I have an enclosed shop and occasionally use various solvents to clean things. Usually, I just work outside and let the fumes dissipate into nature but that’s not an ideal solution. Then I found a fume hood for sale on one of the auction sites

It's a LabConCo 4880000 (manual) from the 2002-2006 timeframe. It came with a 4' soapstone table top (not shown) and a bottom cabinet. The glass, weights and counter top were intact and serviceable but the lower cabinet was in pretty bad shape, having spent its life holding corrosive chemicals.

This thing was in service at a NC sewage treatment plant for 10 years or so and then it sat around for about 18 months before I snagged it. This is another time when I wished I owned a truck. My Toyota RAV4 was far too small to take the assembled unit so I drilled out the rivets holding the thing together and tossed the pieces in the car. Further disassembly for transport required a good dust mask, rubber gloves, compressed air and plenty of ammonia-based cleaner. The sellers assured me the thing was safe.

Because I’m stupid, I didn’t take any pictures while taking the thing apart. That will bite me later, on re-assembly.

I'll update this article as I put the thing back together.  


You can use a thermal imaging camera for a lot of non-obvious tasks e.g.

  • Tracing the path of water from a leaking roof. The water will show a temperature difference which will let you trace from the point of damage (usually a brown spot on a ceiling somewhere) and the source of water ingress.
  • You can find the locations of studs and joists inside your walls. This works particularly well on an external wall with crappy insulation (I live in an old, leaky house). You can also try turning up the heat/AC on one side of the wall and waiting a little bit.
  • You can trace the forced-air ductwork in your house. Turn on the heat or AC and let it run a while. The temperature difference of the cooled/heated joist bays will stand out.

They're a huge help in debugging electronics.

  • If you're building low-power electronics, you can put your device into its various power modes and see which ICs are still burning power. This technique helps identify if you forgot to turn something off.
  • You can identify a shorted decoupling capacitor on a board because its the one generating heat. This is very helpful when fixing old equipment as the capacitors are very likely to have died.

Also, cats under IR: they are interesting (and evil).

I am a lot prouder of this than I have any right to be but ...

My home is about 20 minutes from the nearest hardware store and I needed a washer with a particular center hold diameter. After searching my Random Hardware Bin (tm), I realized that I could just drill a hole of the right size in a good ol' US nickel. Cost me a nickel and I didn't have to drive anywhere!