3D Printing & Imaging Education Science
Laboratory centrifuge attachment for your Dremel tool

Just spotted this nifty concept by Thingiverse user cathalgarvey. He calls it a “DremelFuge.” It’s a centrifuge attachment for your drill or motor-tool that holds six Eppendorf tubes. Dunno how well it would actually work, as it looks heavy to mount in a Dremel tool, and most drills don’t spin nearly that fast. Still, clever thinking.

20 thoughts on “Laboratory centrifuge attachment for your Dremel tool

  1. my dremel goes to 35,000 RPM.

    my guess is that you are supposed to stick that thing on the end of a dremel that is held in a vertical drill press or shaper table accessory and slowly crank the speed up.

    as for speed, my dremel goes from 5,000 – 35,000 RPM. I dunno what kind of Gs that would be, but I’d guess flat out IMMENSE. For comparison, a google search shows that blood plasma centrifuges run at 1-3,000 RPM.

  2. I think that’s a great idea, although I would be quite careful with it, a few years ago my friend and I had a near CD through face experience when we put a CD on the end of a dremel to see what happened. It shattered quite explosively. He got a pretty bad slice in his nose, luckily we were not entirely stupid, as we had safety glasses on. Still, his charming good looks were never the same again!

    At least you have a good reason for spinning something at breakneck speeds on a dremel. We were just bored!
    I’m sure it would be fine if you enclosed it in a cardboard box or something.

  3. Very, very, scary as far as safety goes! However, with safety modifications, this may provide a cheap alternative to situations where money prevents experimentation. i.e. a classroom where lack of a centrifuge may prevent the students from extracting DNA or purifying protein.

  4. This is very clever, and it should work just fine – if you’re not concerned about satisfying OSHA. A typical microcentrifuge takes a dozen or more Eppendorfs and spins at about 15,000 RPM at top speed. That’s sufficient for everything from spinning down bacterial cultures for minipreps to salt-precipitating DNA. It’s one of the handiest pieces of laboratory equipment available. A Dremel can easily hit 15,000 RPM, and the speed adjustment is probably more accurate than most microfuges.

    For safety, you’d have to make sure your tubes are reasonably balanced (which they should be anyway, if you’re measuring your samples accurately), mount the Dremelfuge in an upright position with a clamp or drill press rig, then put a 5-gallon plastic bucket over the whole thing before turning it on. There could be high-velocity shrapnel coming off at some point, but it will be lightweight shrapnel, and the bucket should at least slow it down to nonlethal speeds.

    Anyone who actually tries this is taking a pretty serious set of risks. Anyone who tries it and succeeds should definitely post the results.

  5. You could always use a router table. Same speed range as a Dremel, but with a 1.5HP motor. It also gives you something to mount the blast screens to, so you can at least nod towards safety.

  6. Wow, I’m really stunned an delighted to see Dremelfuge got featured!

    After a friend told me about this I immediately printed my first draft to see would I have a proof-of-concept to add. The answer: mixed results.

    A few design flaws on my part left me with less than ideal spacing between cavities, and no easy way to load eppies into the attachment. Easily ironed out, it’s only a first draft.

    More importantly, I tested the attachment (empty) on a fairly high speed drill, and recorded the results:

    In short? It’ll work. The printed part is tough enough and balanced enough to survive spinning without harm, and I’m confident the right drill will give it the speed necessary for routine tasks.

    Oh, and “Dremelfuge” is currently a misnomer; the rotor spur for a dremel is too small for a makerbot to reliably print. Maybe later when the design is ready I’ll have a real “Dremelfuge” printed at Shapeways to fit my dremel tool.

    Thanks for featuring this! I can’t wait to have it ready for use.

  7. Electric industrial die grinder 20K rpm, craftsman or milwaukee, plug into rheostat if to fast. Or 220V if not fast enuff =)
    Or air power die grinder, vary psi for speed.
    just like running a drill to mix paint in 5gal bucket.
    just my .02

Comments are closed.


I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan