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Author: Subject: Things That Frustrate As A DIY Chemist
SimpleChemist-238
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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 09:50
Things That Frustrate As A DIY Chemist


I enjoy the experience of a home laboratory, the sweat smell of solvents in the morning, the adventure of knowledge and the unique personality of the compounds but it does not come without its challenges of the home, not quite laboratory setting. What I mean by this is having your lab in a basement and having to compete with dust getting in your glass ware and crystallizing dishes.

1. Dust

As hinted in the section above I can not stand the dust that may build up during a experiment, weather hair getting in a beaker or the fine droppings of dust mites it is equally as destructive to my mood I find. I once finding these foreign partials I at once want to filter the solution and recrystallize. I now am building I sealed desiccator to evaporate solutions to solve the problem.

2. Cleaning Glass

I may be the sloppy chemist or maybe it is common but I after done with a experiment I have voluminous quantity of glass ware with often dark caked materials or find crystals in my recent procedures that need a lot of time to clean and I may put it in my labs sink and avoid it for days before cleaning it. I am lazy about cleaning after a experiment because of others distractions such as bottling my new compound with a label or taking notes in a journal with my findings.

so now I have trained my self to immediately clean my glass or else it become covered with unremarkable stains.

Well that is all that comes to mind what are some things that annoy you?

[Edited on 8-2-2015 by SimpleChemist-238]




We are chemists , we bring light to the darkness. Knowledge to ignorant, excitement to the depressed and unknowing. we bring crops to broken fields and water to the desert. Where there is fear we bring curiosity.

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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 10:03


I must agree wholeheartedly on both of the points that you made. Hairy crystals are no fun. Normally I cover my evaporating dishes with cheesecloth to try and keep most of the particulate out, but stuff still gets in. And as for cleaning glassware, well, I'm sure most people here would agree with that one. I'm avoiding cleaning glassware right now! But of course, the longer you put it off, the harder it is to clean.

Another thing that frustrates me is when I put a lot of time into something, but it doesn't work, and then I have a huge, oftentimes toxic mess to deal with and nothing interesting to show for it. Yeah, it's good to learn from failures, but it's hard to stay positive when you've got a bunch of heavy metal waste you need to dispose of.

Mechanical losses. It's really annoying when you're trying to do something smaller scale to conserve expensive reagents and then you lose half or more of your product in one transfer. Now I try to think of ways to limit the number of transfers as much as possible. I'm sure that I could think of a few more things, but that's all I've got right now.




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SimpleChemist-238
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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 11:43


I am too putting it off as I write and I hate it when I invest hours into a reaction and I don't get a good yield or the reaction does not work.



We are chemists , we bring light to the darkness. Knowledge to ignorant, excitement to the depressed and unknowing. we bring crops to broken fields and water to the desert. Where there is fear we bring curiosity.

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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 12:04


Too little room to store things properly.
Too much chemical waste and trouble getting rid of it.

That second one is something I am working on. Stupid waste-processing company is getting on my nerves. :/

EDIT: Yay 100 posts :D

[Edited on 8-2-2015 by Jylliana]




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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 12:07


I don't like how what I do is constantly looked on as 'wrong' by society.... The whole meth paranoia , makes people think that ALL home chemists are bad..
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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 13:30


Running out of a chemical that isn't easily OTC'ed but is in every research institution around the world by the gallon.

Needing to dry a chemical and not having a high-vacuum or nitrogen line. Or even having dry solvents handy (adds extra time to experiments). Or better yet, "Did my experiment fail because product X is not true to their MSDS sheet?" hehehe. If I had a dime for every terrible % yield I've obtained due to impure chemicals or

@ZTS16 - mechanical losses UGHHH!!!! I have to admit though I have gotten a lot better with small scale since working in an amateur environment. So it is a benefit. I've also gotten a lot better at improvising experimental procedures with "sub-par" materials. That is a skill that goes a long way.

I'm with ya Jylliana - Having to nuetralize and/or evaporate off chemical waste before being able to start the next experiment. I'm not sure how ya'll handle your waste, but I use a big erlenmeyer and let it dry off, then dispose of it to the appropriate out-lets, or if it's benign I have a bonfire and stay a good 50 feet back (keep in mind I work in the mmol scale). Sometimes that means I have to wait a week to try round 2. Sometimes that's a good thing though as it gives me time to really reflect on the experiment.



