You spin me right round, baby, right round
May 6, 2009 5:19 PM   Subscribe

Due to a strange series of auction-related events, I am now the proud owner of a IEC clinical centrifuge (this model).

it appears to be in good working order. I don't believe I have a use for such a piece of equipment. I'd prefer to send it on to a good home. Its been over 25 years since I was actually in a high school lab (and back then we certainly had nothing like this available to us) and I honestly have no clue if this would be appropriate (in terms of safety and usefulness) for such a setting.

My question: might this item be useful to a high school lab , and barring that, what other sorts of non-profit organizations would find such a thing to be a welcome addition?
posted by Chrischris to Science & Nature (12 answers total)
One of the things I remember most about my Qualitative Analysis/Organic Chemistry class in high school was using the centrifuge. It seems like half of my time in that class was spent spinning test tubes. A high school could definitely use it.
posted by zsazsa at 5:24 PM on May 6, 2009

We use it all the time in Chem 1 and 2 (I'm a HS senior.) Mostly for centrifuging precipitates out of solutions and whatnot. A local high school could certainly use one.
posted by papayaninja at 5:33 PM on May 6, 2009

not sure how relevant to your question, but i was psyched to see the picture here! we have one of these in our lab but i've never been able able to find out exactly what it's called as all labels are long gone. anyway, i use this thing all the time. it doesn't go all that fast, but is fast enough for spinning down cells and precipitates (things that are significantly denser than the fluid they're in). if it's the same as ours, it has *no* safety features at all -- you can open the top while it is going fullspeed (not fast as far as centriuges go, but fast enough to clip off a finger or send a loose bit from a tube flying like a bullet...). depending on how poor your local school district is, they may be unwilling to let youngin's near it. if you can't get rid of it that way, i'll bet a not-so-rich research lab (like those at a community college or another insititution that doesn't get tons of R1 money) might be very happy to have it, and would be able to deal with its poor safety features... as i said, i use it all the time, and it gets heavy use from everyone else too for the very simple things it can do. and we are a crazy bunch, so people in my lab stop the thing after turning off the motor by opening the lid and sticking a tube or something to drag around the outside of the rotor. someone is so going to lose a finger or eye one of these days. but we aren't minors, so that's on us (and probably whoever gets wrongly sued...). hope you find a good home for it!
posted by Tandem Affinity at 5:38 PM on May 6, 2009

If you can get unused vials. try using it an awesome stratified mixed booze shot dispenser.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:42 PM on May 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

nthing high school here, but I have to admit, I was hoping to read the details of the auction mishap. An elbow itch?, a wave to a friend ?, lot # confusion ?...don't keep me hanging!
posted by lobstah at 5:50 PM on May 6, 2009

Ah yes, the mushroomfuge. Apt to shimmy itself off the bench if not balanced properly (although it's pretty forgiving, there). I'd suggest offering it to a community college, as I wouldn't trust most high-schoolers with it, and vice versa.
posted by Quietgal at 5:53 PM on May 6, 2009

Response by poster: I was hoping to read the details of the auction mishap. An elbow itch?, a wave to a friend ?, lot # confusion ?...don't keep me hanging!

Not so much a mishap as a humorous situation wherein I was forced to buy a fairly large lot of misc scientific equipment (a PH meter, pieces of what appears to be a gas chromatograph, a couple hundred lab clamps, and various other bits and bobs) in order to get the tabletop proofing press (liquidation of a small printers ink manufacturing outfit) I really wanted. The proofing press fit comfortably in the front seat of my vehicle, but the rest of the "stuff" filled the whole back seat and trunk. Go figure...
posted by Chrischris at 6:11 PM on May 6, 2009

'mushroomfuge'! I like it! We've been calling it the UFO, but your name is so much catchier...
posted by Tandem Affinity at 6:17 PM on May 6, 2009

Ah, I see...thanks
posted by lobstah at 6:26 PM on May 6, 2009


These things are usually used to spin down red blood cells from drawn blood to collect plasma. With a saccharide gradient (Ficoll, Percoll), they can be used to separate out white blood cells from red blood cells and plasma. It's pretty 'oldschool,' though, but these guys do the job just as well as more expensive centrifuges, as long as you have time and speed settings figured out, empircally.

They're also handy for spinning down dissociated cells (ie., chemically and mechanically triturated primary brain cells) for in vitro culture on a 2d substrate. Many bio labs with older PIs (boss's) will have one of these lying around. They've mostly been replaced by more modern centrifuges with better RCF (relative centripetal force - ie., gravities) and digital control that can cover the work done by these guys as well as other requirements.

I've not used these for chemistry, but I could easily see their utility.

Most highschools aren't (weren't) allowed to bleed students...

Does your local university/college/com.coll./Tech.Inst. have an outreach program? They'd likely be able to put this centrifuge to more use than a highschool and also be in need of donated/inexpensive equipment.


If you can get your hands on a bunch of 50ml tubes that fit this thing, you could clarify homemade (or just cloudy) wines, beers, & ciders in small batches. 1g sedimented fermentation can be hard to rack for clarification purposes. By spinning them down at 10 (+?) gravities, you can just pour off the clarified stuff and the solutes/solids get stuck/packed on the bottom of the tube.


Do you have a plan on dispersing the rest of the stuff that you aren't going to use from the auction lot?
posted by porpoise at 11:29 PM on May 6, 2009

molecular gastronomy
posted by Infernarl at 7:06 AM on May 7, 2009

Donate to your local community college. It will get a lot of use in their science programs.

If your state is anything like mine, the community colleges are really taking it on the chin in the economic downturn--K-12 education funding is higher priority than higher ed, and 4 year universities have other sources of money to help get them through the tough times. The community colleges could use all the help they can get.
posted by Sublimity at 7:47 AM on May 7, 2009

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