Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Homemade Well Slides

Homemade Well Slides

After playing around with the well slides from the Tasco well slide kit, I began to wonder if I could create my own.

I tried model clay, making a thin loop, placing it on a regular microscope slide and then laying the cover slip on it. This does work and works well. And is very inexpensive.

Nylon Washer

As can be seen in the pictures above I tried metal washers and nylon washers. For the nylon washer I used clear nail polish to glue it to the slide. These also work. These well slides are good for making hanging drop slides.

Now I have 3d printed my wells and I was able to print different shapes and sizes. Then mounting them again with clear nail polish. With this I found them to be water proof. This allows me to create many different environments to experiment with. For example adding wires to see how electricity affects the environment. Creating mazes to see if micro-organisms will follow them to food sources or retreat from certain chemicals, etc. These can be seen in the photos below.

Well Mounted on Slide With Clear Nail Polish

Different Shape and Sizes

Maze Slides and Electrified Slide

As you can see by creating your own wells you can do many different experiments.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

New Finds

New Finds

I found Tasco well slide kit at a second hand store. It comes with both single and double well slides. The kit has cover slips and a dye Neutral Red. Well slides are used for allowing for live specimens to be monitored and studied. Can be both a dry or an aqueous environment. The aqueous environment can be studied using a drop of water in the well or using a cover slip hanging drop.
Well Slides

This Money detector has a light that shines from underneath with a regular white light or can shine a UV light from above. It has a magnifier you can look at the object from above and a millimeter scale that the object sits on. The UV light can be used to look at petri dishes of bacteria or yeast that have been transformed to glow in the dark. To view crystals and/or rocks for glow in dark properties. 

Money Detector

Remember UV light(radition) is dangerous. Do not look at it and use at your own risk. Understand all the precautions.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Christmas Stocking Stuffers For The Scientist In Your Life

Most of these items can be found in dollar stores, department stores, pet stores, etc. They are very inexpensive and are great for fitting into Christmas stockings.


Tools Needed in Your Lab


- Glass medicine droppers, comes with 1 straight and 1 curved tip.

- Clothes pins, they come in all sizes and materials.

- Hard plastic straws.

- Kitchen tongs. The one in the picture, I sprayed a rubber coating   on the handle.


More Lab Items


- Aquarium air stone.

- Aquarium flexible airline tubing.

- Tweezers.

- Lab journals.

This is just a small amount of items that they may want or need. It is always good to have many items on hand. As you walk through these stores just look around, you should be able to find other items they can use.

Have a Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Dark-field Microscopy

Dark-field microscopy is when the light from under the specimen is partially blocked. The light does not pass directly through the sample being studied. Instead light is reflected off the specimen, making it appear to be emitting light. Dark-field image may first appear to be a negative of a bright-field image. It works well with live organisms.


A simple method is to use a dime placed in the middle of your microscope filter just below the microscope condenser. I recommend putting the dime or dime sized stop(made of thin cardboard coloured black) on a clear piece of plastic to protect the filter from being scratched. If the clear plastic is rigid enough you can replace it for the filter all together. Figures 1 and 2.

Figure 1

Figure 2


Since I have access to a 3D printer I decided to 3d print them. As can be seen in figure 3, I 3D printed my stops to fit in place of my filter on the microscope. I printed 2 different size stoppers 8 mm and 15 mm.

Figure 3


In figure 4 this is a regular image, in figure 5 I use the 8 mm stop. You can see the difference between the 2. The 8 mm stop shows more detail than without any stop. With the 15 mm stop it darkens the field way to much. Figure 6.

Figure 4

Figure 5

Figure 6

A very simple and inexpensive addition to many microscopes.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Power Supply

Instead of using wall transformers to power my equipment, I decided to see if I could easily build a variable power supply. This way I can add the same connectors to the hardware and use them with the same power supply. I had an old power adapter from a HP printer laying around. I like to try and use old hardware to build new things. It gives off 19 volts and 7.1 amps. So I started looking for a way to control/vary the power coming from the adapter.So I picked up this DC DC Buck Converter CC CV 50V 5A Power Module.

Components for Power Supply

Power Supply Working

Now I don't have to have all these different wall transformers taking up space. I intend to either build a box from some plastic I have laying around or maybe 3D print the case. I will come back to it when it is done.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

The Engineer-it Kit


I received "The Engineer-it Kit" from Amino Labs. It is a bacterial transformation kit.

I read about this kit in the book I talked about in an earlier post - "Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero: The Beginner's Guide To Programming Bacteria At Home, School and In the Makerspace."

