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Author: Subject: Seeking advice on basic labwares (Assay lab)
Ragnor
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[*] posted on 13-5-2016 at 17:16
Seeking advice on basic labwares (Assay lab)


Hello, I intend to set up an assay lab soon. I will be recieving a small lump of money in the coming months and one of the things I will be purchasing is lab furnishings to set up a precious metals assay and recovery setup.

I will be wanting to seperate and refine materials containing Au,Ag,Cu,Pb,Ni and a handfull of PGM's

I will be synthesising my own acids as well as doing the qualitative analysis.
I would also like to dabble in some distillation of various solvents and pulling essential oils and constituents from various plant species.

I thought maybe I would come onto a chemistry forum or two and see what feedback I get as far as what labwares I should focus on for a fairly complete basic lab setup. As far as quantity of material we are looking at less than 100 gram batches for the most part.

Are there any good compete basic chemistry sets around at a reasonable price?

What company's provide quality products at a reasonable price?

I'll be building my own fumes hood, so I wont need that part. Mostly just the labwares, maybe a heated stirring plate, thermometers? Things like that.

Hopefully this is a good place to ask.
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[*] posted on 13-5-2016 at 21:26


Welcome,

Is this recovery/refining/assay lab for fun or profit ?

If for profit then I suggest you join a forum such as http://goldrefiningforum.com/

If for fun and learning then you are in the right place.
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j_sum1
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[*] posted on 14-5-2016 at 04:15


The joys of coming into "a lump of money".

As always with these questions, the more specific you are about what you will actually be doing and how you will do it, the better your answer will be. Your question is very like going to a car-enthusiasts' club and asking what kind of car you should buy. You are talking to people in the know, but it very much depends on what your situation is.

What methods do you think you will use for precious metal recovery? There are a bunch of different techniques -- each with advantages and disadvantages. User, kadriver recently posted here a method that used acetic acid and avoided many of the nastier chemicals. He has a good channel on metal recovery -- one of many out there. Goes by the YT tag, sreetips.

A couple of things to think about which will help you make your choices:

You want also to think carefully about the wastes you will produce and how you will dispose of them. This depends a bit on the source of your metals and what is in them. Processing ICBs is going to be very different from purifying jewellery scrap.

One common item to all precious metal recovery is a furnace. And with it you will need crucibles, tongs, gloves and other PPE.

If you are making your own acids, a lot depends on the volume you need. I am guessing you are making nitric from OTC sulfuric and a nitrate. If that is the case then you will probably want some dedicated equipment that you run regularly -- aside from other chemistry endeavours you might do. So, calculate your required throughput, pick a size and buy your glassware. I think Doug's Lab on YT has a video where he runs two 1L flasks and condensers simultaneously. That will give you a bit of an idea. Cody's Lab uses a retort which he ran all day for a recent project.

For some of your metals you might be wanting to recover or refine by electrolysis. A good power supply is essential and is one of the first pieces of lab equipment I got. No regrets there at all.

For plant extractions there are plenty of essential oil kits out there. I cannot say how good they are but the same basic design seems to crop up regularly. You might also get good value out of a soxhlet extractor. (Cool-looking piece of glassware if ever there was one. I want one for making coffee. And if I ran a cafe I would have one or two on display.)

As far as suppliers of glassware go, I am a fan of reacware. I have had nothing but excellent service and the quality has been outstanding. deschem is another good supplier on eBay and many users here have bought from them. laboy glass and ben310(?) are other good suppliers who are mentioned regularly. A bit depends on where you are located and whether you are happy with Chinese glass. Don't forget your clamps and stands.

You will need a heat source. A good stirrer-hotplate is pretty much essential. Or you might substitute with a heating mantle. Or, ideally, have both. Plenty of threads around discussing the demerits/demerits of various brands.

A good set of scales is essential. I make do with a kitchen scale that goes up to 7kg in 1g increments and a smaller cheap jewellers' scale that does to 300g in 0.01g increments. Total outlay, $20. If you need accuracy then you should spend more money than I did on these and/or throw in a set of calibration masses.

