Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Tour My Lab

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Magpie - 10-11-2005 at 19:56

This is a continuation of what I started that ended up with Waldo in Whimsy. My purpose here is to show the lab I built this summer in my garage, i.e., the infrastructure and utilities. I encourage others to show features of their lab. (A thread just on equipment would also be very interesting.)

I often lamented the fact that I had no sink in my garage which I view as a severe limitation for a lab. Then it dawned on me that one wall of the garage is shared by a 1/2 bath inside the house. Therefore, hot & cold water + drain were just inside that wall! So I installed the sink shown below. The sink itself is 10" (25 cm) deep, aquired from a restaurant equipment supplier. (I just love putting ordinary items to a higher use :D).

[Edited on 11-11-2005 by Magpie]

[Edited on 11-11-2005 by Magpie]

EbC: reduced picture size.

[Edited on 26-1-2007 by chemoleo]

lab.jpg - 34kB

Darkblade48 - 10-11-2005 at 20:25

Very nice! I see that your recently made pellet press is sitting there as well :)

Where, may I ask did you get those wash bottles (I've been looking for some for the longest time), and where/how did you design your water aspirator? I've been meaning to build one for awhile, but I never got around to any good plans :)

Counter top looks nice too, make sure you don't spill any nasties on it ;)

Magpie - 10-11-2005 at 22:25

Thanks Darkblade. I just recently bought the wash bottles, a 250ml & 500 mL. Couldn't decide which one I wanted so bought both.

The aspirator is a common chrome plated brass type available for about $15. Then to the hardware store to get the necessary adapters to attach to the faucet.

I hesitate to give wide distribution to valuable sources of supply. They can disappear if abused or embarassed by kewls and the like. I will U2U this to you. ;)

Darkblade48 - 10-11-2005 at 22:52

Originally posted by Magpie
The aspirator is a common chrome plated brass type available for about $15. Then to the hardware store to get the necessary adapters to attach to the faucet.

Ah, I thought that you built the aspirator yourself, I'm pretty sure some members have done it before =)

Tacho - 11-11-2005 at 02:21

Congratulations Magpie!

Wow, is that clean! Glad you got such a nice place.

I saw the other pictures of your lab this week, but when I tried to post something, I could not find the thread anymore.

Magpie - 11-11-2005 at 09:19

Yes, Tacho - clean for now. That's the fun of new construction.

When I built my gas cylinders I wanted to leak test them for gas tightness. So I had to get an air compressor. I've needed one of these all my life for blowing out sprinklers, cleaning parts, etc. Somehow I could never justify buying one until the lab came along. :D

It's shown below:

EbC: reduced picture size.

[Edited on 26-1-2007 by chemoleo]

compressed.jpg - 65kB

Magpie - 11-11-2005 at 13:11

Here's some more infrastructure: "Do + Able" cabinets, available at your Home Depot if you live in the US. These are attached to a free-standing wall. The wall consists of a 4' x 6' sheet of 3/4" plywood. Mounted to the wall on the backside are shelves for counterbalance. I keep all my glassware and other small pieces of equipment in these. It's also my desk.

[Edited on 26-1-2007 by chemoleo]

lab.jpg - 46kB

Darkblade48 - 11-11-2005 at 13:44

Wow! Looks very nice, you're quite the DIY handyman.

You'll be soon building a fully equipped lab with fume hood and all :D

Magpie - 11-11-2005 at 19:02

Darkblade you are ahead of the curve again. I am saving the pictures of my crown jewel for last. :D

For those of us who live outside of the equatorial belt a source of heat is necessary if we are to enjoy our lab in the winter. I would likely use mine without one, I'll just enjoy it more and use it more often with the heater. I had to run a 240V line for this. Standard US voltage is 120VAC.

It is adjustable and I can aim it right down the aisle to my workstation. :D

EbC: reduced picture size.

[Edited on 26-1-2007 by chemoleo]

4000w.jpg - 36kB

Darkblade48 - 11-11-2005 at 23:27

Originally posted by Magpie
Darkblade you are ahead of the curve again. I am saving the pictures of my crown jewel for last. :D

:o That means you have a fume hood designed/built already! Stop beating around the bush and show us the goods! ;)

I like how the heater is called "The Hot One", though the line that runs to the heater doesn't look like 240V (power cable seems too small in diameter).

Magpie - 11-11-2005 at 23:59

Darkblade all in due time - you are getting spoiled. :P I'm also worried that you are spending too much time on the forum with all those tests coming up.

On the power cable: you have that backwards. The higher the voltage the lower the current and required wire size. The plug really faked me out as it looked about like a 120VAC plug in size. But one prong was turned 90 degrees. There is an outlet box; its just too high up to be seen in the picture (in the attic). I didn't have to run wire into the wall that way.

Actually, the main reason the cable is so small is that 4kw really isn't that big of a heater - just four big hair dryers. ;)

[Edited on 12-11-2005 by Magpie]

Darkblade48 - 12-11-2005 at 01:43

Originally posted by Magpie
Darkblade all in due time - you are getting spoiled. :P I'm also worried that you are spending too much time on the forum with all those tests coming up.

Shh, I only have a few tests left...I'll manage, I just need to sleep less so I have more time for the forums :)

Originally posted by Magpie
On the power cable: you have that backwards. The higher the voltage the lower the current and required wire size. The plug really faked me out as it looked about like a 120VAC plug in size.

And now you know why I'm not an electrician ;)

gsd - 12-11-2005 at 09:20

Nice Stainless Steel sink you got Magpie....

Just be careful not to flush halogen acids thru' it.

