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April 18, 2006

buying a lab scale

by sven at 12:00 pm

my new lab scale

It's taken me a long time to get to the point where I can begin experimenting with toxics like resin and urethane foam.

Part of what's held me up is that I've lacked a precision lab scale. I did a bunch of shopping around on and finally found one that is both inexpensive and meets an animator's needs. To all you stopmoes out there, I recommend the 1000 x .1g Precision Lab Table Scale from US Balance.

The standard scale that you'd use for weighing chemicals is the Ohaus 750-SO Triple Beam Scale. This is what I remember using in high school, and (I believe) what Kathi Zung uses in her "Do It Yourself! Foam Latex Puppetmaking 101" DVD. Amazon currently sells the triple beam for $99. I've seen it sold for $150 at other places -- Amazon is offering a good deal. ...But I really wanted a digital scale if at all possible.

So: how to decide what scale to buy? I think there are three factors to consider: How accurate is the scale? How much weight can it accommodate? And what is the cost?

Ohaus 750-SO Triple Beam Scale

The standard triple beam model is accurate down to .1 grams -- so I decided that whatever digital scale I chose should also be able to measure in .1 gram increments. As for price range, I was hoping to find an option that was no more expensive than the triple beam's normal cost, $150. I decided that if all the digital scales were more expensive than that, then I'd sacrifice convenience and just buy the triple beam.

Fortunately, after a thorough search I found three decent candidates.

Ohaus SP-401 Scout Pro Digital Scale, 400 x .1 g

The Ohaus SP-401 Scout Pro Digital Scale costs $114.95 -- but can only accommodate 400 grams. One pound equals 453 grams; so the SP-401 can't even deal with four sticks of butter!

HL2000 HI Digital Scale

The HL2000 HI Digital Scale from A&D Engineering costs $130.23, and can accommodate 2000 grams (four pounds). A bit more expensive -- but much more useful, being able to deal with larger batches of chemicals.

1000 x .1g Precision Lab Table Scale

The Precision Lab Table Scale from US Balance can deal with 1000 grams -- but only costs $40!! It's a reasonable compromise in terms of how much weight it can measure (2.2 pounds)... And for $40, I decided I could afford to make a mistake, if this turned out to be a bad purchase.

Luckily, it's turned out to be a very good purchase. So far -- (knock on wood) -- no complaints whatsoever!

posted by sven | April 18, 2006 12:00 PM | categories: sculpture, stopmo