say you're an amateur physicist who wants to make a home lab..

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posted on Mar, 5 2009 @ 08:43 PM
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I'm not ready to do this yet..but say you have a small garage-size amount of space and $1,000 to spend.. what equipment would you get and why?

[edit on 5-3-2009 by dragonseeker]

[edit on 5-3-2009 by dragonseeker]




posted on Mar, 5 2009 @ 08:48 PM
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Well, you really didnt give any detail to what kind of lab you would want.
Im no physicist, but I would think that this would matter no?
I hope you arent trying to create a Meth lab
If you are, be very careful, hahaha. that stuff goes boom if you arent careful !



posted on Mar, 5 2009 @ 08:50 PM
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Originally posted by Common Good
Well, you really didnt give any detail to what kind of lab you would want.
Im no physicist, but I would think that this would matter no?
I hope you arent trying to create a Meth lab
If you are, be very careful, hahaha. that stuff goes boom if you arent careful !


haha, no, I'm getting interested in theoretical physics as a hobby, and I'm thinking ahead a little..it would be for general experiments, amateur training wheels-physics 101 kinda stuff..just thought someone on ATS would have done this..or at least it's an interesting subject to talk about(I think)..

[edit on 5-3-2009 by dragonseeker]



posted on Mar, 5 2009 @ 08:58 PM
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haha alright, good to hear.
sorry I cant help ya.
Good luck though!



posted on Mar, 5 2009 @ 09:03 PM
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This genius started at a young age in his mom's garage. Maybe some of the information or searching springboards will help your with your small budget home lab query.

#1 worthy thing to spend a chip of your change on =safety guideline book: rounded knowledge, ect, if you need it.


Dr Michio Kaku Part 1

Doctor Michio Kaku Part 2



posted on Mar, 5 2009 @ 09:12 PM
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Maybe it is more chemistry (I know little of either-but care for both), but, how about start with batteries-making your own- and watching/learning the process by which the photons-electrons (whatever...) travels. When you understand how they function/behave within different variables you will understand THEM better to decide what you would like them to do for you next.

A good entry level text book: chemistry
A good entry level phsyics book: physics


That's 300 right there. Can get the older models on amazon for 20, but check for the titles at local colleges.

I don't know a thing about physics-I just store information to relevancy.



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 02:42 AM
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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.
- CLEAN!

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 batteries.
- 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.)
- Flux.
- 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]



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 09:10 AM
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Originally posted by dragonseeker
I'm not ready to do this yet..but say you have a small garage-size amount of space and $1,000 to spend.. what equipment would you get and why?



You could use $250 bucks at your local college to get a physics + lab course and learn all the basics there. You will get to use equipment that $1000 won't be able to buy. Use the remaining $750 to get basic stuff as you learn or just to take more advanced courses. Or if you find out you don't like physics just use those $750 on something else.



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 05:54 PM
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thanks so much all, great info here, much appreciated... I'll let you know how it goes.



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 11:33 PM
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Ditch the lab and buy a library, instead.

Here's a basic reading list of the types of math you need to be proficient in physics (I'm not talking a garage tinkerer, but someone who can stand up and argue with Hawking and Penrose): www.superstringtheory.com...

Read biographies of every mathemetician and physicist you can find -- their theories keep you from running in circles on your research. Dirac, for instance, or Euler... or Hawking or... thousands of other names. Don't think physics begins and ends with Tesla.

Also, go online and look for "physics experiments." Look for the ones with the math explanation (or with forces explanations) and learn to develop force diagrams so that when you start using set theory you can do more than just stare at the pretty numbers.

Hie thyself to Half Price Books or to any number of mathematics courses online and start reading!

Meanwhile, many universities have free video lectures in math and physics. Start taking them! I recommend the Berkley courses heartily!
webcast.berkeley.edu...

(my favorite was "physics for future presidents" that ran about 2 years ago. It's still available.) I use the Berkeley podcasts myself when I need a fast grounding in various information or psychology theories.



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 11:44 PM
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You can also check out this guy

John Hutchison

He built his own lab in his apartment in New Westminster, BC

A lot of people think he's crazy and that all his finding are a hoax but for some strange reason I believe the guy. I've met him on the street on a few occasions when I lived in New West and sure he seemed very eccentric and odd but what genius doesn't.

(oh and the government raided his place on the grounds of being a danger to the public and stole all his research notes....then branded him a hoaxer....a little too convenient if you ask me.)

You can check out video's of his experiments on youtube.



posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 10:40 AM
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Originally posted by Byrd
Ditch the lab and buy a library, instead.

Here's a basic reading list of the types of math you need to be proficient in physics (I'm not talking a garage tinkerer, but someone who can stand up and argue with Hawking and Penrose): www.superstringtheory.com...

Read biographies of every mathemetician and physicist you can find -- their theories keep you from running in circles on your research. Dirac, for instance, or Euler... or Hawking or... thousands of other names. Don't think physics begins and ends with Tesla.

Also, go online and look for "physics experiments." Look for the ones with the math explanation (or with forces explanations) and learn to develop force diagrams so that when you start using set theory you can do more than just stare at the pretty numbers.

Hie thyself to Half Price Books or to any number of mathematics courses online and start reading!

Meanwhile, many universities have free video lectures in math and physics. Start taking them! I recommend the Berkley courses heartily!
webcast.berkeley.edu...

