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Author Topic: Wash bottles  (Read 6862 times)

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kelaniz

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Wash bottles
« on: July 04, 2007, 07:43:11 AM »

As we all know, labgear can be outrageously expensive. In my former lives as professional musician, audio engineer, graphic designer, woodworker and global WAN admin for a major telecom, I thought those industries all shared the prize for most expensive gear available for individuals and small businesses. Then I saw how much a Steris ASMCO Century V120 sterilizer/autoclave goes for, and..whoa! Seems I was wrong. :)

Keeping with that thought, does anyone know of a good reason why the lowly LDPE wash bottle is so expensive? (besides "because it can be", that is.) It doesn't matter whether you find them at lab, print, or tattoo supply, they always seem to be way more expensive than other obviously more costly items. At one unnamed source, 250ml, 500ml and 1000ml wash bottles sell for $11, $13 and $17, while comparable borosilicate beakers of the exact same sizes cost roughly half the above prices.  Even ebay auctions for 250ml wash bottles from tattoo suppliers end up being $12-24 with shipping.

So... Does anyone know what makes these little guys so special, other than you just gotta have 'em? :)

This also seems to be the case for reagent and chemical storage bottles, albeit to a lesser degree. Someone should snatch a secondhand blow molder and start making these at a 25-50% discount. Bulk, raw HDPE/LDPE/PETE/PETG/PP isn't THAT expensive. I think they'd seriously clean up.


Kel
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billnotgatez

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Re: Wash bottles
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2007, 04:18:13 AM »

The usual reason suppliers give is that they test to make sure the product will not influence experiments. For instance, the plastic bottle does not leach chemicals into your liquid from the polymer. This implies that they test product often leading to higher cost. Many experiments that citizen scientists do would not require that level of purity.
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kelaniz

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Re: Wash bottles
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2007, 05:24:21 AM »

I get that, and you're right. I guess I'm just wondering why there's (apparently) not any citizen chemist-grade products of this type that are easily found (excluding a modified kiddie squirt gun). I mean, you can easily find light-duty borosilicate glassware and lab supplies of every kind that are good quality and inexpensive (relatively speaking). You can get a pyrex-clone Liebig condenser for $5, but not a wash bottle. Heck, even those from tattoo artist supply are $20+.

Ah well, just wondered. It's things like this that make life difficult for those citizen chemists among us who do want to be purity-aware, but also prefer to avoid bankruptcy court.  :)

-Kel
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billnotgatez

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Re: Wash bottles
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2007, 06:19:33 AM »

http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/search.asp?search=LDPE+wash+bottle&x=8&y=14

Now that I see what they look like I am going to the dollar store
Maybe those catsup bottles would work (like at cheap diners with the pointy top)

It is interesting to see one set for ~$6 and the other for ~$4 in this ad
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kelaniz

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Re: Wash bottles
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2007, 08:29:51 AM »

No kidding. Just glorified catsup bottles with bendy LDPE tubes. :)

Still, I'm thinking it probably wouldn't be a good idea to use opaque colored condiment bottles for chemical wash bottles. Though they're normally made with colored LDPE pellets, I wouldn't be surprised if some cheaper ones are simply clear plastic sprayed or otherwise impregnated with dye after production. That coloring might react with something.

Thanks for the The usplastic.com link. That site looks very useful, and even the color-coded and substance-specific bottles are cheaper than generic bottles found on eBay. I'm thinking a dollar store bottle for distilled water will work, but I do like the idea of clearly labeled, color-coded bottles for the stronger stuff.

Kel
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