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How to Use a Syringe SAFELY for Vaping Purposes

Discussion in 'Cartomizers' started by InsaneRN, Jan 16, 2012.

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  1. InsaneRN

    InsaneRN Full Member

    Jul 17, 2011
    San Juan, Philippines
    This is for people who are not in professions that use syringes on a regular basis. I did a quick forum search and I don't think I saw anything like this here on ECF.

    I made this so that people who use syringes but are a little inexperienced can be safe and avoid injuries. The process may seem complicated, but trust me, with experience it becomes second nature and you can go through the entire process safely and efficiently in less than 5 seconds (minus the time actually used for filling, obviously).

    Experienced professionals who have done this hundreds of times may have more refined or different methods, so what they do will differ from what I show here. Devices are also available that allow you to cap and uncap a syringe using only one hand. Do what you think works for you, but please always keep your safety in mind.

    BTW, yes, I am a licensed and registered nurse here in the Philippines.

    Parts of a Syringe:

    Grind your needles to eliminate the point (bevel). This reduces the chances of the needle going deep(er) if you happen to poke yourself.
    Even with flat needles, treat your syringe as if it had a sharp point, because it still does. I usually blunt my points on a sharpening stone, then load up a syringe with water and give it a slow and steady push through the needle to check the flow of liquid. It should come out in a smooth, steady stream with no spraying droplets to the side.

    No Bevel.jpg

    Hand Position:



    Changing Needles:
    Removing the Needle:
    A majority of syringes use a Luer-Lock system (see below) to secure the needle to the syringe. To remove a needle, first make sure the cap is secure by giving the cap a light tap point-on onto a hard surface. Grip the cap near the locking point where the needle joins the syringe. Twist the cap firmly clockwise (based on correct hand position) until the plastic part of the needle clears the locking threads. DO NOT PULL! If done correctly, the needle will separate from the syringe.

    Attaching the Needle:
    Make sure the cap is securely attached by gripping the open end of the needle, putting a finger on the open end, and tapping it onto a hard surface. Hold the cap (with the needle inside) firmly near the open end. Position the needle on the syringe and twist counterclockwise until the screw threads are engaged. Stop when the needle is locked in place.

    (Note: You will be screwing the capped needle onto the barrel of the syringe, not the other way around. Screwing the barrel onto the needle will often torque the base of the needle into the barrel too tightly, requiring a disproportionate amount of force and personal frustration to remove it.)

    Removing the Cap:
    Making sure that the needle is securely locked, put a little pressure on the cap by twisting slightly counterclockwise. Using the hand holding the barrel of the syringe, PUSH with your thumb (#1 in the picture above) on the thumb holding the cap (#2 in the picture above). The cap will separate from the needle. DO NOT REMOVE THE CAP YET. Put the whole syringe assembly down on your desk/table and pull the syringe body away - the cap will slide off, leaving you with an exposed needle. You're going to put the cap down anyway, so you might as well do it this way.

    Warning: If you tip the syringe whole assembly down and allow the cap to fall, Murphy's Law will demand that the cap bounce off the table, drop to the floor, and roll into the most inaccessible space available.

    Replacing the Cap:
    Put the cap down and insert the needle into the cap. Tip the needle up so that the cap falls down onto the plastic part of the needle. Pull down on the cap slightly (again, see correct hand position picture, above) to lock the cap onto the needle. Tap the cap point-on lightly onto a hard surface.

    My filling procedure:
    - Attach 18 gauge needle onto your syringe (a 3ml or 5ml syringe should be fine), and pull out the plunger about 1/3 of the way.
    - Insert the needle into the dropper point of your juice bottle. Holding it with the bottle up above the syringe at an angle (most holes on the dropper are small enough that it will be tight and air-sealed), pull the plunger downward, making sure that the tip of the needle is in the liquid.
    - Every once in a while, release the plunger. You will notice that air will bubble up into the bottle.
    - When you have enough juice in your syringe, push the needle up into the air bubble in your bottle then pull the plunger down a little more. (So the juice clears the needle and doesn't drip out when you remove the syringe from the bottle.)
    - Turn the bottle and syringe upside down so that the bottle is now below the syringe.
    - Wait a few seconds to let pressures equalize.
    - Withdraw the syringe.
    - Cap the bottle. (This is important . . . I've knocked uncapped bottles off my desk lots of times. Murphy's Law at work, yet again.)
    - Recap the syringe.
    - If needed, you can now change the needle of the syringe.

