive a ways as I live in a rural area & most people are likely to live in urban (or suburban) population centers.

elpollodiablo - 18-10-2011 at 01:27

Hi,

I'm new here. I'm a member of the metalab in Vienna, a hackerspace that's been open for what, 5 years now? I saw this topic by accident, and I'd like to weigh in with a few thoughts.


I hope I could help clear things up a little. Now I'll be back to what I came here for: looking for beginners tutorials ;)

last edit: god I feel like an asshole. Sorry, I didn't notice that your actual question wasn't "How do I setup a chemlab" but

> The reason why I'm posting this in the legal forum is mainly to ask this question: What do you think would be required , legally speaking, to make this idea fly in the US?

I have only one answer to that: go and find a friendly company that operates a lab and get help from the person that's responsible for running it. My whole advice will now reduce to: use the hackerspace communication channels to find such a friendly company or such a person. The probability is high that someone will know someone, and the likelihood of helpful people showing up will increase. The hackerspace (or uni prof, or what have you trusted connections) route will ensure that people won't think you're about to open a methlab cover op, a presumption which, from what I hear from the US, will be the biggest hinderance to your endeavour.

Sorry for not reading...

one last (really) edit: Consider just doing it. Don't hang the project on the idea that something awful must happen if you don't please the ghosts of three letter agencies with ritual sacrifice of bureaucracy and sanity. If somebody shows up, explain what you do. But cover your ass by making sure drugs are a no-no. As http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/The_Grace_Hopper_Pattern says: when in doubt, do it.

[Edited on 18-10-2011 by elpollodiablo]

elpollodiablo - 18-10-2011 at 02:11

Quote: Originally posted by watson.fawkes  
Quote: Originally posted by fledarmus  
I imagine the biggest problem in the US with this idea would be the liability, and you would need a lawyer that deals with commercial liability.
This is total overkill. You buy an insurance policy for general commercial liability. You read the fine print to make sure that chemistry isn't specifically excluded. It'll be much less expensive per year than rent.
Quote:
You would also need a good administrative law person to help deal with the EPA, OSHA, DOT, Homeland Security, and everybody else that wants to poke around anything chemical, on a city, state, and federal level.
You run your lab like a responsible, professional lab. You want the life and fire safety features anyway. You worry about unwanted attention when it arrives. It would be foolish to avoid starting a group like this for cowering fear in the face of threats that haven't materialized.


What he said. Squared. Don't overindulge in the what-ifs, just get all information you need and cover your bases. People are a lot more responsible and well meaning that usually credit is given for. We might be blessed in europe for our not-so-litigous culture, but we also tend to do dangerous things in our hackerspaces, and as of yet, nobody got hurt. Just don't be negligent with the important things.

watson.fawkes - 18-10-2011 at 06:44

Quote: Originally posted by elpollodiablo  
I'm a member of the metalab in Vienna, a hackerspace that's been open for what, 5 years now? I saw this topic by accident, and I'd like to weigh in with a few thoughts.
At risk of starting a mutual back-scratching society, I will heartily recommend the above-referenced post. While I've not been involved in a hackerspace as such, I have with similar kinds of things, and every item in the referenced post rings true.

-----

As to the overall topic, there's a practical way to get started. Announce a meeting. See who shows up. If no one shows up, the downside is that you have spent an hour in a public place reading and the transportation time back and forth. If you can't tolerate that minuscule amount of downside, you're really not the right person to try to get something like this started. On the upside, people show up and you get started.

If no one shows up, announce a second meeting three months later. See who shows up. There are plenty of people who will come to a second meeting who won't bother with the first. Now, repeat as necessary. Eventually you will find interest. You're random sampling at first, but also creating a nexus for people to hang memory and conversations on. Friends of people that are interested are more likely to recommend an unknown if it has a shred of solidity to it (the repetition) than some random appearance.

Persistence pays off.

elpollodiablo - 18-10-2011 at 07:03

Quote: Originally posted by watson.fawkes  

Persistence pays off.


