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Author: Subject: Making a lab stand/rack setup - what is a good design?
RogueRose
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[*] posted on 26-2-2021 at 19:34
Making a lab stand/rack setup - what is a good design?


I've never really set up complex distillation setups but now I need to be able to do this and I'm thinking of maybe making some kind of adjustable stand or rack. I already have 3-4 lab stand bases but the rods seem to be missing for 3 of them, so that's why I'm looking at maybe making a new setup.

I was thinking of using a laminated wood base (7/8" thick) that has a very hard gloss/plastic veneer on it as I thought this might make it easier to clean up. I was considering drilling holes for the vertical rods and maybe recessing in some nuts on the under-side that the rods can screw into. I'd place a number of these across the bottom so I can adjust the distance & number of rods.

One of the main questions is whether to put these holes across the middle (length) or if they should be off-set so there is more room in front or back of the poles. I could make this up to 24" deep and was thinking that doing a 6"/18" to 8"/16" split to allow a for more working room on one side. Or there's the option to make it as narrow as possible (but remain stable) and relying on the counter-top to work on.

If anyone with experience has found something that works well for them and could give some suggestions or advice, I'd appreciate hearing your opinions.
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B(a)P
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[*] posted on 26-2-2021 at 21:09


Have you seen arkoma's set up?
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j_sum1
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[*] posted on 26-2-2021 at 22:17


Take a look at the tour my lab page.
Mine is made from nickel plated drawer handles mounted to the wall. I have not had any reason to complain about it so far.
Search yt for sum_lab to see what it looks like. (Watch yhe second dragon's blood video.)
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Sulaiman
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[*] posted on 26-2-2021 at 23:18


I suggest a minimum space of 5" / 125mm between your vertical rods and the rear wall,
to allow common clamps with 6" / 150mm rods to have a full range of positions.

P.S. if you think that you may do fractional distillations then you will need a lot of height available,
e.g. Lab Jack + heating mantle + flask + Claisen adapter + column + reflux condenser + take-off head + thermometer,
an NS24 implementation can easily exceed 4ft. tall.
and
leave enough space to accommodate a larger heating mantle than you currently plan for.

[Edited on 27-2-2021 by Sulaiman]




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[*] posted on 27-2-2021 at 03:25


Dougs Lab, on Youtube, has some decent installations. On some points, I had come up with similar installations.

There is a hardware piece, a round, flat, cast-iron plate, a few inches across. Just put some screws through it, to attach it where ever you like. It has a threaded 1/2 inch "Plumbing" socket at its center. Solder together some rods, utilizing Copper plumbing pipe, and threaded fittings. Ring Clamp bases will just "fit it". Don't like your configuration? Just move it a little bit. Screw it down differently.

Doug's stuff works pretty well. He runs a Ketene Lamp, on occasion.... And he survives; impressive.

I better check on this.... Time passes.....

OK,,,,, I'm back. I checked.

It is indeed Doug that utilizes those plumbing plates.

Why re-invent the wheel?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyUW5J-Kt5c

Pictures; better than words. I use Copper pipe. Doug might be using Conduit. Pretty sure Half-Inch, Cast Iron pipe, would be too fat.

[Edited on 27-2-2021 by zed]
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XeonTheMGPony
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[*] posted on 27-2-2021 at 04:56


I built mine from type L copper and made it very flexible for configuring for large set ups, still need more clamps though.
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zed
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[*] posted on 27-2-2021 at 08:21


Clamps are expensive, compared to the bargain prices, charged for glassware. Anyway, I recently bought, what seemed like an ample number of clamps and clamp holders. The result? I don't have nearly enough clamps. Not even close.
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XeonTheMGPony
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[*] posted on 27-2-2021 at 10:42


Quote: Originally posted by zed  
Clamps are expensive, compared to the bargain prices, charged for glassware. Anyway, I recently bought, what seemed like an ample number of clamps and clamp holders. The result? I don't have nearly enough clamps. Not even close.


how it all ways goes it seems!

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Retort-Clamp-Cross-Pattern-Lab-Exten...

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/4Pcs-Lab-Stands-Boss-Head-Clamps-Hol...
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Fyndium
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[*] posted on 2-3-2021 at 09:20


Quote: Originally posted by zed  
Clamps are expensive, compared to the bargain prices, charged for glassware. Anyway, I recently bought, what seemed like an ample number of clamps and clamp holders. The result? I don't have nearly enough clamps. Not even close.


1L flask is cheaper than the clamp you use to hold it. Funny.

I've got the same issue. Even though I've got half a dozen of clamps and another of separate holders and lots of bossheads, including 10 of my own made from delrin, and often I still find myself thinking what clamp could I take off without crippling anything to hold something.
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[*] posted on 2-3-2021 at 11:16



This is some sort of old potato chip rack from the little grocery we have here. It's sturdy as hell, and I have it attached to a full size desk.
20210302_125758.jpg - 240kB
I bought an assortment of used Fisher clamps and bolt heads. The framework was ALMOST to small for them to tighten up, but they don't break like the chinese ones do.
20210302_125813.jpg - 256kB
Use this metal strap to secure the top, and I,m far enough from the wall for a 5 gallon bucket to fit (condenser water)
20210302_125825.jpg - 201kB
This piece of concrete wall board in my rather fucked off work area is extremely useful. Fireproof, and fairly chemically resistant/self neutralizing.
20210302_125837.jpg - 229kB

Most expensive part of whole thing is the stuff from Fisher.




