Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Quickfit Distillation/reflux apparatus- UK sources.

Gary1234 - 21-11-2011 at 09:17

Hi folks,

I am new to this forum, but have had a deep interest in home/hobby chemistry for many years (my interest in chemistry goes far beyond my chemistry degree!).

Now, I have been searching all manner of places for distillation/reflux apparatus (Quickfit) with ground glass fittings. Ebay UK sells a few components, but not complete distillation/reflux sets. There are a few US-based ebay sellers of complete distillation/reflux apparatus. I was thinking of buying one of these sets and have it shipped to the UK. However, I would prefer to buy a complete distillation apparatus from a UK supplier, if at all possible. Would you know of any UK-based suppliers, or should I just import one from the US? I have had a look at United Nuclear (a US-based company), but I do not think they ship outside the US.
I would be very grateful for your advice!

Oh, by the way, why is it that there are no companies in the UK who specialise in chemicals and apparatus for amateur/home chemistry enthusiasts? A UK-based science supply company along the lines of 'United Nuclear' would be fantastic!
I wouldn't even bother with Sigma Aldrich or Fisher.....they refuse to sell anything to individuals, including glassware!

[Edited on 21-11-2011 by Gary1234]

[Edited on 21-11-2011 by Gary1234]

[Edited on 21-11-2011 by Gary1234]

ScienceSquirrel - 21-11-2011 at 09:24

Sadly I do not know anyone in the UK that sells a complete range of Quickfit.
I have acquired mine by scavenging on eBay buying a few pieces here and there as they come up.
Beakers, flasks, test tubes, etc are more easy to acquire as they are used for aromatherapy, home brewing, etc.

Gary1234 - 21-11-2011 at 09:44

Quote: Originally posted by ScienceSquirrel  
Sadly I do not know anyone in the UK that sells a complete range of Quickfit.
I have acquired mine by scavenging on eBay buying a few pieces here and there as they come up.
Beakers, flasks, test tubes, etc are more easy to acquire as they are used for aromatherapy, home brewing, etc.

Thanks for your reply, 'Science Squirrel'.
I have no problems obtaining beakers and the most basic of lab glassware, but the same cannot be said for a complete distillation apparatus.
Would it be worth pursuing one of the science supply companies that supply schools and colleges? If they refuse to sell to me :(, then I guess that I could always import a complete distillation kit from a US-based ebayer.
I have been very upfront with the major science companies (Sigma and the like) and explained to them that I am an amateur chemistry/science enthusiast who is educated to Degree level in Chemistry, but they wont have any of it....they refuse to sell anything to me. Not even glassware. Oh well, I guess that it is back to the TV box for my daily fix of 'Bread and Circuses' (X-factor, Eastenders, Simon Cowell, and other assorted 'Celebrities' :o ). We can't have people exploring science now, can we :(

[Edited on 21-11-2011 by Gary1234]

hissingnoise - 21-11-2011 at 10:04

I used to buy quickfit glass from Timstar.
It's a few years ago, but I assume they still supply individuals . . .

Gary1234 - 21-11-2011 at 12:18

Quote: Originally posted by hissingnoise  
I used to buy quickfit glass from Timstar.
It's a few years ago, but I assume they still supply individuals . . .

What was it like to order from them? Are they easy to do business with? When you registered an account with them, was you upfront about what you wanted the glassware for (i.e. for your chemistry hobby)? In their T and C's, they say that they don't sell chemicals to individuals, but they do not mention 'non-chemical' items, like glassware.

Gammaray1981 - 4-12-2011 at 10:19

Timstar, since about 2008-9, do not sell anything to individuals. Chemicals, glassware, electricals, anything. A sad state, since they provided excellent service prior to that.

hissingnoise - 4-12-2011 at 11:33

There's always UGT!
Though a US company, shipping was, IIRC, fairly OK . . .

