Modular, simple vector diagrams of glassware

Recently, I was working on an exam for a lab course, and wanted to ask a few questions about basic reaction setups. I had a harder time putting together simple figures than I would have expected. ChemDraw has some half-decent options but they’re useless if you need something they don’t already have and, let’s face it, those 3D flasks with the little logos are just trying to hard. After a few frustrating hours, I gave up, and decided that it wouldn’t be so hard to throw together the basics on my own.

The idea was to create some simple components that could be used as a toolbox to assemble larger items:

As far as possible, these all have standard sizes, using points as the basic unit of measurement (72 pt = 1 in). The joint is 10 by 12 pt; the flask is 30 pt in diameter; the column is 6 by 50 pt. They’re sized so that they look reasonable when printed, but may need to be enlarged for presentations and the like.

I used these (and some others) to put together a bunch of abstract, but hopefully easily recognized, glassware items. Flasks and sep funnels come in filled and empty versions, and I also drew a rudimentary stirring hot plate. Everything is saved as (editable) pdf vector images (I toyed with using svg, but it didn’t play nice with Keynote). They’re available in a GitHub repo to facilitate sharing/updating.

Because everything is modular, the pieces should fit together easily, and they work well with simple slideshows and animations. Here’s an example of a fractional distillation:

I’m happy to take requests for other items (but not on a deadline), so feel free to let me know if you want me to add something simple. Or, better yet, just send me a finished image and I’ll add it to the set!

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