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Author: Subject: Need help building my new organic chem lab
LD5050
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[*] posted on 21-3-2017 at 17:26
Need help building my new organic chem lab


Ok so I'm building my new lab inside an approx 8' by 12' tool shed. I cleaned and cleared it completely out. I now have a blank canvas to do what I want with. I was wondering if some of you would like to shoot some ideas at how I should go about it.

Things I need to do:

-Hook up electricity some how. Run a pvc pipe a few inch underground run electrical in it from house to shed.

-Hook up running water hot and cold to a sink. Thinking of tapping into the kitchen sink and running copper pipe from house to shed.

Things I want to do:

-Coat the floor in some kind of chem resistant smooth plastic material. Was thinking of using the stuff they coat garage floors with it has the paint chip/flakes that you throw on and coat them with some kind of clear varnish material? I would like to exclude the paint chips tho. The floors are bare wood right now so I'm not sure if that stuff will adhere well.

-Bench tops I want to coat in same kind of material as the floor maybe or something different but same principle, chem resistant smooth surface.

-Fume hood. I was just thinking of hooking up duct work with and exhaust fan leading outside. Not sure if I really want an enclosed fume hood I think I will just set up the duct work so there is an overhang above work area like something that would be above a stove in a kitchen.

-Summers here are pretty hot and winters are really cold. I definitely want to insulate the walls and cover with dry wall. Also put some kind of small AC unit in.

-I want to put a small refrigerator in for my chems.

So far this is what I got. I'm not that good with electricity so I'm not sure how I'm going to hook it up from the house. I'm going to have to do some research on that. Other than that I'm pretty good with my hands I'm a welder by trade but I know carpentry and stuff like that as well.

Any ideas would be great maybe some pics of what you guys have in your labs and how you set it up. Obviously I don't have a ton of room to play with but I have enough to make something pretty nice.


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[*] posted on 21-3-2017 at 17:52


Quote: Originally posted by LD5050  
Ok so I'm building my new lab inside an approx 8' by 12' tool shed. I cleaned and cleared it completely out. I now have a blank canvas to do what I want with. I was wondering if some of you would like to shoot some ideas at how I should go about it.

Good fun. I hope to do much the same in my net holiday (only a couple of weeks away.)

Quote:
Things I need to do:

-Hook up electricity some how. Run a pvc pipe a few inch underground run electrical in it from house to shed.
Around here that kind of electrical work needs to be done by an authorised electrician. Check your local regulations. In one of my earlier projects there was a regulation depth for the trench and restrictions on the allowable conduit. But straightforward in principle.

Quote:
-Hook up running water hot and cold to a sink. Thinking of tapping into the kitchen sink and running copper pipe from house to shed.
Sounds like a plan. The hard part is the waste water.

Quote:
Things I want to do:

-Coat the floor in some kind of chem resistant smooth plastic material. Was thinking of using the stuff they coat garage floors with it has the paint chip/flakes that you throw on and coat them with some kind of clear varnish material? I would like to exclude the paint chips tho. The floors are bare wood right now so I'm not sure if that stuff will adhere well.
Check out yoru hardware store and ask for help for the best solution. I like where you are going with this. (My intent is to have bare concrete but an epoxy coating would actually be better.) Tiling might be an option and not necessarily expensive. But you do need to do it right. Ask about tiling a wooden floor.

Quote:
-Bench tops I want to coat in same kind of material as the floor maybe or something different but same principle, chem resistant smooth surface.
Think of the surfaces used for kitchens. Alternatively go for a flooring product and a coating. I settled on a composite resin material. My bench will be 1.2m deep which should allow a lot of space to spread things out.

Quote:
-Fume hood. I was just thinking of hooking up duct work with and exhaust fan leading outside. Not sure if I really want an enclosed fume hood I think I will just set up the duct work so there is an overhang above work area like something that would be above a stove in a kitchen.
Since you have the opportunity, plan the space and do a good job -- even if it is not immediately. You will be thankful for it later.

Quote:
-Summers here are pretty hot and winters are really cold. I definitely want to insulate the walls and cover with dry wall. Also put some kind of small AC unit in.
Aaah. Creature comforts. Wuss! But seriously, do what it takes to make it a work space that you will use effectively.

Quote:
-I want to put a small refrigerator in for my chems.
Good idea to think about storage of all your chems and equipment. A fridge is a great idea.

Quote:
So far this is what I got. I'm not that good with electricity so I'm not sure how I'm going to hook it up from the house. I'm going to have to do some research on that. Other than that I'm pretty good with my hands I'm a welder by trade but I know carpentry and stuff like that as well.
Again, look at electrical regulations and be prepared to pay to have the job done properly. The danger is that, although it is simple enough, if you get something subtle wrong there can be consequences. And by consequences I mean that you have an unrelated accident and your insurance does not pay out because they found an anomaly with the wiring.

