This thermoplastic cleaning protocol will help you clean leftover thermoplastic ink from your metal syringes. It can be used for polycaprolactone (PCL), and poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) bioinks.
This protocol involves the use of chloroform. Chloroform is classified as a health hazard, irritant, and as toxic.
Methods: Thermoplastic Cleaning
- Remove the metal syringe from the printer. Be sure to use insulated gloves if the syringe is still hot.
- Note: To speed up the cleaning process, it is best to extrude as much thermoplastic as possible
- Prepare a bath of chloroform in a 500mL glass beaker under a fume hood. Use enough chloroform to cover the entire syringe
- Place the syringe in the chloroform under hood. Cover the beaker with aluminum foil and label it as a hazard
- The amount of remaining thermoplastic will determine how long it must soak
- If there is a small amount, 30 min – 1 hour may suffice
- If there is a large amount, you may need to soak overnight or do multiple baths
- Remove the syringe and place it in a cold ethanol bath. This will cause the thermoplastic to detach from the syringe so that it can be removed in one piece. Rinse the syringe in ethanol 2 more times (for a total of 3 times)
- Dry the syringe with Kimwipes. It is now clean and ready to be used again!
- Be sure to properly dispose of the used chloroform in accordance with your institution’s guidelines for waste disposal