Sunday, October 19, 2008

Where To Begin

As you begin to create your lab there certain things you should try to have on hand. Get a computer, printer and a scanner. This will allow you to photocopy and print articles and papers you get from books and magazines from the library. The library should become your best friend. They will have many of the older and newer books on hand. You can order from one library to be sent to the library closest to you. Libraries also have yearly sales on books, you can pick up some great buys there. Two of the books on my list I found at a library sale, The Amateur Biologist and Biotechnology Projects for Young Scientists, They cost $2.00 each. You should try to have an Internet connection if possible. There is plenty of help on the Internet. Just reading this blog you have to have access to the Internet. Under my Useful Links category the Constructing Inexpensive Lab Equipment link takes you to a pile of PDF files that can help you with the construction of many pieces of lab equipment for Biology, Chemistry and Physics. I recommend you print them out or store the PDF files for later use, you never know when a site will go down. Therefore print out anything you find on the Internet.

Let family and friends know you are creating a new hobby, they will be a great help. When I told my parents that I was building a home lab again they told me they had some of my old books from before. They are The Amateur Scientist, which must be the bible for amateur scientists (it is old 1960, I would really like to attempt some of the projects, except using the materials found today), Explorations In Chemistry (which is a great book on learning chemistry), The Living Laboratory 200 Experiments for Amateur Biologists (wonderful experiments in animal biology) and Microbe Hunters (an excellent account of the beginning of microbiology). You can find more info about these books in the categories section of my blog.

One thing I do recommend is you start to walk around your neighbourhood on garbage days, you won't believe what you can find. I have found lots of wood to build shelves and tables, desks, chairs, wire, lots of computers, printers, VCR's, DVD players and many other electronics. Most computers are old but can be used for experiments to build scientific equipment such as sensors, etc(you won't have to worry about damaging these older machines). I found an old laptop and some software on the Internet and turned it into an oscilloscope, something I always wanted to play with but could not afford.

I am now well on my way to put together a pretty good start to my lab.

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