Gammaray1981 - 4-12-2011 at 18:25

Shipping to UK is about £35, from UGT. That's not too bad, and the glass is good quality, but the actual glass itself is quite expensive. I eventually went for Laboy glass, though I was initially skeptical of the quality given that it's from China.

"Echowzh123" on Ebay sells Laboy glass, including complete distillation kits, and it's good enough quality given the price - no cracks, bubbles or stars in any of the pieces in the set I ordered. I'm yet to subject it to much force, but it holds vacuum perfectly well.

Lambda-Eyde - 4-12-2011 at 22:23

My first standard tapered glassware was a 24/40 Kimax labset. But, being a European, the European sizes (24/29 instead of 24/40 etc.) are easier to come by, and the Europeans make more use of the 19 joint compared to the Americans. IMO the 19/26 joint is ideal for most work, and the glassware has a size that I'm comfortable working with in both experimental procedures and solvent distillation, whereas the big, bulky 24/40 apparatus is not really practical when you want to prepare, say, 5 mL of a particular ester. Especially when it comes to distillation, mechanical loss really sets in.

But, the point is that I ended up buying a load of European sized glassware - mostly used, of course. I'm in love with the European tapers (IMO they look better than the US ones - but that might be the glassware autist inside me saying that) and I'm planning to sell the 24/40 set. Yes, I'm aware they're interchangeable, but I cringe inside myself when I see the joints not fitting perfectly (again, my glassware autism :P ). Only thing staying behind is a 24/40 soxhlet extractor.

Only downside about European glassware is that they for some reason won't stick to one joint size. My distillation kit came with three different sizes: 24/29 for the flasks, 14/23 for the thermometer port, and 19/26 for everything else. Some pieces (the three-neck adapter and receiving adapter) have 24/29 male joints and 19/26 female joints, which sometimes is really handy, but sometimes it's a pain in the butt - say if I wanted to stick the adapter on top of a flask and add a thermometer (14/23), reflux condenser (24/29) and an addition funnel (19/26), I'd need two additional expanding/reducing adapters. And, if I want inert gas or a drying tube (both 14/23 in my case), I'd need another f#cking adapter. :P Reflecting that, my glassware collection has about 9 or 10 expanding/reducing adapters - that's almost as many pieces as my first distillation kit alone! :P

Oh, and something I have noticed. There seems to be to "schools of glassware" in Europe. In some places, you'll find that the B24 and B19 tapers are used for everything, like in Norway and the UK. But in Germany and Sweden they use B29 and B14. For example on a three-neck flask, you'd find one huge center joint measuring 29/32, and two tiny 14/23 joints on the side - for one thing, it looks weird (glassware autism again), but it's also impractical in most cases, as your addition funnels would have to have 14/23 joints (which is kinda small for that sort of work), OR you'd need a 14/23 to 29/32 expanding adapter, which looks kinda weird. In these countries, addition funnels of 250 mL and up are almost always 29/32, not to mention the condensers.

bahamuth - 4-12-2011 at 23:01

My first sets were Quickfit/Bibby both 14/23(B14) and a mixed set (as Lambda-Eyde mentioned) of 14/23-19/26-24/29 sizes.

The Quickfit 14/23 set suited me fine but was a little bulky, and so I got my hands on a 14/23 Kontes Bantamware set. The best design in my opinion, and unbreakable as of now atleast. Love the design to, and the Bantamware collection also includes a 100-150 mL reactor with 19/26(or was it 22) joint for mechanical stirring, plus three 14/23 joints and one 10mm joint (do not remember lenght) , just love my little reactor.....:P

Anyways, save up some money and buy a 14/23 Kontes set on ebay, expensive but will last.

Also think I share some of Lambda-Eydes glassware autism, sharing his views on taper intermingeling, and also prefer Kontes/Chemglass when it comes to design solutions and sturdiness.

Schott Duran used to be good stuff, now all it does is break in washing though it has excellent chemical and thermo-resistant properties.

