Any labware that isn’t in the labware library is considered to be custom. You are still able to use custom labware in your protocols by obtaining a custom labware definition.
There are two ways to get a custom labware definition.
- If your labware fits the ruleset below then you can the Labware Creator to make your own definition.
- If you can’t make your own definition then you can request a custom labware definition from our team.
It can be a bit hard to picture some of the scenarios above, so below we have included a couple examples.
You can often access technical drawings on the manufacturer product page for your labware. If it’s not available there then you can email the manufacturer and request the “technical drawings” to help with automation. Some brands (such as Agilent, Eppendorf, Cornings, Bio-rad, Thermofisher) are more likely to have technical drawings available on their website.
In some cases the manufacturer’s technical drawing may be missing key measurements. If you have to measure by hand this article will give you a couple of techniques to increase your accuracy.
Tips for measuring labware
- Use calipers, not a ruler- We recommend using calipers, as they are more accurate.
- Measure a couple times and average the result- One way you can combat variance is to take the measurement a couple of times and then average the result.
- Depth- Your calipers may have a specific section used to measure vertical spacing that you can stick inside of a well or tube to measure depth. However if you are using calipers without that feature or are using rulers you’ll have to try a work around. Stick something stiff (such as a cut out piece of paper or a paperclip, not string or thread) into the well/tube. Mark off where the top of the well/tube is. Remove your aid and use your caliper or ruler to measure from the end you stuck into your well/tube to the height.
- Well spacing- Well spacing is the distance from one well center to the next. When measuring by hand it’s advantageous to measure the distance across an entire column/row and then divide by the number of columns/rows.
- Offset- Measuring the distance from a well’s center to the labware’s footprint can be difficult. You may find it helpful to push your labware up against a vertical flat edge, and then measure the distance from the well center to that flat edge.