Sunday, May 31, 2009

Support Stand, Test Tubes and More

In picture #11 I quickly build this support stand from a curtain rod, some wood, coat hanger, clothespins and some screws. This support stand was built from a 10" x 6", 1" thick base of wood and a small 2" x 4" support. The rod is a curtain rod that slides into itself. I cut it down to the length I wanted it to open to. Picture #11b-c - Using a coat hanger I shaped a clamp or holder to fit the mouth end of my light bulb flask. Picture #11d - Using clothespins I make another clamp that can hold smaller objects such as glass tubes, funnel tubes or thermometer.

You can see in the pictures the flask and a thermometer being supported by this stand. It was very simple to make, it is adjustable, you can make it go higher or lower and best of all it is inexpensive. It worked very well. I intend to make some more, some smaller, some bigger and some with 2 or more rods attached to the base.

As stated before when you decide to build your own lab let family and friends know so they can collect items for you. In picture #12 you see a pile of tubes. The small ones are what some florists use for single flowers to keep them wet. The medium tubes are cigar tubes and the large ones held soap powder. All came from friends keeping these when they were done with them. Now all of these tubes are made of plastic but they are still good for mixing, centrifuging, and storing.

Also in this picture you see a couple of pieces of glass that I cut from larger glass plates. The larger one I use for chopping material up in my DNA extraction experiments. The smaller one covers my glass furniture coaster petri dish. These and others come from glass found in old thrown away picture frames that I found on garbage day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

For The DIYBIO Lab

As seen in picture #10 I found an old cooler out in my neighbour hood during garbage day. I hope to use the cooler and the aquarium heater to build an incubator for my cultures (bacterial or yeast and hopefully one day tissue). I picked up the heater and the pressure cooker from a second hand store for less than $10.00. The pressure cooker will be used to sterilize my culture media, water, etc. I will use an oven too sterilize my glassware and bleach for my plasticware. I found agar agar for my cultures and electrophoresis from an Indian grocery store. The microscope glass slide box is made from a cardboard box that is slightly wider than the slides. The slides are then separated on the sides by the perforated cardboard (some cookie bags have ribbed paper that can be sized and used to separate the slides) ripped apart and glued to the sides. This box cost me nothing to build.

You can also see on the side I found a new kit to play with. The DNA Wizard, I think adding this with the CSI DNA Laboratory I an do some DIYBIO (Do It Yourself Biology). Something I am very interested in (I should talk more about the CSI kit on a later date). The DNA Wizard has a few good things in it IE. build your own model of DNA, chromosome typing, DNA extraction and bacterial growth. It supplies you with many things to use including the bacteria. I bought it for $10.00 so it was not to bad, but at it's regular cost of $40.00 that is a bit too much. Most of what is in the kit can be picked up at home and at toy stores, except the bacteria. And that can be found in nature. A good book for doing DIYBIO is "Biotechnology Projects For Young Scientists" by Kenneth Rainis and George Nassis 1998. I have this on my library list.

I think it might be time to discuss some of the different books and links that I have found and use. Hopefully I can write about some of these in the next couple of posts.

More Inexpensive Lab Equipment

Here I build some very inexpensive lab equipment. Basically it was all free. You can't do any better than that.

In picture #7 I build flasks out of old light bulbs. Bend back the soft metal tip on the end of the bulb with a pair of pliers. Twist the metal piece so it breaks off. There is a small hole in the top of the bulb. Use a screwdriver to break the black substance away. Be careful to not break the bulb itself. If you have trouble breaking the black substance break it off with a pair of needle-nose pliers. Once the black substance is all broken away use a screwdriver to break the glass holding the filament. Shake out the bulb. Take some water and an old toothbrush and clean out the white film in the bulb. The metal screw top is sturdy enough to hold a cork or rubber stopper. And now we have a very inexpensive flask.

In picture #8 I build some wooden racks(again this is wood I found will walking around on garbage day). One is for test-tubes and the other lower profile one is used to hold many other items for easy access. The plastic dish soap bottles are thoroughly washed out and can hold regular water, distilled water or any other liquids you wish to dispense very easily. They have push down lids so if they are knocked over they will not spill.