Instructables

Chemistry equipment list?

Hello Fellow Instructablers!
      Its been a while since I have made a post but I am back with a burning question! 
I have a great interest in science and chemistry and always wanted to preform experiments seen on page of authors like Nurdrage for example. But I have never had the required equipment or chemicals to do these. I have taken a high school chemistry class and gotten my stuff down and now am prepared to take on the challenge of the lab. I have a birthday coming on on the 24th and my parents said if I wanted to get into chemistry I should ask for equipment and chemicals or what I need for my birthday.

     So I will, but I need help. From an experienced chemist or someone who has done this before. Can anyone give me a list of basic-intermediate lab equipment that is needed for most experiments? I don't want to get one of those chemistry kits for kids since those are so restricted and only let you do the experiments given to you, not very fun So I want to get free use equipment and chemicals for any procedure. But I have no idea what is needed most or least and would really appreciate it if someone were able to do this for me. Just in the comments or PM, have a list of stuff I should ask for if I wanted to kick start my chemistry, what that item is used for, the price and its frequency of use to determine what I should decide on if there were to be a conflict.

I would really appreciate any help I can get from you guys cause my birthday is coming up soon!
Thanks everyone!
~Ostomesto

Kiteman11 months ago
You don't need a lot of specialist gear to do real science - the main thing is to make sure your containers and vessels are glass, get a decent set of scales and measuring cylinders, goggles, and a source of heat, such as a blow torch, spirit burner or hot-plate.

For chemicals, it really depends what you want to do - research what tests you want to do, and work from there.

