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Glassblowing Unit

What we do…

The Glassblowing Unit comprises a on-campus workshop for the manufacture of scientific glassware and a retail store of standard laboratory glassware.

We are part of the Division of Sciences, and we supply glassware across the university as well as to external clients. The unit is staffed by two scientific glassblowers each with 20 years of experience, Anne Ryan working full time and Greg Kerr, part time.

Anne Ryan
Anne Ryan (anne.ryan@otago.ac.nz)

Greg Kerr
Greg Kerr (greg.kerr@otago.ac.nz)

Our work involves hand-lamping, bench lamp work, lathe work and cold work. The workshop has three lathes, the largest with a 6 inch bore and a high-speed centrifuging lathe. We also have a polariscope for viewing strain in glass and an annealing oven for removing the strain in glass. The cold room houses two diamond saws, a wet belt sander for a machine polished finish, grindstone, manual grinding equipment and a drill press.

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Custom made Glassware

Artistic glassware

We specialise in design, fabrication, modification and repair of prototype and laboratory glassware and happily tackle a wide variety of custom work.

We're also skilled in the manipulation of soft, borosilicate and quartz glass, glass to metal seals, and flat glass work.

We are able to design and manufacture glassware from one-off prototype to multiple sets, working from detailed specifications. We also manufacture and maintain many 3kw water distillers around campus.

We have an archive of drawings that can be used as a starting point for new designs.

Historically, we have the most experience in the biomedical sciences, and we have created a large number of diffusion cells, artificial gut baths, double walled vessels, Ussing chambers and perfusion apparatus.

We will work to your time constraints, and attend to your work as soon as possible.

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On-site laboratory glassware store

Scientific glassware set

We have a comprehensive range of standard laboratory glassware. We sell both individual items and sets. Products are of good quality and prices are competitive.

We have products from Schott, Kimble, Pyrex, Volac, Wheaton, Marienfeld, Heinz Herin, Chase and Samco.

An Excel spreadsheet of current prices is available on request. Send us an email: anne.ryan@otago.ac.nz.

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Standard manufactured laboratory glass

Filters 1We can manufacture, modify or repair any catalogued laboratory glassware and make either single items or complete systems. We are also able to produce glassware used for medical purposes. Currently we produce the majority of ear suction tubes used by New Zealand hospitals.

Ear suction tube specifications and prices.

Examples of glassware routinely made are:

  • Jointed round flasks
  • Expansion and reduction adaptors
  • Liebig condensers
  • Double-walled condensers
  • Soxhlets
  • Separating funnels

Glassblowing flames 2We maintain a large stock of glass components to work from in making up lab glassware:

  • Borosilicate tubing - 1mm diameter to 180mm
  • Borosilicate rod - 1 mm to 18mm
  • Soda tubing
  • Quartz rod and tubing
  • standard conical taper joints
  • Screw thread tubes, caps and washers
  • Sintered discs
  • Stopcocks, all glass and teflon+glass
  • Boiling flask blanks
  • Evaporating flask blanks
  • Stirrer glands

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Repairs

Glass repairsThe repair of scientific glassware can be either straightforward or extremely complicated. It can be complete waste of time or an exceptional cost saver.

In general we make decisions on repairs based on financial viability - repairing more complicated pieces can result in very significant savings.

We request that pieces sent for repair be clean if possible; if not we need to be informed of all the contaminates. Vapours produced at high working temperatures can be very hazardous.

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Odds and ends

  • Glassblowing flames 3We can unstick stuck stopcock keys and stuck conical joints.
  • We have a fume cupboard and can acid-clean your water still.
  • Our oven runs up to 570deg every night; some departments use this to sterilise their distilled water reservoir bottles.
  • We have a large stock of old glassware and may be able to replace a piece of equipment, replace stopcock keys etc.
  • We have decals - ceramic transfers including lines, numbers and letters for permanent marking on glass.
  • We have plastic/chemical compatibility charts.
  • We offer our services to wood turners, car enthusiasts, jewellers, design students, students doing science projects etc.

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Contacts

For orders and enquiries

Email: anne.ryan@otago.ac.nz (full time)
greg.kerr@otago.ac.nz (part time)
Phone: 03 479 7966
Fax: 03 479 7584
Delivery Address: University of Otago Glassblowing Unit
Zoology Annexe,
340 – 346 Great King Street
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand
Postal Address: University of Otago Glassblowing Unit
C/O. Zoology Department
P.O. Box 56 Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

Where to find us

Come and visit during Open Hours: 9.30am to 5.00pm – Monday to Friday.

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