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That's what ya get!
— The Engineer
Chemistry Sets are recipe items that have varying inputs and varying outputs. A Chemistry Set can be completed by fulfilling all of its inputs, which then give the items it has listed in its outputs. There is an indicator in the upper left corner of the Set's inventory icon indicating the number of inputs possessed. Chemistry Sets can reward a Strangifier for the item the set is associated with, which, when used with the item, turn it into a Strange variant; or a Collector's quality version of the same item.
Like Mann Co. Supply Crates currently, Chemistry Set drops did not add to the total cap of items a player can obtain each week, and were simply a bonus that drops alongside items of the normal item drop system.
However, Chemistry Sets do not drop any more. According to statistics surrounding the time period the item dropped for and subsequently stopped appearing in backpacks, it can be surmised that sometime in 2014, not too long after their introduction, the drop capability was removed but wasn't listed in any update patch-notes.
Rarely, Collector Chemistry Sets for the 2013 Festive weapons could be found as a bonus drop when unboxing the Naughty Winter Crate 2013. As the crate is no longer able to be opened, these Chemistry Sets are also no longer obtainable outside of trading for those that already exist.
Selecting the item and clicking inspect brings up a GUI with all compatible items on the left, slots for the ingredients on the right, and the result under the ingredients. If it is a standard Chemistry Set, the result is the strangifier for the item specified in the set; unless it is a Collector's Chemistry Set, in this case the result is a Collector's version of the weapon specified in the set. Items from the left side of the screen can be clicked and dragged over to any space on the right which requires said item. Once all spaces have been filled, the result becomes highlighted and the "APPLY" button can be clicked, consuming all the items and the chemistry set. After the crafting is completed, the item is put into the user's backpack and the user is shown the new item screen and given the option to resume game or open the player's backpack.
Players do not need to input every item at once, it is possible to select only some of the compatible items to be placed into the Chemistry Set. This deletes the items as normal as well as remove those inputs from the requirements of that Chemistry Set.
Collector's Chemistry Set
Example of the output of a Chemistry Set, in this case, a Strangifier that can be used with the Camera Beard.
- Added Chemistry Sets as a bonus drop. Chemistry Sets are recipe items that have varying inputs and varying outputs. You can complete a Chemistry Set by fulfilling all of its inputs, which will then give you the items it has listed in its outputs.
- Added the ability to double-click backpack items to use them in Chemistry Sets.
- Fixed clients not always seeing a warning about using not-tradable items in Chemistry Sets.
- Added new series of Chemistry Sets.
- Added "Collector's" item quality. "Collector's" items are created by completing special Chemistry Sets.
- Started dropping Series 3 Chemistry Sets with an expiration date.
- Retroactively added Series tags to older Chemistry Sets.
December 17, 2015 Patch (Tough Break Update)
- [Undocumented] Series 3 Chemistry Sets are no longer tradable.