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Author: Subject: Homemade and Repurposed Lab Gear
Texium (zts16)
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[*] posted on 14-1-2016 at 05:30


A cheap clamp once really put me in danger... I had been melting down some lead to cast an ingot. I had the stainless steel crucible held in a clamp that I thought was steel. Soon after the lead began to melt, I noticed with horror as the clamp bearing the heavy crucible of molten lead began to droop. I shut off the burner and frantically rushed to grab my crucible tongs, but it was too late. The clamp snapped off, and I was only narrowly able to jump out of the way to avoid getting splashed with molten lead. I was picking little bits of lead off the floor and everything else using tweezers for the rest of that day. It left a bumpy black burn mark on my formica lab bench too. Upon inspection of the broken clamp, I realized that it was just some crappy pot metal (likely a zinc alloy) plated with nickel.



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Morgan
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[*] posted on 14-1-2016 at 08:54


I often wish I had some decent clamps for holding hot things. There are these EMT pipe clamps that come in various sizes and they are certainly not the best/awkward but you can use them if you don't have anything else. By folding some strips of aluminum foil it makes a soft padding for the glassware so the glass isn't scratched up. I guess some silicone matting material would also do for moderately hot clamp padding. And glass cloth or high temperature gasket material could be used.
I got an old T-slot pole that was used for a library magazine rack to attach the EMT pipe clamps to but any T-slot will do. I suppose if given enough thought, you could come up with some sort of nice homemade clamp.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20XcCHnynDY

http://www.pulse-jets.com/phpbb3/download/file.php?id=13716&...
http://www.pulse-jets.com/phpbb3/download/file.php?id=13715&...
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Sulaiman
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[*] posted on 14-1-2016 at 09:19


If you have the stock and equipment it may be fairly straightforward to fabricate stands and clamps
After two diy attempts I bought new stands and clamps
as the cost is less than buying materials,
if you count transportation / postage.

I bought two types of boss head,
the cheap chrome and blue plastic ones work but give me very little confidence of reliability or safety
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The Volatile Chemist
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[*] posted on 20-1-2016 at 16:33


Quote: Originally posted by zts16  
A cheap clamp once really put me in danger... I had been melting down some lead to cast an ingot. I had the stainless steel crucible held in a clamp that I thought was steel. Soon after the lead began to melt, I noticed with horror as the clamp bearing the heavy crucible of molten lead began to droop. I shut off the burner and frantically rushed to grab my crucible tongs, but it was too late. The clamp snapped off, and I was only narrowly able to jump out of the way to avoid getting splashed with molten lead. I was picking little bits of lead off the floor and everything else using tweezers for the rest of that day. It left a bumpy black burn mark on my formica lab bench too. Upon inspection of the broken clamp, I realized that it was just some crappy pot metal (likely a zinc alloy) plated with nickel.

That's terrible. I have a few old, nice, really light ring attachments, but my only clamp is from HST, and really low quality. It's impossible to make it stay upright, it always tilts to one side. Also, it's held together with a screw at the clamp part, so the clamp itself rotates side-to-side. I melted the rubber on the clamp, but that of course was my fault.




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Morgan
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[*] posted on 21-1-2016 at 08:42


Maybe this Turbo Roaster could be repurposed for something. Jam jars are ubiquitous and there're many sizes. And from what I gather it doesn't work as advertised so maybe you could come up with a better function.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJgT9VecfWw

http://www.ky3.com/news/local/try-before-you-buy-turbo-roast...

Thumbs down reviews
http://wnep.com/2013/11/28/turbo-roaster/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krd1fsm9KHw


[Edited on 22-1-2016 by Morgan]
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Detonationology
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[*] posted on 3-2-2016 at 16:43


Confirmed:

Candy thermometers are chemistry friendly! As long as the it is completely encapsulated in glass, it is perfectly compatible with strong acids. And it has a very high temperature range.

I found mine in the back of a kitchen drawer, but apparently they are also sold at Wal-Mart. Scrape the glass to test ensure it is indeed completely encapsulated in glass and that the metal on the bottom is not exposed on the outside.

I believe mine had some lead melted into the bottom of the glass in order to give a good place to get temperature readings.



imgres-1.jpg - 2kB

[Edited on 2-4-2016 by Detonationology]




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[*] posted on 3-2-2016 at 17:38


That's great! I had always wondered about that but never got around to testing the theory they did work well. Many non-scienc-y friends had suggested them when I complained about low thermometer temperatures. How high does that go?



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Detonationology
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[*] posted on 3-2-2016 at 18:05


200˚C is the max on mine. I also realized that the diameter of glass is narrow enough to fit snuggly in a 24/40 joint with a generous amount of PTFE tape.



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JJay
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[*] posted on 4-2-2016 at 11:04


I often use candy thermometers for monitoring bath temperatures but have never tried putting them into reagent mixtures.
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[*] posted on 9-2-2016 at 08:42


Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
I often use candy thermometers for monitoring bath temperatures but have never tried putting them into reagent mixtures.

Well, that'd be what I'd use mine for. Perhaps also for the top of a still-head or maybe in a reaction vessel making citrazinic acid...




