Klapperich Lab: Hot Press a Cell Culture Platform

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Fabricate a cell culture platform from polystyrene beads on the hot press.


  • Mechanical hot press
  • zeonex beads
  • Electronic timer
  • Metal tongs
  • Small, rectangular stainless steel pieces


  1. Turn on the hot press and set the temperature of the plates to 255°F.
  2. Center a circular arrangement of zeonex beads onto one of the metal plates.
    1. Note: Do not stack the beads more than one or two high or the resulting plastic piece will not be of uniform thickness upon being hot pressed.
  3. Place the plate onto the bottom hot press platen.
  4. Carefully align the second plate on top of the first plate without disturbing the arrangement of polystyrene beads.
  5. Close the door of the hot press and turn the bottom valve to the right to enable the addition of pressure.
  6. Pump the handle until the hot press platens meet, and the pressure registered is 500 psi.
  7. Hot press the polystyrene for 3 minutes.
    1. Note: Adjust the handle and add pressure if it falls below 500 psi.
  8. Release the hydraulic pressure valve (by rotating it to the left) and remove the metal plates with tongs.
  9. Let the metal plates cool enough so that they can be handled.
  10. Peel the polystyrene disk off the metal plates.
  11. Align several rectangular stainless steel pieces on top of the plastic disk.
    1. Note: The use of tile spacers can better align the steel.
  12. Put the plastic disk on the metal plate and return it to the hot press.
  13. Place the second metal plate on top as before.
  14. Hot press the plastic disk using the described method for 1 minute.
  15. After taking out the plates and letting them cool enough to be handled, remove the plastic disk and peel out the stainless steel pieces. The rectangular imprints will serve as cell culture platforms.
  16. Clean the plates with ethanol/methanol and wipe with a Kimwipe after use.
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