Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Periodic Table of the Elements Display Case

rasiel - 5-5-2016 at 15:11

So guys, what do you think? I posted this as a work in progress a few months ago and it's finally as ready as it's ever going to be. It's basically two sheets of acrylic sandwiching a bunch of smaller dividers all glued together to give a recessed hole for each element. While the table is fine as is obviously it looks so much more interesting with physical samples :-)

Elements case empty.jpg - 685kB

Partially populated with a Rubik's thrown in for scale. The most attractive and practical way of handling and displaying the elements is to have them embedded in PMMA resin (Lucite, Plexiglass). With precision grinding and polishing they then slot in really neatly.

1.jpg - 645kB

And a side view showing how the cubes rest in their cubby holes. A few are not embedded to show alternate display methods but whenever possible I always go for the resin cube.

elements display case side view.jpg - 1MB

I'm planning to make a business of this. Would love comments and suggestions! I do need to get some better photography, I can see that :)


gdflp - 5-5-2016 at 15:29

Beautiful job!

Did you prepare all of the samples yourself, or did you buy them from somewhere? I've considered doing something similar to this, but you seem to have perfected it before I had a chance to prototype! Now I guess I have <strike>a design to steal</strike> an example to work from. And is that an ampoule of liquid chloride sealed in acrylic I see?

I would highly recommend you post this in the Pretty Pictures thread, it certainly belongs there. Again, great job!

tshirtdr1 - 5-5-2016 at 15:54

Looks really great!

rasiel - 5-5-2016 at 16:37

Thanks guys!

I'm all thumbs. I couldn't have pulled this off to save my life. I made a sketch and commissioned a plastics designer to make it. Then I had to wait forever and a few hours to get it. From this prototype I made some notes for changes and now have a half dozen being shipped in from Le Chine (where else?)

I'm trying to determine the market for this sort of thing. Anyone reading this think it worthwhile to turn this over to a Kickstarter campaign? Anything I should be doing differently? Please guys, advise!


j_sum1 - 5-5-2016 at 17:14

Nice job. I really like it.

As a money-making venture, I would team up with someone who is already doing a good job selling element samples. The markets are obviously similar and you can put together some packages to the benefit of both of you.

phlogiston - 6-5-2016 at 00:15

Wow, that is beautiful! Good job.

I think one thing worth considering for a design like yours where the element samples and the frame fit an look so well together is that people may want to buy all the elements in the same acrylic blocks from the same source (ie you), so everything is nice and uniform.
However, probably only companies, museums or wealthy individuals will be able to afford a complete set.

So I would expect the market for periodic element sets of this size and quality to consist of a relatively low number of customers willing to pay a high price for a good looking set.

For some of the non-hazardous element samples it would be nice to have a sample that it is not encased in a much larger block of acrylic, so one can hold and touch it to appreciate its density, texture etc. Tungsten is one such example.

woelen - 6-5-2016 at 08:02

This look very nice. I myself nearly completed my collection of elements. I have all elements in relatively big ampoules (appr. 10 cm length), only a few elements are in smaller ampoules. I want to make a display case with rectangular cells (10 cm high, 6 cm width), so that the ampoules fit in. I am not yet sure how to make the display. A kickstarter project may be an option for me.

rasiel - 6-5-2016 at 16:30

Ah thanks for this reply because sometimes what seems obvious to me really isn't. I made this short clip to show how the table "works"

I'm just getting under way but made a website to sell the cubes separately too -> no doubt the most attractive solution is to get everything but I'm sure a lot of people would be happy with having just their favorite element as a desk ornament or whatever.

Also, to woelen, one idea would be to make a regular sized table then simply place the long ampoules laying down sort of like this

[Edited on 7-5-2016 by rasiel]

woelen - 7-5-2016 at 11:38

No, that is not an option for me. I want to have the periodic table as an exotic decoration on the wall. I plan to make a table of appr. 1.5 meters width and 0.8 meters height. In each of the cells I will have the long ampoules, put in a small hole, so that they cannot slip out of the cell, while at the same time they can be taken out easily.

I want to paint the entire table off-white and want to put a white LED in each of the cells. In this way it will become a very eye-catching and attractive display. In front of the table I will have two acrylic sheets, which can be taken off relatively easily.

Making such a table is a lot of work though.

phlogiston - 7-5-2016 at 12:45

Do you plan to have a large acrylic sheet covering many cells at once, or smaller sheets so that an individual cell can be opened while leaving the others closed?

Herr Haber - 7-5-2016 at 14:21

In one of the "Periodic Videos" on Youtube (with Martyn Poliakoff) you can see a periodic table just like what you are doing at the entrance of an university. Backlit and everything: beautiful.

I cant remember the video, I cant remember the university but I'll answer your question.
This is what I thought when I saw this magnificient periodic table:

Is there a market? Sure there is. How big is it? Not huge I suppose.
If I were living in my own place and not renting I'd also have a proper lab. And a proper lab would most definitely need one of your display case.

(And it would put to shame my ex gf with her periodic table shower curtain. Poor girl, father's a chemist (PHD), she's on her way to a PHD in physics and I had to tell her steel is an alloy...)

woelen - 8-5-2016 at 09:09

Quote: Originally posted by phlogiston  
Do you plan to have a large acrylic sheet covering many cells at once, or smaller sheets so that an individual cell can be opened while leaving the others closed?

I think something in between. One big sheet is hard to handle and not really safe if you want to remove it. Small sheets for every cell is a lot of work. I think I will use two (or maybe four) sheets, covering part of the display.

Eosin Y - 8-5-2016 at 11:20

This looks incredible! If only I could do something like this.

rasiel - 9-5-2016 at 18:52

I'm a happy camper! The UPS guy just came by with a load of goodies. Along with a new shipment of the large case from the beginning of the thread with 50mm slots I got a couple of these new ones with 25mm ones to fit 1in cubes.

Elements display case.jpg - 394kB

I'm also thinking of adding a very small case with 10mm wells to fit density cubes. Here's a rough prototype.

Small case to display elements.jpg - 216kB

Does anyone here have experience with Kickstarter/IndieGogo? From what I read only a small percentage of projects get funded.


MrHomeScientist - 16-5-2016 at 09:40

Really great work here. I considered making an all-acrylic design like that myself, but ended up going a different route. LED lighting in each cell would look amazing, but it would be hard to hide the wires! Did you make the acrylic blocks containing the samples yourself? How did you do it? That is something I'd like to do for some of the more dangerous elements.