Gosh, yes, that's probably the most important point. Persistence/continuity and real life meetings.

scratch

Zander - 19-11-2011 at 23:50

First of all, I'd like to apologize for going quiet here. I had a bit of an accident a few weeks ago involving a hill, ice, and my ankle that has laid me out considerably since then. I'm glad to see some discussion went on in my absence. My current priority is to get a web presence set up, a meeting scheduled once I'm a bit more mobile, and fliers to hand out at the local hackerspaces. We'll see how it goes from there.

Mister Junk Pile - 25-11-2011 at 01:42

If only this were possible. Honestly, I doubt anyone would show up. If anyone DID show up, it probably wouldn't be because they were interested in science/chemistry. I wish you luck with this but, I've become pretty jaded about the number of people who are interested in hands-on, hobbyist science. Even at my school most chemistry majors aren't really that interested in chemistry (at least not to the point of wanting to think about it in their spare time). Maybe this isn't indicative of the rest of the country/world but I fear that it is. Here's hoping...

GreenD - 1-2-2012 at 09:27

Quote: Originally posted by Mister Junk Pile  
If only this were possible. Honestly, I doubt anyone would show up. If anyone DID show up, it probably wouldn't be because they were interested in science/chemistry. I wish you luck with this but, I've become pretty jaded about the number of people who are interested in hands-on, hobbyist science. Even at my school most chemistry majors aren't really that interested in chemistry (at least not to the point of wanting to think about it in their spare time). Maybe this isn't indicative of the rest of the country/world but I fear that it is. Here's hoping...


I've met one person in my entire chemistry class that was actually interested in pursueing chemistry on the side. She was into energetics, something that doesn't stimulate me one bit. So she tended to not speak of me. She did tell me she knew of this site, though.

neptunium - 1-2-2012 at 10:40

Quote: Originally posted by Mister Junk Pile  
If only this were possible. Honestly, I doubt anyone would show up. If anyone DID show up, it probably wouldn't be because they were interested in science/chemistry. I wish you luck with this but, I've become pretty jaded about the number of people who are interested in hands-on, hobbyist science. Even at my school most chemistry majors aren't really that interested in chemistry (at least not to the point of wanting to think about it in their spare time). Maybe this isn't indicative of the rest of the country/world but I fear that it is. Here's hoping...



i agree , even though i would be thrilled to participate in such an endavour i just dont see much of an interest in my entire city.
other than meth cook ,k3wks, and free energy green conspiracy theroist ...
of course i could be wrong but its been said before we are just too far apart!
i thought of a similar idea in the past and maybe start it out in my home to begin with , put an add on craigslist and after 2 months 2 peoples were interested. one wanted to make hydrogen for a car the other was too far away and disappear after a week.
besides , here in the US the security (someone breaking in to steal stuff, i am in Detroit BTW) and the safety involved (liability) is overwelming.


[Edited on 1-2-2012 by neptunium]

madscientist - 1-2-2012 at 16:00

My biggest concern is the legal issues that the legal owner could face. What happens when some new guy decides to make drugs in your lab, not knowing he's been tailed by the police for the last year, and gets the whole place raided? Do the others get charged as accomplices? Simply being present in a house where controlled substances are used and sold will get you charged with a crime. Does the same apply at places where controlled substances are manufactured?

Don't make the mistake thinking you could spot obvious drug cooks, a lot are very interested in chemistry itself and there are more analogs than anyone can commit to memory. I'd make sure you talk with a lawyer first about this and make sure all your bases are covered. The US "justice" system can be cruel and unmerciful.

[Edited on 2-2-2012 by madscientist]

White Yeti - 4-3-2012 at 09:43

It's a great idea and you're not the only one to come up with it, but I have one comment to make. If people on this forum cannot get along with each other as it is, what makes you think we would all co-operate peacefully if they were all brought together in the same lab?

Think of the rivalries and animosity on this forum as it is ^^
I'm speaking to regular users, Zander might not yet have a sense for who's who.

This could work in urban areas, but it seems -as others have pointed out- that we are very spread apart.

The only way to really know for sure how spread apart we all are, is to compile statistics. We could all anonymously type in our latitude and longitude coordinates and from this we could get a sense as to how spread apart we are. This would only work when everyone is honest, and for everyone to be honest, anonymity would be required (for obvious privacy reasons). Polverone would have to make an announcement so that such an undertaking does not go unnoticed.