Quote:
Any ideas would be great maybe some pics of what you guys have in your labs and how you set it up. Obviously I don't have a ton of room to play with but I have enough to make something pretty nice.
I can't wait to post pix of my lab. But I am not there yet. There is a lovely "Tour My Lab" thread which IMO does not receive enough traffic. There are some good ideas out there.
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[*] posted on 21-3-2017 at 17:56


Check out the 23 page 'Tour my Lab' sticky thread in the Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition Forum -

http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=4777


/CJ


[EDIT] - Argh, I was beat to it.............. Posted the link though..........!! :P

[Edited on 22-3-2017 by Corrosive Joeseph]




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[*] posted on 21-3-2017 at 19:52


Garden hose for water and extension cord for power if
you don't want to spend a lot of money. Waste water
disposal is always an issue. Cooling water and aspirator
pump are better run off of a recirculating pump to avoid
excess water usage.

Observe code for permanent installation.
If you own the property, code may allow you to do the
work yourself. This varies by location so be sure.
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[*] posted on 21-3-2017 at 20:39


In my current shed lab, I use an extension cord from the house with a power strip that I plug everything into. Kinda sketchy, I know, and certainly not ideal, but I've had no problems running two incandescent lights, a hot plate/stirrer, a small fountain pump for condenser water, and a vacuum pump all off of it at the same time.

I don't have running water out there, I get what I need from the house and wash glassware in the bathroom sink. I was originally planning on fixing the lab up with more permanent solutions, but I'm actually going to move to another town pretty soon so it won't be worth it at this point.

In my new lab space (which will be in the garage) I'll have more power outlets, and I plan to install a deep sink for glassware washing. It'll be really nice, and once I get moved in I'll post to Tour My Lab again. Once I move there I should be able to be in the lab much more often as well, so I'm really looking forward to it.




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They're not really active right now, but here's my YouTube channel and my blog.
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[*] posted on 22-3-2017 at 01:28


For my shed/lab

To get around electrical regulations I use a 10m 240V 13A extension cable that can be pluged in or removed from the house wiring,
the shed end has four sockets, one of which goes to a short extension to four more sockets,
one of which goes to four more sockets !

The first socket is for a freezer, a 1/2/3/4 bar electric heater, one free
and one for the other extensions, which power my electronics stuff.
.....................
To get around water regulations I use a removable garden hose from a tap external to the house,
I buried a 2" pvc pipe to the drain.

If I had space in my shed I could add a sink, which would be nice, but as most of my running-water-requiring experiments are done outdoors, I manage.
.....................
I need to extend the internet into my shed
.....................
As often mentioned, domestic fridges have switches that make sparks in the thermostats, so storage of flammable solvents etc. may not be as safe as you hope
....................
As far as possible, try to keep all of your chems in large plastic tubs or behind doors to reduce fumes.
....................
Fit a lock to your lab ... for the safety of others
....................
If possible, design your lab to be able to withstand washing the floor with a hose
....................
I am considering the storage of rain water from the shed roof to use as low grade pure water
....................
put fire extinguisher, blanket, bicarb. solution, thiosulphate solution etc ('antidotes' for acids, halogens ..) near the exit, which must always be accessible for emergency exit.
Determine in advance what you would do in case of;
. a surprise explosion of toxic gas
. serious chemical splashes/spills on yourself or your clothing
. anything that bypassed your goggles/face shield
........................
to go with your OC equipment, a variable power supply such as this http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DC-Power-Supply-30V-5A-220V-Variab...
or similar, allows all kinds of electrochemistry,
and.or can power small vacuum pumps
(I really like this one, I even used it to pump NOx gasses recently, good for vacuum filtering and reduced pressure distillation)
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DC12V-DC-Micro-Piston-Vacuum-Pump-...
although I think that a water aspirator vacuum pump would be better ... I must get one.

or small d.c. water pumps for condensers etc.

[Edited on 22-3-2017 by Sulaiman]




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[*] posted on 22-3-2017 at 07:40


Awesome advice so far guys I really appreciate it. Very good idea with the fire extinguishers I haven't even thought about that and it should have been first on the list!! Maybe I'll get those little fire extinguishers you hang on the ceiling and in case of a fire if the flames are hot enough to break the glass tube the extinguisher activates on it own.

As for running an extension cord, that's something I do not want to do. It is a good quick fix and it is what I use now for my lab in the garage but I seem to blow the fuse often. I'm building this new lab so I don't have a Micky mouse set up, I want this to be as "legit" as possible. Not to say people who use extension cords have a micky mouse set up but you know what I'm trying to say...Basically I don't want cords running every where to the same outlet.

