Our lab was given an old hand-me-down water bath but it didn’t quite meet our needs. Sure, it thaws our samples precisely the way we want it to but the way the lid is set-up is just a pain.
For whatever reason, the designer who made this water bath (back during the Precambrian mind you) decided that a flat lid with no hinge and vent holes was just swell. But to be fair, the designer had the foresight to leave two holes for easy 50mL tube access (see purple lids in the above picture).
Unfortunately for us, we hardly use this water bath for 50 mL tubes – we mainly use it for 15 mL tubes and eppendorfs.
With this in mind I decided to enlarge the vent holes with a dremel so that they could accommodate 15 mL tubes.
I used the yellow tape to hold the lid tightly onto the water bath as I carved the vents larger and to be a visual guide to help me carve as straight as I could.
After cleaning up the huge mess I made I tested the holes with water. This was important because the amount of air in the tubes may have been an issue. You will note the tubes on the right of the image are floating higher than the left because they have more air. But the lid still keeps them in place and adequately submerged.
I also tried it out with just one tube because this is a more common situation. While not perfectly vertical, the lid still keeps the tube upright and in the water.
The whole project took me like 15minutes. Writing about it took longer than actually doing it.
With just two small alterations the water bath became way more user-friendly and cost the lab $0 (unless you count 15 minutes of person-hours).