Magpie - 12-11-2005 at 11:04

Thanks gsd and thanks for the warning. I have already seen stains from iodine on stainless steel (not on my sink though ;)).


MadHatter - 12-11-2005 at 11:54

Nice looking setup ! I'll be moving in the spring from an apartment to a mobile home.
This will give me more privacy - especially when I run my still ! :D:D:D

Magpie - 12-11-2005 at 12:54

Thanks MadHatter. Speaking of stills a friend and former colleague wants to start making his own ethanol for fuel for his cars. He has located an 8' stainless steel distillation column w/pot & piping for $350. :o He has told his wife that that is what he wants for Christmas. :D I have told him that the economics aren't good. He says he's going to do it anyway as I think he wants to play, and also be in a knowlegeable position when the petroleum crunch really comes. I have been providing him free lab support for analysis of his fermentation product. I may have to start charging him.

Magpie - 12-11-2005 at 19:31

Here's 3 pictures of my homemade fume hood. These have been resized to a maximum dimension of 550 pixels so hopefully Taaie can put away his Dramamine. (Thanks Taaie for the software guidance ;)).

The hood dimensions are 41.5" H x 48"W x 28" D. (1" = 2.54cm). It is made from 14 gauge aluminum (1/16";). Inside is epoxy coated, except for the removable baffles (2 ea). There is a removable stainless steel pan with 1" high sides.

The blower is 120VAC, 1/4HP, 1000 rpm, squirrel cage, open one-end estimated to move 400-500 ft3/min. The ducting is 8" IPS 63 psi irrigation :D PVC with schedule 40 fittings.

The outlet plenum is 16 gauge stainless steel. Both sheet metal pieces were fabricated by local shops to my drawings.

[Edited on 13-11-2005 by Magpie]

The 4' x 7" fluorescent light rests on a tempered glass piece silicone caulked to the aluminum frame.

[Edited on 13-11-2005 by Magpie]

hood side view - resized.bmp - 664kB

Magpie - 12-11-2005 at 19:45

2nd picture:

blower - resized.bmp - 665kB

Magpie - 12-11-2005 at 19:54

3rd picture:

The window is a vinyl framed tempered glass double pane, 4' x 5'. Special order from Home Depot as it has only one sash ( this really puzzled them). Design intent is to have constant flow regardless of sash opening.

[Edited on 13-11-2005 by Magpie]

hood full frontal - resized.bmp - 665kB

Darkblade48 - 12-11-2005 at 22:34

Yes! I knew this day would come! :D

Amazing, simply amazing. I like the design, though the pictures somewhat cover up the fact that the aluminum panelling inside is epoxy coated (could have fooled me).

Seems really nice, in the third picture are the lights on or off?

Also, on the far left hand side of the fumehood in the third picture, I notice what appear to be 3 small brass nipples, and in the first picture, one of them appears to be attached to some rubber tubing.

I'm guessing that this is attached to the water aspirator that is in your sink that you also recently setup. Vaccuum filtration available and all ;)

I have a feeling that for air, you're going to make good use of your air compressor as well :)

Magpie - 12-11-2005 at 23:37

Yes Darkblade the nipples are exactly as you say. One is for a vacuum line from the aspirator at the sink. I ran it in 1/2" CPVC and you can see it in the blower picture. The other two nipples are for cooling water supplied by an ice bath/pond pump. If I get to using a bunsen burner very often I'll put in a nipple for propane.

I can't remember if I had the lights on or off - probably on. The picture is deceiving but with the 2-30w lamps the lighting is very good.

The two baffles directly on the back wall are removeable so I didn't paint them. They can serve as corrosion coupons. I may wish to adjust their spacing also as this controls the air flow pattern in the hood.

frogfot - 13-11-2005 at 10:02

This is nice Magpie! Very inspiring :)
Now I really wanna remake my polyethylene overdrawn hood to more solid one like yours. Though I'll go cheaper with something like plywood..

So if I got it correctly the air intake inside is destributed to top and bottom parts of the hood, like in commersial designs?

Fleaker - 13-11-2005 at 10:13

Wow looking very nice. But what to test it with? Ever thought about setting off a smoke bomb to see if this hood is doing what it is supposed to be doing?

Magpie - 13-11-2005 at 11:10

Thanks frogfot - that was my hope - to inspire. Space is just space - you can make it into what you want.

I studied the shapes of several hoods on the internet to learn the salient features. Directing flow seemed most important. The baffles do this via 3 gaps. At the bottom is a 2" gap, in the middle a 1" gap, and at the top the baffle is bent inward at a 70 degree angle. There is a 1.5" gap at the top that doesn't show in the picture. This bent end extends out past the 8" duct outlet.

Fleaker I have thought a smoke test would be very useful. I lit a candle then snuffed it out to make smoke. It showed good flow but I mostly just made a mess with all the dripping wax. If you hold a kleenex at the window opening it is pulled to a horizontal position. I don't do this anymore from fear the Kleenex will get away from me, go up the duct, through the blower and get pasted on the outlet screen. This screen is about 1/8" mesh to keep out the wasps. I don't want to have to tear into this area to get the kleenex out.

[Edited on 13-11-2005 by Magpie]

chemoleo - 13-11-2005 at 11:14

I once tested our professional fumehood with ammonia, and beta mercaptoethanol. If the fumehood is open about 30 cm, and you hold either bottle 25 cm in front of it, I couldnt not detect any smell at all - knowing that both are easily detected. I tried the same with a yellow bunsenflame - you can visibly see how well it is sucked in. Fumehoods are very efficient, I was quite impressed. No more I have a worry about dealing with nasty solvents in the fumehood - nothing gets out at all!

ordenblitz - 13-11-2005 at 12:50

Nice setup Magpie.

