setting up a workspace: odor "prevention"

thomash

Well-known member
May 7, 2014
Hey,

I'm setting up my workspace and I'm wondering how I am going to keep the air clean. I'm pressed for space, and for the location I've pretty much got a choice between basement and old gardenhouse. Garden seems obvious, however there's no electricity and it can get very hot in the summer. So basement then, but this is a very confined space. It is equiped with ventilation pipes, which depend on a natural draft.

Do any of you use mechanical/motorised ventilation? I could install this on the available pipes quite easily, even convert a closet in an improv fume hood.

How about air filters, carbon filters, etc... Any thoughts?

Oh, I've found an old thread on this already, so far I'm taking into account:
-use a glass table
-manage the trash, a closed bin etc.
- open the windows/doors, which clearly isn't an option in the basement.
 

pkiler

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Dec 5, 2007
I'd suggest a low volume fan driven outbound airpipe, fed by a screened ground level air inlet.

a computer fan on a variator might work well, and be quiet enough to be in use and used whenever you are working in the space.
Or I have seen some 8 or 10 inch fans that could work similarly.

PK
 

Aldara

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2014
Hi there...

What did you land on? I in a similar setting. My office in the basement has to serve as a "lab". See you also mention something about a glass table... I take it a wood desk is not the best option?

Recently posted a thread called the diy lab, and im very interested in hearing about how your "lab" is set up,
 

pkiler

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Dec 5, 2007
I would recommend non-absorbent, non-reactive, easily cleaned surfaces to work on.

Stainless Steel and Formica, first come to mind.

Since it happens regularly enough that I drop bottles off of shelves, Formica is my choice so that the bottles don't break as easily, for my organ area. I have another area for Heated mixing/blending/rotoevaporation/Chemical interaction and Chemistry lab type activities, and that is on a Sandwich/food prep type stainless steel table that I got second hand from a Donut shop through Craigslist.

And I have wood on the floors, mainly because I have carpet under the wood and I'm trying to make any spills that happen quickly picked up, instead of getting into the carpet. This wood on the floor is also a good idea if my floor is cement, because the wood floors also keep bottles from breaking when falling to the floor.

As for a fan, you could use an exhaust fan (Bathroom type) installed over the ceiling, attached to outbound ventpipe.

And Trashbins with fairly tightly sealing lids is also helpful, as well as just making your trashcan small enough that you empty it quickly, instead of letting it accumulate over days.

I am attaching my first organ, that appropriated CD boxes, that I bought at a recycled materials store for the expensive price of $1.00 each. I turned them on their sides to produce a supremely simple and cheaply stacking shelf environment to hold bottles.

Organ Idea.jpg


After awhile, I got quite a few bottles, and whenever I needed the bottle on the shelf in the back, I would knock over four or five bottles getting that one out.

So I graduated to little baskets that fit perfectly the shelf, and bought @ 3/$1.00 at the Dollar Tree Store, and so then I started grouping my materials into some manner that seemed best to me, inside of the baskets, and I would remove the entire basket to get out a bottle, or at least I wouldn't remove the basket but not knock over a lot of bottles removing one bottle. Like this picture:

Paul's Organ 4-2010.jpg

In the second Picture, I made some shelving, since I ran out of $1.00 CD Boxes. This also allowed me to make shelf sizes that worked better for a variety of bottle sizes.

I use much the same strategy today, albeit a bit bigger now.

I hope that these strategies are helpful for your path...

PK
 

mumsy

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Jan 31, 2010
I invented a very crude container for smelling perfumes to avoid air contamination from stinkers. Take a plastic water bottle and chop its bottom off so it stands flat on a normal tea plate. Put your smelling strips on crocodile clips in a jar like a small flower arrangement, or tape them to the plate bent upwards like grass stalks, and sit these within the bottle. Tape the edges of the bottle down or weight the bottom with blue tac to stop it toppling too often. Then smell the perfume through the lid that unscrews. Less lab air contamination and you can assess more than one perfume at once.

70dpwx.jpg


My perfume bottle cupboards all have glass doors to avoid general air contamination. Each type has a different cupboard i.e. oils, ethanols, tinctures. The chems are about to be banished to another with a tighter seal when I find one. They really do stink the place out. I bag the worst ones individually or double bottle them. A vial within a bottle.

