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Author: Subject: Homemade and Repurposed Lab Gear
NedsHead
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[*] posted on 12-10-2015 at 22:40


I found some water tight PVC end caps that have 6 screws and a rubber O ring, I do some reloading and they'll be perfect for wet tumbling dirty brass. This is 100mm PVC with an outside diameter of 150mm so I can also use 150mm PVC with end caps without having to change pulleys.

I also picked up a few packets of ceramic pie weights today from a homemaker shop to try in the mill

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aga
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[*] posted on 13-10-2015 at 00:15


Nice work NedsHead !

Being able to use 100mm and 150mm barrels without changing anything is really smart.

Looks like a fairly large rig, judging by the familiar landmark ;)

I guess you could use shorter lengths of Barrel too, so doubly smart !




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NedsHead
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[*] posted on 13-10-2015 at 00:34


Thanks, I thought the aga scale was necessary;) I have 2 more 100mm end caps for that exact reason, to build a smaller drum for milling black powder and what not.

I'm really happy with how this project turned out
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eesakiwi
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[*] posted on 20-10-2015 at 22:19


For ball mill media, try ball bearings, roller bearings or used Tungsten carbide machine cutting tips. Like the sort thats used on Lathes and Milling machines.

Roller bearings are a good size and shape. You will find them in machine shop scrapmetal bins, ask first.
Boat builders workshops are great because of the large size bearings they use.

The Tungsten tips are small and very hard, good for grinding stuff apart and finely.
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violet sin
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[*] posted on 21-10-2015 at 00:28


I'm fairly certain tungsten carbide tips would also eat the barrel material. Early failure could be a bad thing. At the very least you would end up with plastic in you milled product. A rounded, or at least not sharply angular, media would be better in my opinion. Unless you had a liner in there.

One of my rock tumblers has a rubber liner, that protects the plastic from the much harder and often sharply irregular shape rocks come in. Just a thought. I have found steel slingshot ammo pretty affordable and available. Good for milling lump charcoal. Not so effective on other things I tried. Like pollucite.
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The Volatile Chemist
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[*] posted on 24-10-2015 at 12:36


Are mills ever used in chemistry to grind things? I recently saw a series of messages on a Usenet archive talking about grinding with blenders, but figured mills would be better...



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BobD1001
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[*] posted on 24-10-2015 at 13:56


I used my ball mill back when I was involved in high powered rocketry and pyrotechnics. Since I've been more involved in chemistry, I haven't really used it much. However, for making small magnesium chips for the elemental potassium isolation I used my Bridgeport milling machine and a catch box filled with argon, and made a bunch of small passes. Ended up with a huge amount of nearly oxide free pure magnesium chips which worked perfectly for isolating potassium.
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BobD1001
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[*] posted on 24-10-2015 at 13:57


Nedshead, are the ceramic pie weights aluminum oxide?
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aga
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[*] posted on 24-10-2015 at 14:04


My ball mill got built because NedsHead posted a photo.

I'd wanted to build one for ages, simply to grind charcoal and test to see if that made it 'activated' to any extent.

Still not ground any charcoal :(

Work, beer, Other Projects, beer, Life and beer all seem to get in the way of actually accomplishing anything.

[Edited on 24-10-2015 by aga]




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JJay
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[*] posted on 25-10-2015 at 00:11


Today I was looking around a thrift store for a large aluminum pot, and I noticed that they had several lightweight, folding music stands for sale. They fit my clamps and are sturdy and tall.
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SteampunkScientist
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[*] posted on 4-11-2015 at 05:19


That is a beautifully made roller, Mr. Head. I wonder though how fast that thing is going to spin with the motor and pulley assembly you have?

Also, I never knew what a "Pie Weight" was until you posted this - now I can ball mill and also make wonderful pastries...

BTW: This is my first post on the forum, so Hello to you all! - I have been a Mad Scientist for years, and have been told that I may actually be quite mad.... :P

[Edited on 4-11-2015 by SteampunkScientist]




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NedsHead
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[*] posted on 27-12-2015 at 22:55


Something simple today, sauce bottle to wash bottle.

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careysub
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[*] posted on 7-1-2016 at 16:03


Quote: Originally posted by Oscilllator  
You've probably heard of it but that method of casting is known to work very well with aluminium (I myself have used it with great success) so I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work using lead.


The above referring to burying polystyrene in sand for an impromptu investment mold.

I predict that it would work less well with lead which is more than four times denser than aluminum. But sand casting is a venerable process, and some sand mold preparation to get firmer support it will work. Look up sand mold casting for details.
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JJay
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[*] posted on 7-1-2016 at 23:16


I've had luck with

- Dimmer switch instead of a variac - They work fine for most purposes, especially heating. I've found that they often work well with electric motors too.