Kimax is also good glassware, though a little less common, but complete kits are to be found on ebay once in a while.

plastics - 5-12-2011 at 08:42 sell a reasonable range of brand new quickfit though not cheap

Timstar do sell equipment to all comers - I just signed up via their website and ordered online. You have to have your account 'approved' to buy chemicals. Needless to say I haven't even bothered.

Sigma/Aldrich - forget it; they wanted me to fill in a four page document asking all sorts of sh1t and that was just for the catalogue!

ebay - time and patience will reap all sorts of bargains. Most of the quickfit glassware I have obtained has been cheaper than half price. Most recent purchase was a box of 10x FE50/3 erlenmeyers (26/29 50ml) for £20 (brand new in original box). Price from thelabwarehouse £13.85 EACH (ex VAT)

Corrosive Joeseph - 17-3-2017 at 23:31

Any updatded information for this thread...................?

Anybody deal with Timstar or thelabwarehouse lately.................?

Does anyone know any other UK suppliers of Quickfit glass (specifically 29/32)

Or even UK suppliers who deal with individuals these days..............

Sorry for all the questions. The time for new glass is long overdue..................!!


Sulaiman - 18-3-2017 at 01:53

CJ, other than chemicals, these guys have sold to me on several occasions.

Gary1234, I have moved up to NS24 and I've not used my Quickfit 10/14 kit for ages,
if interested I'll post photo's.

[Edited on 18-3-2017 by Sulaiman]

Corrosive Joeseph - 18-3-2017 at 09:17

Cool links................ TYVM Sulaiman

Yeah. I have decided to piece together a quality 29/32 Quickfit rig............

I like that size, I like their stuff and I don't have to wait months for delivery.................

This gear does NOT seem to be cheap though

29/32 stuff seems thin on the ground on eBay, and all that cheap Chinese glass seems to be 24/29

I will probably end up with both standards for a finish, but for now, money is tight but I want value and quality too (although those two words should probably never frequent the same sentence together!!)...............

If anyone else knows of UK suppliers who sell to the public, could they please post

Thanks again


Lambda-Eyde - 18-3-2017 at 18:04

If you're looking for 29/32 glassware you're in the wrong country, ref. my previous post (five years ago). Quickfit brand glassware with 29/32 is extremely rare from what I've seen. If you take a look at German eBay you'll have a hard time finding anything else than 29/32 though!

Corrosive Joeseph - 18-3-2017 at 18:40

Yeah, I'm beginning to figure all that out after alot of reading and eBaying..............
I haven't much glass at all but 1 thing I do have is a Quickfit piece with a 29/32 neck...........

I was just looking to standardize my size before I spend the money (I have some Rotovap glass in 29/32 as well). I was suprised to find 24/29 MUCH more common.................

The prognosis is two set-ups, 29/32 and 24/29, and just buy it piecemeal when good deals are found............
Ultimately I want more than one set-up anyways.................

I do prefer 29/32 glass though.................... There's just something about it.................

Anyways, the hunt is on.............. :o


Sulaiman - 18-3-2017 at 22:53

One problem with collecting glassware piecemeal is postage cost,
so for the stuff from China I think that it would be most economical to choose a supplier and place one large order.
Including retort stands, clamps, heating mantle, vacuum and/or water pump, tubing, s/s Keck clips ...... etc.

I would go as far as suggesting that you sketch your intended setup and matching shopping list for others to comment on before buying.

I suggest that you first go for the much cheaper 24/29 and/or 24/40 neck size (££), as it is suitable for up to a few litres of reagents,
you may never need 29/32 (££££).

I hate to say this, being British, but if you do go 29/32 I would consider Duran glassware,
it looks to be even better quality than Quickfit, as it should be (£££££££££)

Postage from USA seems horribly expensive,
but for a large order it may be worth contacting Dr.Bob to see if he can help ?

Quite a lot of my glassware I bought 'used', I call it 'tested'. :D