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[*] posted on 2-3-2021 at 12:56


I did the 1/2" black metal pipe uprights setting on a plywood base. WARNING!!! Your clamps may not fit. I had to buy special boss head clamps. Otherwise, it's great.
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XeonTheMGPony
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[*] posted on 2-3-2021 at 16:12


Quote: Originally posted by digga  
I did the 1/2" black metal pipe uprights setting on a plywood base. WARNING!!! Your clamps may not fit. I had to buy special boss head clamps. Otherwise, it's great.


Try 3/8th's ;) sch40
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mr_bovinejony
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[*] posted on 2-3-2021 at 17:25


I made mine with threaded 1/4 inch rods that are drilled into plywood and held from top and bottom by nuts and washers. Over the threaded rods are some hollow pipe that makes for easier clamping, they wobble a little but the clamps always hold. The horizontal bars are the same hollow pipes. It's all pretty corroded now, but I paid around 60 bucks for all this at lowes.

4× threaded rods
6x hollow rods
Nuts and washers
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Fyndium
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[*] posted on 3-3-2021 at 01:25


I used 12mm threaded rods prior, but installed two 16mm rods for more rigidity and made delrin bossheads from 50mm stock bar. Anything below 12mm is pretty wobbly, even when it's supported from both ends. I installed stationary stands from 12mm treaded rods directly to a table with the bottom only bolted, and it gets very wobbly when installing larger appliances like supporting distillation apparatus or any fractionating columns, droppers, etc and I'm planning on changing it to 16mm too.

The chinese bossheads and clamps have fit up to 16mm rods:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lab-Stands-BOSS-HEAD-Clamps-Holder-...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Adjustable-3-Prong-Flask-Clamp-Lab-...

I have separate lab stands made from 10x20cm by 10mm steel plate with 8mm round rod of 600mm high. They are decent as auxiliary supports for minor items, but are way too lightweight for any larger devices and started using dumbbell plates as added weight after having a couple of very close calls by almost having a dropper funnel and a flask fall over. The 8mm rod still bends a lot when a bit more weight is added, so I only use them to support auxiliary stuff like coldfingers, etc.

Nowadays I would make a lab stand from a larger plate, for example 15x25cm with 10-15mm thickness to give it at least 3-5kg of weight and mount a rod of 800-1000mm long either threaded rod or round bar of 12-16mm in thickness. Making a hole to such plate will be very demanding with hand tools, so unless available I'd ask a little help from someone who's got a decent drill press. I would rather thread the end of a round bar and the plate and tighten it with nut and washer directly onto it instead of using threaded rod, because it works way smoother with any bossheads and clamps and looks better.

Pic of the bosshead attached. It is a stock bar of delrin with two holes drilled with tightener screws tapped. The hole drilled with 16mm bit is extremely tight fitting to a 16mm rod and I had to use lubricant to slide it to place, good thing it's for the overhead stirrer so it doesn't have to be moved too often. They are rigid like steel - the clamps and whatever's attached to them will give up before they will.

boss.jpg - 90kB
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[*] posted on 3-3-2021 at 22:30


Well, I was making movable stands. But, it has become an unfinished project. 10 pound Wt. plates, with the type of fitting used on Doug's Lab. Gonna need Carbide bits to drill the screw holes. Those Wt. Plates won't yield to ordinary drill bits. Lord knows I've tried. I have an impressive drill press too. The metal is just too tough.

I suppose I can find Carbide bits somewhere. Just another obstacle. I've got lots of weight plates, and the instability of regular stands.... Troubles me.
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[*] posted on 4-3-2021 at 02:17


So you got AR500 target plates for lab stands? :D

Carbide'll do the job, if you press is sturdy enough. They are great, but brittle like glass and shatter at once if the machine vibrates. I've cracked my share of carbide endmills with my petty mill.
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[*] posted on 4-3-2021 at 13:36


The cast iron bases of floor lamps work pretty damn well.

*Edit* in my experience, when drilling cast iron, slow speeds and diesel fuel as a lubricant works well. Cast iron will "work harden" on ya.

[Edited on 3-4-2021 by arkoma]




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Fyndium
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[*] posted on 4-3-2021 at 17:11


I've found cast iron to be very nice to work with. It's the stainless steels that I truly hate.
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[*] posted on 8-3-2021 at 18:17


Stainless ate a brand new, rented/borrowed tap (now, bought). The stainless emerged unscratched. Really, untouched. The High-Carbon/High-Speed Steel tap? The cutting teeth, looked like they had been melted flat.

I suppose there is gear out there, that can do what I need done. But, it ain't standard gear.
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[*] posted on 9-3-2021 at 00:38


Some grades of SS work harden quickly if feeds are insufficient, dulling tools fast. Inconel and titanium have also this reckoned property, and at least the former must be turned with low speeds and aggressive cuts, hence needing lots of tonnage and horsepower from the machinery.
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Sulaiman
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[*] posted on 9-3-2021 at 01:11


One more reason to have lots of headroom where your clamps are :
50ml Burette + beaker + stirrer = over 1m tall.

For dtilling stainless steel - I use a lot of force immediately,
If you start soft and build up pressure/force then there is a good chance of work hardening.
A good dent with a centre punch, or a small pilot hole, helps a lot.




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[*] posted on 23-3-2021 at 16:24


I'm an electrician, so I basically took strut and made a square frame from which I hung some all-thread and this basically acts as a nice modular retort stand. I have two stations at different heights, one next to the other. Works like a dream!

I can add clamps to my heart's content, and if I need to make it taller to support a Vigreaux column, I can make it as tall as the ceiling.

I would recommend stainless, but quick wipe downs keep corrosion pretty minimal on any regular steels.
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