Tidy up cryo-EM sample grids with 3D printed tools

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Cryo-EM technology has developed to the point of high-throughput structure determination of biological macromolecules embedded in vitreous ice. Nonetheless, challenging targets need extensive sample screening, often of many cryo-EM sample grids prepared under various conditions. We have designed and made tools for manipulating sample grids in storage cases. These tools are made of a plastic fiber using a wide-use 3D printer, a fused deposition modeling type, and polished under acetone gas. A grid case stacker organizes many frozen-hydrated cryo-EM grids and the stackers can be piled up inside a standard 50 mL centrifuge tube. We have also introduced tools that facilitate handling of grid cases under liquid nitrogen and a stocker of the grid retainers contained in a CRYO ARM electron microscope. Blueprints of the tools named CryoGridTools are available from a GitHub site.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107414
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 1


  • 3D printer
  • Cryo-EM
  • Grid case
  • Single-particle analysis
  • Surface polishing


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