Magnetic stirring bars are the coolest piece of equipment you’ll see in a high-school chemistry lab. They’re a great way for agitating a solution without having to stand there manually and do it yourself. [Applied Science] has now made a magnetic stir bar that features an integrated temperature sensor.
The device is essentially an RFID temperature sensor snuck inside a custom-made magnetic stir bar. The bar is paired with a smart hotplate base that displays the temperature readings. As a bonus, it can detect when the magnetic stir bar is out of place or not in sync, prompting it to slow down the spin motor until the stir bar is turning properly again.
The video also notes that the stir bar could be instrumented for even greater functionality. A Hall effect sensor could measure the magnetic slip angle of the stir bar, and provide useful readings of liquid viscosity. Alternatively, a pressure sensor in the stir bar could potentially measure liquid level based on hydrostatic pressure.
It’s a great quality-of-life improvement for regular lab work. It eliminates the need for bulky temperature probes that often get in the way. We’ve featured some interesting temperature sensors before, too.
Continue reading “A Temperature-Sensing Magnetic Stir Bar”
There’s no beating the beauty and durability of a high-quality powder-coated part. There’s just something about the look and feel of the finish that goes far beyond mere painting and makes it worth the effort and expense. The typical electrostatic spray powder-coating setup can be expensive, though, and not necessarily suitable for every workpiece.
Enter the fluidized-bed powder coating chamber, perfect for limited runs of small parts, and the brainchild of [Andrew Mayhall]. With a business providing furniture kits based on iron pipe, [Andrew] needed a way to finish flanges and fittings, and powder coating provided the best look. The fluidizer he built is a great alternative to spray coating; it blows air through a bed of fine thermoplastic granules, which causes them to act like a fluid. It’s similar to the fluidized-bed hot tub we recently featured, but on a much smaller scale and with different requirements based on the ultrafine particle size and aggregation properties of the powder. [Andrew] had to add mechanical agitation to achieve a homogeneous fluid bed, and after much experimentation he’s now able to dip preheated parts into the bed and achieve one-step powder coating. The video after the break shows some of the operational details.
Does electrostatic powder-coating sound like more of your thing? No problem – DIY solutions abound, and a homebrew oven to bake your parts may be as close as the nearest file cabinet.
Continue reading “Powder Coating With A Fluidized Bed”
A first-time visitor to any bio or chem lab will have many wonders to behold, but few as captivating as the magnetic stirrer. A motor turns a magnet which in turn spins a Teflon-coated stir bar inside the beaker that sits on top. It’s brilliantly simple and so incredibly useful that it leaves one wondering why they’re not included as standard equipment in every kitchen range.
But as ubiquitous as magnetic stirrers are in the lab, they generally come in largish packages. [BantamBasher135] needed a much smaller stir plate to fit inside a spectrophotometer. With zero budget, he retrofitted the instrument with an e-waste, Arduino-controlled magnetic stirrer.
The footprint available for the modification was exceedingly small — a 1 cm square cuvette with a flea-sized micro stir bar. His first stab at the micro-stirrer used a tiny 5-volt laptop fan with the blades cut off and a magnet glued to the hub, but that proved problematic. Later improvements included beefing up the voltage feeding the fan and coming up with a non-standard PWM scheme to turn the motor slow enough to prevent decoupling the stir bar from the magnets.
[BantamBasher135] admits that it’s an ugly solution, but one does what one can to get the science done. While this is a bit specialized, we’ve featured plenty of DIY lab instruments here before. You can make your own peristaltic pump or even a spectrophotometer — with or without the stirrer.
Continue reading “Scrap Bin Mods Move Science Forward”