Work surface is covered in a clear plastic tablecloth to protect the wood on the table. I wipe this down after every use with some of the perfumers alcohol. I surround my weighing machine with tissue now since I recently contaminated a vial card that I sent. I must have splashed my cutting mat. Very bad lab practice to splash.

I always wipe the neck of the bottles when pouring from them so that smell doesn't accumulate in the lid screw part. I use micro pipette ends so that cross contamination doesn't happen and splashing is minimal (hopefully).

Personally I cannot concentrate if the air is contaminated. However our house is so old and so full of drafts that it isn't usually a problem. It is when weighing though.

I think the question is an important one for sanity as well as lungs.

This is inside a glass doored and shelved cupboard I bought on ebay for not very much. I need to make another tier as I have already run out of space. The tiers are thin planks that I sanded and are placed on polystyrene blocks. Nothing fancy.

2earu2p.jpg


Ps. When I used to be a graphic designer, we used to have glue booths that had an air extractor unit. Not sure of their mechanics for the final dealings with the extraction though. It may have only been to suck in the glue particles. No reason it couldn't be attached to a pipe to outside though.
 
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mumsy

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Jan 31, 2010
Thank you. Not exactly glamorous.... but the bottle method works. Posh labs have nice glass domes....
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
Btw a way to nearly prevent odor escaping from work materials is to use small sterile vials and to use insulin syringes/needles to draw the material when needed.

When making a dilution, it's difficult (though doable if wishing to calculate what volume will give the correct weight) to add alcohol while the septum (rubber stopper) is in place, because of course the weight cannot be read while the syringe is stuck into the septum and material is flowing in. So I cut away the aluminum ring holding the stopper, and momentarily remove the stopper when adding alcohol by weight. The stoppers generally stay in place just fine after that even without the aluminum ring.

Result: essentially complete containment, even in the process of drawing material.
 

mumsy

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Jan 31, 2010
Can you photograph that? I cannot envisage quite what aluminium rings and rubber tops you mean.

Are you saying you inject through rubber like skin?
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
I'll take a picture and post.

Yes, the top of the vial has a rubber plug (septum) which works like a thick skin. It lets the needle go in and out while remaining sealed after the needle is withdrawn.
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
One with alumimum ring in place (added some already-made solution to this one), another with ring removed, so I could temporarily remove stopper and add drops while on balance .

IMG_20141014_120819.jpg
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
Sure Seal would be very nice, Irina, but different from what I'm doing. Myself I've only ever seen it on larger size containers than I use for working materials, containers already full of material from the supplier. If that's available for sale as individual small empty units I didn't know it! Could be a great way to go for storing the undiluted material.
 

Irina

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
Now I see what you mean, Bill, I call them 'alu seal lab vial caps'. I can't use those as you need a special crimper, do you have it?

Indeed, the Sure Seal caps are only available on containers of materials I have from SigmaAldrich. They are awesome!

Sorry, I just realized my ramblings might not be very helpful for DIY folks :cheesy: Mumsy's suggestions are much more sensible :tekst-toppie:
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
I don't have a crimper, so don't recrimp. But the stoppers stay in place quite well without the aluminum piece. I purchase the vials already crimped and ready to go.

If wanting to ship, though, certainly the vial should be crimped. The thing to do there, I suppose, if not having the crimper would be to transfer to a new, unmolested vial.
 

Irina

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
Thank you, Bill, this is so helpful, as I have a bunch of those empty vials still sealed and didn't know what to do with them. Now I can put them to good use :dankk2:
 

pkiler

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Dec 5, 2007
This is what you all are speaking of, correct?

2oz Vial Bottle and Septum Caps.jpg

I had a friend give me 900 of these 2oz bottles, without the caps, so I just recently bought this bag of a few hundred caps on ebay to use the bottles...

I bought a crimper to try to use them as perfumery bottles, but the crimper I guess is too small, and won't fit over the glass lip. So until I can buy a bigger crimper, I'll have to use these bottles this way.

Any Thoughts?

PK
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
Yes, same thing.

For working materials it will work fine without the crimper, Paul. This includes when vials fall on their sides or even stay on their sides for a while. They stay in place well. This is even without withdrawing any air to produce a partial vacuum. When that is done they even more want to stay in place. But I don't bother to do it intentionally as they stay in place well enough without. (It happens to some extent automatically as withdrawing material. Sometimes, if working with a dilution into a viscous solvent, it will be necessary to let more air into the vial to be able to continue withdrawing relatively easily.)

