Blog > Types of Cutting Blades for Compresstome Vibrating Microtomes

Types of Cutting Blades for Compresstome Vibrating Microtomes

Published on August 4, 2020
Compresstome cutting blades

Cutting Blades for Vibrating Microtomes

There are three types of cutting blades we offer for cutting tissue: Stainless Steel Double-Edged blades, Ceramic blades, and Tungsten Carbide blades. All of our blades can be easily purchased directly from our E-Store. The type of razor blade used in cutting your tissue sample depends on the tissue type being examined. For all three blade types, the blades should be cleaned with acetone and ethanol before use. The sharpness of the blade can directly affect the quality of the slices and we recommend replacing blades periodically according to the razor and tissue type.

We recommend replacing blades periodically according to the razor and tissue type. The applications of the three razor types are outlined below.

Stainless Steel Cutting Blades

The stainless steel blades we recommend are double-edged blades for cutting tissue (Figure 1). The double-edge allows for double use. They are high quality, durable blades. These blades should be replaced after every use for best cutting results. They are sold in a 10 pack of blades.

Stainless steel cutting blades
Figure 1. Stainless steel blades come as double-edge blades that are cut in half for use (A) with the edges trimmed (B) to yield two separate blades (C). Each blade is then attached to a Compresstome tissue slicer blade holder (D).

Ceramic Cutting Blades

Ceramic blades are high quality, durable and long-lasting, they last up to 100 times longer than stainless steel blades (Figure 2). Ceramic blades are sold as a single blade unit and they usually only need to be replaced once a month, more or less depending on how often they are being used. The disadvantage of ceramic blades is that any slight nicking of the ceramic blade surface will damage it, and a new ceramic blade will be required for cutting. Note that these small nicks are very hard to detect visually.

Tungsten Carbide Blades

Tungsten carbide blades are durable and long-lasting, replaced only once per two weeks (Figure 2). Tungsten blades are sold as single blades. Tungsten carbide blades provide a huge advantage over stainless steel blades because of their razor sharp edge and their enhanced durability. These blades can last at least 50X as long as conventional double-edge stainless steel blades. When comparing tungsten blades to ceramic blades they are similar in sharpness but differ in durability. Tungsten blades are slightly less durable than ceramic blades making their price lower than ceramic blades.

Ceramic and tungsten cutting blades
Figure 2. Ceramic blades (A) and tungsten carbide blades (B) are made with beveled edges which can come in a variety of finishes (C). Our blades have double bevel edges.

Sapphire diamond Blades

We do recommend these blades, but because of their extremely high cost, we don’t carry them in our e-Store. These are best used for cutting highly fibrous fresh tissues, such as samples from human brain or other tissues that are highly myelinated.

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