The one thing I am glad I did when I installed my hood was to set it on a drain pan.
I went to a local stainless steel shop and had them take a heavy gauge SS sheet and break a shallow bend from corner to corner such that it made a low spot in the center. Then I had them `cut a round hole in the center and weld a sink drain in. I built the stand for the hood out of 2x4's and supported the bottom pan around the outside edge, and screwed it down. I then ran a good bead of silicone sealant and set the whole hood down on it. I located my hood next to my sink and plumed it into the same drain.
Lastly, I put some sides and doors on my base frame and it made a great acid cabinet.

Having water and a drain in the hood is the cats ass!

Magpie - 13-11-2005 at 13:38

Chemoleo I agree that the fume hood capture is very efficient. When I was generating ammonia in an attempt to upgrade ammonium hydroxide to reagent strength I never smelled a thing! This hood will allow me to conduct experiments and syntheses I couldn't otherwise do.

Call me paranoid but keeping a low profile is very important to me. Just the sight of a beaker or RBF is enough to strike terror into the hearts of the chemically ignorant. So I don't do experiments in my backyard.

In my garage I'm lucky enough to have a window with southern exposure. So I get loads of wonderful sunlight coming in during the winter when its needed. I purposely put the hood in the SW corner where it can't be seen through that window from the neighbor's backyard.

But as a consequence of its location I'm a long ways from the drain in my east wall. So I can't easily get the nice features that Ordenblitz has. You can always run water but drains require proper slope - unless you want to install a lift station w/sump pump.

The_Davster - 13-11-2005 at 18:02

Awesome setup Magpie! Your fumehood beats my 'fumehood', if you can call it that, mine is a lucite box on a dryerhose with a beefy 120V computer fan. And I cannot even use it in the same room as my lab anymore!(lab switched rooms, it was built into a window.)

EDIT: Forgot to ask, where are you getting those hose barbs? The Rona/Revy near me does not have them.

[Edited on 14-11-2005 by rogue chemist]

Magpie - 13-11-2005 at 21:00

Thanks rogue. Those barbs are 1/4". On the outside it has female NPT. This is mated to a male NPT barb that you see on the inside. Use washers for spacers as required.

My local Ace Hardware store carries these with the other brass pipe fittings.

This thing popped up again so...

kaviaari - 23-12-2006 at 06:33

I am sorry to dig this kind of old thread, but Bromine asked ( for pictures. So I thought why not add a picture of my own.

Picture updated.

Ringstands, clamps, jacks etc. are in the cuboard with periodic table on it. The cuboard at the left side of the picture contains glassware and organic chemicals. The cuboard under the table with the "corrosive" sign contains mineral acids and solvents. Inorganic chemicals are in the cuboard next to the one with organics, sadly it is not in the picture. Oh and .. yeah, I really do have a rotary evaporator :)

[Edited on 13-12-2007 by kaviaari]

mylab.jpg - 73kB

garage chemist - 23-12-2006 at 09:17

Your fume hood looks awesome, Magpie! I've never seen one that is clad with metal on the inside.

kaviaari, what's in the nice Scharlau reagent bottle on your table?

I'm going to post pics of my lab as soon as I have cleaned it up a bit- it's incredibly messy at the moment.

kaviaari - 23-12-2006 at 09:26

Originally posted by garage chemist
kaviaari, what's in the nice Scharlau reagent bottle on your table?

It's anhydrous chromic acid and if I remember right when I took that picture I was making ammonium dichromate. I suppose that the small 50ml beaker with stirring rod is chromic acid solution.

Drunkguy - 27-12-2006 at 04:12

what the hell kind of vacuum can u pull with a 1.5HP pump? I need a pump that can pull <1 torr at some stage. I saw a nice looking pump for 0.5HP but dont have money for this atm.

Laboratory Pictures

Fleaker - 1-1-2007 at 22:33

Just a smattering of pics from the old laboratory my friend and I experimented in. Might as well post them.

Ok, the picture with the shelves of the glassware is only about a quarter of our glass, the rest was boxed up for a move. On the top shelf you see some boxes (fritted filtration setup), 700mm liebig, 400m Hempel, and then a large 40 theoretical plate fractioning column that's kinda hard to see. And yes, that is a 12" diameter buchner for scale. As far as Jesus goes, don't ask why there's a hole in his feet.

The picture of the household products shows our reagents. Most of the organics have been redistilled and rebottled, so that's just feedstock containers. All of the baggies in the middle of the picture are various transition metals. Up on top are (empty at the time of the photo) where we put the powdered metals and oxidizers in those large 3 gallon jars. In the left foreground is our Mettler analytical balance, on the right, our lab aprons.

Other photo is just of some random glassware, beer can is for scale. There's also a picture of our hydrogenator, it has 60 psi of H2 in it.

Last photo is of the large equipment, a 20L filtering flask for precious metals work, and the as-of-yet, unused 55L 24/40 jacketed pressure reactor flask, which I wanted to use for the hydrazine sulfate scale up, but now my friend and I are using it for Na methoxide prep of biodiesel. -Fleaker

P.S. This is NERV here, and yeah that beer is my own special treat, lol :P . Oh, and yeah sorry for not posting this year: I have been busy as hell with college and work.

Edited for accidental misinformation-those jars on top of the shelves were empty when I took this photo. They've since been filled.

