posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 02:42 AM
The nature of a lab typically changes with the nature of the experiment you are performing at the time.
However, I might be able to give you some guidance for each category.
General needs for all labs of various forms.
- A set of scales, all fields of science need to measure weights at some point or another.
- A bench. Pretty obvious really.
- A power supply. No matter the field of study, you're going to be using electricity.
- Tools for measurement. I'm not referring to a simple ruler, never trust a ruler. A micrometer, caliper, etc are commonly used in most fields.
- Whiteboard/Chalkboard. You don't want to clutter the room with scattered papers.
- Some form of video recorder. You never want a scenario where you look away and miss something important. Videotape all testing.
- Good lighting. The fewer the shadows the better.
Now, from there, you're going to need to decide exactly what it is you're going to be working with.
For example : in electronics labs I need the following...
- At least 2 multimeters, with alligator and probe leads for each.
- An oscilloscope, same leads again.
- LOTS of breadboards.
- LOTS of wire, in various colours (22 AWG is fine for breadboard use.)
- Wire strippers.
- Heat shrink.
- Hot air gun (my butane soldering iron doubles as a heat gun.)
- A huge and plentiful assortment of basic components such as resistors, capacitors, diodes, transistors, 555 IC's, LED's, buttons, switches, you
name it, I fill drawers upon drawers with the basic components.
- Various power supplies, and various batteries... there's a big difference sometimes when working with a grounded power supply as opposed to
- The room absolutely MUST be on at least 2 breakers. NOT FUSES. You'll blow plenty of them.
- A couple of fire extinguishers. (No automatic fire systems, like sprinklers.)
- Logic probe.
- Continuity probe.
- Computer... absolutely MUST have an old IO port that can be used in a program. An old 486 is fine for my purposes, doesn't need to be pretty.
- Soldering iron, I swear by butane irons.
- Solder. (I shy away from ROHS in testing.)
- A grounding mat on the lab bench... some IC's really don't like static.
- Good ventilation... as I said, I shy away from ROHS, which means I've got lead in the air.
- Good set of hand tools, screwdrivers of various sizes, tweezers, etc.
- Microscope, for those tiny solder joints.
- and most won't understand unless they've worked with electronics... a hunting knife, half serrated, half plain blade, as sharp as it can be made,
with the edge of the tip ground off and sharpened flat. It's a trick of the trade.
Other needs depend on what I'm building. I order or cannibalize the IC's, motors, and other components I need for each project per basis.
You mentioned you're going to be leaning toward a chemistry lab?
Well, not my field, but I would assume you'd need the following.
- Hot plate / bunsen burner.
- Various beakers.
- Test tubes.
- A microscope.
... I'm scratching my head here... definitely not my field.
But as with all labs, from one day to the next, the lab almost never looks the same.
Become proficient with building frames out of wood... lots of projects require your hands free and objects elevated or orientated in a position other
than on the bench.
Sigh... unfortunately, I rarely get the lab I need... and at home I find myself actually building my tools.
To give you an idea, my current oscilloscope was made from an assortment of parts, an ADC setup from a few sound cards, the screen is an old 13
inch... and the rest I made myself. Hardly ideal... and I'm constantly repairing it.
[edit on 6-3-2009 by johnsky]