[Biohackers] PCR machine
marcjc at gmail.com
Fri Feb 15 21:55:53 PST 2013
I've done some work on the PCR machine
I've focused on making a design that can both be realistically built
by off-the-shelf components by anyone with a basic set of skills, and
is still cheap to make when we scale up to production of 100x to 500x.
I think we may be able to realistically sell the whole lab kit for $400.
We shouldn't spend more than half of that amount on components
(including chemicals/biologicals/etc). The rest should go to pay for
We have four devices we've been talking about:
*Gel electrophoresis device with transilluminator
*Incubator with shaker
So if we spend e.g. $40 on components per piece of lab equipment on
average, that's $160, leaving $40 for chemicals/biologicals/pcr tubes
and other consumables.
I think we should include enough stuff for the first 2-3 experiments,
including nice manuals for everything.
Hopefully the labor costs will be relatively low since we'll be
selling this in kit form (a lot of assembly required).
One problem is that we're not including a micropipette. We could
include some simple glass pipettes and recommend that people go on
ebay and buy a couple of better pipettes, or we could try to buy some
chinese knockoffs or buy up a bunch of used pipettes and sell two
pipettes for e.g. an extra $100.
I've put all of the info here:
Ryan has ordered the components needed to build the first prototype,
so we should be able to start building next week.
One thing I haven't looked at yet is a suitable case. We may want to
look at DIY vacuum-formed biodegradable plastic sheets for the PCR
machine and gel box, and a bolted/riveted box of metal for the
centrifuge. For the incubator it's obvious that polystyrene can't be
beaten for price/performance, but I think we should look at more
I've been talking to Jake (from Noisebridge) and he will help us
design a cheap and safe power supply for gel electrophoresis.
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