[Edited on 2-1-2007 by Fleaker]

Magpie - 1-1-2007 at 23:27

Interesting pictures Fleaker, but I'm mostly jealous that you have a lab partner. It gets kind of lonely out in my lab at times. :( Then again there are never any disagreements about what expeiment to do next or who should clean up the dirty glassware. ;)

That hydrogenator is interesting. I have wished I had a Kipp generator at times. I've seen them on e-bay for ~$300 but I don't want it that bad.

Some of your reagents look familiar, ie, Red Devil lye, Ace toluene, and those blue solvent cans.

By the way are you and NERV pulling an all-nighter making that fuming nitric? Is that the way chemists celebrate New Years? :D

12AX7 - 1-1-2007 at 23:39

Gnaw, their way of celebrating new years is understandably more dramatic (hey, I think I see a jug of potassium permanganate there, and I bet it's lighter in weight since last night!). I'll let him expand if he wants. ;)


NERV - 1-1-2007 at 23:42

Off topic but Magpie, I must say that your fume hood is absolutely amazing. I hope to use your basic design premise in the hood. Fleaker and I are currently attempting to build a larger version in our own lab. My original idea was fairly skimpy and left a lot to be desired, but with the design you have put out, and a little alteration in materials used an excellent fume hood can be made relatively cost effectively. Thank you very much for your beautiful lab pictures. It’s almost like looking at super dirty porn when it comes to goggling at another’s laboratory :D .

Lol, yes it is very nice to have a lab partner, but when it comes to what experiment to run next we can get on each others nerves. Glassware cleaning is not much of an issue though Fleaker always likes to leave up to me (seems he’s always got to go home just before clean up, lol jk) :P .

Oh, and yeah this is definitely an all-nighter to get this nitric acid made up. We just switched flasks since our pear was full.

P.S. Sorry about misspelling grammar is not my strong point; Fleaker usually has to fix my posts up. I guess I am just a rough around the edges kind of guy.

P.S.S. actually no pyro this new years :( at least for me Fleaker had his own fun. This nitric acid more than makes up for it though! Oooooo the best part we didn’t even have to pay for the hydrogenator! It was a donation from a very generous Dr. at a local collage.

[Edited on 22-9-2002 by NERV]

Chris The Great - 4-1-2007 at 19:49

Words cannot express how jealous I am of that 55L jacketed flask you've got. Sure, I have no use for something like that but damn I could find a use. I'd take pictures of my lab but right now it is incredibly messy, didn't clean it up from my new years work since I've been too busy. Dirty flasks and beakers everywhere, paper towels everywhere, etc etc

YT2095 - 21-11-2007 at 08:54

I`m not sure if I should post in here or make a new thread entirely?
but since others have I will add to this one rather than make an entirely new one.

this should give a reasonable 1`st impression of what will meet you when you enter:

this is in the Stock room:

obviously there`s plenty that you Can`t see as it`s in closed drawers or boxes etc...

woelen - 21-11-2007 at 10:09

An impression of my lab:

A lot of storage space:

The contents of my storage space (chemicals and electronics stuff, also HV-stuff). Some people may recognize material, which I have on my website:

My lab consists of two rooms, which are connected to each other through some kind of "port". I have a roof window for ventilation and daylight (from the south). In hot days I can dim the sunlight with a sheet on the outside of the window.

This is the darker part of my lab, with lots more chemicals (many very small bottles, tens of grams per bottle). Here, I also have running water.

Below follows an overview of that part of the lab. There is some "fume hood", but that only is useful for experiments where not too much gas is produced or not too toxic gas.

Finally, when I do experiments which produce lots of toxic gas, or when I use the really nasty ones, such as thionyl chloride, then this perfectly ventilated room is used (not the red, but the green room ;) ):

Making this lab was quite a lot of work, but I do not regret this (I made this, together with my father, last spring). The only thing which really needs improvement is the fume hood. That may be a project for next spring.

The best thing is the large amount of storage space and the presence of hot and cold running water. All required tubing is nearby, because the boiler and heater already were present. Just needed to make some T-taps from the existing tubing.

EDIT: Changed links, so that they work again.

[Edited on 21-8-12 by woelen]

Fleaker - 21-11-2007 at 10:15

Very nice Woelen, and a good looking backyard too!

woelen - 21-11-2007 at 10:20

Yes, the backyard also is of great value. Not only for experimenting, also a good place to be in summer time (appr. 500 m2 total area). In summer time, the green stuff also gives good coverage. I have a lot of privacy in the backyard at that time, and then I can do nice experiments outside without having many prying eyes watching what I am doing.

Magpie - 21-11-2007 at 11:09

Very nice YT2095. Looks warm and cozy. It thoroughly looks like a place for discovering the wonders of chemistry. I see the Kipp generator and am getting jealous. :D

Woelen that is really first class! And very well equipped too. I am jealous of your outside facility as I have some experiments in mind for that kind of location. Although I have a large backyard, I am not as well protected from prying eyes.

12AX7 - 21-11-2007 at 13:28

All that green grass, how can you do anything outside? BromicAcid would be ashamed to burn stuff on there! :P


dapper - 21-11-2007 at 14:34

Fleaker/NERV - Amazing equipment, I'm jealous. Let me know if you need a lab-monkey.

Thanks for sharing, one and all.. I'm getting some serious lab envy.

The_Davster - 21-11-2007 at 20:34

Geeze I am getting lab envy as well now:P

Woelen were those pictures taken the same date as your post? So green! I have 4" of snow on the ground and no leaves on the trees now.

woelen - 22-11-2007 at 01:21

No, these pictures were taken last spring (IIRC end of March). But the grass still is as green as on the picture, the trees, however, now don't have any leaves anymore.

In summertime the trees are MUCH bigger than on the picture. I prune them every early spring, otherwise our garden soon becomes a forest :P.