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[*] posted on 12-2-2016 at 18:18


Nothing that remarkable here but I thought I'd share anyway.

I just used some packing material and a plastic document holder to make a case for all of my thermometers, glass tubes and pipettes. Less chance of breaking them ow and they take up less space since I can stack things on top.
Note the candy thermometer. Idea courtesy of this thread. :)


2016-02-13 11.37.49.jpg - 1.2MB




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Morgan
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[*] posted on 12-2-2016 at 18:41


I often use tiny funnels for pouring methanol and happened to notice when trimming the flange of a silicone baby bottle nipple and cutting the tip off that it would work fine as a funnel for some things. And there're probably a lot of other uses, even though the various shapes and sizes of nipples might seem an odd thing to adapt for chemistry or lab applications.
Also the silicone wine bottle stoppers that act as a one-way valve with a vacuum saver seal might be of some odd use. The one I have in front of me has a duckbill valve but there is another design with small holes in a circular pattern.


[Edited on 13-2-2016 by Morgan]
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100PercentChemistry
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[*] posted on 13-2-2016 at 06:02


Recommend you buy the cd of the golden book of chemistry experiments for 10 bucks. The first chapter is about this. I personally like the close hanger texture holder:D
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Detonationology
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[*] posted on 14-2-2016 at 07:04


My candy thermometer fits very nice and loose at the top of my Liebig condenser for measuring the vapor temp while refluxing. Not much a risk of pressure build up.

image.jpeg - 1.1MB




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[*] posted on 14-2-2016 at 17:49


Quote: Originally posted by Detonationology  
My candy thermometer fits very nice and loose at the top of my Liebig condenser for measuring the vapor temp while refluxing. Not much a risk of pressure build up.


The only (mercury) candy thermometers I've seen for sale around here are vintage and not recommended for use. How old is yours?




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[*] posted on 14-2-2016 at 18:00


Quote: Originally posted by 100PercentChemistry  
Recommend you buy the cd of the golden book of chemistry experiments for 10 bucks. The first chapter is about this. I personally like the close hanger texture holder:D

Forget the CD or ten bucks.
Here it is:
http://chemistry.about.com/library/goldenchem.pdf

And in the forum library
http://library.sciencemadness.org/library/books/Brent_GBC.pd...




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Detonationology
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[*] posted on 14-2-2016 at 18:17


Quote: Originally posted by Great  
Quote: Originally posted by Detonationology  
My candy thermometer fits very nice and loose at the top of my Liebig condenser for measuring the vapor temp while refluxing. Not much a risk of pressure build up.


The only (mercury) candy thermometers I've seen for sale around here are vintage and not recommended for use. How old is yours?

Mercury? Good God, I couldn't possibly imagine it anywhere near food. Mine has a red liquid, likely alcohol or ethyl acetate, and has to be at least 20 years old.




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[*] posted on 14-2-2016 at 18:28


@ great: Pretty sure that is a weighted shot in the bottom, with a standard alcohol thermometer in/on it. I've seen a few that had little lead shot looking pellets at the tip, with a drop of wax/glue seating them. Guess it's steel shot from some quick reading from disgruntled brewers on Amazon.



-=>}[ ⊙¥⊙ ]{<=- 15-23-12
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[*] posted on 14-2-2016 at 18:40


Yeah, I think it is lead in the bottom. It was likely poured into the pre-heated glass tube, then the actual thermometer part was placed down into the molten lead to give a good, thermally conductive location to receive temperature readings.



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[*] posted on 22-2-2016 at 15:47


Are there even mercury thermometers for sale now?



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[*] posted on 22-2-2016 at 16:29


I bought one recently.
(It's pretty useless since the graduations are so faint they can't be seen easily. I got a refund.)

Yay!! Free gram of mercury!




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[*] posted on 23-2-2016 at 06:09


Take a black marker and you can temporarily at least re-blacken your graduations.
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[*] posted on 6-3-2016 at 15:48


If anyone is interested in a cheap and easy made flask heater I've been trying out a version that uses a 2000 watt heat gun as the heating source.

It's made out of off cuts from work , the main barrel is 4" s/s tube 3" high, the rest is to suit the gun and mount the support tube ,there is a perf s/s disc inside the barrel to support the flask when you are setting up and to diffuse the hot air.

I use a triac voltage controller to vary the fan speed and temperature and it will boil 250 mls of water in under 5 minutes
Cheers nux.

20160304_184301-1200x2133.jpg - 409kB 20160307_170317-1600x900.jpg - 322kB

[Edited on 7-3-2016 by nux vomica]
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[*] posted on 11-3-2016 at 00:59


I was unable to find the type of rubber stopper used with wide mouth vacuum flasks (probably because I don't know what they are called) so I cut a hole in a rubber stopper for furniture legs I found in a hardware store, the fit is nice and tight, I can lift the whole apparatus by the buchner funnel, not that I will of course.

DSC_2392.jpg - 1.8MB DSC_2396.jpg - 1.7MB
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[*] posted on 11-3-2016 at 02:23


Setting up my own lab. Great ideas here. Thanks all.:cool:
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