(my favorite was "physics for future presidents" that ran about 2 years ago. It's still available.) I use the Berkeley podcasts myself when I need a fast grounding in various information or psychology theories.


Thanks..yeah I'm also looking at the physics courses MIT has postd up for free, I'll be doing LOTS of reading/studying for years to come..it's just such a fascinating subjrct..



posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 11:26 AM
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Sounds like you have the problem I had for a long time. Tools and techniques vary from project to project and it can be a daunting task to set up exactly what you are going to need unless you constrain yourself to one specific discipline. I am constantly looking for and purchasing tools.

Still, I can give you a little info on+places to start:
  • American Science & Surplus is a great place for chemistry equipment (beakers, test tubes, piping, pipettes, etc.) in assortments at low prices. They also cary a decent selection of chemical tools at closer to retail prices. Also, if you are looking into high-voltage or other fringe electronics areas, they often have some rare equipment (Van de Graff generators, Wimhurst machines, etc.).

  • Electronic Goldmine is a good place to pick up surplus gears, small motors, lenses, and unusual items for experimentation. They also have some chemistry apparatus from time to time.

  • All Electronics is mostly electronics, but they do tend to have those unique and unusual goodies from time to time.

  • A word about surplus electronics: don't assume it's a great deal because it says so, even from surplus places. Many times I have found prices at the two surplus sites just above to be higher on removed parts than a traditional electronics supply-house is on new ones. I use Mouser Electronics for my traditional parts and tools, mainly because they have no problem sharing information about what they sell.

  • If you need a good reliable source for chemicals, pyrotechnics, or radioactive work, check out United Nuclear. They are a bit pricey compared to the other links I have given, but they have a pretty wide assortment of chemicals, radioactive sources, and pyrotechnic equipment.

  • And last, but certainly not least... from my early days as a wide-eyed young redneck with a head full or mush... still going today... Information Unlimited! A huge variety of plans and designs for almost any crazy idea you ever want to make. The plans will typically be simple rough photocopies of a master set; this ain't Macy's. But the ones I have built in my youth worked like a charm. (Check out the potato cannon; it's awesome.
    )



Byrd is completely right about the library. You need reference books and they ain't cheap. Forget buying a book for $10 or $20, and resign yourself to $100 or $200. Colleges are great places to look for books (and especially if you can get them used and save a few bucks) but so are yard sales, believe it or not! I have found plenty of $200 books for $1.00 before, but you have to be tenacious; you might find one decent deal out of 500 searches.

Take that $1000 and get a couple good books on general physics and whatever discipline (chemistry, electronics, optics, robotics, etc.) you are interested in most. Read them. Learn from them. Then when you want to try something out, get what you need to do that then. There's no way you will ever get a shop set up well for that price. My present shop includes
  • a $500 table saw
  • $300 worth of router and table
  • $4000 worth of machine shop (all-in-one drill/mill/lathe)
  • at least $1000 worth of simple mechanical tools, plus
  • a $150 toolbox to house them all
  • $100 in calipers alone
  • $500 in electronic equipment (O-scope, multimeters, soldering irons, etc.)
  • at least $1000 in clamps, portable saws, hammers, staplers, files, rasps, and other woodworking tools
  • a private technical library that most secondary engineering schools would kill for, assembled over 30 years at a cost I cannot even begin to estimate
and I still need more tools/books/stuff from time to time! A good research lab is a work in progress. Mine has been in the works for about 30 years.

So get started, get some books, get some basic equipment for your field of interest, and go from there. You have an amazing journey ahead of you!

TheRedneck


[edit on 7-3-2009 by TheRedneck]



posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 12:11 PM
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This is a great thread! I hope to someday have a lab where I can do stuff, but I don't have anywhere to put that kind of stuff right now. I've got the beginnings of a decent library from my schooling days and a few basic items, but without any space (or extra money!) I haven't really gotten into anything yet. Many of the things in this thread I'd already thought of, but there's a lot of items I hadn't even considered.

Used books can be a great deal. I've picked up a few great deals here and there. You can also sometimes find free online books that are useful; I've seen several that are legal to download, either because the author freely distributes it, or has been dead long enough that copyright no longer exists. Scientific texts often aren't too useful if they're that old, but mathematical texts can still be useful even if decades old, since calculus and differential equations and the like aren't changing at all, unlike a subject such as nuclear physics.

Look for free software for stuff you want to do. For example, when I was in school working on my design project, I designed a PCB using Eagle software, which is free to download, and it works fairly well. Some textbooks come with CDs (if you get them new) that have useful software. If you're a student, you might be able to get educational discounts, too.

Check out amazon.com's reading lists. Look for people's physics and chemistry lists. If certain books are appearing in a lot of lists, they're probably worth getting, assuming they're in your field of interest.

Where I live, there are occasionally police auctions, where they are selling stuff that they can't return to the original owners (because they don't know where it came from, or else it was bought using ill-gotten funds). My dad has picked up a lot of dirt cheap computer stuff from those. Our university also has auctions where they sell their outdated stuff. You can get computers for like $20, but they're like 486 or Pentium I or something :p They'll also sell equipment out of their labs when they renovate them, too.

I haven't tried it, but I've had people swear by begging for 'free samples' from companies like Maxim-IC or Texas Instruments. The worst that can happen is they say 'no'.





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