Considering we only have about 400 or so regularly active SciMad users, statistics should not be too difficult to compile.

Does anyone think such an undertaking is a good idea for a start? Who knows, we might all be living next door...

GreenD - 5-3-2012 at 13:43

Why not, instead of latitude and longitude use something less telling, like.

Hi.

I'm from the upper midwest.
Besides, I highly doubt that anyone on here is any real threat, especially if actively posting, for any type of fed3ral intervention. I just don't think they care about us. Unless they make a slip up, want to scare us, or have hired a new recruit who is all for incarceration, I don't think we have anything to fear. Just don't deal with >500mg quantities of anything, don't start talking like a bee, and don't start asking stupid questions.

Besides, if you're smart enough - you know the many things you can do to dramatically reduce the chance of a federal door-knocking, and if you get to that point, you best not have your nitro cellulose sitting on your bedroom table.

>> JUST DON'T BE STUPID. Don't be homocidal, don't be a king pin, don't fuck with other people. <<



[Edited on 5-3-2012 by GreenD]

White Yeti - 5-3-2012 at 14:10

GreenD, I believe that a healthy dose of paranoia is necessary when carrying out mad science. But let's be reasonable, there is no privacy whatsoever on the interwebs. If the authorities really wanted to find you, they can use your IP address and find your house in a jiffy. We are just under the illusion that we have privacy. Your searches are monitored, your personal information is sold, this is a scary world we're living in. Giving your coordinates does not expose you in any way, the authorities already have all your personal information at their fingertips.

If you report your coordinates to one decimal point or to the nearest integer, it's good enough to get a general sense of your position on the earth, but vague enough to avoid immediate trouble. Besides -as you said- most of us are not criminals, so we don't have too much to worry about.

My main concern is that there are too FEW active members on this forum to really benefit from cooperation. Like I said, by looking at the members list, we are about 11,000 members, but only about 400 of them really contribute frequently, if not on a daily basis.

Advertising would not work in the least, because it could attract K3W15.

497 - 5-3-2012 at 14:13

Look up tor.

GreenD - 5-3-2012 at 14:23

What 497 said - you don't know about this? :o

better make a new account :)

gutter_ca - 19-3-2012 at 20:08

Bio Hackspace

GreenD - 20-3-2012 at 06:22

still waiting for someone from the upper midwest :)

White Yeti - 20-3-2012 at 12:42

Quote: Originally posted by gutter_ca  
Bio Hackspace


Nice find! I definitely think a chemistry equivalent can be done. The problem with amateur chemistry is the large initial investment in equipment and chemicals. Even though condensers, flasks, burettes and other equipment are very useful, an individual does not use those materials often enough to offset the initial price.

I like biology a lot as well. I would really like to have my own freezer/refrigerator to store extracts and other fun stuff, but I don't have enough stuff to store to justify my buying a 500+ dollar refrigerator.

Since this is a DIY type organisation, I'd bet a physics person would be glad to make a refrigerator for us chemists to use.

Aperturescience27 - 29-4-2012 at 23:07

Let me just start by saying that this idea is AWESOME!
However, obviously, not too many people are interested in chemistry (no idea why, it's pretty damn interesting), especially with nerds increasingly turning to computers rather than the real world, so we're few and far between. I think if we made it a hackspace for lots of different kinds of people, like physics, electronics, biology, etc. rather than just chemistry we could have a lot more people and a lot more capital, and we'd probably have a lot of equipment in common. We'd also have people to consult on cross-discipline projects. Problem is, how do you decide who pays how much? Electronics people aren't going to be too happy about helping to pay for our new chemistry stuff, and vice versa.
I'll bet we could find a way to make money using chemistry, any ideas?

White Yeti - 30-4-2012 at 12:04

Quote: Originally posted by Aperturescience27  

I'll bet we could find a way to make money using chemistry, any ideas?


It would be nice if there was an easy and legal way, but unfortunately, there is no chemical that a hackspace can make that big companies cannot make more efficiently and cheaply with economies of scale.
[edit]

Perhaps if we made chemicals that are synthesised by a long series of steps no matter what, we could break down a synthesis amongst many different people and make the synthesis more efficient.

