Platinum wire for electrophoresis in France

DANIEL Y KIM dkim at
Fri Feb 16 12:13:12 EST 1996

In article <4fv2ff$sgr at> Sophie.Launey at (Sophie Launey, These Andre Gerard 31 12 96, Ifremer DRV RA, writes:
>Hello there.
>Does anybody know a supplier for platinum wire in France (or neighbour
>countries: Belgium, UK...)? We are planning to make electrodes for protein
>electrophoresis, and the supplier we were told about (Compagnie des Metaux
>Precieux, in Paris) does not exist anymore... So we would be very grateful
>if somebody could point us to another company.
>Thanks in advance


Last year there was a post in which pencil "leads" were proposed as an 
alternative electrode for electrophoresis.  The author described a method 
for making an agarose gel apparatus for less than $ 1 US by extracting 
the graphite rod from a pencil and using it as an electrode.

I have tried a variation on this process, using instead "engineering 
leads" (graphite for mechanical pencils used in drafting).  These are 
about 1.5 mm thick and are quite durable.  I have made agarose and 
polyacrylamide minigel apparatus from these, and they work very well.  
Plastic spacers of 0.5, 0.75 and 1.0 mm thickness, along with matching 
combs, can be made from clear plastic rulers.

The graphite rods are somewhat brittle, and need replacing occasionally,
but this is not difficult to do, nor is it expensive.  I have also made a
mini Western electroblotter using graphite rods of the same type, so now I
have a complete electrophoresis and blotting system which cost me a total
of $20 US.  Most of the material cost was in the "banana plugs" for the
electrical wiring. 

The original post RE pencil graphite was later cited in Paul Hengen's 
TIBS column, I believe.

I hope this is of some help.  If you attempt to make such apparatus, 
remember that the usual safety features found in commercial gel rigs 
should be incorporated in the design. Don't do anything stupid!

Daniel Kim
dkim at

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