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Author: Subject: Homemade and Repurposed Lab Gear
RogueRose
International Hazard

Posts: 727
Registered: 16-6-2014
Member Is Online

SIMPLE Distillation setup with parts on-hand

All that was available was a 1L Erlynmyer flask and a 12" Liebig condenser. An aquarium pump was aquired to cool the condenser and used an old metal stand (like a music stand) to hold up the apparatus.

So, how to get a distillation unit out of this? Take the outer case of a 35ml syringe (the hard plastic case that the syringe comes in). The wide part of the neck, near the end of the plunger fit PERFECTLY inside the neck of the flask!!!

1/2" OD, 3/8" ID vinyl tubing (food grade) was used to connect the syringe case to the condenser. To ensure it stuck together RTV silicone was added as a "bung/stopper" at the flare of the syringe case to make a seal and keep it from falling down if it could even happen.

A hole was drilled in the needle end (no needle here though) of the syringe case to put the tubing through. A bulb of RTV silicone was applied to the end of the 1/2" tubing (heated with hot air gun to speed sealing outer layer) then pulled up through the syringe case from the inside and then filled the rest with RTV to keep it from moving. Used long screwdriver to ensure tubing was clear of silicone.

On the outside of the syringe case, 3 layers of RTV to stick/glue the tubing to the syringe casing ensuing there is no leaking from the vapors.

After each use of RTV a 1500 watt heat gun was used to seal the outer layer so it wasn't sticky. This takes about 30 seconds. Be careful to continually rotate/move so it doesn't melt the syringe case.

The vinyl tubing terminated inside the condenser with a perfect fit and used double wide electrical tape first wrapped around the tubing and then around the condenser (2 wraps) and then back to the tubing for a number of wraps. This has held for a LONG time with NO leaks of failure.

Normal vinyl tubing was used to cool the condenser - no big thing here. MAKE SURE YOU CHECK THE CONNECTION often as they can slide off, especially when the water gets warmer. small pipe clamps will be very helpful.

a 15" lenght of vinyl tubing finished the run from the end of the condenser. Many benefits to this as it can provide extra cooling and can be moved to different containers when possible.

Total expenditure: $2.62 for the tubing & RTV usage - all else was on hand. Hypothetically. This is able to take alcohol wash of 5% to about 40-50% after one run and after a second run 92-93% was measured!!! Pleas no rude comments about the adapter to the erlynmyere flask. I know it looks like one of those "male enhancement" vacuum attachments that is leaking from the end [Edited on 7-6-2016 by RogueRose] [Edited on 7-6-2016 by RogueRose] [Edited on 7-6-2016 by RogueRose] Firmware21 Harmless Posts: 32 Registered: 22-1-2015 Member Is Offline Mood: Ņ͈̣̭̺̈ͬ͊̔i̓̿͑ͯ̂ͪ҉̸̺̀t͉̣͕͙̟̪̅͐͂̏͌ͭ͗̑͝ṙ̶̛̙̥̝̻̟̓ͬ̾ͧ͒͘ͅa͒͊ͯ̾̑̏̌̓̕҉͚͚͓͔͙͚̥t͆̌͑ͩ̐͗ ͖̻̲̪̲̙͘ͅe͙͕͙̙̤̤̫̒ͩͣ̅̊̍̉͒ͬ́͟ͅs͈̬̮̥̻͂ͥͨ̂ͮͨ͒́͠ !!! Well at least you've got a condenser . My first "distillation apparatus" was roughly the same, except there was no condenser or stative to hold the whole thing. I hope there is good ventilation where you work with it, as it looks like a big fire hazard to me. Honestly, I'd be afraid to work with it in my lab. I might just be a scaredy cat though... You might want to get the adapter someday, they make your life easier IMO . RogueRose International Hazard Posts: 727 Registered: 16-6-2014 Member Is Online  Quote: Originally posted by Firmware21 Well at least you've got a condenser . My first "distillation apparatus" was roughly the same, except there was no condenser or stative to hold the whole thing. I hope there is good ventilation where you work with it, as it looks like a big fire hazard to me. Honestly, I'd be afraid to work with it in my lab. I might just be a scaredy cat though... You might want to get the adapter someday, they make your life easier IMO . Well a lit flame next to the erlynmyer junction and at the end of the condenser hose posed no fire risk. Keeping the condenser at 55F or so and running slow, so very little vapor this way. What I coulnd't get over was the fact that I could get almost 95% with this cheap setup while my$500 essential oil still can't get past about 50% This is what makes me so mad when people say that they have the best b/c it is most expensive.

