Getting Started

We’re getting started on a list of equipment, devices, and instruments to be opened, which is to say made in an open-source, DIY format over at the Open Source Hardware Association forums.

The current method is to create the device and a tutorial on its creation, post all of the relevant hardware information (.fzz and .ino files along with a tutorial) on GitHub under Open Source Instrumentation, and make a wish list on a relevant supplier’s site that is linked in the tutorial.

One good example is the RayCatcher, soon to be featured as a tutorial on This is a cosmic ray detector that can be built for <$50, which is less than the cost of a single Geiger-Müller tube. The tutorial itself links to the Wish List on SparkFun, which allows for immediate purchase of all of the pieces and parts that the user doesn’t currently have, but makes allowances for the user to deselect anything that they already have access to or don’t want, something not true of previously tried kit approaches.


Open Source Instrumentation

Why is a device that could be made for less than $100 available only from a supplier who will charge $1800 for it? Why are so few people making their own Atomic Force Microscopes (AFMs) when they can be made with materials found laying around in most labs? For that matter, why is it that no central repository of instrumentation designs exists, and why do most manufacturers keep their service manuals behind a paywall?
Here, we are dedicated to opening instrumentation to the research community. By doing this, we propose to do the following:

  • decrease your lab overhead
  • allow greater customization of equipment for targeted uses
  • increase the speed of collaboration by hosting new designs

The upsides to this method range from saving taxpayer dollars to allowing you to hire another technician to even quickening the pace of research itself.
Visit our organization page on GitHub or leave a comment to get involved!

Bringing open source hardware to the lab