Magpie - 12-12-2007 at 15:44

This is a reply to "benzylchloride1" about what blower to get for his Kewaunee hood. I moved this post from his NBS thread as it was off-topic there.

To get a feel for what blowers are available and appropriate take a look at the Kewaunee site (go into the specs and drawings on the pdf's). You can also look at the other hood manufacturers' sites.

You can spend a lot of $ on a blower or you can go cheap like I did. I imagine that explosion proof, variable speed, Teflon coated, and other special features are all available for the right price.

If you decide to go cheap I estimate that you can buy one from Grainger for under $300. This is for a constant speed, open one-side, "non-explosion proof," epoxy painted steel blower. My blower moves about 400-500 cfm at about 0.75" H2O pressure drop. Try to keep your ducting short and use minimal restrictions (elbows, reducers, etc). I mounted my blower on the ceiling joists almost against the outlet vent high on the wall. It is mated to the wall using an outlet plenum. Most of the ducting then is under suction. Professional labs usually elect to mount their blowers on the roof then add a 10' stack. I didn't do that. You can, however, if you don't mind attracting the extra attention you would surely get.

I designed the hood and the outlet plenum then had each fabricated by sheet metal shops - again not cheap.

Standard duct diameter is 10". I used 8" and it works just fine. Your design target is ~100 ft/min for face velocity of air moving into the hood. So you select a blower that can provide this based on its "fan curve," a plot of flow (cfm) vs pressure drop ("H2O).

You can see pictures of my hood installation and get some specs earlier in this thread. If you have any other questions just ask. BTW my ducting is PVC and the outlet plenum is stainless steel.

FYI, the particular blower I bought is:

Grainger may not sell this direct to the public. I had to get an HVAC dealer to order it for me.
[Edited on by Magpie]

[Edited on by Magpie]

Alan - 17-12-2007 at 08:08

Very nice set up you have there magpie! I REALLY love the vent hood, i have the materials to build mine but i have no room :(

I will have to take pictures of mine next time I'm bundled to go out side (my garage is my lab)

Oh, btw i am new here. Ive lurked around for a few moons but never got around to registering.

Great forum guys keep it up!

Alan - 19-12-2007 at 14:10

All right here we go.

Magpie - 19-12-2007 at 15:12

Nice going Alan. It looks like your chemistry is overtaking your mechanical work bench - that's the right priority! You have a nice mix of kitchen implements along with regular lab glassware. I especially like the line-up of tea cups in the 1st picture. Mind if I drop by for a cup of acetyl chloride? :D

Jor - 19-12-2007 at 15:39

Nice all.
Mine coming soon. I am first trying to install running water as i dont want to run to the kitchen all the time to flush down the drain. And corrosives are a pain if I don''t have tap water nearby, so that's a priority.
Also i will want to buy a small refrigerator as opening methanol and 36% HCl isn't going to be nice during the hot summer months otherwise :(

I want to ask one question to you all. It seems that most people ,except chemeleo and odenblitz and some others , have most of their substances in non-reagent/lab bottles. Is it supplied like that or do you guys prefer the cheap OTCs?
I rather spend some extra money and the having only nice lab-grade chems. But ofcourse, I will do most microscale like woelen , so i only need small quantaties.

Magpie - 19-12-2007 at 15:46

I gave up on trying to store my strong HCL (36% muriatic) in my lab in the garage. It was corroding all my steel tools. So I placed it in my outside shed where I keep my solvents. This is not the perfect solution either as the HCl vapors are attacking my lawn mower and steel shelving somewhat.

Alan - 19-12-2007 at 15:51

I forgot to mention, those tubes are for charges/fountains (I'm into H.E and L.E mostly) and the buckets are 50Lb lots NaNO3,KNO3,NaCO3,NH4NO3,C,S,C12O11H22,flour

About the HCL, i put a little sandwich baggy over the top of the bottle (layed side ways) then i screw on the lid, no vapors/no leaks.

Jor - 19-12-2007 at 16:36

When i get the HCl I will put it in tightly closed garbage bag filled with some sodium(bi)carbonate. then i will put that in the cooler at about 5 C . Does Hcl 36% fume much at temperatures of say 10 C ?

Magpie - 19-12-2007 at 18:24

Jor, here are some data for 36% aqueous HCl from Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook, 4th ed:

Temp, deg C..........HCl partial pressure, mmHg


It looks like the refrigeration would help quite a bit, especially if you can get it close to O deg C.

LSD25 - 21-12-2007 at 22:07

I am currently in the process of moving all of my bits and pieces into a single shed, which has been put aside purely as lab-space... This will be rather enjoyable, not least of all because now everything will have a place and everything in its place.

Magpie, as you appear to be the ranking expert on this topic, I seek your advice on what is necessary (this is for general - rather than specific - experimentation).

Now has anybody tried using the exhaust gasses from a stationary motor to (1) generate a vacuum; (2) draw offensive fumes from a fume hood; and (3) dispose of said fumes?

I ask as I am in the process of designing a vacuum generation system for my lab-space, with a fume-hood and while trying to work out how to dispose of some rather nasty by-product fumes and this came to me whilst trying to sleep in the middle of sorting this shit out...

Now all motor vehicles generate a vacuum through what is in effect a gas-aspirator running off the exhaust gasses, these gasses are at some pretty serious temperatures (surely sufficient to destroy most of the by-product fumes - particularly when used with activated carbon filters, etc.) and if properly designed should even be able to evacuate the fumes from a small hood...

I'd like some feedback on this, I am in the process of setting up the lab now and it is quite a job.

