Amateur science tools and resources at Make's new Science Room



Make Online has a new microsite called the Science Room, which offers "projects, tools, and techniques for backyard scientists." From Gareth Branwyn's introduction to the microsite:

The Make: Science Room is our DIY science destination. Here you'll find how-tos on setting up a home lab, evaluating and buying equipment and supplies, and conducting all manner of fun and educational home science experiments. We also provide a forum, through Comments, for our readers to share their ideas and collaborate on their own experiments and discoveries. Robert Bruce Thompson is your host. He's the author of the best-selling Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments (O'Reilly/Make: Books, 2008) and the (not-yet-published) Illustrated Guide to Forensics Investigations. We'll be including modified content from these books as well as creating original content. As time goes on, we'll expand the Science Room to include sections on astronomy, Earth sciences, biology, and other disciplines. We already have dozens of additional articles on deck and will be posting batches of them each week, so check back often.
Welcome to the Make: Science Room


  1. I had the BIG chemistry set (three panels, dozens of chemicals, big book of experiments… when I was in 4th grade. It was glorious. But then, I also remember diving boards at motels. hmmm.

  2. #1: A friend down the street inherited one of those giant sets from a cousin or uncle or something. It was old even then (very late 60s / early 70s).

    When I asked my parents for a chemistry set I got this piece of crap outfit in a cardboard box. The chemicals came in paper envelopes. No alcohol burner or litmus paper or big book of projects.

  3. I wish I’d received one of those when I was a kid! I may just pick one up for myself now. Forget laptops for kids, they should be giving one of these to every kid for free ;)

  4. @ teufelsdroch,

    +12 to you. I was just about to mention them. I never had a home science kit growing up, lots of legos and rc motors but no chemistry. My girlfriend works there, great shop & source of many items/projects/books in my home.

  5. This looks like the tools for building a young budding… TERRORIST! Quick! Someone call the DHS! No fly list these bastards!

  6. When I was a teenager I went through a phase of electroplating every metallic object I could get my hands on. Dad’s a pharmacist so copper sulfate was easy to come by. They warned me it was toxic but that didn’t keep me from leaving it sitting around in solution in a water glass. My brother – 10 years younger – drank some. Barf, emergency room, no problem. The kid’s been a research scientist for 10 years now. No idea if there’s a connection. We love science a whole lot.

  7. I just made an annoying discovery – the Maker SHED doesn’t carry test tubes, except as part of a kit. Two different racks, but no actual tubes.

  8. I just made an annoying discovery – the Maker SHED doesn’t carry test tubes, except as part of a kit. Two different racks, but no actual tubes.

    Actually, Maker Shed does carry test tubes, four sizes of them, in fact. If you search on “test tube” you’ll see those items, as well as the racks and clamp. But I can sure understand why you thought Maker Shed didn’t carry test tubes, because a lot of the individual items are not yet grouped into categories with landing pages.

    We’re working on that right now. Sorry for the inconvenience. We should probably have an “under construction” icon posted for the next few days.

    Robert Bruce Thompson
    Maker Shed Science Room Curator

  9. In 1956, UNESCO brought out a great resource for societies recovering from the War. It was called source book for science teaching and had lists of all sorts of things a school could collect to teach about light, air, sound, electricity, forces and inertia, geology, to name just a few of the topics.

    Suggested resources came from gravel pits, woods, burned-over areas (should be plenty of them around if the climate continues to change!), saw mills, farms, creeks, roadsides, hardware shops, automobile repair workshops, drugstore, etc.

    I’ve noticed they updated it in 1973, [] but I’ve still got the 1956 one – it’s too wonderful to throw away, even though I gave up teaching a while ago.

  10. Thanks to Robert B. Thompson for reintroducing the home chemistry of my youth. Home chemistry started me on my profession as a pharmacist. I can visualize todays youth being able to be inspired as I was. Nowe if we can get the government to cooperate….

  11. I still love to read the ads for home chemistry experiments, apparatus and set. I was really into this stuff as a kid. It had a lot to do with me becoming a pharmacist. I would rather see kids of today using chemistry sets rather than playing endlessly repetitive electronic games. Now that I am retired I find myself being drawn back into the hobby.

Comments are closed.