In a few cases, unfortunately I can't remember specific examples but it's been rare, an aromachemical will cause the stopper to swell slightly in which case it can have a tendency to come loose. But overwhelmingly in general, for work purposes the stoppers stay in place just fine uncrimped.

I just remembered, I also used to wrap Parafilm about the stopper and bottle to help hold stoppers in place. This stays in place well and certainly helps secure the stopper. But I stopped doing so on finding it really was unnecessary. But if wanting "belt and suspenders," it's an option.
 
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Aldara

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2014
hylle.jpg

Were did you get these?

I went to ikea today, and bought drawer "organizers" reall cheap and will do the trick for now. ... i will need to fill up with more bottles thoug.

Seems like buying a table with a glass surface wont be a bad idea either.
 

Aldara

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2014
Pkiler/mumsy - Thanks, that was really informative.

I can see that i quickly can accumulate a heap load of bottles and that it will be a sensible thing to have a proper storage arrangement. Im gonna head back to ikea and buy me some cheap cupboards.

My house is of the modern day build, meaning there is very little natural ventilation (As there is in older houses) I will have to get that sorted out as well.

Do you folks work with or without gloves? I got some of these oils on my fingers (Yes i do make a mess from time to time) and it was really hard to rub the smell of.
 

Aldara

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2014
Searched the web for the vials ... they can be bought easily online in nearly any size you'd like (A long with the crimper)

So thats added to the shopping list as well.


I see they use some sort of pinch in the "fancy" labs to hold 2-3 or more test papers .. Any suggestions what to use for this purpose?
 

pkiler

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 5, 2007
Aldara, You can see my blog post on the topic of what you ask about here:

http://pkperfumes.com/what-to-do-with-all-those-decant-bottles/

They are plastic Vial trays I bought on ebay and sawed in two pieces for diff sized vials. refer to the blogpost for more information.

So, If you buy a glass surface top, best to get tempered *IF* you can, so that bottles falling on it from shelves won't break it. (this is why I prefer Formica)

PK
 
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JEBeasley

Well-known member
Jul 24, 2013
I just posted this pic in the DIY lab post but I'll post it here too for future reference.
attachment.php


These little plastic cabinets hold all of my undiluted materials and keep my blending space nearly scentless. I purchase 1mil dropper bottles in bulk and dilute everything at 10%, 5% or 1% for experimentation and blend into a 2mil vial or larger. I would suggest a wide base vial for blending if you're clumsy but the regular size fits perfectly into a test-tube rack for storage and that is very convenient.

I built malamine countertops and purchased a large ceramic tile, from a home building materials palace, to blend on. The ceramic tile is easy to clean off with a spray bottle of isopropyl alcohol and paper towel. Garbage cans with tight fitting lids help keep smells down. An air cleaner/purifier can be useful to keep smell down but I would NOT recommend an ionizer, fresh air ventilation is best if needed but I find with my setup that it is rarely if ever required. For scent strips I purchased a paper cutter and cut 11x14, 140lb, hot press, water color paper into 7" x 1/4" + strips. I use an adjustable, autoclavable, auto-pipettor, bottle droppers and autoclavable glass pipettes to transfer materials.
 

mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
I do have three auto-pipettors that do 100iu fixed measurements that I do not use.

image.jpg image.jpg

PM if interested. I've never opened them. I use my beloved Mettler Toledo volumiser.

image.jpg image.jpg

Reason being. I bought the first ones and then found the second. Having looked for ages, it all came at once.

I also have an extra metal 1000iu fixed pipettor but again, I've never used it. I have a set of them from 20iu to 1000iu and for some reason there were two of the big ones.

image.jpg
 
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JEBeasley

Well-known member
Jul 24, 2013
Mumsy,
I'm not sure who you were offering the pipettor to but in case it was me, thank you very much for the offer but my Nexty is quite sufficient for my needs so I will decline.

Your Mettler Toledo looks very similar to my Watson Nexty which I like very much.

http://watsonbiolab.com/products/pipettor/singlechannelpipettor/singlechannelpipettor.html

It completely disassembles, is autoclavable, has macro and micro volume adjustments, tip ejector and the adjustable thumb-wheel locks. I find that if I adjust the volume @ no more than 50% I don't have to clean it very often.
 

mumsy

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Jan 31, 2010
That Watson looks fab too. I love my Mettler but it was second hand so the calibration, although consistent, doesn't say 100 for 0.100 of a ml. More like 134 ish. I'm not actually that sure about the ratio of international unit measurements and mls. It doesn't matter much to me because I go by weight. But I really do like the assurance that one squirt is always 0.100 when I'm putting measurements into the tiny vials. (I've set it that way).

