Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stir Plate

Using a candy dish, a fan from an old computer, 2 fridge magnets, a variable resister (old radio volume control), a toggle switch, a 9 volt battery and connector (old radio), some wire (old telephone wire), 4 screws and 8 nuts I was able to build a stir plate. Every part was found from thrown away items and electronics.

The only tools used are drill with bits to cut the holes for mounting the fan, mounting the switch and mounting the resistor. 2 small files, 1 flat for the surface and 1 round for the edges of the holes. Soldering iron for the electronic connections and contact cement for the magnets.

It works well. You can find other directions for building a stir plate on the internet. What I did was very simple, about an hour to put together and totally free.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Useful and Deleted Links

The Other night I was checking my Links list and found the link to Constructing Inexpensive Lab Equipment no longer works. I hope people have downloaded the files and saved them or printed them out. That is why it is often a good idea to print the pages of a web site up or make sure you download any information needed because you never know how long a site will stay up.

I have found 3 useful links for older books that where used in building lab equipment and to do experiments from. They are:

1)The New Unesco Source Book for Science Teaching. Is sort of different edition of the book 700 Science Experiments for Everyone. I am not sure if this book is out of print. A look online and you can still find this brand new. I haven't been able to find a pdf or site for the original book.

2)The Scientific American Book of Projects. This book is out of print and is a very interesting book.

3)The Make Science Room. It is related to the book "Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments" by Robert Bruce Thompson that I talked about in an earlier post:

I am glad I found the first 2 because I have the books and I would rather read through the PDF files instead of my old books. It is too easy to damage them.

Again make sure to get it while they are up, you don't know how long that will be.

Friday, October 2, 2009

DIY Incubator

I have received email asking me to talk more about the incubator I was putting together. In the picture to the left you can see all the parts I use to build my incubator. The Styrofoam cooler I found on garbage day, but you can pick one up very cheaply. I use this right now to test the whole operation of the incubator. I have a plastic cooler that I will use for my lab. It is much easier to clean and sterilize the plastic.

For the heating I am using an aquarium heater to keep a constant temperature. I use a CPU fan from an old computer to circulate the air over the heater. I power it with the power supply from this old computer. There are many parts that can be used from old electronics. The old computers themselves can be used for programming and hardware builds and you do not need to worry about damaging them.

I found a kitchen cupboard organizer at a department store. This allows me to separate plates, tubes and flasks so the air can circulate around them giving me a stable temperature all around. A multi-meter with temperature measurement was found in a surplus store. This allows me to monitor the temperature without me constantly opening the incubator.

In the picture top right you see the incubator put together with some plates in it. The heater is attached to the cupboard organizer. This keeps it out of the way.