Stuffing pipette tipe >Was Re: Home made reagents

Dennis J. Templeton djt2 at po.CWRU.Edu
Fri Oct 23 17:10:52 EST 1992

In a previous article, afc at () says; among other things:
>As the head of a laboratory, I tell my people to buy anything that they can
>in kit form.  They always reply with arguments like this.  However, there
>are two additional major costs associated with producing your own reagents 
>that are not considered, IMO.
>1. Time and salary.  One of my technicians bought loose pipette tips in bulk
>a few years ago to save money over the preracked ones.  After all, it only
>took him a few minutes to rack them.  For the next year, the lab would have
>"stuffing parties" to rack up tips.  I easily spent ten times as much in
>salary costs as he saved.


I agree with most of what andy says, but we still stuff pipette tips though
we could affor not to.  

The economics I see is, preboxed tips cost $2.50/96, loose costs $1.00 per
hundred.  I can hire a work study student at $5.00 an hour (I actually pay
$2.50) and he can stuff 30-40 per hour while listening to the Grateful
Dead. The net savings is about $50 for every hour, and for us that's about
once a week.  $2500 a year is about 4 custom peptides, that I might think
otherwise that I might have to do without.  What could it buy your lab? 
(Well, at the USDA, maybe that's a moot point)

The counter argument is that it's inconvenient and a poor use of a student.
I can't deny that, but it IS a good test of the willingness of a student to
assist in the operation of the lab as a whole, and one hour a week is
pretty fair exchange for getting to do cool stuff (like plasmid preps) from
an undergrad's perspective.  I've noted a very strong correlaton between
students who can stuff tips quickly and those who can do other things in
the lab well.

The last advantage is that it reduces the mountains of plastic boxes that
otherwise emanate from a modern bio lab.  Makes me sleep a little better. 
And no, *recycling* them isn't as good as reusing them.  

In a similar vein, I even reuse beer bottles (for beer, of course) and
sleep better for that too!  Scientific homebrewers are invited to check out
rec.crafts.brewing or the Home Brew Digest (Send requests to
homebrew-request at 

Just one man's opinion.


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