By Justin Pahara and Julie Legault.

If you are a beginner in bio-engineering this is a good place to start. The kit is well priced, I felt shipping was a bit high but that is probably out of their control. It comes with almost everything you need, except the hardware. You do need a incubator (they do supply you with a video link to build a very simple one ), a hot and a cold water bath. I used an ice bath for my cold bath. They do have an all in one hardware that will do all of this, that you can purchase. Though it is expensive.

They made this kit to be as simple and easy to use as possible, even a beginner can do it. They supply you with everything you need:

Bacteria, plasmid, antibiotic, agar, petri-dishes, inoculation loop, streak template and even the sterile water.

They give you a manual.

Here is a video showing you all steps in the protocol.

You can even use a simulator to do the protocol.

If you are interested in bio-engineering this is a good way to start. As well they have other kits that you can purchase separately. This way it is not a huge outlay of money all at once.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

WOW!!! 100,000 Page Views

Can you believe it? I have just passed 100,000 page views. I know I can't. When I first started this blog, I thought no one would look at it. But surprisingly I have received comments and emails from around the world. I hope everyone has enjoy reading this blog as much as I have putting down my thoughts and doings.

It has been a busy couple of months. I do have many projects I have been working on and will be posting them over the next little while. So stay tuned!!

Thank you for reading my blog. I do hope to continue adding to it for a long time.



Tuesday, March 30, 2021



Image 1
Image 1

Visiting another second hand store I found this shaker. I have been thinking of making my own for quite sometime and I will still try to make my own at a later date. As can be seen (Image 1) it needed a lot of cleaning outside and in. It worked as is but seemed to struggle to get started. After taking it apart I saw it was full of grime and dirt. Once I cleaned that up it works really  well.
Image 2

Image 3

The platform holds 15 ml conical tubes. The platform comes off very easily so I am going to build different platforms to hold different types of tubes, flasks, beakers and jars. But in the mean time I 3D printed these holders (Image2) for 50 ml conical tubes, 250 ml flasks and 500 ml mason jars. I also printed a yellow tab (Image 3) that fits in the platforms holes to hold these holders in place(Image 4). This is until I can build new platforms to hold each item. I also want to build petri dish holders for it to.

Image 4

Again a second hand find turns out real well. You do have to visit many different second hand stores to find something you might need or can use. Many times I do not find anything that I can use, but I see things that gives me ideas of what I might be able to build or use.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Media Pump

Using a Syringe Filter to Sterilize Media:

Syringe and Filter

I picked up some syringe filters from Amazon figuring I could use a syringe to pass my media or water through the filter. As seen in photo the filter screws on to the top of syringe. This filter membrane has a pore size of .22 micrometers. This should easily sterilize the fluids.



Thinking there must be an easier way to run the media or water through the filter I picked up a 12V DC DIY Peristaltic Liquid Pump from Amazon. As seen in this image as well as the pump I picked up air hose tubing and airline tubing connectors from a pet store. The connectors allows different sized tubing to fit together.

Fitting to hold filter

I had a medical drop administration set I found at a flee market. This has the same type of connection as the syringe tip has, allowing the filter to screw on. As seen in the above image.

Unit put together

In the final image you can see the whole unit put together. I am using a 12 volt wall adapter hooked up to the motor speed controller (previous project) to control the pump motor. The filter holder was made with a 1/4 inch dowel and clothes pin glued together.

I pump the fluids through the system slowly as to hopefully not cause a big mess if it ever backs up. I intend to mount the pump into a weighted box so I don't set it up when I need to use it.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Motor Speed Controller

I found this motor speed controller module at an electronics surplus store. This will allow me to build a controller module that I am able to control more than one devise by just plugging and unplugging each device.

Parts Used in Build

As can be seen in the first image there is the controller, case for the controller, wire, control knob, male power connector (black and green) and female power connector (black and green).
Put Together and Working

In the second image you see it put together. I ended up using 2 female power connectors. It was very easy to put together. I connected a DC motor to test how it works. I am very pleased with the device. The power connectors are labelled with 'M' for motor output and 'P' for power input. Using these female connectors I am now able to connect different power adapters(3v - 12v).

The power connectors(found at an electronics surplus store) are also a great find. With these I can create different connectors and adapters. People are always throwing unused power adapters at me so now I can use them no matter what end they have. Wires are screwed in at one end of the connector. Where the wires connect it is labeled with either '+' or '-'. So if you find any get some.