Likewise there are a bunch of threads that list basic equipment for a lab set up. You always need more glass funnels. You should do a search on these -- if only to make sure you have not forgotten something. If you are doing assay work then you will likely need some good measuring equipment -- volumetric flasks, pipettes, burettes for titrations if you are going the wet route. For other kinds of analysis, I am probably not your best person to ask. A lot will depend on your budget.

Finally, don't forget to factor in some interest from police or even a three letter agency if you live in some jurisdictions. Keep a lab journal to document what you are doing. It has great explanatory power and covers the matter of "intent" which is what is generally needed to resolve legal questions about what you are up to.




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Eosin Y again
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[*] posted on 14-5-2016 at 04:28


A very good thermometer.
A cheap stir bar hot plate
Cheap distillation apparatus on Ebay
Once you have posted more, I will U2U you the name of a member here who supplies me with my chems.
I am the second account of Eosin Y after Bert banned me (look in Forum Matters.)
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[*] posted on 14-5-2016 at 08:12


For precious metals, it is common to use graphite crucibles. You will also need crucible tongs.



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Ragnor
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[*] posted on 14-5-2016 at 12:12


Thank you all for the replies. I will definately be checking out the goldrefining forum. As far as my source materials. They are real live refractory ores that I have been collecting from the North Cascades. I am a bit more aware of the values that may be found in 'pyrite' than the old timers who seam to still just throw it away. Brittle gold alloys, who would have thought it?

Here is a link to some of the materials I have collected this spring.
Native metals
The teal blues are one of the most interesting minerals to me. I also forgot to mention Cr and Mb in my original post, but they play a large part in the PGM bearing ores.
My area contains very little Hg, but I do not view that as a waste product either but rather a valuable resource.
For the most part I will not be producing any toxic wastes. I want to extract and recover as much of my reagents and materials as possible. Pretty much anything left over should be safe enough to add to the soil in my garden for micronutrient content. That is my plan at least.
Obviously I am not a trained chemist, just a hobbiest. Most of my knowledge comes from "Basement chemistry for the prospector", by Ken in Cr. He was a brilliant man 'Nasa retired'. I would suggest looking up one of the archived versions of his web page if you are so inclined. He is no longer with us.
I don't plan on running any industrial scale operations any time soon. Mostly I just want to have the means available to recognize a valuable ore vien when I see it. After all, people threw away platinum for thousands of years, it was garbage to them. I have already figured out that the stuff people are calling magnetite here is actually Colten Ore 'Lithium'. I'm basically trying to leverage my slightly higher understaning of elements to find values that the 'caveman' prospectors of yester year have dismissed. One of the most important lessons I have learned in this life is that knowing what you are looking at is the most important part of finding somthing valuable. Ive held things in my hand worth allot of money and simply lost them or thrown them away. So this time round I throw nothing away and examine and hopefully identify everything.
That's what I'm about, because I was never just cut out to work a day job.

I appoligize for my rambling tangent, but that's what happens when I post first thing in the morning.

I do think it would be wise to keep the organics and the metals labwares seperate. I certainly don't need to ingest any more stray heavy metals.
I do plan on purchasing a full kit for the melting and smelting of the final products and native metals.

I would definately like to get a hookup for ordering chemicals without a hassle. The regulations on acids and reagents drive me nuts. "They're not actually illegal, we just wont sell them to you" is really annoying to run into.

This is a project I have had on the back burner for over 20 years now. So I'm pretty excited to have the opportunity to realize it. Though it is at the expense of losing my father that I come into this money to afford it. Rough trade to say the least.

As far as the police go. Ive thought about that and it's kind of funny. I thought "Well, I could put a sign on the door of my lab" but then I'm advertising to criminals that there is a potential pile of gold in there. So then they break down the door and steal all my stuff instead of the cops. Oh, the irony. Keeping a lab journal for legal reasons is a great suggestion I appreciate that.

Once again I plan on running small batches, nothing too big at this time. Mostly like the samples in the photo's I provided.

Pulling disolved precious metals from spring and swamp water is also a very neat Idea, but one step at a time.
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[*] posted on 14-5-2016 at 14:14


If you have not done so already, I recommend subscribing to Cody's Lab. There is a significant overlap of interest here. You will like his mine.



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