Kind of like a $2,000 space pen (writes in zero G) vs a pencil, lol [Edited on 7-6-2016 by RogueRose] The Volatile Chemist International Hazard Posts: 1963 Registered: 22-3-2014 Location: 'Stil' in the lab... Member Is Offline Mood: Copious I was just using a still apparatus with a 500mL sep funnel replacing the thermometer through the top rubber stopper, to make Acetic acid from sodium acetate and sulfuric acid. Didn't work too well, lots of fumes and very little condinsation in my tiny 100mm liebig... My write-ups are on here... http://www.MeltThe.Ga or http://ptp.x10.mx mayko International Hazard Posts: 706 Registered: 17-1-2013 Location: Carrboro, NC Member Is Offline Mood: anomalous I built this little DIY centrifuge out of an empty spool, some microfuge tubes, nuts and bolts, hot glue, and a rubber band. It's powered by an electric drill - my cordless didn't quite have the muscle to do what I wanted in a timely manner, but my neighbor lent me a higher power drill, which worked al-khemie is not a terrorist organization "Chemicals, chemicals... I need chemicals!" - George Hayduke "Wubbalubba dub-dub!" - Rick Sanchez RogueRose International Hazard Posts: 727 Registered: 16-6-2014 Member Is Online Making filters from PVC pipe & removable lids on pipes I needed a way to change the material in my filters made of PVC pipe and the PVC screw-on end pieces were really expensive (comparatively for what I needed), were a little awkward in size and needed Teflon or plumbers tape to ensure seal each time it was opened. What I did was find some plastic jars and gallon juice containers that had the size mouths (large/wide mouths) that would allow the pipe to fit inside. I then cut the plastic containers threaded neck off and then used an epoxy/resin to glue it to the PVC. I then put whatever attachment/barb onto the container lid & glue/epoxy/JB weld it to the lid. Now I have a water tight removable lid and it can be made if your local hardware store doesn't have the size PVC threaded cap you need (at my store, one 3" cap costs almost as much as 10' of SCH40 pipe!) As for filters, I like using square cotton swabs over-layed out one on top of the next and so on. Then roll it up in a tight bundle (very tight if you want high filtration) and squish it into the PVC pipe. If you try this you MUST "charge" the cotton with water (or some liquid) before attaching to the holding vessel with the solution to be filtered. It may not be possible to have the liquid penetrate the cotton if you pack it tight enough, but if you soak the cotton (once in the PVC) on both sides of the filter it will help IMMENSELY! Also, I have needed to attach small diameter tubing to garden hose and it was difficult to find anything that would allow this. This can be great for running a condenser. Also, if you need an inexpensive ball valve for vinyl tubing I found using one of the garden hose shut-off valves works great all you need to do is get the hose ball valve (the yellow ones below) and either buy the garden hose cap or a 3/4" pvc pipe cap and cut it to fir the valve - then attach the proper hose barb. *Note all the threaded "necks" are glued with an epoxy and have one on both sides of the pipe **the picture of the grey PVC filter, it is open-ended and that is fine if you just hang it over the receiving container. If you do this the cotton needs to packed tightly enough to not allow the pressure to push it out (I hang the holding tank 5-12' above receiving vessel. Placing a drywall screw at the bottom - near outlet - works well to keep them all in there. arkoma Forum Redneck Posts: 1015 Registered: 3-2-2014 Location: Ar-Kin-Saw Member Is Offline Mood: Amazed  Quote: Originally posted by RogueRose All that was available was a 1L Erlynmyer flask and a 12" Liebig condenser. An aquarium pump was aquired to cool the condenser and used an old metal stand (like a music stand) to hold up the apparatus. So, how to get a distillation unit out of this? Take the outer case of a 35ml syringe (the hard plastic case that the syringe comes in). The wide part of the neck, near the end of the plunger fit PERFECTLY inside the neck of the flask!!! 1/2" OD, 3/8" ID vinyl tubing (food grade) was used to connect the syringe case to the condenser. To ensure it stuck together RTV silicone was added as a "bung/stopper" at the flare of the syringe case to make a seal and keep it from falling down if it could even happen. A hole was drilled in the needle end (no needle here though) of the syringe case to put the tubing through. A bulb of RTV silicone was applied to the end of the 1/2" tubing (heated with hot air gun to speed sealing outer layer) then pulled up through the syringe case from the inside and then filled the rest with RTV to keep it from moving. Used long screwdriver to ensure tubing was clear of silicone. On the outside of the syringe case, 3 layers of RTV to stick/glue the tubing to the syringe casing ensuing there is no leaking from the vapors. After each use of RTV a 1500 watt heat gun was used to seal the outer layer so it wasn't sticky. This takes about 30 seconds. Be careful to continually rotate/move so it doesn't melt the syringe case. The vinyl tubing terminated inside the condenser with a perfect fit and used double wide electrical tape first wrapped around the tubing and then around the condenser (2 wraps) and then back to the tubing for a number of wraps. This has held for a LONG time with NO leaks of failure. Normal vinyl tubing was used to cool the condenser - no big thing here. MAKE SURE YOU CHECK THE CONNECTION often as they can slide off, especially when the water gets warmer. small pipe clamps will be very helpful. a 15" lenght of vinyl tubing finished the run from the end of the condenser. Many benefits to this as it can provide extra cooling and can be moved to different containers when possible. Total expenditure:$2.62 for the tubing & RTV usage - all else was on hand. Hypothetically. This is able to take alcohol wash of 5% to about 40-50% after one run and after a second run 92-93% was measured!!! Pleas no rude comments about the adapter to the erlynmyere flask. I know it looks like one of those "male enhancement" vacuum attachments that is leaking from the end [Edited on 7-6-2016 by RogueRose] [Edited on 7-6-2016 by RogueRose] [Edited on 7-6-2016 by RogueRose]

