Manufacturing research equipment based on open source designs

open source hardware manufacturing, natural sciences, labware, open hardware kits
Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA)

Lately, the combination of 3D printing and microcontrollers running on free software enables scientists and lab technicians to design powerful research tools at unprecedented low costs. While open-source scientific hardware is still at an early stage of the evolutionary process, it has great potential to democratize science but also to develop truly innovative and highly functional scientific instruments - together. The 'source codes', i.e. recipe of components (CAD files, material, ...) and assembly instructions, of hundreds of scientific tools are freely available in repositories such as Gaudi Labs, NIH 3D print exchange, Open Hardware Repository, PLOSone, Thingiverse and many others. A few exciting example designs such as the "PhenoBox", "Syringe pump", "Microinjection dispenser" or an "operant chamber" are highlighted to illustrate the potential of the open hardware / open source movement to "democratize" science. 


Although most open source designs are published with detailed assembly instructions aimed at the non-specialist, a basic understanding of concepts in physics, electronics, and computer programming is certainly helpful. If you have concerns whether DIY scientific equipment based on open hardware designs can meet the high quality standards your research requires, you just don't have the time to 3D print, laser cut and/or solder (some) components yourself or you prefer to purchase an open source instrument that was professionally assembled and tested - Vienna Scientific Instruments is your partner. We will precision manufacture and assemble the open-source kits you need for research or educational purposes.

Further readings on open-source hardware in the natural sciences

  • Baden, T., A. M. Chagas, G. Gage, T. Marzullo, L. L. Prieto-Godino, and T. Euler. 2015. Open Labware: 3-D Printing Your Own Lab Equipment. PLoS Biol 13:e1002086.
  • Pearce, J. M. 2013. Open-source lab: how to build your own hardware and reduce research costs. 1. ed. Elsevier, Oxford. 240p ISBN 9780124104624 
  • Sharkey, J. P., D. C. W. Foo, A. Kabla, J. J. Baumberg, and R. W. Bowman. 2016. A one-piece 3D printed flexure translation stage for open-source microscopy. Review of Scientific Instruments 87:025104.
  • Wijnen, B., E. J. Hunt, G. C. Anzalone, and J. M. Pearce. 2014. Open-source syringe pump library. PLoS ONE 9:e107216.
  • Zhang, C., N. C. Anzalone, R. P. Faria, and J. M. Pearce. 2013. Open-source 3D-printable optics equipment. PLoS ONE 8:e59840.

Fair Play Commitment

In order not to hamper the development of the open lab / hardware movement, we guarantee sharing modified design files, bills of materials and any software required to operate the hardware back to the scientific community.