Only one particularly pungent chem has really contaminated the mettler onto the plastic. The substance usually stays only in the tips. I will see if it comes apart like yours. I know the bottom part does but I haven't tried unscrewing the next bit. It probably needs a service. The plunger feels a bit scratchy if I hold it one way round and not the other. I adore this and will be very sad if it broke. It probably will if I get rid of the spares and won't if I don't.

The offer of the others is open to anyone but you'll have to PM me. I have three of that sort. Online pipettor dealing is a big no no.
 

mumsy

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Jan 31, 2010
I have them and they are only redundant because I immediately found a different and better one that I use all the time. These came as a job lot with the metal ones.

Your own method will evolve given time. Paul is right. You don't need expensive things at first unless money is no object for you.

I used to use the plastic disposable pipettes. I couldn't afford to keep throwing them away every use, so I used to label them, wrap them and keep them for the one ingredient. Cons - when there are lots, they need keeping in alphabetical order. Plus they do split sometimes mid job.

I love my pipettor. I looked for this particular one for a long time. It makes me happy every time I use it. Daft but true.

Pros for the pipettor - it uses tiny tips that can be kept with the bottle it was used in. Wrapped, taped on and ready to use again. No more sorting out and looking for the right disposable pipette. There and ready for action every time with the right ingredient. No muddle. This suits me for now unless someone has a better method and then I might change.

I do like the idea of a syringe and a rubber cap, but there are a couple of things that I would like to know.
Does matter get on the 'outside' of that rubber skin from the outer part of the needle or does wiping each time prevent that?
If one ingredient has been injected in, then if another ingredients injection site is the same hole, will it not cross contaminate?
Do you use a different needle every time?
 

Aldara

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2014
I love my pipettor. I looked for this particular one for a long time. It makes me happy every time I use it. Daft but true.

Pros for the pipettor - it uses tiny tips that can be kept with the bottle it was used in. Wrapped, taped on and ready to use again. No more sorting out and looking for the right disposable pipette. There and ready for action every time with the right ingredient. No muddle. This suits me for now unless someone has a better method and then I might change.

Practical things that makes life easy - of course it make you happy.

I all boils down to cost, and i suspect that your solution will (At least in my part of the world) be the most long term economical solution.
I also suspect that i will accumulate quite an amount of plastic thrash using the disposable ones.
 

JEBeasley

Well-known member
Jul 24, 2013
JEBeasley: The colour coding of the bottles .. your own system?

When I originally set it up I had no idea what the color coding should be, I just used them as basic labels with material name, dilution % and solvent(s). Now that I've had some time to get my feet wet I am devising a system because I have found them useful. Those paper dots don't provide enough room to legibly write all of the information I want. What I plan to do is create/print/type-face, full bottle, square, labels with the name of the material, solvent(s), dilution %, number of hours on test strip and basic description. I'll use smalller colored dots or stickers to indicate scent family or category (wood, amber, musk, animalic, balsamic, green, floral, etc).

I currently have about 80% of my materials diluted and it's getting harder and harder to find and keep track of everything. In order to keep things sane I have to plan out basic accords, set aside the materials I think I will need, before hand and then hunt for the rest to fill in the gaps once I have my basic structure. It is time consuming having to look through several hundred dropper bottles to find a particular material but I can sometimes remember the color of the dot and that does really help to narrow it down. So, the colored dots are definitely useful for narrowing down what and where a particular material is when your eyes and fingers have to swim through an ocean of them.

I like my pipettor but I use it mostly to pipette raw materials that aren't already diluted. When I dilute them I just use the clean/new bottle dropper to add raw material to a new bottle and then add solvents using wash bottles; the dropper in each bottle is used from then on for blending. When my auto pipettor tips are all used up I can clean/soak them with isopropyl alcohol and then soap and water and dry and re-use them - I do this a few times before throwing them out. Bulk pipettor tips at $12-$13/1000 are quite a bit less expensive than regular pipettes and they are easier to clean. I'm pretty frugal and I don't like to put more into the landfill than is necessary. At this point I'm not sure how important an auto-pipettor is considering how infrequently I use it but I can see a day when I'll be blending raw materials only and that's when I'll need it most and often. So, in the beginning, you might be better off buying more materials and bottles and buy the auto pipettor later if you need it. There was someone on this board who said, a while ago, that they use glass capillary tubes for blending so that they didn't waste materials, that seems like the ultimate in frugality but I can't imagine working with such a small quantity of materials while mixing, that would drive me up a wall.
 
