Bulb syringes, also known as nasal aspirators or snot suckers, can be useful in the shop. A year or two ago when I bought a new fountain pen from Goulet Pens, I really liked their tip (via YouTube) about how to use a bulb syringe to flush out ink converters. I swapped colors in some of my older cheapo pens, and a bulb saved me a LOT of time manually filling and flushing the converters.
Since then, I used my bulb syringe for a few other things. They don’t really work well as blowers, but they can be convenient for flushing out crevices and specialty parts with water or other fluids. I don’t think I have ever used a bulb syringe for a sucking-up task, aside from trying to decongest our newborn’s nose, but I’m sure I will eventually think of something.
Bulb syringes are quick and easy ways to squirt a little water onto wet/dry sandpaper as well, and things like sharpening waterstones. There are other ways to squirt a little water here and there, but as long as I have a bulb around in my tool box, I’m going to use it.
Bulbs are priced at about $2.50 to $5, depending on where you buy them. You can typically find these at pharmacies, and of course online.
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I typically use my tool box-dedicated bulb syringe for squirting water with control and precision, at least for tasks that don’t require me to step up to a syringe with applicator needle. If you’ve used these in your shop, what types of things do you use them for? If you have never considered bulbs for shop use, what could or would you use them for?
Years ago when I had an inkjet printer, I’d buy DIY ink refill kits that usually came with a graduated syringe for injecting the ink into the old cartridge. I still have three of them scattered around the house. As with your bulb syringes, I’ve found them to be invaluable any time I need to be able to squirt a little water in a very controlled fashion.
In fact, I used one last month to inject some wood glue around a stairway banister that had worked loose. Tightbond III is thin enough to pass through the orifice. Just have to be sure to thoroughly clean it before the glue dries.
Irrigation syringes from folks like Monoject and Becton-Dickinson are also items from the medical line that find use in the shop.
They’re also great for scaring the bejesus out of cats/dogs, and water fights.
I use the large size bulb for flushing concrete dust out of holes I drill in masonry. Avert your eyes or wear goggles while doing it!
Bosch sells one designed specifically for this purpose – their T1854 – which sells for $8.19 at Amazon
I use them to aspirate brake fluid from master cylinders when I’m doing a fluid exhange or changing brake pads.
Much like a turkey baster
I have one I use for de-soldering. Works great.
This would be perfect for extracting clutch hydraulic fluid from master cylinders on cars without an accessible bleeder (e.g. ’97+ Corvette). I have used veterinary syringes for the task for years, but this would be much faster. Great idea.