A concise introduction to home chemistry and methods/utensils for an improvised chem lab setup - for those interested in setting up their very own home chemistry laboratory.  

Tired of watching a nurdrage video and not having the means to try it at home? Make a lab.  We will be using various methods shown in The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments, online videos, other instructables,  and some methods I've conceived on my own. We will try to minimize cost wherever possible and thus use the most readily available materials. However, I will present a more costly albeit better quality option for some of these. Read with an open and resourceful mind and be able to expand on these ideas. 

Note: No experiments are involved.
Link to source of inspiration: http://www.scribd.com/doc/21654883/The-Golden-Book-of-Chemistry-Experiments

This site has basically anything you'd need in a home lab: http://www.hometrainingtools.com/chemistry/c/3/

Step 1: About The Home Chemistry Lab

On Chemistry: Chemistry is a fascinating and beautiful subject. It is also very complex and the source of many headaches. The fact that you are reading this demonstrates you harbor a certain curiosity for it already. Or maybe you've randomly stumbled into this instructable by fate... In any case, the first step to starting your lab at home is planting the seed of curiosity for the subject. Get to know the subject at the level you want by visiting your library or through online research. Curiosity is like a fire- it will die if not sustained. In order to keep that desire for knowledge kindled, you must constantly ask yourself questions, such as "what is an acid?" or "what happens when bread rises?".  More rigorous questions in the area of chemistry are of the form : "Can I make X compound from household items? Will X react with Y to form Z? Can I purify this compound? Can I find if this household product contains X compound?" and so on. 

If you want a great foundation for the science, there are a variety of resources out there. Did you know you can take a course at MIT for free? Check out MIT OCW for a more studious introduction to chemistry! 

Setting Your Goals:I hope that people of all backgrounds will read this instructable. With people from all levels of knowledge on the subject, it is up to you to decide where you want to take this.Some examples of great goals are as follows:

- I want to teach myself chemistry and I will take up home chemistry as a supplemental learning tool.
 - I will create a semblance of a lab in the summer so that I can take up chemistry as a hobby. 
- I will create a lab environment for homeschooling. 
- I will create a temporary lab for the upcoming science fair in order to work comfortably in a home environment. 
- I want to augment my own home lab by extracting some ideas from this instructable. 

Once you come up with your own goal, it's time to start on a scientific journey. 


<p>Here is a picture of a three pronged clamp from amazon.ca however the screw was missing so I contacted them and got a replacement for free. Such a good quality zinc-nickel plated with stainless steel. The black mesh resist high temperatures too.</p><p>Normally these things cost 60-100 dollars I got it for only 20.</p>
<p>Here is a picture of a three pronged clamp from amazon.ca however the screw was missing so I contacted them and got a replacement for free. Such a good quality zinc-nickel plated with stainless steel. The black mesh resist high temperatures too.</p><p>Normally these things cost 60-100 dollars I got it for only 20.</p>
<p>I am thinking of making malt grape and other flavour odors through distillate. Here is a pic.</p>
<p>I am really having fun with the distiller. I can make vomit (artifical smell), intense hay smell and much more including aged wine odor distillate.</p>
<p>Recently I bought a good centrifuge and a distiller that includes a fractional distiller set too they all came from amazon.</p><p>Here are some pictures.</p>
<p>Here is another picture of 5 g in 100 ml water of iron sulfate. Notice the different color changes compared to 5 g copper sulfate.</p>
<p>Here is an improved spectro meter with aluminum foil. Measuring 5 g in 100 ml of water copper sulfate. 25.1 lux.</p>
<p>I have just made a crude but quite effective Spectral photo meter. A light output shoots light through a cd case and a jar with a lid and liquid (in the photo is is ammonia copper sulfate). A light meter near by reading the light that is reflected into the meter.</p>
<p>Here for absolute safety I keep my oxidizers like Calcium hypochlorite 65% mass by mass and 100% Sodium dichloroisocyanurate salt. It is ALWAYS locked when not in use! Red Metal Box with lock.</p>
<p>Add on for a lab. Always keep chemicals like acids/bases, oxidizers etc separate. Here I have a separate container that can lock with a key. They are tamper proof and hard to open. If something happens I don't think your insurance will cover it.</p>
<p>There is some evidence that all of these chemicals enhance the toxicity of that compounds especially toluene and Methyl ethyl ketone. I need to research it a bit more before I can do this. I will do this in the summer and spring.</p>
<p>Did i tell you from Nurdrage I found a way with a fractional distiller to distill Methyl Benzene or (TOLUENE) from paint thinner lacquer. However there are several compounds in there. Methyl ethyl ketone, Methanol, Acetone, and Methyl benzene. So a solvent gas mask and doing this in a WELL VENTALATED AREA is essential.</p>
<p>Here is a picture (two) pictures of my distillers. Fragile and very expensive to replace. </p>
<p>If you can afford a distiller or condenser you can distill many compounds. Like sulfuric acid 10% and 90% water and boil away the water. Dehydrate the column with dehydrating agents to reduce water and get pure sulfuric acid. Off course this is not as efficient of other means. Pure 93% sulfuric acid boils at 337 degrees C and the metal clips say max 250 degrees C. It is always best to be a bit below the max tolerance temperature this way you are less likely to damage the distiller.</p><p>I got a distiller (real good One) from Amazon.ca but I required a simple water pump. This was expensive but i have enough money per month to do this. I will make garlic oil, orange oil and do other extractions.</p>
<p>Companies like Boreal and Prolab were extremely useful to me. However with Boreal they tend to restrict a lot of material and items especially chemicals while prolab allows you as long as you are over 18 to buy chemicals. Not all chemicals are safe and you really have to know what you are doing to!!!!!! I don't agree with allowing people to get hold of lead chemicals or merciry.</p>
<p>The supplier is called Prolab Scientific ( I am Not advertising here just giving information!!). Shipping from quebec may cost up to 40 dollars but if you ask and you may get a discount. Not sure but maybe?</p>
<p>I have a big and very expensive lab for home and i have found ways to buy decent chemicals (some chemicals) from a supplier in quebec. This includes hot plates and stirrers, a condenser worth 400 dollars (total cost) and much more. Keeping up is another expennse as well.</p>
<p>Does that supplier of yours has a website? I'm here in winnipeg and it seems that there is no chem lab supplies store here anywhere nearby. </p>
Thank you, I will be doing something like this soon
Is there any instructable for making small smoke or dirt grenade for RC aeroplane ...????
add diesel to hot exhaust and you get thick smoke.
<p>Nitrile gloves will protect you against most types of chemicals like Hydrochloric acid but others like weak phenol and sulfuric acid requires neoprene gloves to protect the user. I have a huge lab and I do organic chemistry, regular chemistry and some microbiology with soil. Packaged soil. Always think safety before doing a project. There are plenty of projects on youtube. Check to make sure you have all the materials to do this safely and if in doubt don't do it. I always wear gloves and safety goggles possibly when working with strong acids or bases a facesheild.</p>
brilliant tutorial there :) been wanting to get into chemistry for some time now and can thanks to you :)<br>
<p>Gloves - nitrile are good for most substances (except nitric acid); plastic apron or lab coat keeps your pants (and tummy) from having stains or burns; goggles and face shield help you keep your vision, and a respirator - better than a dust mask - keeps those huge bursts of gases from chasing you out of the house. These are essential unless your experiments are limited to baking soda and vinegar. Harbor Freight will get you all that, except a respirator, for under ten dollars. Your eyes, and your lungs will be glad. Another ten gets you the respirator. Be careful anyway. Chlorine, phosgene, bromine, ammonia, NO2, NO, and such can cause you some discomfort (or death), so study before mixing things randomly; dispose of your experiments in a safe manner - some chemicals can set your trash on fire.</p><p>Be safe, be curious, and have fun. Chemistry can be wildly dangerous, and wildly not dangerous. Learn as you do, research your chemicals, and have fun.</p>
It was amazing to see that book here in Instructables, I got mine when I was ~10. I wanted to be a chemist from ~5, I made it by my 20's. I am now finishing a 40 year career as a research scientist and I still have that book on my bookshelf. Your Instructable is timely, we are facing a future deficit of chemists, universities around the world are reporting less and less students signing up for chemistry courses.<br> Please instructabilians encourage your kids if they show an interest in chemistry, it remains a fundamental science for everything from medicine to rocket fuel, from food science to solar cells etc etc. It is never to early to start much chemistry occurs safely within the house, cooking, cleaning, decorating etc.
That is Great
Awesome instructable! Great for someone who is ready for the chemistry lab but doesn't want those chemistry sets where everything is done and laid out for you. No freedom in those. Very nice instructable! <br>What did you do about the fumehood? I know one can be made and works pretty effectively but everyone has their own ways, whats your set-up?
I no longer have a setup, since I use the lab at my university! But I used to use the kitchen vent for the less harmful experiments and took the more dangerous ones outdoors.
Excellent instructable! If my parents were only less opposed to me doing chemistry experiments in the house...
Your awesome
I went on the Michael's website and I couldn't find the little flasks that you were talking about. Can you give me the link or item number or something?
You can find the glassware at hobby lobby.
This is brilliant! I created this account for the same ideas presented here, just for Alchemy rather than Chemistry. If I use any of these ideas I will definitely credit you. Thank you!
Any tips on how to stop law enforcement from mistaking it as a drug lab?<br>I'm thinking of starting a home lab and i'm really worried about this, especially in a country where there is confusion in who-raids-who, public paranoia with chemicals, lack of test equipment and a faulty judiciary system.<br>Any tips?
I was really looking for something fr this exact type ible. Thank yu.<br><br>Also, thought i'd mention that I like t use the empty Yankee Candle jars that have lids, or any similar candle jar for chemical storage, etc. My wife goes through 3 or 4 of those candles a month.
Ok kids, lets make some meff
Or perhaps some GITD brownies?....
A couple of other sources to consider for free or low cost items...freecycle.org and craigslist.
looks like the makings for a clandestine meth lab. nah jk, good job.
thx for posting this after the recust of me and some others ^^<br><br>also nice instructable ^^
No Problem! Glad You liked it. <br>
This is a totally cool Instructable! When I was a kid, I hada series to Gilbert Chemistry sets and &quot;flasks&quot; were usually those bulb shaped shampoo bottles. My condenser was plastic tubing in a larger tube. Thanks for reminding me how much fun it all was!
Great instructable!<br> <br> For the reader's reference, <a href="http://chemistry.about.com/library/goldenchem.pdf">here</a> is a link to a pdf of the <em>Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments</em>:<br> <br> I'm looking forward to the next installment.
The site doesn't appear to allow direct linking to the file, but here is the page that links to it: <a href="http://chemistry.about.com/b/2010/11/30/download-the-golden-book-of-chemistry-experiments.htm">http://chemistry.about.com/b/2010/11/30/download-the-golden-book-of-chemistry-experiments.htm</a>
Well thanks! The link didn't take me to the pdf, but it's still relevant. <br>
Dang. You're right. Sorry - that link worked this morning, really. Try <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/21654883/The-Golden-Book-of-Chemistry-Experiments">this</a> one.<br>
This one works. Thanks for the reference.

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Bio: Carbon-based bipedal life form who thinks digital watches are a neat idea.
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