Consumables Used.

A project log for Electrospinning Machine

Bring an open source electrospinning machine to the hobbyist level. Made with easily sourced and inexpensive materials.

Douglas MillerDouglas Miller 07/11/2016 at 22:260 Comments

Like most hobbies there are a few things that you'll need for electrospinning that wear out or are used up. I thought it was about time I talked about what they are.

To start with it kind of goes without saying that with a syringe pump, we're going to need some syringes. I'm using 20ml ones I got off of ebay for $14.50. Make sure you get the Luer lock ones. They give a real good seal and hold the tubing with no leaks.

Next comes the needles. I wasn't sure at the beginning what size would work best, so I just ordered some 18G ones. They work pretty well, but I've since learned that I'll want a variety by the time everything is said and done. I would expect that the viscosity will have an effect on the needle size we use for a given material. The 100 needles I got cost me $7.48.

To connect up those needles and the syringes we'll need some tubing. I'm using 1/8th" ID tubing. We can go to a smaller ID and waste less material that way, but you have to keep in mind the viscosity of the stuff your going to pump through it. Thicker stuff might strain the syringe pump, but I haven't tested it yet to see if it does.

Since we'll be pumping some solvents through it, we'll end up will several different kinds of tubing. For some of it I'm actually using some real cheap aquarium tubing. Cost me maybe $5.00. I also picked up some natural rubber tubing, and a few other kinds to test things out. Make sure the tubing you get will stand up to the solvent you're using!

With solvents, you're going to want some gloves. I'm mostly using some nitril ones, but I have some others to pick from. Again, you need to match the type of glove to the solvent you're working with. There are sources on the web that can tell you what works with what, but I'm planning on putting a list on the Web site I'll be setting up for this project soon. And while I'm on that subject, I plan to have a forum also, so everyone can share all that useful information as we get going.

I found some Luer lock fittings on Ebay and picked up some of each, male and female. They are made of Nylon, and I paid $8.75 for 25 of the male ones, and $8.25 for 25 of the female. So far the solvents I've been playing with haven't effected them at all, and I'm still using the first couple that I tried. I would imagine that if someone spent any extra cash they had just lying around and picked up some stainless steel fittings, well, they'd last just about forever. Can't really see where we'll be using any solvents that would degrade SS, but I could be wrong.

The last of the consumables is the solvents. Different materials will require different solvents. Again, I expect we'll start compiling a nice handy list of what solvent to use for what material you're working with. The only two solvents I've needed so far are acetone and some acrylic cement. I'll note that there are times when you might want some pure solvents, but a lot of the time if purity is not important you can buy products with the solvent in it off the shelf at a store near you. Paint strippers come to mind, and there are others. ALWAYS FOLLOW THE SAFETY WARNINGS when preparing your materials for electrospinning. It's not worth your health to get in a hurry and skip the safety precautions. Just do it right, okay?