Instrument Addendum

Instrument addendum -- Final draft - stage 1 alpha proofreading.
Last action @24 April 2017

Medical instruments having readily available, non-medical 'equivalents':

Hemostatic forceps
Non-medical 'locking forceps' are mechanically and thermally better suited to electronics work than are their common medical counterparts...

Please note:
Although non-surgical 'hemostats' are readily available, I am unaware of a satisfactory non-medical substitute for vulsella/tenacula...

'X-Acto' tools and their equivalents are effective, economical, substitutes for scalpels in nearly all non-surgical/non-medical tasks requisite of precision sectioning.

Endoscopy/Laparoscopy systems, etc...

-Although commonly available non-medical inspection cameras lack instrument channels (and, hence, manipulation capability), they are generally better suited to non-medical inspection-only applications than are 'bona fide' endoscopy systems.

-Non-medical fiberoptic inspection cameras are, in essence, passive laparoscopic imaging systems.

-While Certain 'drain inspection cameras' provide for transport of implements, their (large) size precludes application to most electric/electronic devices - A noteworthy exception being inspection of potted power distribution equipment (e.g. transformers, switch-gear, etc...)

Picks are useful in prototyping and repair of PC boards, soldering and 'fine' manipulation of materials. Nonsurgical picks fashioned of 'stainless' are ideal, while aluminum's high degree of thermal conductivity and relatively low hardness render it unsatisfactory for said applications (as does plated steel's 'propensity' for flaking)...

Some medical instruments having application to electronics work:

Non-medical uses of (principally, Stille-Luer) rongeurs include forming and sectioning of brittle, 'tough' and rigid plastics (e.g. Bakelite, epoxy and [C]PVC - respectively), sintered materials (e.g. ferrite and Fe Powder forms) and mineral based electric/thermal insulating materials (examples include fiberglass, mica and chrysotile) -- Note that, while I have experienced excellent "off label" results with said instruments, the reader is advised that less costly 'general purpose' solutions for the above tasks may exist! -- Should anyone be aware of a non-medical 'equivalent' available in single/small quantities at 'piece prices' of < $500 (USD) - Please advise me of same (via a post on this thread) such that I may 'update' this addendum):)

Image of Stille-Luer rongeurs:



Non-medical uses of these highly recommended forceps include manipulation/dressing/winding of very fine conductors (down to #42 AWG), recovery of 'severed ends' from intricately wound assemblies, etc...

Types and tip patterns

While a wide variety of patterns/styles are available, I feel the following represent those most applicable to electronic/fabrication applications: (Should you disagree with said assessment -- please tell me about it!:))

-Schroeder/Braun (uterine) tenacula feature two opposing 'tips' having a 'square' convergence pattern (Braun) or a 'curved' convergence pattern (Schroeder) -- In either case selection of atraumatic instruments is strongly advised! (Please see selection note #1 below).

-Barett (cervical) tenacula feature the 'Braun tip pattern' but with reduced overall instrument length.

-Schroeder (uterine) Vulsella feature two opposed 'forks' each of which being comprised of two or more 'tips' -- applications include recovery/extraction/manipulation tasks where the increased stability attendant to 'interlocking traction'/grasp is desirable.

Instrument selection notes --- Please read!:
1) To facilitate fine work and to avoid damage to the work-piece, use of atraumatic instruments (Specifically; those featuring non-overlapping tips -- e.g. 'Iowa'/'Teale') is essential! -- Properly specified, quality atraumatic forceps will remain in correct occlusion at full tension (i.e. beyond full ratchet engagement)...
2) A word of caution, as regards forceps style and pattern: -- inter-supplier disparity in nomenclature is an annoyance of longstanding! --- Point being: Prior to placing an order, please be certain to view a distributor-supplied image of your prospective purchase!

Image of Braun uterine tenaculum forceps:

Image of Schroeder uterine vulsellum forceps:


Non-medical applications of curettes include sculpting of plastics (polymers) and removal of contaminates from surfaces - especially where a precisely controlled, highly restricted, cutting angle is desirable.

Curette types
-The 'blade' of a solid curette is merely a small, elongated, spoon featuring sharp edges -- useful where retrieval of 'parings' is desirable.

