Both of these models are fully automated, produce sections with the same patented compression technology, and offer the same size specimen tubes for each model. The biggest difference between these two models is their functionality – more specifically, how you load the specimen tube for sectioning.
On the VF-310-0Z model, the micrometer sits within the control box and the control box is attached to the base unit. This restricts the space for inserting the specimen tube into the buffer tray when the tray is on the base unit. Thus, the user must remove the blade holder and buffer tray first, then prepare and insert the prepared specimen tube into the buffer tray, and then put the entire tray/tube onto the base model. Although it is incredibly simple to remove & attach the buffer tray (via a magnet and thumbscrew), once the tray is on the base unit the blade holder then has to be applied. For these reasons, preparation time takes ~1-7 minutes longer (depending on the user) from preparing your sample in the specimen tube and loading it onto the machine for cutting. However, exchanging the specimen tube kit on the VF-310-0Z model is effortless, and takes minimal time to remove for easy cleaning and exchanging with another specimen tube size.
On the other hand, the VF-500-0Z model’s micrometer sits in a sliding step motor box on the base unit, while the control box is a separate system attached to the main unit via a wire. Because of the sliding box, the user can easily slide this box out of the way while keeping the buffer tray and blade holder attached to the machine. This means that preparing and inserting your specimen tube takes slightly less time than with the VF-310-0Z model, and this is why this is our recommended model for slicing fresh brain tissue for electrophysiology. After the specimen tube is inserted into the buffer tray, the sliding step motor box can easily slide forward to quickly begin sectioning with the Compresstome. While this model is more convenient for loading your tissue samples and cutting, the buffer tray is a little more involved to remove from the machine for cleaning; and we do not recommend swapping between specimen tube sizes when using this model, unless you purchase both sizes with your initial purchase.