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Author: Subject: Tour My Lab
mayko
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Mood: anomalous

I do have a decent fan, and the room has two windows, so that's been the plan thus far. My main concern with such a setup is, where would the air intake be? I could use the rest of the house (heating/AC out the window, weakening of partition between the residence and the lab) or I could open the second window (which might mean that the exhaust goes outside, around the corner of the house, and then gets sucked back in to recirculate ). We'll see when I'm reconfigured, I guess!

al-khemie is not a terrorist organization
"Chemicals, chemicals... I need chemicals!" - George Hayduke
"Wubbalubba dub-dub!" - Rick Sanchez
j_sum1

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Mood: Metastable, and that's good enough.

You should be able to rig up a fume hood then. That's most of your bases covered. All you need to do then is keep the cat out.
Magpie
lab constructor

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Mood: Chemistry: the subtle science.

Here's the air routings that I use. The top one is preferred. But I do often use the bottom one.

The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
Alkemist
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I've been a long time lurker here and finally have gotten around to beginning to convert a shed at the house my wife and I purchased summer before last into a semi usable lab space. I thought this would be a good opportunity to create an account and post some pics of the progress of the conversion. As soon as I figure out how to upload pics and have enough battery I'll get them up and look forward to any suggestions.
j_sum1

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Mood: Metastable, and that's good enough.

Welcome Alkemist.
Looking forward to seeing those pix. If you click "preview post" or the correct "post reply" button you will be directed to a page that allows you to upload images and other files. Real easy.
Sulaiman
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Alkemist

In my opinion, although hopefuly never required, rapid exit should be planned for, always.

Other suggestions depend upon your vision/budget

welcome to shed-lab world

[Edited on 9-3-2017 by Sulaiman]

CAUTION : Hobby Chemist, not Professional or even Amateur
(suffering from separation of me and my chemistry stuff)
Alkemist
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Thanks for the warm welcome...here goes...

Alkemist
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Lol sorry for the doubles, I'll figure it out eventually. Obviously there is still an afternoon or two of work to be done. Also, before I get flamed on chemical storage this is NOT where they will stay for more than the next hour or so it's just the only shelf I had when unboxing.
j_sum1

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Mood: Metastable, and that's good enough.

Ok. we can be friends. Your setup is quite similar to what I envisage my new lab construction will be.
I like the flask rack -- simple and convenient.
Fume hood looks great. Lots of nice bench space. And is that a drying oven I see?
That is an awesome collection of sep funnels.

Where are you located?
Alkemist
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I'm in Oregon, USA. My oven actually isn't pictured, but it's just a little Blue M sw-11 ta. I think what you are seeing is the old school FTS multi-cool low temp bath.
Sulaiman
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I relocated, upgraded and painted my alfresco experimenting table

I thought I'd document that it was once was white

CAUTION : Hobby Chemist, not Professional or even Amateur
(suffering from separation of me and my chemistry stuff)
Baron
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Ok, so I've been watching the activity here for quite a while just like Alkemist and decided to create an account to share my lab progress and ideas on here. I just recently bought an empty apartment with the intention to construct my own lab. As soon as I figure out how to get pictures from my phone to my PC I will share the blueprints and progress here.

Greetings from germany!

If you want to shine like the sun, you have to burn like it.
Sulaiman
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My new workbench :(

During a prolonged EtOH distillation run with no heat shield beneath my hotplate, this happened

close up

CAUTION : Hobby Chemist, not Professional or even Amateur
(suffering from separation of me and my chemistry stuff)
National Hazard

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Hey, at least it wasn't the dining table

I wasn't a very popular person that day:)
Magpie
lab constructor

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Mood: Chemistry: the subtle science.

I find that an old cookie sheet makes a great heat shield.

The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
j_sum1

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Mood: Metastable, and that's good enough.

 Quote: Originally posted by Magpie I find that an old cookie sheet makes a great heat shield.

Aah. So you've done this too Magpie.
(Else how would you know that a great heat shield was needed?)
Magpie
lab constructor

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No, no. I have a cheap hotplate that I use to heat my steam generator. I place this on a wood bench covered with newspapers. This makes me nervous, thus the use of the cookie sheet.