So, say the synthesis of compound X requires 10 steps, 10 different people can get involved. So long as everyone does his/her job correctly, you end up with a decent amount of a chemical that can be sold for a small fortune.

Applying the principles of the assembly line, everyone will get better (at the step they are in charge of) and over time the synthesis will gradually become more efficient.

Very idealistic, but still possible to implement.

[Edited on 4-30-2012 by White Yeti]

GreenD - 30-4-2012 at 12:30

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Quote: Originally posted by Aperturescience27  

I'll bet we could find a way to make money using chemistry, any ideas?


It would be nice if there was an easy and legal way, but unfortunately, there is no chemical that a hackspace can make that big companies cannot make more efficiently and cheaply with economies of scale.
[edit]

Perhaps if we made chemicals that are synthesised by a long series of steps no matter what, we could break down a synthesis amongst many different people and make the synthesis more efficient.

So, say the synthesis of compound X requires 10 steps, 10 different people can get involved. So long as everyone does his/her job correctly, you end up with a decent amount of a chemical that can be sold for a small fortune.

Applying the principles of the assembly line, everyone will get better (at the step they are in charge of) and over time the synthesis will gradually become more efficient.

Very idealistic, but still possible to implement.

[Edited on 4-30-2012 by White Yeti]


That is actually a pretty fascinating idea.

Aperturescience27 - 30-4-2012 at 17:57

Regarding making money with chemistry, I'm just going to throw some ideas out there, I know they're probably not realistic but it can't hurt, right? There could be some really complex molecules that could be quite valuable, like pheromones and other very selectively-acting biological chemicals. Pharmaceuticals would require too much legal stuff (for good reason). With so many smart people working together, we might come up with new techniques for synthesizing stuff, we'd just have to be sure to get patents. Biotech, generally, is big money right now and probably for the next few decades, and while it's not really my area, I'm sure we've got plenty of people who do know biochemistry pretty well. Personally, I'd LOVE to stick it to Monsanto. There's also fuels, batteries, etc.

On a separate note, I wonder if we could get local people (near hackspaces) interested in chemistry? If we had open houses regularly to show people all the cool stuff we'd be doing, they might decide to become members. Not only would this help us, but it would be a benefit to society, getting more people interested in science, and a benefit to these people, by giving them an awesome new hobby. Children are naturally curious and quick learners, and we could certainly get them interested, but again, there's a liability issue. Obviously we wouldn't let them into the areas where we keep the expensive and/or dangerous stuff. Hopefully parents won't prove to be too overprotective.

I've put a thread on the Craigslist "science" forum for Orange County (where I live) asking if people would be interested in creating a hackspace.

White Yeti - 30-4-2012 at 18:25

Actually, pheromones are relatively simple chemicals, much like neurotransmitters. You may be thinking of hormones, which can get quite large and difficult to manufacture.

I'm a biochem person myself, and I'd love to work on the synthesis of biological chemicals. I'm sure there are other biochem people on this forum. Enzymes are BIG, there are real markets and buyers and prices are exorbitant. You can easily make a small fortune if you figure out how to synthesise enzymes in gram quantities cheaply.

I personally don't think we should lure more people into chemistry, if they are interested, they should be provided the right tools and be surrounded by the right people. But the motivation must come from within, otherwise, they'll turn into kewls who are only interested in the end product of a synthesis rather than the chemistry involved and the work that goes into it. That's if they're lucky, the worst case scenario is that they try to make phosgene and end up killing themselves.

You live in orange county? I live across the Hudson! Maybe we are all closer together than we thought...

Aperturescience27 - 30-4-2012 at 21:11

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  

You live in orange county? I live across the Hudson! Maybe we are all closer together than we thought...


I think we're talking about different Orange Counties, I'm talking about the one in southern California.

White Yeti - 1-5-2012 at 18:21

Also if I may add, amino acids are very sought after and expensive. If we find ways to synthesise essential amino acids in large quantities from cheap starting materials, we can generate a decent revenue. Then you have to choose between total synthesis and biosynthesis, both of which are quite challenging.

bbartlog - 2-5-2012 at 05:09

Amino acids aren't particularly expensive (see: http://www.purebulk.com/ ). Anyway, hackspace is generally not about making money.