Good Job!!

Why did i wait so long to by a hotplate stirrer?
CharlieA
National Hazard

Posts: 277
Registered: 11-8-2015
Location: Missouri, USA
Member Is Offline

My woodworking skills fall somewhere below "carpenter's apprentice", but I managed to finish and mount the shelves shown in the attached pictures. The short shelf on the left is 42 inches wide, and the one on the right is 48 inches wide. The shelves and ends are made from "1x4" pine.

Now to stock them with chemicals!

The Volatile Chemist
International Hazard

Posts: 1963
Registered: 22-3-2014
Location: 'Stil' in the lab...
Member Is Offline

Mood: Copious

Look nice! Especially with all the bottles on them.

My write-ups are on here...
http://www.MeltThe.Ga or http://ptp.x10.mx
RogueRose
International Hazard

Posts: 727
Registered: 16-6-2014
Member Is Online

Filter funnel from a 2L bottle

I used to use the spout of a cut off 2L bottle for holding filter paper (coffee filters) but found that the surface contact of the paper on the plastic restricted the flow significantly basically only allowing the small bottom opening as the sole area which liquid could flow out of.

So, I made some cuts to open up the sides and was going to cut the "vents" off when I realized that they could be used to hold the filter over the receiving vessel.

CharlieA
National Hazard

Posts: 277
Registered: 11-8-2015
Location: Missouri, USA
Member Is Offline

Isn't serendipity wonderful!