I'm going to have a lot of electrical appliances in there and I want it to be able to supply those appliances without blowing fuses.

As for a refrigerator, is there any recommended lab fridges to use with out electric switches that could possibly ignite t fumes? I don't want to go all out on an expensive lab fridge but if I could modify one some how to reduce the risk of igniting fumes.

As for the exhaust fan for the fume hood what kind of fan should be used so that doesn't ignite fumes as well? What are the best type of switches to look for?

I assume light switches and things for the wall I should apply the same concept to and look for something that reduces risk of spark when I flip a switch to say a light or something.

Great Ideas people keep them coming.
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[*] posted on 22-3-2017 at 07:59


I got myself a power board that I can use to plug in 8 appliances. It is rated to 10A, has dust proof sockets and has its own RCD safety switch. I plan to continue using it in my new lab even though I will have several new power sockets installed.
It wasn't expensive.
https://www.bunnings.com.au/hpm-8-outlet-plugboss-surge-prot...

Just something that you might consider.
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[*] posted on 22-3-2017 at 09:16


I was lucky enough to pick up an eye wash faucet from the local up cycle place for $5. I run a garden hose to my shed lab and hook it to the sink and eye wash and also have a hose nozzle for emergency showers. Probably never use it but it's peace of mind. I also use a tankless water heater under the sink for hot water.
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[*] posted on 22-3-2017 at 10:47
Alkemist


eye wash stations must be regularly flushed to prevent buildup of potentially nasty 'bugs' that would get sprayed straight into your eyes, I'd rather use tap water
(UK tap water is pretty good, drink straight from the tap etc.)
...............................................................................
In my shed there is a small chest freezer
http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=4777&a...
that I can't use because it is for food,
but the freezer part is watertight, probably airtight
(opening the lid soon after closing it is difficult due to the air cooling and contracting)
and there are no sensors or controls in the food compartment
it is a cheap model, you may find something similar ?

[Edited on 22-3-2017 by Sulaiman]




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[*] posted on 22-3-2017 at 11:18


It sounds like you could probably pay to have electrical/water hookups installed professionally -- this will not only be more reliable and insurable, but it is less suspicious to neighbors who are rarely fond of backyard labs.

Sulaiman: "alimentary" means "digestive", I think you're looking for "ocular" :p

Regarding the issues with cooling and fridges: maybe an icebox would be cheaper overall than a chem fridge?
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[*] posted on 22-3-2017 at 11:36


I'm confused. It's an eye wash faucet that is hooked up to tap water. Either way my point was not to forget important PPE like this when constructing a lab.
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[*] posted on 22-3-2017 at 11:40


I already edited it for clarity, but to me it tastes as if stuff goes in my eyes then down my throat hence alimentary, but I'd already edited it to "eyes" to make it more generally applicable.
I really should read what I write more carefully before clicking, :P

..... back to the shed/lab .....

. lots of light

. somewhere guaranteed dry/clean for writing in your lab book

. a lab book, I'm really glad that I followed the advice to keep a lab book ... an invaluable reference.
(especially when you ask yourself "what the heck is that in there ?")

EDIT: Alkemist, if not used for a long time (hopefully never needed) there will be stagnant water in the pipes,
so regular flushing, e.g. monthly, is required to flush the bugs out.
the only bug that comes to mind is legionella but I know that there are others. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legionella


[Edited on 22-3-2017 by Sulaiman]




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[*] posted on 22-3-2017 at 12:15


Best to use eye wash bottles. Shelf life of about 5 years.
I prefer these ones as easy to get too, no hinges to open, may be difficult with something in your eyes, but of course we all wear our safety glasses at all times.
Also have a 5 person first aid kit with a couple of Burnshield pads.

I also managed to get a nice (and very heavy) air pump. 100 L/min at atmospheric pressure and down to about 13 kPa. It's 100 v ac but have a stepdown transformer for it.

My best buy was a new Ohaus AR5120 balance, only £100 + £15 delivery. Also got it professinally calibrated.





First aid station.jpg - 166kBDiaphram pump.jpg - 127kBBalance.jpg - 137kB
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[*] posted on 22-3-2017 at 12:57


I need enough electricity in the shed to power lights, pumps, hot plates, refrigerator, ac/heating unit, ect. so I'm guessing I'm going to have to install its own breaker box inside the shed correct? Could anybody send me a link on a DIY type instruction. I'm going to google it right now but maybe some one with electrical experience would know where to look and maybe could give me some tips.
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[*] posted on 22-3-2017 at 13:21
veganalchemist


Buy some cheap chinese callibration weights (e.g. 500g = £4.99 incl. p&p)

While your scales are in callibration,
callibrate the callibration weights,
to enable re-callibration of your scales later,
and frequent callibration checks.