-The 'blade' of a fenestrated curette is essentially a looped, inclined, band having a sharp 'cutting' edge.

Assortment of fenestrated uterine curettes (Sims).


Trocars, Cannulae, Syringes, Hypodermic needles, Catheters and their ilk:

Common non-medical uses include precise application of chemicals, removal of potting oil, etc... Although available from pharmacies at low cost, syringes and (especially) hypodermic needles, owing to their 'popularity' with intravenous substance abusers, will likely be 'age restricted' in many areas -- moreover, the purchaser is advised to voluntarily apprise the pharmacist and/or security/compliance personnel of his/her intent sans prompting --- Be prepared to sign a register and show ID! --- Should pharmacies at your location be subject to regulations or policies preclusive of OTC sales of said items - you might find veterinary grade devices at agricultural supply centers (e.g. 'Mills', etc...) --- But please don't resort to duplicity or otherwise risk getting yourself into 'hot water' or acquiring an undeserved reputation as a 'Hype'!:eek:... -- These tutorials and projects are intended to be both educational and engaging -- Drama and trauma, however, need not apply!:rolleyes:

Note that glass syringes are ideal for their re-usability and excellent chemical/thermal properties...

Image of all glass syringe and associated 'plunger'



Non medical use includes general purpose low power microscopy, inspection of blind bores, recesses, Etc... Not to be confused with the visually similar opthamoloscope -- The latter instrument having little to no non-medical utility --- Please see the images below:

Image of a standard otoscope

Image of a standard opthamoloscope


Non-medical applications include 'expansion clamping', fabrication/dressing of air-wound inductors, repairing coil-stock, placement of wave-guides, elastic ligatures and certain spring clamps - distensive [re]formation (as of conduit) and 'reverse-loading' of constrictive structures (e.g. [physically] elastic cavity resonators, etc...) to facilitate inspection and/or repair...

Considerations in regards to instrument selection:
-For these purposes my first choice is a 'standard' Winterton (2.45 cm by 13.83 cm) -- Alternatively a (large) Pederson or Cusco is acceptable. -- Note that Graves is inapplicable to most (non-medical) applications owing to its increased distal end girth ('spoon-bill form', if you will).

-Instruments fashioned of polymers should be avoided except where optical transparency is required - Note: polymer instruments are not necessarily good electrical insulators! - nor is it wise to rely upon the properties of 'electrosurgical coatings' outside of their designed application!

-Please avoid disposable stainless steel instruments -- Their 'light duty' construction renders them dubious as applied to 'off label' use...

To be clear: My remarks (above) have no bearing whatever upon the relative or absolute merits of these instruments as applied to their designed purpose! --- I am addressing their suitability to certain non-medical applications only!

Image of a Winterton speculum:

Image of a "Cusco-esk" speculum fashioned of polycarbonate:


Radiographic devices:

Please note that discussion of EHT and radiological safety, devices, practices, procedures and technique will be incorporated into the tutorials where appropriate.

Non-medical apparatus applicable to electronics work:

Predrilled steel 'construction kits':

Aleph(0) said:
If you can find metal “Erector set” (sic.) it is extremely useful for prototyping electromechanical machinery and like that! It was originally sold as toy that went to plastic for safety but metal sets are available on ebay and I think there is equivalent metal set manufactured under a different brand name?
While I had to Google to get a reference page, the name I think your referring to is, "Mechano". Erector set was one of my favorite toys as a child.
Here's also a link to the many "Erector set" copies over the years -

Pretty sure the metal Erector set is still available, or at least it was a few years ago.
Meccano is to Erector as Dinky is to Matchbox. The former was from England and the latter from U.S.A.

A source of clean anhydrous 'dusting' gas:
Owing to the regulatory requirement (USA) of addition of 'bittering agents' (denaturants) to commercial dusting spray products, substitution with USP/FCC CO2 or (reasonably) anhydrous compressed air is recommended. -- Note: I do not recommend use of compressed gaseous fuel products (for their flammability and potential contaminant content - e.g. 'odorants', traces of 'high-boiling' fractions, etc...)!

To be continued as required

Again, any and all on-list feedback is greatly appreciated:):):)

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