I forgot to add, that's clever, but I'm not sure the contact of filter paper with the "funnel" slows things down, at least for solvents that "wet" the "funnel". I need to try this.

[Edited on 8-17-2016 by CharlieA]
Corrosive Joeseph
National Hazard

Posts: 401
Registered: 17-5-2015
Location: Europe
Member Is Offline

Mood: Cyclic

Fractional distillation under (slowly fluctuating) vacuum with 2 pieces of glass. Homemade aspirator station next on the list.

Works a treat though...................

If anyone wants a list of parts l will gladly post it.................

/CJ

[Edited on 17-1-2017 by Corrosive Joeseph]

NeonPulse
National Hazard

Posts: 388
Registered: 29-6-2013
Location: The other end of the internet.
Member Is Offline

Mood: thinking outside the box...

All I did was take a bit of 24 glass, it was a thermometer adapter I got far a couple of dollars but I took a file around the join and snapped it off. Next I put a Büchner funnel down the hole full of clear epoxy and there. No more need for a rubber gooch. Just a little vacuum grease and it works great. Kind of re- purposed I guess.

Where there is a will
there is a way.

Like many of us i also do Youtube.... AllCheMystery!
Sulaiman
International Hazard

Posts: 1540
Registered: 8-2-2015
Location: England
Member Is Offline

That IS a neat idea that I may copy,
have you tried hot water etc. yet?
I would be a little concerrned about differential thermal expansion
(borosilicate 3.3, Alumina 7.5)

I know nothing
violet sin
International Hazard

Posts: 1174
Registered: 2-9-2012
Location: :14,15,9,20,1,3,15,12
Member Is Offline

Mood: Humaneize

Might have gotten away with silicone caulking to seal the two together. Allow expansion/contraction and be chemically resistant while still being replacable. Lexell, it comes with no bubbles in the mix. But good lord hope you dont have to pull the sword from the stone as it were. Stuff has a good bite as far as adhesive.

-------
I cut the glass envelope off of a HPS grow light, to epoxy into PVC threaded fitting. It worked great untill the epoxy fully set, cracking the glass. A real bummer as I had not counted on that much shrinkage. It was in an effort to make a clear container for scrubbing gasses, moisture or just plain see what ever you had going on inside.

Personally I wanted to scrub NO2 into sillica jell beads, from a low % feed off electric discharge. And perhaps with a metal collar, have the electric discharge in a similar fixed globe in upright configuration instead of hanging low.

Fun will be had eventually, think I will follow my own advice and set it wil the tube of Lexell already purchased. I had a hard time trying to flame polish the glass edge, and there was some epoxy that curled over that chipped edge. Most likely cause of failure.

[Edited on 18-1-2017 by violet sin]

SLAAYYYEEEERRRRR ,imi
Maroboduus
National Hazard

Posts: 257
Registered: 14-9-2016
Location: 26 Ancho Street
Member Is Offline

Mood: vacant

Those bulbs are wicked tough. I've broken beer bottles against those things.
In fact I've wondered if they're just borosilicate, or something else.

Did you have any trouble cutting it?
violet sin
International Hazard

Posts: 1174
Registered: 2-9-2012
Location: :14,15,9,20,1,3,15,12
Member Is Offline

Mood: Humaneize

Nope, cut off about a dozzen with a really thin rock saw for opal, 4" dia. It shows a little wear, but I haven't exactly been nice to it. The blade is centered by hand so there is a little knock when first starting the cut. The whole edge has little chips but they stray less than 1/8" inward, usually 1/16". I'll be cutting one a second time at the gem and mineral society monday. See if their saws are better, or at least grind it smooth before flame polishing.

SLAAYYYEEEERRRRR ,imi
Joel
Harmless

Posts: 2
Registered: 26-1-2017
Location: Queensland
Member Is Offline

This is my first post on this site, so hello everyone!