BTW, here is a link to a discussion on the use of compressed air to generate a vacuum (via aspirator):

Unfortunately, although this would be good, it would not dispose of the fumes - which I would rather dispose of thoughtfully, rather than just pump into the atmosphere:o

Magpie, with your fumehood, is it feasible to build an additional add-on sash with built in gloves - thus allowing you to use it as a combination fumehood/glovebox?

12AX7 - 21-12-2007 at 23:12

Automobile vacuum systems have been based on intake suction since vacuum systems were implemented.

Seems to me a corrosion-proof pump circulating a closed water loop through a common lab aspirator would be what you want. Doesn't pull much for CFMs though.


[Edited on 12-22-2007 by 12AX7]

not_important - 22-12-2007 at 04:23

Running sulfur or halogen containing gases through an internal combustion engine isn't going to help increase the life of the motor.

You need to distinguish between corrosive gases, just toxic inorganic, and organics and volatile hydrides like sulfides. The last group is a target for combustion, the first for water absorption and neutralization.

At one time you could buy a deice that was similar to aspirators except it only pulled a mild vacuum. Made of glass, often with a long 'tail' with bends in it to make sure the water and gases mixed. Originally designed to be just run down a drain, but in a recirculating system you could treat the water to neutralise the absorbed gases.

For a fume hood you'll want a fairly high volume of airflow, more than an IC is going to pull.

LSD25 - 22-12-2007 at 06:40

The proposal was not to pass the gas through the internal combustion engine - but to build an aspirator into the exhaust manifold - uses the same principle as an afterburner - the superheated exhaust gasses cause the ignition of the additional flammable material...

I have since decided fuck it, it is really not that difficult to build a plunger pump - which should be ample for what I need, with the added benefit that most of the gasses will liquify at ambient temp. & Pressure, thus allowing for proper disposal and/or reuse as appropriate. Those that can be absorbed/adsorbed and/or neutralized will be... Unfortunately I'm stuck with septic rather than sewer, so I have to take great care with what is put down the drains.:o

Magpie - 22-12-2007 at 10:53


Now has anybody tried using the exhaust gasses from a stationary motor to (1) generate a vacuum; (2) draw offensive fumes from a fume hood; and (3) dispose of said fumes?

Before I gave up and bought a blower I did try to build an air driven jet suction device based on the venturi principle as used in an aspirator. This was suggested in Ammen's book on refinining of precious metals. But he only gave a crude sketch, no details. In the 3rd picture of mine (above) you will see a number of PVC pipe pieces by the cabinets. Those are from my experimentation in this area using my old household electric furnace blower as motive air. I did manage to create some vacuum (0.5"H2O) but the system was not nearly sufficient to move the large volume of air needed for a fume hood (my blower draws 400-500 cfm @ 0.75"H2O pressure drop). Commercial jets are available that are commonly used at construction sites for their portability and ease of setup. The only utility needed is a source of high pressure air (~90-120psi, IIRC). They move a lot of air. They are also, I understand, quite noisy.

For example, see:

There's no reason why you can't cut two holes in a sash (glass, plexiglass, whatever) and silicone glue some long rubber gloves to those holes. However, my sash would not be acceptable for this as my hood design is based on a constant air flow regardless of sash position, ie, when I lower it to closed on the bottom it just correspondingly opens the space at the top above the sash.

[Edited on by Magpie]

Jor - 3-2-2008 at 10:24

pictures I promised to post:

working bench
(very dark, dark camera as well , door is 1 meter to left.)
solids (excludes oxidisers and very common reagents, tomorrow 8 more solids arrive)
Acids (plastic bottle is 'pure grade' sulp, middle one is p.A, right one is nitric.)
organic solvents (L to R: acetone, methanol, acetic glacial ; ethanol doesnt fit in there, its the 2,5L jug you see in pic 1.)
(storage place , keep common solids, glasware, empty bottles/containers here , also my 2,5L hydrochloric acid in a plastic bag.) (outside, experiments involving gasses are done here, altho not much can be produced due to neighbours.

All pictures are a lot darker than they are in reality.

[Edited on 3-2-2008 by Jor]

[Edited on 3-2-2008 by Jor]

woelen - 3-2-2008 at 14:06

Jor, the only thing I can say is WOW! You did a really good job making this nice workbench. It looks very neat and clean :). Also the storage is a nice and clean place. That is the way I like it. A clean and ordered place is a pleasure to work in. I would say, keep it that way and nice to see that you now got started!

Jor - 3-2-2008 at 14:19


I didnt make the workbench myself though, my parents did it for me :)

It;s really nice to finally have running water. Now I can handle all acids, without having a fear for running to the kitchen.
It's quite cold now though, I tried preparing a 50% acetic acid solution today, but to my surprise all the stuff was frozen ! :D
Also my nitric acid/copper reaction took ages to get going, so I just neutralized the stuff with NaOH and flushed down the drain. What a waste of acid :(

chemkid - 3-2-2008 at 16:00

Photos of my lab can be found here: just scroll to the bottom

Jor - 4-2-2008 at 01:01

nice pictures. But where is the running water? Scary if you spill something on your skin !

Oh, and I like the site with the safety label with dihydrogen monooxide :P

ScienceGeek - 4-2-2008 at 10:34

Considering I still live with my parents, this ain't so bad, is it? :P

"Non dangerous" chemicals and glassware:

Dangerous chemicals:

And acids (and ammonia):



As you can see, the sink has taken quite some beating:

Jor - 4-2-2008 at 11:03

Very nice! i wouldnt store ammonia and hydrochloric acid next to eachother though.

