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Services - Technical Videos - Setting up the NanoPrint™ Enterprise Level Microarrayer Dry Station


Arrayit NanoPrint print design software is very flexible in that any combination of microarray printing pins can be used to manufacture a microarray (1 to 48 pins), so creating dry station hardware to work with every pin combination is an extremely complex and difficult engineering problem.  This is especially true if want pins to dry pins very quickly to keep print run times as low as possible.  It is common practice on the NanoPrint Microarrayer to use microplate foil sealing tape (as show here drying 48 pins) to optimize the number of holes left open to match the pin tool configuration for any given print run. To simplify this process and to decrease the amount of time it takes to dry a set of pins, we have developed this simple alignment protocol using foil microplate tape (type used by pipetting robots that is designed to be pierced by pipette tips), an old micro spotting pin, and the “move to dry station” command. Listen to the correctly configured sound that is made in this video when the pins are at the dry station being dried, it is quiet when pins are drying.  It is possible to program a wash protocol to have the dryer turned off when pins are washing and sonicating, but this option as been disable for this video to demonstrate the proper sound when pins are being dried.  Also shown are both 946 and Stealth Style Microarray Pins, the procedure is compatible with Professional, 946 and Stealth Style Microarray Pins.  If you do not have common microplate foil tape, contact Arrayit, it is easy to acquire.  Note: depending on when your system was installed it may have a water level sensor or over flow tubing that looks different than what is shown in this video.

Protocol:  This protocols is easy to do and takes only a few minutes.  Read this all the way through before starting the procedure.

Step 1.  Cover dry station holes with common foil microplate sealing tape, the type used to seal microplates which can be easily pierced by a pipette tip.  Cut an even piece to cover all 48 holes on the dry station area and leave extra on the end to make it easy to remove when you want to make another pin configuration.  Keep foil tape flat and press firmly into place.  It is not difficult to remove when it is time to change the pin tool configuration.

Step 2.  Remove all micro spotting pins from the NanoPrint Printhead. Click the “Calibrate” button adn using the NanoPrint control “move to command”, move the printhead to the calibrated dry station position. Once in the calibrated location, pins in the center of the holes, tip of uptake capillary channel of the pin showing just above the hole.  Then use the “jog by distance” command and move down in the Z axis 1000 microns.  You will use this location to make the holes for each pin in the foil seal, this step is described in more detail on the next step.

Step 3. Using an old micro spotting pin (one not suitable for printing microarrays) place it into one of the pin hole locations you are planning to use for the new print run.  Putting some pressure with your finger on top of the pin, push down on the pin in a manner to use the the pin to punch a hole into the foil sealing tape (see picture 3 below).  This type of tape is designed to have holes punched into it, often used with pipetting robots.  Push down firmly until the collar of the pin reaches the base of the printhead, leaving a hole in the foil tape. It is not difficult and does not require too hard of a push to punch the hole.  Punch out holes only for the locations that match the pin tool configuration for the print run.  The correct calibration location is with about 500 microns of the uptake channel showing above the foil seal, this height has been set during the installation of your machine. The goal is to make a hole in the foil seal the shape of the diameter of a micro spotting pin.  It does not have to be exact since the dry station using this method setup is very efficient.  Note the difference in sound at the dry station with and without the foil tape setup.  It is possible to program a wash protocol to have the dryer turned off when pins are washing and sonicating.

Step 4.  Based on the calibration location set during the NanoPrint installation, it may be necessary raise the location of the pins at the wash station and/or sonicator station to make sure that liquid is not getting too high up on the shafts of the micro spotting pins.  If the correct volume in source plates is being used, only the capillary tip area of the micro spotting pins need to be submerged in wash water at the sonicator and wash station positions.

Figure 1. Shown is a microarray printing pin in position on the dry station adhesive foil. Pressing down on the pin creates a properly sized hole in the dry station foil.

Figure 2. Shown is a gloved hand with a finger pressing down on the pin to make a hole in the dry station adhesive foil. Use ligth pressure to press the pin tip down through the foil until the bottom of the pin collar makes contact with the top surface of the printhead.

Figure 3. Shown is the pin position after it has been pressed down through the foil to make a dry hole in the dry station.  The top of the uptake channel capillary in the printing pin should be slightly visible above the top surface of the adhesive foil. This approach creates a precision dry hole for each pin in each dry station position, which produces strong vacuum pressure and rapid pin drying.  The total number of dry holes should match the number and position of each pin in the printhead for each print run, to ensure efficient pin drying for each printing routine.  For example, the use of 8 drying holes in a 2 x 4 configuration wih 8 pins in a 2 x 4 configuration will ensure efficient drying of all 8 pins.

Figure 4. Shown is a NanoPrint™ dry station with 48 precision drying holes in the foil on the dry station port. Each drying hole can be made in approximately 10 seconds, making this approach fast and easy. Make sure that the number of drying holes matches the pin configuration in each and every print run to ensure efficient pin drying.

For technical questions on this procedure contact: or by phone at 408-744-1331.


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