Open Source Lab (book)

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The Open-Source Lab: How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs by Joshua M. Pearce was published by Elsevier (2014). ISBN 9780124104624

The academic book is a guide, which details the development of free and open-source hardware primarily for scientists and university faculty.[1] It provides step-by-step instructions on building laboratory hardware and scientific instruments. It also provides instructions on digital design sharing, Arduino microcontrollers, RepRap 3D Printers for scientific use and how to use open-source hardware licenses. The Guardian discusses how ideas in the Open Source Lab could enable 3D printing to offer developing world scientists savings on replica lab kits.[2] The Open Source Lab book has been covered extensively by the media.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13] It was one of the top books chosen be Shareable for "New Books About Sharing, Cities and Happiness"[14]


The author, Joshua Pearce, claims the method enables researchers in every discipline to develop research tools at low costs following his previous research in open source hardware published in Science.[15][16] These claims have been generally supported by others using the techniques, such as those in the in DIY Bio community [17] While discussing the book in an interview with 3-D Printing Industry, Pearce has claimed to save thousands in his own lab.[18] and his various studies on the economics of printing lab equipment, such as a PLOS ONE article on open source optics have generally found over 90% savings.[19] A study on the use of 3D printing in this context cited this book as also being good for the environment.[20]


Copies of Open-Source Lab were a prize in an Instructables "Build My Lab" Contest sponsored by Tekla Labs.[21]

Examples of open source labs and labs dedicated to producing open source hardware meant for scientific studies and analysis are now prolific as numerous research groups and non-profits have begun to open source lab equipment:

  • Tekla Labs [22] - Tekla Labs is creating a library of open source DIY (do-it-yourself) documents that guide in the construction of quality lab equipment.
  • Open Source Physiology Lab [23] - devoted to the collaboration and development of 3D printing physiology equipment
  • Open Lab Tools [24] - U. of Cambridge - created open source microscope prototype that cost around US$800, whereas conventional microscopes cost between US$15,000 and US$80,000 [25]
  • Open Neuroscience [26]
  • Backyard Brains micromanipulator [27]
  • Sensorica [28]
  • Hackteria [29]
  • Gnome X Scanning Microscopy [30]
  • 3D printed scientific equipment in Africa [31]- “TReND in Africa” (Teaching and Research in Neuroscience for Development) is a higher education charity dedicated to improving university level science education and research in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • DIYBioprinter [32]

External Links[edit]


  1. ^ [1] P2P Foundation 12/28/2013
  2. ^ 3D printing could offer developing world savings on replica lab kit - The Guardian, Friday 21 February 2014 01.59 EST
  3. ^ MTU Prof Writes 3D Printing Guide For Scientists On A Budget - CBS 11-18-2013
  4. ^ DIY and Save: A Scientist's Guide to Making Your Own Lab Equipment - Science Daily 11-13-2013
  5. ^ Book Covers DIY Open-Source Hardware for Science Projects - Power Electronics
  6. ^ MTU Prof writes 3D printing guide to making your own low-cost lab equipment - 3Drs
  7. ^ How to build lab equipment with open-source hardware - Machine Design
  8. ^ 3D printing can reduce science lab equipment costs by 90% - Nanowerk
  9. ^ Kurzweil
  10. ^ 3D printing used to create a basement laboratory on the cheap - Geek
  11. ^ Ready Roundup: Microsoft 3D Builder, Open Source Lab, DMG Mori, and Victoria’s Secret - Rapid Ready Tech
  12. ^ Equip your lab for less - 3D print your equipment -Labonline
  13. ^ DIY Guide for 3D Printed Lab Equipment - 3D Printing Insider
  14. ^ Top 15 New Books About Sharing, Cities and Happiness - Shareable
  15. ^ Pearce, Joshua M. 2012. “Building Research Equipment with Free, Open-Source Hardware.Science 337 (6100): 1303–1304.
  16. ^ How Scientists Can Cut Costs by Making Their Own Lab Equipment - Lab Manager - November 19, 2013
  17. ^ Science Counterculture: On taking DIYbio to the next level - The Scientist - December 9, 2013
  18. ^ 3D Printing Industry Interview with Dr. Joshua Pearce
  19. ^ Zhang C, Anzalone NC, Faria RP, Pearce JM (2013) Open-Source 3D-Printable Optics Equipment. PLoS ONE 8(3): e59840. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059840 open access
  20. ^ Kreiger, M.(2013). Environmental Life Cycle Analysis of Distributed 3-D Printing and Conventional Manufacturing of Polymer Products. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.
  21. ^
  22. ^ Tekla Labs
  23. ^ Open Source Physiology Lab
  24. ^ Open Lab Tools
  25. ^
  26. ^ Open Neuroscience
  27. ^ Backyard Brains micromanipulator
  28. ^ Sensorica
  29. ^ Hackteria
  30. ^ Gnome X Scanning Microscopy
  31. ^ 3D printed scientific equipment in Africa
  32. ^ DIYBioprinter