    For open bottles without a dropper tip, just dip the point into the liquid and pull on the plunger. It helps to have your lower hand or elbows in contact with the table for stability while holding onto both the bottle and syringe. If the opening on the bottle is large enough to accept the diameter of the syringe, you can leave the needle off the syringe so it fills quicker.

    Syringe needle colors:
    18 Gauge= Pink. Big-bore needle.
    23 Gauge= Light blue, these come standard with most syringes that come with a needle. However, some syringes my come with a 25 gauge needle (also light blue, with a smaller bore than a 23 gauge; this works OK too). If unsure what gauge needle you have, you can always check the package. Other places may have different colors assigned to their needles. (Unlikely, but very possible.)
    The LOWER the number, the LARGER the bore, or opening, of the needle.


    Remember: Always use a slow and steady motion when pushing or pulling on the plunger. I usually stop filling/pushing liquid when I'm about 90-95% done for about 5 seconds, just to let internal pressures equalize. I add the last little bit of juice slowly from there.

    To the other professionals out there . . . let me know if I missed anything so I can add it. I will try to keep modifying this post, adding pictures as necessary, etc.
    Forum moderators, please feel free to duplicate, modify, sticky, lock, or delete (if appropriate . . . I don't think it is, is it?) this post as necessary.

    Final reminders:
    - Safety is always your first priority!
    - Secure your needles! Do not allow anyone access to your needles who isn't you.

    - Dispose of your needles and syringes responsibly. Use a sharps container to hold your needles before disposal. (A sharps container is a rigid plastic or metal container with a screw-on or otherwise sealed top.) Keep in mind that there may be laws and regulations in your area regarding the disposal of certain medical equipment, such as syringes and needles. Do your due diligence and find out what those might be in your area.
    - Don't do things halfway. Gather all your materials before you start working. If you have to step away from your work area, please take the time to secure your supplies properly.
    - Keep it slow and steady. If you have to rush, then don't bother.
    - If you think reading this post was a waste of your time, throw away ALL your syringes NOW and rediscover the joys of dripping.
  2. InsaneRN

    InsaneRN Full Member

    Jul 17, 2011
    San Juan, Philippines
    (Reference: Luer taper - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

    For safety, purchase/use only syringes with Luer lock connectors as these secure the needle to the barrel better than Luer slip connectors and are far easier and safer for use.
    I have witnessed an incident in which the needle came off the end of a Luer slip connector because the person filling his tank was pushing too aggressively on the plunger of the syringe. Since he was holding the syringe with one hand on the barrel and the other on the plunger, the needle (and his tank) shot across the table and fell. Needless to say, juice was all over the place.

    Luer slip connector syringes are typically included with inkjet CISS refill kits. Do not use these because you really don't want to inhale trace inkjet chemicals from potentially used syringes.
    Be safe and go get a sealed and sterile Luer lock syringe. Clean your syringes after *and* before using them again, unless you only plan on using your syringes once. (Not a bad idea. In this case, don't bother grinding the bevel off.)

    So, for our purposes:
  3. Eddie.Willers

    Eddie.Willers ECF Wiki SysOp Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 3, 2011
    Prairie Canada
    Good info for the noobs - I think a lot of folk are scared off using syringes by the thought they might jab themselves.
  4. InsaneRN

    InsaneRN Full Member

    Jul 17, 2011
    San Juan, Philippines
    Think I should repost this on the Noobie Board? Or would that be redundant? I don't think that high a percentage of members wander by this way, but everyone has to go by the Noob Board at one point...
  5. Eddie.Willers

    Eddie.Willers ECF Wiki SysOp Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 3, 2011
    Prairie Canada
    You could ask a Mod to 'sticky' it there, yes - good idea.
  6. Sweeney Todd

    Sweeney Todd Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Jan 5, 2012
    Durham, NC USA
    Please do, I only found this thread because it was bumped. I'm REALLY glad I came across it, I've not been careful enough with "blunt" needles.
  7. classwife

    classwife Admin Admin Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member case anyone does use sharps rather than blunt tips, I am moving this to sticky in Cartomizers Discussion as using syringes to refill applies to these.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Feuille

    Feuille Senior Member ECF Veteran

    May 16, 2012
    Thank you for this. Jabbed my thumb quite hard with a blunt 18 gauge the other day. Shall try your advice for getting the cap on too, though I suspect I'll be getting a whole new syringe as the cap doesn't seem to be able to fit the needle at all.