Aperturescience27 - 5-5-2012 at 19:55

Quote: Originally posted by bbartlog  
hackspace is generally not about making money.


That's a good point, we don't want to focus on making money to the point that we forget about science for its own sake.

Dave Angel - 19-7-2012 at 09:52

This is something that's been on my mind for a while - either a 'regular' or chemistry related hackspace, as I have neither (well, obviously not the latter) in my area.

Something I feel we often overlook as amateurs (mostly due to cost) is the analysis of our materials beyond maybe boiling point, specific gravity and the like.

Whilst a synthesis oriented hacker-lab might raise more than a few eyebrows, and brings up potential legal implications, has anyone considered an analytical chemistry hackspace?

Now, I'm not saying that a bunch of us grouping together would be able to purchase and run and NMR machine, but an old, second-hand FTIR? Maybe...

On top of that (for example) pro-melting point apparatus, polarimeters, centrifuges and all the other 'little' toys that are just a bit too expensive for most of us to justify alone would be quite resonable investments as a group. All of this without (the majority of) the legal/societal issues; it's just another independent analytical lab after all!

497 - 19-7-2012 at 20:53

I really agree Dave! Lack of modern testing equipment has to be one of the very biggest barriers to amateur success.

liquidlightning - 23-7-2012 at 18:32

In regard to the map of people who would want to join, how's this? Just add a marker in your general location.
http://zeemaps.com/map?group=388676&add=1

Dave Angel - 26-7-2012 at 10:40

Nice idea liquidlightning; you have my location.

So far, the 3 of us who have posted couldn't live much further apart! Let's hope this picks up - I'll stick it in my signature.

bbartlog - 26-7-2012 at 12:22

Added myself.

White Yeti - 28-7-2012 at 05:37

At least we're all in the northern hemisphere:D

daragh8008 - 29-7-2012 at 05:15

I though about the idea of an open source chemistry lab before and came to the conclusion that it wouldn't work here (ireland) as there would be too many logistical challenges such as insurance, environment,licensing etc. Also if you did manage to get enough members and through all the red tape, the costs would be significant if you wanted to provide more comprehensive facilities particularly in terms of characterization where even some basic equipment can be very expensive. I came to the conclusion that this could only be done with governmental support to encourage science through out the population. And hence I would suggest that people lobby for an open access program to local colleges and universities. (maybe this exists in other countries but certainly not here) That people can gain access (under supervision or what ever) to government funded labs for research. Imagine if every college lab had to allow 5% of their time to open access programs. Say 2 weeks in the summer or something. For the most part, those not interested wouldn't care but imagine the opportunities this would give to the amateur scientist. This goes for all the sciences too. Apply to the relevant college / Prof. during the course of the year. If they are to keep their funding they have to make it available and publish a time table of excepted proposals or experiments and reasons why others if not accepted reasons why they were declined. Also it would give the post grads something new to do for a week or two!

99chemicals - 29-7-2012 at 09:27

I gave my location but I did not want to. I did it for chemistry.

497 - 29-7-2012 at 11:27

Maybe a traveling lab ship/barge would make regulatory issues less problematic, and could serve a wider area? LOL

Dave Angel - 17-8-2012 at 14:36

It's good to see my first fellow brit on the map - Hexavalent. I've never visited Anglesey myself, but it's a beautiful place to live from what I've been told.

497 - a travelling chemistry ship sounds great; it's almost Bond villain-esque! I imagine there would be a good few raids from the naval forces of the world though, as it would probably scream 'floating drug lab'! Still, how about we club together and buy one of these:

Attachment: Utopia.pdf (537kB)
This file has been downloaded 688 times

99chemicals (but bitumen ain't one? :D ) - I understand your feelings about not wanting to reveal your location. I've been rather reluctant to share such things in the past but perhaps we can be a bit overcautious, maybe it's time for a bit of an home-chem pride movement :)

99chemicals - 17-8-2012 at 15:03

The map looks good when you are zoomed really far out!;)


So far 14.

We need more. People.

Aperturescience27 - 25-8-2012 at 05:57

I like the ship and island ideas, but what about Antarctica? Lots of empty land, no government, untapped mineral resources...
edit: huge... tracts of land

[Edited on 8-25-2012 by Aperturescience27]

ThatchemistKid - 26-8-2012 at 07:25

I posted my locations, I am close to a couple of people. Hopefully something comes of this, because this is really exciting.

I was part of the ATX hackerspace before I moved, I was the only chemist, but they allowed me to keep some equipment and do small scale things as long as it did not involve many hazards and was completely legal.

White Yeti - 26-8-2012 at 17:32

Naa, Antarctica's too far away, how about Greenland? Resupplying is a problem, and in both cases a 6 month long night is a potential problem. At least chemicals can be stored in a perpetual cold without refrigeration, that's a plus.

Aperturescience27 - 29-8-2012 at 17:04

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Naa, Antarctica's too far away, how about Greenland? Resupplying is a problem, and in both cases a 6 month long night is a potential problem. At least chemicals can be stored in a perpetual cold without refrigeration, that's a plus.


Greenland has a government, though. They might be concerned that we might be trying to sell meth to Eskimos and polar bears or blow up some snow.

Aperturescience27 - 4-9-2012 at 16:26

Looks like a lot of people in the general New York City area (not me, unfortunately, all alone in CA). I think you could get a pretty decent hackspace set up somewhere in NY or PA. We should look into regulations and laws in various states in this area. Would anyone in that general area like to volunteer to do some serious work in managing the hackspace? If we can find someone really dedicated, with enough free time, who lives near plenty of other interested people who are willing to help out, we should look for a location close to them.

We should also look for nearby hackspaces not devoted to chemistry and see if they would like to add a chemistry branch. This would be ideal, less work for us!

In summary, it looks like this could really happen if people are willing to put in the effort. Let's get to researching, and if anyone has lots of spare time to dedicate to this project, and lives in the Northeast, please let us know. I just wish I lived up there, although as a student I don't know how much time I'd be able to contribute anyway.

Edit: Here's a link to a map of existing hackspaces (or "hackerspaces"):
http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/List_of_Hacker_Spaces

[Edited on 9-5-2012 by Aperturescience27]

Acidum - 2-5-2013 at 12:27

I would definitely go for HackLab collaboration! With proper behavior You could easily attract more amateur scientists.

Imagine the possibilities! Chemists, physicists, electronic gurus and computer geeks all working on homemade NMR! Or high power dye lasers! Or satellite launching! ...worst case scenario - You will end up being that weird chemist guy doing some crazy research in a corner of hacklab...

If only we had some serious hacklabs in Serbia... You westerners are blessed...

amazingchemistry - 9-5-2013 at 21:32

Hey Aperture,
I just asked a similar question on the forum. See this thread:
http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=24145
I would be all for a hackspace of some sort. perhaps this could be a project that could be done in small chunks? we seem to have a lot of people in the US, why not divide tasks and have each member concentrate on a step of the regulatory process? A member poll has been suggested, I'll get started with that. I think any hackspace will have to be as close to a densely populated urban area as possible (after considering zoning laws). A university town would be ideal, as we would probably be more likely to find people genuinely interested in the subject. Off the top of my head I'm thinking the Boston or LA metro areas. As far as making money from chemistry... synthesis is not really where the money is at I think. It requires time-consuming research and much specialized (read expensive) equipment, and even then your project may fail (lots of promising projects in the drug industry go that route). I think analysis, specially environmental analysis, is much more feasible. There are even certification processes with the relevant authorities so the potential lab is recognized as consistently producing reliable results. An extremely simplified scheme would go something like this: Buy analytical equipment (using collective purchasing power). Receive samples from clients. Analyze samples. Report results. Charge money. As examples I know of a few companies that charge an arm and a leg for detailed spectrometric analyses of samples and their interpretation. We wouldn't even have to buy much equipment starting out. After all, there are a lot of wet-chemistry analytical techniques that don't require fancy equipment. I have added my location to the map, and it looks like we live pretty close to each other :)

Texium - 8-10-2014 at 14:32

Just wanted to bump this thread because I thought it was really cool and didn't know that it existed until today.

NexusDNA - 14-3-2015 at 09:19

Was there any progress in setting up a chemistry hackerspace?