For my lab I have manufactured (mostly using scrap steel and a welder):

2 retort stands - a metal rod welded to a steel plate base
6 ring supports - a large steel washer or cut-off section of pipe welded to a bolt
6 right angle clamps - two pieces of box section welded at right angles, with a hole cut out in one side and a nut welded on. A piece of rod welded across the top of the bolt completes the clamp, and it screws in diagonally through the box section.
4 thermometer clamps - simply a wooden peg glued to a length of wood
2 wooden test tube stands - 15 holes @ 19 mm, and 12 holes @ 32 mm
3 wash bottle - a piece of tubing through a hole drilled in the top of a 500ml soap bottle
Boiling chips - I use chips off a piece of porous rock found lying in the paddock.

If anyone is interested I can try to post photos.

Total savings: over $170 for about 20 hours work Joel Harmless Posts: 2 Registered: 26-1-2017 Location: Queensland Member Is Offline This is one of my right angle clamps. Geocachmaster Hazard to Others Posts: 125 Registered: 5-3-2016 Location: Maine, USA Member Is Offline Mood: Corroded, just like my spatulas Having very little money after buying all my ground glass labware, I decided to build my own lab stands. I got two metal plates from an old railroad (just laying on the ground) and used some extra threaded rod that was leftover from something. Holes were drilled and tapped in the middle of the plate and a nut was added. Total cost:$0 and minimal work

Sulaiman
International Hazard

Posts: 1540
Registered: 8-2-2015
Location: England
Member Is Offline

they look sturdy and stable, nice (if not pretty

(I almost lost a 2l flask today using the typical eBay retort stands with light bases.)

I know nothing
Geocachmaster
Hazard to Others

Posts: 125
Registered: 5-3-2016
Location: Maine, USA
Member Is Offline

Mood: Corroded, just like my spatulas

The bases are around 6 Kg so they are very sturdy and not prone to falling over. How about putting some weights on your stands for more stability?

Not winning any art competitions

[Edited on 1/28/2017 by Geocachmaster]
Geocachmaster
Hazard to Others

Posts: 125
Registered: 5-3-2016
Location: Maine, USA
Member Is Offline

Mood: Corroded, just like my spatulas

No lab oven, but I do have a cheap Walmart hotplate and a stainless steel pot.

It can even tell the temperature!

I really need to buy a toaster oven
Chlorine
Hazard to Self

Posts: 56
Registered: 26-11-2016
Location: Maine, USA
Member Is Offline

Mood: Brominated

Glass vitamin jars make up 80% of my chemical storage. My parents go through about 10-12 jars a month, they also have a water tight seal.
tsathoggua1
National Hazard

Posts: 336
Registered: 8-1-2017
Location: Beyond the pale
Member Is Offline

Mood: Phosphorescent

Heh I recently repurpose my grandmother's (she is dead now) spice rack, threw out the old spices, all save for the turmeric, for the potential uses of curcumin when I get back to working on ergot, some szechuan pepper extract (EtOAc/hydroalcoholic in concentrated iPA) and the very fresh that I use often such as cubeb, pink peppercorns, which I myself bought, my homemade fly agaric/peppery boletus-based steak spice in ready-ground form, a small amount at a time so it keeps better, and dried peppery bolete caps divested of the pores and dried in slices and chunks,plus a few other more unusual spices that are either not cheap, not readily bought, or quite simply (such as Amanita muscaria, and peppery boletus, Chalciporus piperatus) are not to be purchased in any food market, although fly agaric can be bought from head shops, the quality is unreliable, and I prefer to know that it has been cured properly to detoxify it)

The rest of the glass jars, not boro, they have rubberized seals, the material type I don't know, so theres a fair few things I don't put in them. But they do just fine for projects in partial-gestation, much of the time, or after having been given birth and blinking at the sudden light and squawling for the first time as it draws its first breath Repurpose the amber glass bottles with chemically resistant plastic (to solvolysis especially) of some kind that my chlormethiazole script comes in
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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Fundamentals » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition » Homemade and Repurposed Lab Gear Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication   » References Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues   » Whimsy   » Detritus   » The Moderators' Lounge