See: http://www.instructables.com/id/Teachers-Resources-A-Guide-to-Kitchen-Chemistry/
ostomesto (author)  Kiteman11 months ago
Alright well I have nothing but a couple nitrates from previous experiments. I need to know what kind of flasks, graduated cylinders, heaters, vacuum filters and so on that I need.
I checked out that page and it isn't quite like what I want, maybe more this level
http://www.instructables.com/tag/type-id/?sort=none&q=Nurdrage
and check his youtube too
youtube.com/nurdrage
Kiteman ostomesto11 months ago
If you know what you want, I would trawl eBay, or contact Nurdrage and ask (him?) directly.
ostomesto (author)  Kiteman11 months ago
I wish I knew what I needed but there is such an expansive list for the simplistic things I could never know without help. If I knew what I needed I would be scavenging eBay amazon and united nuclear for equipment all night.
I have sent Nurdrage a message on youtube but to no response and a patch here and if he is too respond with a thank you that will indicate he is still active and I can ask him then. But that is only if, no response yet :/
Start out with one "experiment" that you want to replicate. From there try to identify what is needed. You can substitute stuff as you go along. Rummage through the kitchen. A couple of glass jars, a measuring cup, some metal measuring spoons. glass stirring rod for drinks, a food scale maybe, a french press coffee maker, lots of things to improvise first. You gotta take stock of what chemicals you do have to work with. Common household items are chemicals to use or can be reacted to get what you need.
ostomesto (author)  caitlinsdad11 months ago
That's a good point, a lot of chemicals can be obtained locally or easily made. I do still need some sort of desiccator or vacuum. But I found a video showing how to make a simple distiller :D vials I discovered can be easily bought bulk or I can use jars like you mentioned as long as it isn't for some acids hat may eat the caps. Fume hood is outdoors I guess. One extremely necessary thing but extremely expensive is the stir heat plate, or even just a heat plate on its own
Any ideas? Thanks for the help with the other stuff too!
I think you are trying to jump into this thing without realizing what you can do with the basics. Do you have chem lab in school? Basic things are maybe an alcohol lamp or gas bunsen burner if you are lucky. A test tube rack, some test tubes, and test tube tongs. A couple of graduated or measuring cylinders, glass stirring rods and pipettes. A scale maybe. Heat is heat but you may want to do some controlled temperature experiments. Get some thermometers. A non-contact one is fun to use(cheap thermal gun at Harbor Freight) but more accurate ones should be the immersion alcohol/mercury type. Get an arduino with thermal probes for doing experiments in a styrofoam cooler. Those indoor/outdoor remote sensor home thermometers can be used. I think you got the "Kipkay" bug. You've seen something cool. Just get me all the stuff I need to replicate that same thing. Now. I feel you will be disappointed if you do not learn anything along the way by starting with more basic experiments and no fancy stuff. Then you will appreciate why someone invented a stir plate and why there are heated stir plates, why does an open jar not work, etc. And thus, that is what separates the makers from the wanna-be's. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
ostomesto (author)  caitlinsdad11 months ago
I know the basics can be used for a lot and I have been doing that for some time now. Although I agree when I first started this was inspired by a "I see that I want that" reaction I actually started to pursue it after that. Unlike some things I have seen where I see it and try to replicate, and like you said learning nothing from it. With this it was different. I found I had a great understanding and love for chemistry. So I continued with it. Over the years I have been doing basic reactions from jury rigged stands and light-bulbs for beakers. I remember melting ammonium nitrate to produce nitrous oxide as a gaseous oxidizer for a fun little burn propellant. Or making thermite from rusted steel wool in a hydrogen peroxide solution then having to grind it up in a mortar. Or the even messier half of the experiment using an old ball mill to make aluminum powder from cut up aluminum foil. Then setting off the entire thing in a plant pot and cracking the ceramic haha. But after so long you come to points where you need some basic equipment that can handle the chemicals that you want to use for new reactions. Although I do not need everything in the link I posted, I don't really have any other opportunities to get equipment. So I'm using my birthday as a mega jump start for it all. It will keep me going for time on end. I really think I am ready for this after so long of using mason jars and cleaned out light-bulbs as beakers or reaction containment.
Oh, ok, I thought you came in here looking for a Camry. Let me show you this Lexus.
ostomesto (author)  caitlinsdad11 months ago
I do realize that jumping from home experiments to professional grade equipment and chemicals is a large leap but you do have to start somewhere. And as I continue through with this I will be able to utilize more and more of it as my experience grows. I could start off with basic reactions and experiments but I want to have the ability to go on further as I feel needed. This will provide me with just that, and with many people I know have degrees or experience with chemistry I would be able to be guided or helped by them. With the right guidance and work I should be able to do this level of work.
Hopefully the pros will be chiming in. Hmmm, how about a centrifuge?
ostomesto (author)  caitlinsdad11 months ago
I would appreciate more encouragement to pursue what I love to do than sarcasm mocking me. That is what instructables is based on is it not? I do understand the huge risk I am taking trying to jump head on into such a extensive area. But what could happen other than learning from mistakes?(assuming that I follow all necessary safety and not losing any body parts, but if I manage to not safely conduct an experiment with chemicals that could seriously injure me I probably would deserve it)
Kiteman ostomesto11 months ago
Caitlinsdad has put in a lot of effort to help you, when you could have spent time googling for yourself, visiting your local library or phoning a high school to make an appointment with a science teacher or lab technician.

None of his comments have mocked you, nor has he been sarcastic towards you.

ostomesto (author)  Kiteman11 months ago
I have had many other people discourage me from doing this or so I shouldn't and most didn't know very much to anything about chemistry. When I wanted to get serious lab equipment and had a response of jokingly getting a centrifuge I think that set me off.
Although this wasn't necessarily the best place to ask this question in the way I phrased it the fact this is over the internet didn't make it any better. With only text to text for communication you have no idea how or in what way someone said something and is interpreted by the mood of the reader. So when I have a bunch of people who know nothing about chemistry tell me what I should or shouldn't do it doesn't make a great start for a serious discussion.
So I guess this was a misunderstanding in the way that I phrased the original post and the unreliable communication of text :/
Sorry
Kiteman ostomesto11 months ago
I'm not the one you need to apologise to, and I'll think you'll find the centrifuge suggestion was serious.
This would not be serious. Ok, maybe it would.

ostomesto (author)  caitlinsdad11 months ago
I'm going to have nightmares about that doll... It will come into my dreams and sprinkle his intructables over the land far and wide... crushing the innocent trying to catch them with joy. That doll...
But that's just all in my head.........right?
*chortle*
ostomesto (author)  Kiteman11 months ago
I thought it was a joke seeing it as the most expensive basic lab equipment you can get. Besides a desktop supercollider, those get a bit pricey.
Although I know that a centrifuge is used for separation of mixtures into different density substances, how common is its use in a lab? Or for what experiments are they used? It would be interesting to hear the different uses it has in the lab
Kiteman ostomesto11 months ago
They're not all expensive - I've seen them on Ebay for a few tens of dollars, and the one I own was sent to me for free by an equipment supplier.
ostomesto (author)  Kiteman11 months ago
Yeah but you're Kiteman of course they sent it to you free :P But really. If I do actually get one, when would I actually need it? I would like to get the most commonly used equipment and haven't seen much with a centrifuge being needed. I may be mistaken so I'm asking you
Kiteman ostomesto11 months ago
It was sent simply because I'd signed up, as a teacher, to a newsletter from Warwick University.

