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Rotary Microtomes FAQS

A rotary microtome is a type of microtome that cuts thin sections by moving the sample up and down across a cutting knife. The samples are usually held in a specimen head. The up-and-down movement of the specimen head is controlled by a handwheel—hence that “rotary” name! Rotary microtomes are typically used for cutting tissue samples embedded in paraffin wax. These are usually tissues obtained from surgical biopsies for histopathological analysis. Thus, rotary microtomes are commonly used in histology and pathology studies.

We carry three (3) types of rotary microtomes. These are the RF-600, RF-800, and RF-1000 models. 

  • The RF-600 is a manual model. This means that moving the specimen head forward and backward is done manually. Faster movement can be achieved using a coarse handwheel located on the left hand side of the RF-600 rotary microtome. Cutting movements using the handwheel are also done manually.
  • The RF-800 is a semi-automated rotary microtome. This means that the forward and backward movement of the specimen head can be controlled electronically. You can advance your sample using controls on the LCD screen, and there are fast, slow, and single “click” movements. Cutting movements using the handwheel is done manually.
  • The RF-1000 is a fully automated rotary microtome. This means that movement of the specimen head, as well as cutting, can both be completed electronically and automatically! 

There are additional differences in the technical specifications of these 3 rotary microtome models, which you can explore in detail here

We offer a full one (1) year warranty that covers all rotary microtome models. The warranty covers parts, shipping, repairs, and labor fees should there be any defect in the rotary microtome unit that is due to manufacturing. However, the warranty does not cover any defects resulting from improper use.

Yes! We offer an annual service plan that covers your rotary microtome’s maintenance and care after your warranty period ends. The Annual Service Plan comes in two different tiers: 1) Basic Plan, and 2) Premium Plan. Each annual service plan covers all repair labor fees and maintenance costs, including parts, accessories, and shipping fees. Think of the annual plan as providing an extended year of warranty coverage. This helps give you peace of mind! You can read more about the Annual Service Plan Agreements here.

If you are getting thick-and-thin sections while cutting, or you are getting skipped sections, it could be due to several reasons:

  • Cutting blade is dull. Try changing to a new cutting blade.
  • Clearance angle is too small. Try adjusting the cutting angle by rotating the middle portion of the knife block. Aim for a cutting angle of 1-10 degrees.
  • Specimen is not tightly clamped. Try re-adjusting your specimen cassette; make sure it is tightly clamped into the specimen head holder.

When your tissue sections are compressed, wrinkled, or look “scrunched up,” it can be due to:

  • Cutting blade is dull. Try changing to a new cutting blade.
  • Cutting blade is dirty. There can be paraffin wax build-up on your blade’s edge that prevents adequate cutting. Thoroughly clean the cutting blade or change to a new blade. 
  • Clearance angle is too large. Try adjusting the cutting angle by rotating the middle portion of the knife block. Aim for a cutting angle of 1-10 degrees. Remember that a sharper angle does not result in better cutting.
  • Specimen is too warm. Check your room temperature, and cool the room. Try also cooling your specimen on a cold plate before cutting.

In the unlikely event that your rotary microtome needs assistance, reach out to us at Precisionary Instruments first. You can do so through our contact form, or through email, telephone, and WhatsApp. We will respond with a real person and directly to you.