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How to Sharpen Tungsten Needles

Andrew K. Groves grovesa at starbase1.caltech.edu
Thu Jun 16 01:27:29 EST 1994


In article <2tq1jk$mk6 at usenet.srv.cis.pitt.edu>, lxzst+ at pitt.edu
(Liminzheng) wrote:

> I need to sharpen tungsten needles for dissecting the flies. I was told
> that there was a chemical way to do this. Does anyone know the recipe?
> 
> Any advice will be much appreciated.  

The way I do it is to electrolytically erode the tungsten in a beaker of 1M
sodium hydroxide. Just hook up a circuit with a 9V battery or something,
with your needle as the positive electrode . The initially sharpening of
the needle takes some time, but once your needle is made, it can be
re-sharpened quite quickly.

Other people make needles by passing the tip of the tungsten wire into a
very hot bunsen flame. I've not tried this myself.

Hope this helps,

Andy

-- 
Andy Groves
Division of Biology, 216-76
California Institute of Technology



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