[Edited on 29-5-2017 by Magpie]

The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
JJay
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At the moment, almost all of my lab equipment and chemicals are packed away in 12 boxes sitting in a shed across town, but I am going to try to get a truck and get it to my new lab location sometime this week. I'm trying to work out exactly how to ventilate the fume hood.

charley1957
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In this same forum (My lab beginnings) I recently posted some pics of how I started building my lab. I stated there that I would soon post a lab tour. So here it is, now that it is mostly complete. As with any lab, though, it's always a work in progress.

From the doorway in the foreground to the back door is 13 feet. The width of the space is 10 feet. See how clean the lab coat is?

First thing on the left is the main lab bench. I recently found some nice thin stainless steel sheeting at a local junkyard, so I covered all my benchtops and the bottom of the inside of the fumehood with it. Sorry I don't yet know how to make a shortcut to another thread, but please see "My lab beginnings" in this same forum to find out more about the lab frames you see. The drawer unit that makes up the main bench I found down the street on the side of the road. A man was remodeling his house and put them out for anyone to take. To the right of that is my old original lab bench that my grandfather made for me when I was just a teen. I joined them together with a sheet of plywood to form the whole assembly. Poor me should I ever have to move this. Available on this bench are vacuum and gas lines, and water inlet and outlet lines which lead behind the whole mess to a sink.

Here's a better shot of the old original lab bench. I removed the wooden shelves and put in glass shelves, and had plans for a light in the top, with lots of cool glassware resting on glass shelves, lit from above. Well, it WAS beautiful, but soon filled up with bugs from the lights, so I stored most of the glassware in drawers and cabinets. Now the whole are is just a disgraceful jumbled storage area, seriously in need of cleaning up. Perhaps I will try that idea again, this time with some proper glass doors, sealed against bugs and dust.

On the top is the fume hood, which I just recently expanded upward. It's now 42 inches high inside, 33 wide and 23 deep. I couldn't set up a reflux column inside, it was too short. Inside I have vacuum, gas, and water inlet and outlets, not immediately apparent here.

Here's the rest of the fume hood. Take notice of my sophisticated counterbalance assembly for the fume hood sash. Its usefulness is debatable, as I used plastic-coated cable which doesn't work too well on such small pulleys as I have at the top, and that needs to be fixed. Also the large white area is where the sciencemadness logo will go.

Moving on, here's a picture of my sink, with chemical storage above it. The last person to own this house was an artist, and the three-car garage was enclosed. I walled off a small part of that now-shop area to form the lab, and the sink is a nice large tub sink where the artist cleaned his brushes. It's glorious! It's large enough to put a five-gallon pan (visible under the sink) in that I use for distillation cooling. There's a circulating pump that draws from that pan, and return lines dump back into the pan. Also visible is a small refrigerator that was kaput so I repurposed it as a lab incubator. Biology is my other love.

There's chemical storage in them there cabinets! These cabinets came with the house. They're 1940's steel cabinets from Montgomery Ward. We remodeled the kitchen a few years ago and I got three of these units to use in the lab. I can't store HCl in them, but just about everything else is OK. To the left is a couple of stainless steel specialty shelves I got for a little bit of nothing from an RV supplier. I needed more storage area, so I picked these up for a song. Great for the gallon jars that I use for larger amounts of chemicals.

Here's the inside. The bottom shelf is used to keep all the glass jars my wife saves for me for chemical storage. One of those jars is actually full of owl pellets!

If we turn 180 degrees, this is the view on the other side of the lab. These are the other two steel cabinets I spoke of. I'm finding I'm going to have to do something for more storage. I'm constantly acquiring more chemicals, and just yesterday spent 20 minutes or so rearranging stuff so I could add one more chemical. I arrange my stuff alphabetically, kinda, sorta like this. Acids, alcohols, bromides, chlorides, dioxides, etc. etc. It's easy for me to remember where stuff is like that. Say I need carbon tetrachloride. Well, that's a chloride (to me), so that's where I go to find it. No, I don't separate chemicals according to hazards like we all know we should. There are oxidizers scattered all through, and I know everything should be separated, but I've not done that, nor do I have the storage area to do that effectively.
Just at the top of the photo you can see a piece of an air conditioning grill. The artist that owned this place previously had this whole space airconditioned with the house system. I pulled the ducting loose from this and closed it off, as I didn't want any direct connection between the lab environment and that in the main living area. Yeah, it'd be great to have A/C in the lab, but I will have to do without it for now.