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Irina

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
Pros for the pipettor - it uses tiny tips that can be kept with the bottle it was used in. Wrapped, taped on and ready to use again. No more sorting out and looking for the right disposable pipette. There and ready for action every time with the right ingredient. No muddle. This suits me for now unless someone has a better method and then I might change.

A slight problem with re-suing plastic, and plastic & aromatics in generals. Most aromatics will dissolve the plastic in time. Not much to see with the bare eye, but you'll end up with quite a lot of dissolved plastic in your end formula. I did lots of analysis of DIY and artisan blends in the past and I was astounded to see how high the percentage of plastics was in the end product. Not safe. Scent & chemistry also did a few posts on FB about this.

I would highly recommend to use either glass or dispose of plastic after use. Don't use dropper caps either and make sure your caps have an aluminum inlay.

As from an environmental point of view plastic recycling is now days one of the easiest and greenest ways to deal with landfills
http://environment.about.com/od/recycling/a/benefits-of-plastics-recycling.htm
 

mumsy

Basenotes Plus
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Jan 31, 2010
I wipe them after each use and flush them out with a drop of ethanol to clean it. It is held firm with tape to the right bottle on a tissue 'holster' so that when I hold the pipettor, I just plunge the end straight into the right tip when using that ingredient, then rinse and replace to use another from another bottle. It makes the process of blending efficient and fast with no contamination or smell. Any doubt on a tip to bottle marriage and it goes in the bin. Seriously unglamorous again but it works for me.

These are high tips, I changed to low tips because I kept knocking bottles over, so now my tips are the same height as the bottles.

24w92pv.jpg
 
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mumsy

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Jan 31, 2010
Thanks for that information Irina. Most useful to know.

I shall now use glass when blending any final perfumes. These are only for blending samples from the sample dilution bottles so it won't matter at all. Plus the plastic only stays in contact with the aromatic for a very short time. I hope it takes ages to dissolve plastic tips.
 

Irina

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
Thanks for that information Irina. Most useful to know.

I shall now use glass when blending any final perfumes. These are only for blending samples from the sample dilution bottles so it won't matter at all. Plus the plastic only stays in contact with the aromatic for a very short time. I hope it takes ages to dissolve plastic tips.

No, I mean that all those little tiny bits of plastic in all those tiny different dilutions, all put together will add up to a not so tiny amount of plastic polymers (like some harmful phthalates esp. dioctyl phthalate/DEHP which is banned in the EU in cosmetics) into your final formula.
Fine for DIY and personal use. Not so much if you are gifting your blends to others or are planning to sell (in the future).

(and from your picture I see you wrap them in paper napkins, another medium that is very susceptible to all kinds of contamination. You could use aluminum wrap foil for a cleaner solution)
 
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mumsy

Basenotes Plus
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Jan 31, 2010
These bottles, tips and the tissue don't ever touch final blends. These are in the blending cupboard and nothing of them goes in the real ones thank goodness. Only in my little own sample blends for smelling.

I'm so glad you told us of this. This forum is a godsend with people like you with your kind of knowledge. Thank you.
 

JEBeasley

Well-known member
Jul 24, 2013
Irina, I'm not challenging your research or experience, I believe what you are saying, just wondering if different plastics and different pipettes were tested or if all plastics have been lumped into the results? I'd be curious to know if auto-pipette tips which are frequently used for chemistry work and are auto-clavable break down as readily as plastics that aren't made for chemistry work. Also, were the plastics present in the materials prior to using them - were they stored in metal containers lined with plastic coatings, etc? Is there a difference between the materials available to artisan perfumers compared to what is available to corporate perfumers (dilution, adulterants, etc)? As I look around I notice that all of my raw materials are in glass bottles but they all have plastic (phenolic) caps with poly cone inserts, is it possible that those poly cone inserts might be a contributor? I rarely use my plastic pipette tips right now but I may in the future. Also, I'm not invested in the results or answers in either direction as it's nether expensive nor an inconvenience to change habits, just wondering. Thanks for your input BTW.
 

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