It depends on your planned experiments, whether you need a centrifuge - they're useful for concentrating small amounts of precipitate, or separating similar-density liquids. You may find yourself branching out into biology, in which case a centrifuge would become useful.
None of my advice was sarcasm. Have a good day.
ostomesto (author)  caitlinsdad11 months ago
Ww that's nice, I went around looking for stuff like this and found this
http://tinyurl.com/afdw4e7
And this
http://tinyurl.com/bjh4acm
What do yup guys think of those two items to get me started? They're good but I still need a burner, stirring heat plate or just heat plate, distiller of some sort, desiccator or vacuum filter, some vials for storage, chemicals and a fume hood :/ but I still think those are a great start. I would like to hear your opinions on them, good or bad!
thematthatter11 months ago
you've taken a high school chemist class....
that could mean anything like integrated chemistry and physics, chemistry or ap chemistry
my suggestion:
you can get regular hotplate for like 35 bucks.. Your parents will appreciate it after the first time you spill sugar on their stove.
safety glasses, (you want splash proof, there is a difference between splash proof and ballistic)
nitrile gloves (about 4 bucks at walmart)
basically just safety crap.

unless you want to just mix red and yellow to make green your going to need something a little advance
You need to check out the golden book of chemistry experiments and go from there.
also take every science class you can heck even take some night classes at a community college.
ostomesto (author)  thematthatter11 months ago
I have taken a basic chemistry course but my teacher ended up liking me cause I knew most everything taught(pretty basic course) so now I have full access to a masters degree in chemistry for experimentation or other questions. So I feel pretty confident if I need any help!
And yeah I am taking every chemistry course os possible, so I hope they build well off of this! :)
ostomesto (author) 11 months ago
So after all that and some searching through websites that sell lab supplies and equipment I found that a lot of this is simpler than it appears to be. Many things are different ways of doing the same goal. It made it look like so much is needed and it is so extensive to what must be done, which is partially true, but with a basic set of equipment you can do most experiments or reactions. Things are a lot easier than they appear. Such as a heating stir plate for $355. So many reactions require that but you can do fine with just a stove and a stir spoon. It is really misleading at first but with some help from people here and IRL I found all that fancy stuff can be substituted or completely eliminated from the list.
I really appreciate the help I have gotten here from all you guys!
But this doesn't mean I don't need any help. If anyone has tips or just some suggestions or anything to throw out there for me it is welcome!
Goodhart11 months ago
Go to a local library: it may sound old fashioned, but they MAY have an older book on "home chemsitry" or experiments in general that includes making one's own equipment. I have such a book I bought at the library's book sale. You'be be surprised how easy it is to make, say a fairly operational vacuum bell jar set up. :-)
ostomesto (author)  Goodhart11 months ago
That's a great idea.
So after some researching and scavenging I have found a couple homemade vacuum filtration setups that are pretty simple and efficient for what they are.
Also have found some homemade fume hoods that are also easy to make and work very well.
Thanks!
caitlinsdad11 months ago
Safety googles or glasses, a box of nitrile chemical resistant disposable gloves, a good exhaust fan, and a nice lab coat. You won't look the part of a scientist without a lab coat...and green bow tie.
I ought to get my current lab coat in front of a camera - it has teeth.
Domo lab coat would be cool.
ostomesto (author)  caitlinsdad11 months ago
Someone make an machine that you stand in front of and it puts on your lab coat like labs in cartoons and such. I would so buy one....
You flip open the top of the head of a Shakespeare bust, press a button, the bookcase behind you swings around to reveal a secret entrance to a hidden underground lab which is accessible by sliding down a pole, when you reach the bottom, you will have automatically changed into a labcoat...wait
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