We have the capability to build a custom rotovap: better, faster, stronger…

Posted by Mindy Lvoff

Remember what I said before about Dave custom-building solutions to the problems he perceives in almost every standard piece of equipment?  Well, as he posted last week in Gonna Build Me a Rotovap, he’s focused his problem-solving tinkering on his favorite toy.


Goodbye fragile (expensive) glass bulb and water bath, hello custom-welded steel rotovap base. I accompanied  (more like ran behind him to try and keep his pace) Dave to L&T Kitchen in Chinatown to pickup the steel cradle that he had made for him based on the  cardboard model that he dropped off last week.  He seemed more than satisfied as he sprinted back to The FCI while still inspecting/admiring the steel base, occasionally holding it over his head to keep from decapitating pedestrians whose faces came dangerously close as we navigated through the crowds.


Dave plans to wrap a silicone heater under the base (to replace messy waterbath) that will heat a polycarb canister (to replace fragile glass bulb) spinning at an angle on top of the base in its custom cradle.  He has rigged his own form of a magnetic stirrer—one magnet will be attached to the polycarb canister,  the other to a rotor on the steel base—to spin the canister, evenly heating the liquid inside.

The beginnings of the bionic rotovap
The beginnings of the bionic rotovap

We also rummaged through The FCI’s inventory of spare parts, looking for random pieces of metal and plastic that Dave might be able to use to help pull together his new rotovap.  What do ring molds, part of a stand-mixer base, a brioche-wrapped sausage mold, and black velvet have in common?  Well, apparently they’re all potential parts for Dave’s bionic rotovap.  Stay tuned…

8 thoughts on “We have the capability to build a custom rotovap: better, faster, stronger…

  1. This is extremely cool. Makes me wonder what other cost-prohibitive kitchen toys could be put together with some research and effort.

    1. Yep. It probably won’t be done til August because I have a bunch of things taking my time in July.

  2. This is wicked. I’m apprehensively awaiting this things maiden-vap. Also: is there any article out there that might give more insight on the backgrounds of our figurative protagonists?

  3. whats your thoughts on marring a microwave, a superfreezer, a cold trap and vacuum for instant freeze drying.

  4. Dave,

    Can you tell me about L&T Kitchen? Address, etc? I can’t seem to find them via the usual searches.

    They do stainless steel welding and fabrication? I’m looking for someone who can to weld a 1/2″ threaded coupler into a 20 gallon stainless stock pot.

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