Here's the bench underneath the previous pic. I bought this from a dentist who was retiring, and he threw in about 10 pounds of mercury! In these drawers and cabinets there is everything under the sun from rock samples (another hobby) to glassware to anything else you can think of. On the far left of the benchtop in the back is a microcentrifuge which I bought broken on eBay. I managed to fix it, so for $15 bucks I've got a$1500 centrifuge, though obsolete. For my biology habit.

The other end of that same cabinet. On top you can see the antifreeze I bought to make Dioxane with so I can make sodium metal a la Nurdrage. Also visible are two one-gallon jars of Calcium Fluoride, about 97% pure. This town used to be a hub for the fluorspar trade back in the 70s, and there are storage bins down by the railroad tracks that still hold some of this calcium fluoride, so I went and got me some. The bins have been long abandoned, and what's left is still as good as the day they put it there. I suspect it won't be long before the railroad will decide to scrap them all, and it'll all be gone forever. I have plans of one day making hydrofluoric acid, and possibly fluorine. But that day is some distance down the road.

Here's my toaster oven and a microwave oven. Above that is a Kenwood stereo that I bought when I was in the Navy back in the 70s. Hey, a guy's gotta have his music! I've got radio, XM radio, or iPhone input to choose from. On the other side of the wall is a rack-mounted Sony reel-to-reel tape player, loaded up with Iron Butterfly.

And here's my biology station. On the left is a regular biological microscope. It's a trinocular with a camera that hooks to the big screen TV above. On the right is a stereo zoom dissecting scope. It's a trinocular also, and the camera is easily transferred from one scope to the other. Sorry, I should have taken the covers off of the scopes for the picture. The first row of drawers to the left of the bench holds petri dishes, microscope slides and slipcovers, stains, etc. This will probably get more use in the coming months, as I'm returning to school to get a master's degree in biology. When I went to school back in 2012, this school didn't offer a chemistry degree, so I went with biology. Now they do offer a chem degree, but I would have to take so many leveling courses just to be able to start a master's plan. But I do love biology, and there's so much, just as in chemistry, that citizen scientists can do.

Last pic, I promise. Just an overall shot of the biology station, it really shows well the stainless steel top. I'm so proud of all that stainless steel I could just pop! Sorry for the quality of the pics, I had to compress them all so they would all fit in one post, so they're not the best quality. Thank you for accompanying me on a tour of my somewhat messy, still-needing-lots-of-work lab in the desert of West Texas.

...it has often proved true that the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.

Robert H. Goddard
Sulaiman
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What a nice lab ... congratulations.

odd, but the two things that caught my eye were
. great to have two exits ... just in case.
. I love the eclectic range of jars, bottles etc. that we accumulate.
the rest is great too. 8(>_<8

CAUTION : Hobby Chemist, not Professional or even Amateur
(suffering from separation of me and my chemistry stuff)
charley1957
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Registered: 18-2-2012
Location: Texas
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Mood: Happier than a pig in the mud!

Sulaiman it's getting harder and harder to find liquids in glass jars anymore. Some vinegar still comes in glass and I particularly treasure those jars for acid storage. I've got tons of plastic medicine vials, film canisters, glass baby food jars, etc., and not enough time to make use of them all. Thanks for the compliments.

...it has often proved true that the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.

Robert H. Goddard
CharlieA
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Really nice setup, charlie1957. You have done a great job that shows a lot of thought and ingenuity. I'm insanely jealous.
highpower48
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I have a decent sized lab space approx 10'x10', with two 8 foot work benches that I have built into one of the bays in my 2 car garage. I still have to build the walls and ceiling. Right now I have no air or heating which makes for very uncomfortable working conditions. Hard on me and chem storage. Once the walls are up the air and hear will be taken care of. Also still to construct is a fume hood. Will post photos this fall when complete.
charley1957
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Mood: Happier than a pig in the mud!

Highpower48, that's a good start. I felt just like you do. But insulate the space, and that will help a lot, especially the ceiling. Eventually you may be able to put a small A/C unit through the wall or a window. Until then, a fan works wonders, and this is in the Texas desert, and it still does OK. The insulation keeps the space at a temp even your chemicals can handle. Can't wait to see your pics.

CharlieA, thanks. Not so much thought ahead of time, I'm afraid. A lot of what you see is a modification of an original plan. But it eventually comes around to something I can live with.

...it has often proved true that the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.

Robert H. Goddard
Texium (zts16)

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