[Edited on 8-2-2015 by smaerd]




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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 13:49


Nasty brown gunk in your glass ?

Pihraña fluid eats it in seconds.

Cannot imagine why it isn't available OTC ;)




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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 16:13


I have been working out of my tool shop in the back yard. My three biggest issues were dust / dirt / and humidity.
In designing my new lab I am moving into the spare room or "home office".
Now I raise Presa Canarios, and 13 hours a day there are at least 3-4 dogs indoors. That means more dust stirred, and yes... Dander, and dog hair.

I have designed the area for my bench to have sealed chemical, and supply storage both above, and under the bench. That leaves the room, and the bench to deal with. I believe I have a rather elegant solution. A combo Laminar flow hod / Fume hood.
The concept is removable side, and front shields for the flow hood, and a deflection flap installed to divert the air flow either thru the laminar cabinet of directly to the outdoors.
In laminar mode the air can be pulled in thru the fume hood (filtered), and exited thru the HEPA back into the lab.
By turning on the system an hour or so before working I believe it will "scrub the air, and at least clear the bench area of "debris", and at best clear the entire room. I think this fits the topic because I am attempting to cure my "peeves".

I have a quick CAD of the idea.

Untitled.jpg - 238kB

[Edited on 9-2-2015 by Zombie]




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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 16:15


Worrying about what others might think of this hobby and getting into trouble for innocent fun.

[Edited on 9-2-2015 by phlogiston]




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SimpleChemist-238
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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 16:15


Pihraña fluid Solution solves problems though, by the way I found HF at my store. I have it in its original container because I am afraid to open it.



We are chemists , we bring light to the darkness. Knowledge to ignorant, excitement to the depressed and unknowing. we bring crops to broken fields and water to the desert. Where there is fear we bring curiosity.

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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 16:31


Quote: Originally posted by SimpleChemist-238  
Pihraña fluid Solution solves problems though, by the way I found HF at my store. I have it in its original container because I am afraid to open it.


That's pretty funny... :D
Like never asking out that hot girl cause you don't want to hear NO!




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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 16:47


Everything rusting and goopy organic crud. Also when you have something stuck in the pores of a glass buchner funnel that will not come out.



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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 17:05


Wasting money on it. I believe we should earn from chemistry, and not waste even a coin. Chemistry should serve us, not otherwise!
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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 18:56


If you gain knowledge then spending money to do so is not a waste. You would probably have a nervous breakdown if you saw the money I "wasted" on chemistry including my hobby and education. God knows I sometimes almost do, but then realize how proud I am about what I have learnt.

The most annoying is when people ask vicious circles of questions due to their lack of understanding of the hobby. Tell them you made a certain chemical, they respond with "what do you do with that?" Then you explain what you intend to do with it and again "THEN what do you do with it..." Eventually you respond with "because I wanted the challenge and learning experience of making indigo, or benzene, or 2-naphthol... And it goes on Etc etc

As if they are fishing for you to say "Ya got me! I'm wasting my time fruitlessly making chemicals who's names you can't pronounce for reasons you don't feel like trying to understand. I give up my hobby. Now let's go watch "Hoarders: Buried Alive" and feel our brains melt out our ears."

[Edited on 9-2-2015 by Mailinmypocket]

[Edited on 9-2-2015 by Mailinmypocket]




Note to self: Tare the damned flask.
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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 19:41


To put expenses in context, you have to consider how much you are learning, how much it is really costing and how much that same learning would cost if you were to undertake a university course. I consider that my learning has been pretty inexpensive. And most of that expense has been building up a bit of equipment that will be used for a large number of different applications -- in other words, one-off expenses.

I hear ya Mailinmypocket. People don't usually get why I make stuff. My wife was really confused when I told her about my spilling of a beaker of sulfuric acid that I was boiling down. She couldn't understand why I needed it. (sigh).