ScienceGeek - 4-2-2008 at 12:17

I know! I usually don't! :)

chemkid - 4-2-2008 at 12:33

"A tidy laboratory means a lazy chemist."

That lab sure is tidy :). I like the lithium though.

Oh sorry, the sink is just infront of the right half of my lab, guess that didn't make the pictures.


ScienceGeek - 4-2-2008 at 12:42

hehe...kind of contradictory!
It seems I am in a bit of a paradox, as I stand by my "motto", but at the same time suffer from perfectionism :S
Anywho...not only does it look better, but it is much safer to have a tidy laboraratory!

DJF90 - 4-2-2008 at 13:25

Is that white phosphorus I see in the fridge ScienceGeek? ;) Nice arrangement you have with your parents :P

ScienceGeek - 4-2-2008 at 14:05

It might be ;)
Not to be mean in any way, but furtunately my parents barely know what H2O is!
Of course, I'm not implying that I don't know what I'm doing :)

chemkid - 4-2-2008 at 14:06

i must agree with you there sciencegeek. Though i agree i can't represent my opinions with my actions very well. ;)

ScienceGeek - 5-2-2008 at 13:30

Originally posted by Jor

I want to ask one question to you all. It seems that most people ,except chemeleo and odenblitz and some others , have most of their substances in non-reagent/lab bottles. Is it supplied like that or do you guys prefer the cheap OTCs?
I rather spend some extra money and the having only nice lab-grade chems. But ofcourse, I will do most microscale like woelen , so i only need small quantaties.

To answer your question, Jor, I really do prefer nice lab- grade chemicals!
It looks better (especially with the hazard symbols :P), and it is easier to understand the "content", due to the fact that most chemical labels are supplied with R and S- phrases.

As a perfect example on why you pay a little extra for lab- grade chemicals, consider this analysis printed on the label of a bottle of 65% Nitric acid.

woelen - 5-2-2008 at 13:45

ScienceGeek, there always is a trade off between price and quality. I myself am more the type of person who only wants to pay for what really is needed. That bottle of nitric acid you show is nice, but probably it costs EUR 20 or more. I can get acceptable quality nitric acid of similar concentration for 1/3 of the price. E.g. for nitrating cellulose, you really don't need such pure reagents.

I certainly do not say that we should use the stuff like household cleaners, loaded with dyes and other crap. With that, no real chemistry can be done (unless one first purifies the active ingredients and some people on this forum do a really nice work on that). But the very pure reagent grade chemicals for most of the experiments we do are overkill. I know of people who make firecrackers with ACS-grade KNO3.

I do have some reagent grade chemicals, but only in very small quantities. These mostly are chemicals, which find no use outside a lab and simply cannot be purchased at technical quality.
I can say that for 99% of the chemistry we do at home, general lab grade already is more than sufficient, and I have noticed that even pottery grade metal salts are very suitable for a fantastic range of experiments.

ScienceGeek - 5-2-2008 at 14:08

I completely agree.
I merely wanted to say that sometimes, lab- grade chemicals are needed, as when making silver salts, for instance, that needs to be pure.
For other reasons, such as when performing the Thermite experiment, Iron Oxide from the nearest pottery supply will more than suffice.

It all depens on what kind of experiments you do!

PS: I didn't buy the bottle of Nitric acid. My chemistry teacher donated it :)

woelen - 5-2-2008 at 14:19

Well, if chems are donated, then of course you want the highest possible purity :D.

And I also agree that certain transition metal experiments require pure chemicals. I sometimes find very peculiar color changes with complexes of transition metals and then it always is good to know that these are not due to impurities, but really are due to some interesting unknown (at least to me ;) ) complex.

showing off...more to come!

stoichiometric_steve - 20-2-2008 at 12:32

i just had to post this :)

Distillation of MeOH, recycled from CTH attempts.

The final parts needed for this solvent still were sniped on ebay: the column is a 50cm Vigreux (60EUR), the column head (40 EUR) has a double face condenser and permits intermittent draining or change of the receiver vessel while maintaining vacuum.

Close up:

I will attach a 3-way valve to switch between the funnel receiver for solvent recycling and a fraction collector for smaller volumes, so i don't have to reassemble the still each time.

The pump pulling the vacuum is a KNF N022 AN.18 diaphragm pump which needed new valves (40EUR for the pump, 3EUR for the valves).

I have 2 more of these KNF pumps, if anybody is interested. they pull 100mbar/75torr/mmHg. Data sheet here.

To the very right you can catch a glimpse of a Thermovac TM201 highvac gauge (a PTFE tape roll on top) attached to an Edwards E2M1.5 2-stage rotary vane oil pump (1*10E-4mmHg) via a TR201 Pirani sensor, standing next to a KNF N735.3 AN.18 2-stage diaphragm pump (13mmHg), waiting to have sex with the other 2-stage N035.3 AT.18 in the storage room. I hope they will have many, many siblings.

All of those are situated below this lovely shiny cabinet:

Don't ask how much i've spent on lab equipment, gotta be in the 1*10E4 EUR range as of late... :cool:

I'm penta-gone for today! pz

[Edited on 21-2-2008 by stoichiometric_steve]

[Edited on 21-2-2008 by stoichiometric_steve]

[Edited on 21-2-2008 by stoichiometric_steve]

SecretSquirrel - 21-2-2008 at 06:42

^ Wow!:o That is a nice setup. What kind of reaction were you performing?

Jor - 21-2-2008 at 14:01

I love the fume good. I guess the 3 large bottles on the lower part of the fumhood are nitric, sulphuric and hydrochloric?

stoichiometric_steve - 21-2-2008 at 15:28

Originally posted by Jor
I love the fume good. I guess the 3 large bottles on the lower part of the fumhood are nitric, sulphuric and hydrochloric?