LD5050 whatever your local regulations are, if you have house insurance you will probably need signed documents for completed works, so you should try to find who ever is needed to sign the documents, and get advice from them.

[Edited on 22-3-2017 by Sulaiman]




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[*] posted on 23-3-2017 at 07:18


So for water hook up I'm now thinking of just hooking a garden hose up and then setting up a small electric tank less hot water heater. Some one mentioned it in a previous post. I think it wold be a good option. I looked them up however and they are quite expensive. I searched on ebay and found very cheap small tank lees heaters. I wonder how well they do at heating the water....
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[*] posted on 10-4-2017 at 07:51


So I was thinking of making my own little water heater that will hook up to my garden hose which will heat the water that connects to the sink. I have been looking at tank less water heaters and other heaters but they are quite expensive. I was thinking of how they are made and I don't think it is that complicated and it might be easy to just make one of my own. At home depot I see water heating elements so I was thinking of grabbing a couple of those and putting it inside a small metal drum of some sort and then fitting that drum inside a bigger, either metal or plastic container, and on the inside insulate it with some kind of material. I would then maybe hook some kind of pressure relief valve up to it so it doesn't explode if water gets too hot. Then I would want to hook it up to the sink some how.

Has anyone here ever tried this before? Any tips or ideas? Let me know I'm all ears!
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[*] posted on 10-4-2017 at 09:50


What do you need a water heater for?



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[*] posted on 10-4-2017 at 11:30


I would be very tempted to just use the service box in your house by adding the appropriate circuit breaker there. I would think a 20amp size would do it. Depending on your shed location or other constraints you could run the electrical line underground or overhead.

As Sulaiman says it is advised to consult with an electrician in these matters. Or better yet hire one to do the work. By law the work likely will have to be inspected by a city or county inspector to make sure it meets local code.

How are you going to handle the drain line from your sink. Ideally you could run an underground line to tie into your existing household sewer line. Adequate slope will be needed, at least 1/4"/ft I think. You will need a sink trap and possibly a sewer gas vent line that extends above the shed roof. Again, consult with a professional.

You can also run hot and cold water lines underground from your house.

[Edited on 10-4-2017 by Magpie]




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[*] posted on 10-4-2017 at 12:03


If it's not intended to be permanent, you could probably get away with running something like this: http://www.rvpartscountry.com/RhinoFLEXCamperSewerHoseKit-15...

Note that this probably won't stand up to solvents, but you shouldn't be putting those down the drain anyway.



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[Edited on 10-4-2017 by JJay]




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[*] posted on 17-4-2017 at 10:12


I need a hot water tank because I plan to hook up my sink to the garden hose. When washing glass wear and things I like to use hot water and hot water will come in handy for what ever I need it for.

As for drainage for the sink, I haven't put a lot of thought into that yet. I don't think I would want to tie into the sewage. I'm thinking of just letting clean water just drain into the ground. and then maybe set up a separate drain that leads into a big 55 gallon plastic drum if I want to dump chems and then dispose of that properly? The sink that i Have has two separate sections so I could easily just set up two separate drains on it.
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[*] posted on 17-4-2017 at 14:59


*shrug* I wouldn't want to have to dispose of 55 gallons of chemical waste of any variety. Maybe a 5 gallon bucket....



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[*] posted on 17-4-2017 at 15:44


Yeah. I don't much like the double drainage and 55 gallon storage idea much either.
Firstly you then need to be very conscious about which sink you are using. Drop some water down the wrong sink and your 55 gallons fills up quick.
Second, if you know everything is going into the sewer you are then motivated to think carefully before putting anything down the sink. This then leads to good practice of collecting different wastes separately and treating them or disposing of them yourself. A drum of mixed waste is no trivial thing. Separated chromium waste, halogenated organics, lead waste etc in suitable containers is a much better way to go.
Thirdly, gravity. This is really a practical consideration. But if you are draining into a drum then the drum needs to be below sink height or you need to pump it. A buried steel drum of toxic waste is the stuff of Scooby Doo cartoons and it should stay in that context.
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[*] posted on 17-4-2017 at 16:52


You should never mix unknown chemicals, as a rule. Using a common dumping bin for different wastes seems to violate that nontrivially.

Most toxic metals are insoluble as the phosphate, or at least in the presence of alkaline phosphate. One way to clean wastes may be to exploit this by adding trisodium phosphate to any effluent that may contain toxic metal ions. The resulting precipitates may then be disposed of specially while the remainder is oxidized or detoxified in other ways. It's probably okay to store various metal phosphates in a bucket since these seem like the prime example of something you don't want to put down the drain. In fact IIRC phosphate is the standard to detoxify water that must pass through lead pipes cf. the Flint disaster.
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