Equip Your Own CS Laboratory

Equip Your Own CS Laboratory

Now, having dealt with some necessary basics, and given some idea of what versions of CS are to be made, we come to the mechanics of manufacturing CS.
All forms of CS, Ionic (IS), heat-reduced, sugar-reduced, and stabilised (capped), can be made using the same set-up. It is possible to make CS using very little equipment, and I will put notes at the end of another article for the extreme low-cost “prepper” version, but the novice will find it easier to make good CS if they invest in an amount of equipment and chemicals.
Just as a master fisherman can go out with a line, hook and knife and make a fishing rod from a stick, CS can be made with very little, but the average user will find everything much more repeatable if they invest in the basics. When you have made several batches, then there are other improvements you may wish to buy, but we’ll start simply. Readers who have made CS are welcome to comment on my set-up and add suggestions of their own: –
A Fine (Pure) Silver Anode. The most important item, obviously. This must be .999 (999/1000) pure Silver. Normally advertised on websites as “Fine Silver” it is available from bullion dealers, jewellery suppliers, or coin dealers. You will see many members of the old forum who use a 1 toz Silver bullion bar or a .999 Fine Silver coin. These work very well; my only suggestion would be to take it to a jeweller or engineering workshop and have the coin or bar milled out flatter, in order to increase the surface area. However, Kephra made gallons of CS over the course of some years, using a 1 toz Bullion bar as supplied. Despite comments on some websites, .9999 Fine Silver is not necessary, the improvement is minuscule, and much more expensive.
I use Fine Silver sheet or strip; others use Silver rods or wire. The larger the sheet, the higher the amperage you can use. I would start with a strip four inches (100 mm) by a quarter-inch (6 mm) wide and about 15 thou inches thick (0.40 mm), or use a 1 toz bullion bar. DO NOT USE .925 Sterling Silver; this is 7.5% copper, and is not suitable for making CS. You do not need to use two Silver electrodes unless the power supply gives auto-alternating current, but you may do so if you wish. Most commercial generators suggest the use of two Silver electrodes, but this is probably to avoid a novice connecting them the wrong way round. My largest electrodes are twelve inches by one inch; the biggest I have ever seen was three inches wide by a yard long!
A Constant-Current Bench Power Supply. You can use small and cheap units; one of the users simply took a PSU from a computer printer, and I’m sure that would be adequate. I would suggest, however, that you buy the right thing first time. The “right thing” is a bench PSU with constant-current facility 0-2 Amps, 30 – 50 Volts. Radio Shack (in the USA) and Maplin Electronics (in the UK) produce ideal units, and I’m sure eBay can be relied on, as well. The constant-current facility is critical for making CS, as if the current runs away, then (a) it is very difficult to calculate the resulting ppm, and (b) the particles can become far too large.
Ammeter: The meters in the average PSU are far too coarse to give correct amperage readings. The voltage meter built into the PSU is adequate, as only an approximate reading is necessary, but you will need an ammeter capable of measuring 0 – 20 milliamps, or 0 – 50 milliamps if you are making high-volume batches.
TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) Meter: This is NOT necessary. It cannot measure the amount of Silver in the water accurately, despite what you see on other websites. It has only one use, to test the distilled water for quality. I have one for this purpose, but if you purchase your DW from any reputable distilled water supplier, it is unnecessary.
Other items:
Electric hot-plate.
Heat-resistant glass jar (I buy various sizes of cafetiere from a supermarket and discard the plastic handles).
Stirrer pump (I use a miniature water-pump from a decorative water-fountain). This is only for manufacturing IS in bulk, to stir the cold water. For hot-water production of CS, I find that the convection currents in the jar are quite adequate to stir the distilled water.
Measuring jug (you will need to know the volume of DW).
Small hobbyist blow-torch (for cleaning the Silver electrode).
Any method of holding the electrodes in the water; I use a plastic grid with crocodile clips to hold the electrodes.
Aquarium air tubing and air-stone (for filtering).
A thermometer may be useful, but is not essential.
Chemicals:
Distilled Water (DW) High-quality de-ionised water will do.
Karo high-fructose syrup (USA) or Golden Syrup (UK).
Sodium Carbonate (Washing Soda) or Sodium Hydroxide.
Vodka (cheapest will do, it’s not for drinking).
Cinnamon (powdered version).
 
Sources:
Silver anodes:
http://argex.co.uk/productlists.php?cat=30 (Argex – UK)
http://www.cooksongold.com/Sheet/Fine-Silver-Sheet-0.40mm-Half-Hard-Max.-500mm-X-500mm-prcode-CSF-040 (Cookson – UK)
In the USA, just call in to any bullion coin dealer.
PSU:
http://www.maplin.co.uk/productsearch?criteria=Bench%20Power%20Supplies (Maplin – UK – Codes N27GG, N93CX, GW02C)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Extech-382260-80W-Switching-Power-Supply-/190847904340?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c6f6bea54 (or similar, eBay, USA)
Or if you want an easy life with the best generator I know of, then buy a SilverTron:
http://cart.silver-tron.com/
Chemicals:
Druera Cinnamon, the best in the world;
http://druera.com/shopping/ceylon-cinnamon-ceylon-cinnamon-powder-c-62_73.html but I suppose any will do.
Distilled Water;
http://www.reagent.co.uk/distilled-water (UK)
In the USA, any large supermarket.
 
Coming next: assembly of the equipment.