Expanding on the above lists:
This can be anything from a $50 hothead torch that runs on pure (and pricey) MAPP gas, or something in the $150-$20,000 range that runs on a blend of propane and oxygen. I'd recommend something in the $200 range, like the $190 Bobcat
from GTT. There are others out there, but I keep hearing how nice and quiet these are, in addition to their ease of cleaning. The $150 Nortel Minor
, like the Bobcat, is also widely discussed as a solid beginner's torch. These can be found on craigslist and eBay as well, with varying luck and in varying conditions. I've recently had the pleasure of using the nice $435 Lynx
from GTT and that was a dream, if a bit out of the price range for a new one. The difference between a $50 hothead and the torches I've linked is the ability to burn hotter using oxygen, which is necessary for using high temperature borosilicate glasses. I'd prefer to make labware out of borosilicate, and thusly I have a preference for the oxygen mix torches.
This is usually a tank of propane that you park a small distance from the table, ideally around a corner or behind a wall. A grilling tank of propane should last many afternoons of working with a small torch. If we go with the $50 torch, fuel is all we'll need. If we add oxygen (and I think we'd quickly outgrow a torch that doesn't use O2) we'll need a source. Oxygen can quickly become expensive, but there's a way to make it on demand. Oxygen concentrators for glassblowing are usually around $1000, but old medical concentrators work just as well, just at a lower PSI. Plenty of glass shops use these old devices for their torchwork. They can be found on craigslist for $200-$300.
They like to be kept away from humidity, so that might have to be parked in the laptop bar with the glass area within tubing's reach.
These are necessary because we're mixing fire with tanks of gas. Lockable regulators mig
Best case scenario is that we have a fancy vent hood over our head making a lot of noise and blasting our atmosphere into orbit. Also acceptable is a desk fan blowing the fumes off to the left.
We've got two kilns at our disposal. One's really big and should generally be untouched by hackers. There's also a small Paragon kiln, that could be made even smaller and is free for modification. With the Paragon's heating elements replaced and a controller added, if could serve our annealing purposes for the vast majority of glasswork. I don't foresee us outgrowing something of that size with glassware we'd be making. I've worked with two annealing kilns. One had a beautiful digital controller that you could program ramp cycles into and would automatically adjust temperatures over time. The other had a PWM controller that you adjusted from 0 to 10. The second had a thermocouple plugged into a temperature indicator hanging next to the kiln. Every few minutes we'd go over and check the temperature and fiddle with the dial a bit. Both work fine, the latter just needs more babysitting on the ramp down cycle.
The optional cool things all kind of depend on what people want to make with a torch and annealing kiln.
I'm happy to answer more questions if people have them. If people are interested in pitching in, we can come up with a list of things to purchase and raise some money for it.
For those scientifically minded, here's a great online guide to getting started with making laboratory glass
(which I'll happily discuss with you as well).
TL;DR: Torch can be got for $150, oxygen concentrator for $200, and we'll need hoses and regulators and a propane tank. If anybody has any of this and wants to share, that's great, otherwise we'll try and raise a few hundred bucks and get it going.