Nope, they are 2x 2.5L tert-Butyl-methylether and 2.5L of Cyclohexane. top row: 2x 500ml + 1x1000ml BF3*Et2O, a bit of CHCl3, 1L CHCl2, 1L DMF, 3x1L MeOH, the rest i cant remember.

I only store organic solvents in the hood. Acids and bases stand nearby on the shelf. I don't even have nitric acid ;)

domaani - 22-6-2008 at 07:14

Some pictures from my lab, has changed a bit now.




stoichiometric_steve - 22-6-2008 at 07:35

NICE, domaani!

NERV - 22-6-2008 at 07:40

Domaani you have an very beautiful lab!!! Looks like you keep busy with all that glass. Very nice Buchi rotovap there in the first picture :D I am jealous.

12AX7 - 22-6-2008 at 07:48

You call that a lab!? The stainless isn't even rusted! :D


chemkid - 22-6-2008 at 09:47

Is that personally or comericially funded? Whoaa...its cool either way. Thats some nice glassware.


The_Davster - 22-6-2008 at 10:40

I like the last picture...I like the pictures of obviously well used labs:D

Klute - 22-6-2008 at 14:32

Very impressive!

I sware, one day, I'll have a similar lab! :) And I will never come out of it :D

kaviaari - 30-6-2008 at 00:03

I though it would be nice to post a new picture. The lab has changed a bit since the last one was taken.

[Edited on 30-6-2008 by kaviaari]

Jor - 30-6-2008 at 07:19

But... CLEAN UP!
I clean up all the time, and it's a pleasure to work in an ordened place. however, my desk is stained. Cause: Iodine.

These are some bad stains, very hard to remove:

[Edited on 30-6-2008 by Jor]

DJF90 - 30-6-2008 at 14:30

Sodium thiosulphate solution is good at removing iodine stains. You'd probably need to scrub a little but it should work wonders :P

Jor - 30-6-2008 at 15:44

Yes, I know, but I have only little reagent grade (100g or so) of sodium thiosulphate. I really don't want to waste that on cleaning. Rather use it for experiments.
Sodium thiosulphate is not so cheap reagent grade at Fisher,Baker,Acros,Merck,Panreac,Interchema, Aldrich or Chem-Lab(so buying it at those companies is not really an option, I buy most of my chems there though) , but it is at However, that will be not effective. Too much shipping costs.
I tried potassium metabisulphite (very cheap), and did not work out great.
I will try to remove these stains this weekend.

pantone159 - 30-6-2008 at 16:00

Maybe try some photo suppliers? Thiosulfate is extremely commonly used for fixing silver film, and is generally cheap.

Magpie - 30-6-2008 at 18:43

Jor, if you can't get those reductants to work I suggest using a standard kitchen abrasive cleaner. The one I used on my ss sink is Comet (US brand) which is an abrasive powder with a tiny amount (~1%) of chlorinating agent. My sink isn't smooth stainless likes yours, however, and the abrasive may scratch it noticeably.

A milder abrasive is the one sold here to clean the glass tops of stoves. That might work and leave less scratches.

prole - 3-8-2008 at 18:10

I've been looking around at lab furniture to get ideas for my own space. I must say that the pics posted in this thread are inspiring! My darkroom doubles as a lab and is getting way too cramped and untidy, so I'm designing some work stations and casework to locate in the new 'facility'. It would be nice to have my glassware brought out of the Rubbermaid bins stacked in the corner and properly stored. But right now I am asking for ideas for a suitable countertop surface that I can construct myself, and that won't absorb spills or react with chemicals. I can't do exotic resins or stainless steel for budgetary reasons. Uncoated wood is right out. I was thinking maybe dyed concrete coated with sealer, but many sealers I am aware of are acrylic based and might react or dissolve in the event of a spill. Is there a coating or laminate that is chemically restistant that one might obtain and apply relatively easily (ie, at standard temperature and pressure)? Any feedback would be appreciated, thanks.

DJF90 - 3-8-2008 at 18:15

I was planning on using a laminated "kitchen worktop". I think the laminate is formica. However I am now going against that idea as it is much cheaper to buy some 12mm thick MDF and "paint" it with epoxy resin. I would then sand it smooth, and add another coat, this time sanding with very fine sandpaper as to not remove much of the epoxy, but to leave a smooth finish on the worksurface. This is essentially what I will do to build a fumehood when I finally get myself sorted out... so many plans but no implementation as of yet :(

prole - 4-8-2008 at 08:44

That seems like a good idea. Coat some MDF or plywood with a suitable epoxy resin, like some garage floor coatings. I'm off to the hardware store to get more info on what's available, and also to get a new respirator for all the dust it looks like I'll be making. Though I was sorta looking forward to the problems and headaches that go with casting concrete countertops, this looks to be an easier, and quite frankly, a better idea. Thanks, DJF90.

DJF90 - 4-8-2008 at 13:23

No problems. Make sure you come back with pictures so we can see how it goes :D I will be doing this myself at some point also, and so any advice you can give after going through the process would be appreciated.

DNA - 31-8-2008 at 23:13

I will also post pictures of my just newly finished laboratory as soon as I cleaned everything and the paint is dry and all glassware is in the cupboard.
I am only wondering magpie what kind of suction do you have in your fumehood as I noticed that my fumehood won't make a tissue being sucked in at the bottom like you mentioned.
Did you also make aerodynamic plates so that there is a particulair circulation?

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