As for frustrations, probably the biggest (and one I shouldn't complain about) is the intrusion of other aspects of life. It is annoying when I cannot plan on an extended period of time in the lab because I know that I only have an hour up my sleeve.
Dust for me is also an issue. The town where I live gets a regular coating of iron-rich aussie dust that blows in on the wind. My lab also doubles as a storage shed, a garden shed, a woodworking shop and has regular insect visitors. I am continually cleaning and nothing ever gets left without a cover or lid.
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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 19:48


Its worse explaining projects when an abused chemical is involved, eg Potassium Nitrate or Hydroiodic Acid.. Then the explanation just turns into how I'm NOT making meth and bombs...
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[*] posted on 8-2-2015 at 20:05


Quote: Originally posted by SimpleChemist-238  
2. Cleaning Glass

I may be the sloppy chemist or maybe it is common but I after done with a experiment I have voluminous quantity of glass ware with often dark caked materials or find crystals in my recent procedures that need a lot of time to clean and I may put it in my labs sink and avoid it for days before cleaning it. I am lazy about cleaning after a experiment because of others distractions such as bottling my new compound with a label or taking notes in a journal with my findings.
[Edited on 8-2-2015 by SimpleChemist-238]


I haven't seen this get any better as I move up the food chain. I hear that in big pharma some of the labs have people dedicated to glassware washing, but where I work to each their own, Sometimes washing the glassware takes longer than actually doing the experiment. Especially with high-purity chemistry where you have to wash with nitric acid and soak with ammonium bifluoride to stop metal contamination. Then again, sometimes it is relaxing to just stand at the sink for the day and clean things.




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[*] posted on 9-2-2015 at 09:27


Quote: Originally posted by BromicAcid  

Then again, sometimes it is relaxing to just stand at the sink for the day and clean things.


I agree. I usually clean as I go. Then place all glassware in a sink of hot soapy water and let it sit overnight, finishing up the next morning.

Frustrations: cold lab in the winter, hot lab in the summer, not enough storage.

Solution: Build (or buy) a new house centered around my lab. ;)




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SimpleChemist-238
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[*] posted on 9-2-2015 at 11:14


I hate rusting in my lab. I seems every thing metal is rusting very fast.



We are chemists , we bring light to the darkness. Knowledge to ignorant, excitement to the depressed and unknowing. we bring crops to broken fields and water to the desert. Where there is fear we bring curiosity.

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[*] posted on 9-2-2015 at 16:07


Have you considered washing all your steel bits w/ Phosphoric Acid?

It'll turn everything black but there will be no more rust issues. Even a spray bottle application will do.




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[*] posted on 9-2-2015 at 16:28


Quote: Originally posted by SimpleChemist-238  
I hate rusting in my lab. I seems every thing metal is rusting very fast.


I trust you have your hydrochloric acid well sealed. If not, that is a likely cause.




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[*] posted on 9-2-2015 at 17:16


I dont like the phobia of today associated with home chemistry. If someone was to see all my equipment set up, then I'd be in for a lot of explaining . Im just preparing solvents/reagents for other experiments. Average people really don't understand, and assume its drug related because they believe what the T.V tells them.
My other peeve is not having enough time to complete procedures that are time sensitive, thus having to postpone. I could go on but that the top two for me.
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[*] posted on 10-2-2015 at 11:05


I have some chemicals drying that have traces of HCl (Building that drying chamber soon)



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[*] posted on 10-2-2015 at 17:34


Someone on this site mentioned a "wine cooler" as a desiccant chamber, and I flew with the idea.
You can find small (18 x 18 x 18") cabinets for $75.00 USD new or much less used.

The cooling system can always be stripped out, and put to other uses like a chiller for a recirculating condenser water set up. The tempered glass door / magnetic seal is what sparked my interest.




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[*] posted on 11-2-2015 at 00:42


CAT HAIR! One of my problems.. It seems no matter how careful I am I always atleast get one hair.

Dust is another problem for me as I live in Arizona and the crap blows around all day and night.

Storage is somewhat an issue for me, since I live an appartment.

Disposal for me is normally rather simple as I dont do anything that is highly toxic due to not having a fume hood. I have had a few few "wtf did i just make". at that time found a way to neutrilize and delt with it ether by vaperating or attempting to recover any metals that might have been used. ( normally I only deal with copper, Zinc and aluminum)

SPACE. It seems like I never have enough space.

I'm also in fear that my neighbors would assume i'm making meth. which I think is the bane to us all. It also just seems like most people don't want to learn. I have attempted to explan why I have an intrest in aluminum chlorohydrate and people just look at me like I'm dumb. It a very useful substence. just saying.





I just made you read this very pointless signature. How does it feel?
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