Monday, August 24, 2009

Crystal Kits and More

Seen here are a couple of crystal growing kits I picked up from a discount store for $5.00 each. When I was younger I always enjoyed growing crystals. I had a crystal growing kit from the Mr. Wizard (Don Herbert) science sets.

I found the Discovery DNA Kit (seen in the picture). It was not working but I took it apart and found a connection was missing, a bit of solder and wire and it works fine. You can see this in the picture of my lab from an earlier post. It is like the CSI DNA kit.

Other things I have found. From the flee market I picked up a double height wooden test-tube rack, 50 test-tubes of 3 different sizes and a round bottom flask 3000 ml. All this for under $10.00.

From the trash I found a glass aquarium. It is large enough to be used as a sterile transfer chamber for my micro work. Laying it on it's side and putting a cover over the mouth and using Lysol or alcohol to spray I should be able to sterilize the inside of it. Using the glass side to look through I should be able to transfer my cultures in a sterile environment. I got this idea from an old Amateur scientist column where they build one out of wood and a glass top.

Also from the trash I found an old hair dryer and an old model train transformer. The transformer was not working, but after taking it apart I found all the connections had fallen apart from age. I soldered a new cord (from the old hair dryer, keep the heating wire from the dryer it my come in handy later on) on to it and it is working fine. It goes from 0 to 21 volts. I will try to use this as a power supply for my electrophoresis. It is not as high as I would like but I have been using 3 - 9 volt batteries and they use up fast. The dryer also has a switch that may be used later.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Lego MindStorms Kit

I received this as Christmas gift. It was greatly reduced. It is an older kit and was found at a clearance store. I have been visiting a few sites that talk about using this kit for building laboratory equipment.

Here is one site:

Here is another:

And another(this is just using Lego):

I like DNA science (DNA extraction, there is many sites and recipes for this) and DIYBIO (do it yourself biology) and I have looked into PCR (polymerase chain reaction) which is the copying of DNA. Basically with the right chemicals and the heating and cooling of the DNA you can take a small amount of DNA and make more for testing. So to do this manually you would take your sample and transfer it from a hot water bath to a cold water bath many times or you could buy a thermocycler (which usually is expensive).

So what I am looking into doing is building an arm from the Lego Mindstorm kit to take my sample from one bath to the other at the right timing sequence.

I will be doing more searches on uses for this kit and posting my progress on the development of this project.