Meet the Porcupine

Our department has a fantastic glassblower on staff, which has given us access to the type of complicated, specialized glassware that costs an arm and a leg.  Of particular note is our NMR cleaning apparatus, which would frankly be out of our reach if we had to order it from Aldrich ($192, act now!).

Unfortunately the tube cleaning apparatus is quite fragile, and I broke it once already, before learning the importance of putting a cap on the base of the NMR tube.  As a type of insurance policy against our glassblower heading to greener pastures for the past few years I’ve kept a couple pages from the now defunct ChemBlog bookmarked.  Ever resourceful, Kyle Finchsigmate’s lab built their own ghetto variant to the glass apparatus out of an old wash bottle, a filtration flask, and a long needle.  Then, on the advice of commenter KNP, Kyle built it again.  And it was beautiful.

The new design calls for a frilled size 24 septa to be fitted into the mouth of the filtration flask, with a long needle stuck backwards through the bottom of the septa.  The top flap of the septa then makes a little reservoir that can be filled with solvent, and suction through the needle pulls the solvent through the tube.  There’s a certain satisfaction in replacing a $200 piece of glassware with a DIY piece of equipment that cost maybe $30 in parts.

(For those less keen on accidentally stabbing themselves with a 12” needle, you can purchase a more reasonably priced glass model from Chemglass.  I’m holding out for the completely impractical 5-channel version though.)