Ordering chemicals as a hacker

Does anyone have experience with ordering chemicals from Fisher Sci or Aldrich to Noisebridge or their home? I’ve heard that they like you to be a corporation or something and curious if there are workarounds that have worked. I need to purchase some solvents and chemicals not found in hardware stores.

I got chloroform ordered to Noisebridge. They called me to ask if it was a residential address and once I confirmed that it’s a business address and Noisebridge is a real entity, they shipped it over. Wasn’t from a big company though, it was from sciencelabsupplies.com

Edit: I should clarify that chloroform is used for welding acrylic



1 Like

Sigma and Fisher want a commercial/industrial address and only sell to businesses. I remember one of them going as far as to actually check a zoning map to see where my last biohackerspace was zoned. Even then they’ll often refuse to ship to certain addresses depending on what you’re ordering.

Do you need these materials outside of Noisebridge? If they’re only for use at Noisebridge, Noisebridge as a legal entity could order them for you and it will likely be no problem. You could also talk to Counter Culture Labs or Biocurious about ordering these things for you to use at their labs since they do this kind of ordering for their members as standard procedure.

If you need to use these things outside of a hackerspace the fastest way to get it is to start your own company and get a PO box. Sigma and Fisher will sometimes send things to PO boxes but not everything. Many biohackers with home labs working outside of biohackerspaces have some sort of legal business entity for this exact reason.

Also, Sigma and Fisher were/are notorious sticklers. Smaller companies may be easier to order from.

I’d advise against ordering things as Noisebridge and then taking them out of the space. That may create liability for Noisebridge that may not be covered by insurance and I’d at least check before doing that. It was definitely against the rules at my last hackerspace for some sort of liability reason.



Ok thanks will see how things go with the ethyl acetate I ordered from Amazon Prime. I planned to use these solvents outside for screen printing some conductive inks I’m working with. It’s funny Fisher Sci actually allowed me to checkout as a guest, took my credit card etc but then said the solvents I wanted wouldn’t be shipped to my state (I wonder if it’s really because of the guest checkout though). Good to know about the liability thing although I’d wager most solvents are safer outside of noisebridge.

1 Like

So they called you at whatever phone number you gave them?