Designing glass - concept to glassware

A lot of our work begins with an email request or an inquiry over the phone. If the work falls within our purview, we'll ask a few questions, as well as ask for a rough sketch or photograph. We see quite a range of sketches and working drawings, including napkins and hand-waving over the phone. Technically proficient drawings with tight tolerances are routine as well. Scroll down for some examples.

Our extensive photo gallery has been very useful in helping our initial, mutual understanding of any given project. You can search the images, and the site generally, using the six digit numbers as well as relevant keywords to find related designs. We have added a "mark-up" feature to our photos and invite your feedback regarding its utility (this feature does not operate on tablets or handheld devices). Sending us your photos are particularly helpful for repair work, as each repair is a unique event which a photo can help illustrate for quote purposes.

In designing glass apparatus, you can save time and money by taking note of the standard sizes of tubing available. With multi-material assemblies, we often see the glass is specified after everything else, potentially resulting in requirements for glass in sizes which are not standard, or have very tight tolerances. This means higher expense. Typically, standard tubing sizes have diameter tolerances on the order of several percent.

Experience has shown a sketch to be important; in order to be clear on the concept, and to get it right the first time. Below, see some typical examples of requests for quotes, and the resulting glassware. We need to know what's important functionally, such as target volumes, fittings, interfaces, etc. and we're not afraid to ask questions. We like to be included early in the design process as we have important contributions to make from many years of experience. You can read about some of that experience on the customer comments page.

Click on the photos below for more....


125ml microbe flask drawing

125ml microbe flask


Below is a sketch we received as a Word document...! The two bits of info we got with this were its height restriction of 300mm and a call for #40 oring joints. On the right, the end product, a soxhlet extractor for processing molecular sieve material.

Soxhlet sketch

Soxhlet for molecular sieve photo

"Once again, Adams and Chittenden came through. I needed a custom soxhlet extractor for a project we were working on. We talked about what I was looking for and how I wanted it to work and they quickly translated those ideas and concerns into a functional piece of equipment. It works well and looks great." 

Harrison Stockton
Production Chemist

Jacketed reactor

The small jacketed reactors pictured below were also produced from very minimal information; again, basically two parameters shown in the sketch on the left. This sketch helped to get it right the first time, even though the scale is not accurate.

Small jacketed reactor 

glass fritted filters

glass filter


Below is an initial request and sketch for a jacketed reactor. 

When projects are more elaborate, complicated, or expensive, we present our understanding of the glassware in written form, as shown below, along with a quote and estimated time of delivery.

Pictured above is the resulting 5Liter Jacketed reactor.                                         
We also made several 10L versions of this same reactor.        


There are a number of surface treatments for glass such as;
Etching and sandblasting
Adhesives; see links page for suppliers and their information.
Organometallic coating; see a sample of gold coating.
Amberizing for light sensitive compounds. Some sizes of borosilicate amber tubing are now available as well.

We can coat glassware with a thermoplastic covering to protect the surface, and to contain the contents and shards in case of disaster