- Electric drill instead of a mechanical stirrer - While not necessarily the recommended setup for working with flammable or corrosive mixtures, who doesn't have an electric drill?

- Immersion heaters - You'll want to get fairly high wattage ones if you go this route, but they can be used with hotplateless magnetic stirrers with an oil or water bath.

- Mason jars with plastic lids - They seem to be fairly airtight and work well for storing dry inorganic compounds and some solvents.

- 1/4 inch copper tubing - It's useful for connecting destructive distillation crucibles to regular glass condensers.

- Pyrex storage containers - While I don't like to compromise on glass, they work well as crystallization dishes.

- Aluminum pot - I use one to hold most of my heating and cooling baths.

- Music stands - I use them as lab stands. I think it would be easier to use regular retort stands, but they work ok.

- Cheap Walmart hotplate - At 1000 watts of power, it's strong enough for most purposes.

One thing I haven't found a good substitute for is lab clamps.
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The Volatile Chemist
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[*] posted on 12-1-2016 at 13:39


Arkoma uses wood for lab clamps, which seems a reasonable substitute as it can be cut and formatted easily and is cheap. Some good ideas there, though!



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JJay
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[*] posted on 13-1-2016 at 10:49


I don't like using wood for lab equipment since it is hard to clean and burns. Also, it is usually impractical to make adjustments to it to accommodate different types of apparatus.
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The Volatile Chemist
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[*] posted on 13-1-2016 at 14:20


Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
I don't like using wood for lab equipment since it is hard to clean and burns. Also, it is usually impractical to make adjustments to it to accommodate different types of apparatus.

Indeed, I suppose. I use ring stands, but only own two stands, two rings (3"), one screw adapter with nothing to screw into it, and a single-burette clamp.




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[*] posted on 13-1-2016 at 14:44


Personally I don't mind using wood equipment, although I always try to varnish them to protect the wood. I find this one is very useful for holding funnels, and plan to varnish it in the next few weeks:

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[*] posted on 13-1-2016 at 17:16


Quote: Originally posted by aga  


Work, beer, Other Projects, beer, Life and beer all seem to get in the way of actually accomplishing anything.

[Edited on 24-10-2015 by aga]


Amen brother.




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JJay
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[*] posted on 13-1-2016 at 20:26


I would think that it should be possible to find suitable clamps and stands at the hardware store, but so far I haven't found any reasonable substitutes just sitting on the shelves.
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Detonationology
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[*] posted on 13-1-2016 at 21:17


Traditional lab stands have a rod diameter of 3/8" of 9.525mm. It would be fairly simple to pick up some at the hardware and drill into an old 5-10lb barbell weight to mount it along with a liberal amount of epoxy of some sort.

I notice on eBay that the "boss head" clamp holders are dirt cheap from China (~$2.20ea.w/ship.), whereas clamps usually run for ~$8.50ea.w/ship.

I have seen these metal clamps coated with a plastic sleeve of some sort and it resembles many lab clamps sold on the internet, but I have seen these for sale in places like Harbor Freight and Northern Tool for only $1. Perhaps with as simple modification of removing the plastic sleeve and instead use a heat resistant fabric of some sort. My tack welding skills are not the best, especially for small objects, but I'm sure it would be possible to attach a short length of 3/8" rod to the clamp in order to attach it to the boss head clamp holder.

Then, you have everything you need for a stand for nothing compared to what people are charging on the internet.

imgres.jpg - 5kB



[Edited on 1-14-2016 by Detonationology]

feb080376f7d0412f3f66bc83f9bbeb9.image.550x550.jpg - 113kB

[Edited on 1-14-2016 by Detonationology]




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NedsHead
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[*] posted on 14-1-2016 at 04:23


Those Chinese boss head clamps you pictured are awful, they're poor aluminium castings and the inside threads are the worst, my distillation kit came with 2, the threads are drilled and taped crooked and a sloppy fit, the aluminium is so soft when you clamp down it strips out the thread, you really do get what you pay for with these cheap Chinese clamps
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Detonationology
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[*] posted on 14-1-2016 at 04:30


Quote: Originally posted by NedsHead  
you really do get what you pay for with these cheap Chinese clamps.

Thanks for the heads up.




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[*] posted on 14-1-2016 at 04:42


Coming soon...

A stovetop espresso maker converted into a gas-solid reaction vessel to produce a reagent that is not easy to get hold of around here.
I'll leave you guessing. Just ordered a part I need on eBay and so I guess it will be a month before my idea comes to fruition.




Side-note
I have Chinese clamps that look similar to the one pictured. But they are not Al, cost slightly more than what you quoted, and thus far have been reasonable.




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NedsHead
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[*] posted on 14-1-2016 at 04:57


Very interesting j_sum1... I haven't got a clue what you could be making, I do love my stove top espresso first thing in the morning though

[Edited on 14-1-2016 by NedsHead]
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