  9. Koman

    Koman Moved On ECF Veteran

    Jan 7, 2010
    Wow, that's quite a useful tutorial! Thanks a lot!
  10. Shy De

    Shy De Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    Good info for the inexperienced. I am an RN in the States and may I add a couple of things?

    In the US, the colors are different when using color as an identifier of the guage of needle.

    16 gauge = Orange/silver
    18 '' = Green
    20'' = Pink
    22'' = Blue
    24'' = yellow

    Don't waste your time with family/friends insulin syringes. The gauge is so small (26 I think) it will take 2 hours to fill anything and you will get carpel tunnel in the process!

    I like using the plastic cannula from IV's. Get an IV needle, remove the actual medal needle and viola'! Its soft and flexible and a 20 gauge is perfect so it won't flow too quickly. I know people don't have access to these normally but, if you are lucky enough to get an unopen sterile one its priceless. Don't use one someone took out of their arm at the hosptial or from anyone who is selling them out of package. It should be understood without saying but, as InsaneRN can verify we have seen about every possible stupid thing a person should never do working in hosptials.

    Last, when working with needles consider them and manuever them as you would a knife. Work away from your body. Manuever the needle to where if you were to slip it wouldn't go straight into another body part. I have stuck needles clear through my thumb and I know better.

    Thank you for letting me add some information. I hope it is useful!

  11. Koman

    Koman Moved On ECF Veteran

    Jan 7, 2010
    Great tips, thanks man!
  12. thefleck

    thefleck Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 19, 2013
    M.D. here! Fellow healthcare-vapers unite! :) You RNs know WAY MORE about handling needles than us folk. Enjoying it all, thanks! Syringes can be soooo useful for dosing juices, mixing them (take 1ml here, 0.5ml there...), and basically ESSENTIAL for using a genny-style atomizer. I love the blunt tips as well -- no stabbing risk. Just be careful of disposing of needles everyone...that is the major health concern with the needles ;)

    It's funny, I've received a few weird looks asking for syringes in the vapor stores. Maybe I'm just used to them in the hospital? People have a natural fear or bad association of them it seems! Actually have been using a few "borrowed" large bore (sharp) needles after losing my vapor blunt tip needle and finding no replacement nearby in stores.

    A few tips...

    Holding the bottle upside-down works well with glass bottles that have a good deal around the needle. Note, must have a seal! You can actually inject a little air into the bottle and pressurize the fluid temporarily...your syringe will proceed to fill itself automatically with your thumb off the plunger :) I have never tried this with a plastic bottle OR with juice. But I like the top-hole technique developed by the OP above...seems like it could work with a low-viscosity juice.

    The technique I use is the kiss-method. Pun intended..hehe. I literally bite the top piece of the bottle (piece with the dropper hole) with my teeth, pull it out, and have at the juice with an open bottle. I used this method with my large blunt needle, as it was hard to get through the hole in the cap. I withdraw the plunger about 1ml at a time, then wait for the juice to follow. You have to be patient with thick juices ;)...the air pressure in the syringe is your best friend, just wait for the juice. When I'm done withdrawing fluid, I kiss the cap back on. Can be kind of gross if you get a lot of juice on your lips, but it beats sticky e-juice hands and a trip to the sink :) try not to swallow the juice by all means. I used to chew tobacco and I believe, if poorly executed, the "tartness" could make a non-chewer puke. Youve been warned :)

    Always cap needles that you throw away, and tuck them away in a plastic bottle or something as well. All that stuff gets pumped right into the ocean and onto the beaches, at least here in California. Cheers!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
  13. David1975

    David1975 Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 30, 2014
    Northlake, IL, USA
    Thank you for this InsaneRN. I am new to DIY and have had a couple of questions on this very subject (needles). I guess the answers to the first question could make the second N/A. The nicotine I bought is 100mg, so I wanted a safer way to deal with it. I found replacement caps that are pierceable, so I figure..... no exposed nicotine=safer. I have 12gauge blunt needles (bought for coil making), and soon found out these DO NOT WORK. The hole opened by these wouldn't close all the way, I even went in at a slight angle believing it would be better than strait in(90 degree). So my first question is kind of 2 in 1, what size needle is best to use on these caps and is blunt ok or only sharp? The second is ,where can I buy these sharp needles? Almost all web searches I have done result in blunt tips, places that need you to be in the medical profession, have a prescription, or some other paperwork buy them.
    • Like Like x 1
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