Open-Source Lab book cover

Open-Source Lab

How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs

Open-Source Lab: How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Scientific Research Costs details the development of the free and open-source hardware revolution. The combination of open-source 3D printing and microcontrollers running on free software enables scientists, engineers, and lab personnel in every discipline to develop powerful research tools at unprecedented low costs.

After reading Open-Source Lab, you will be able to:

  • Lower equipment costs by making your own hardware
  • Build open-source hardware for scientific research
  • Actively participate in a community in which scientific results are more easily replicated and cited


All laboratory personnel- everyone involved with science and technology research in academia, industry, and government. Specific audiences include chemists/chemical engineers; biologists/biomedical engineers; physicists; mechanical, and civil and electrical engineers.

Hardbound, 240 Pages

Published: November 2013

Imprint: Elsevier

ISBN: 978-0-12-410462-4


  • "Pearce intends his book to be a sort of guide to creating your own open-source lab gear. The topics he covers include software rights, best practices and etiquette for using open-source hardware, open-source microcontrollers, open-source centrifuges and spectrometers, colorimeters, and even open-source laser welding. There are also some helpful hints for those who are 3D-printing their equipment for the first time."--Machine Design blog, December 4, 2013
    "Joshua Pearce is not one for understatement. ‘This is the beginning of a true revolution in the sciences,’ says the author of ‘Open-Source Lab.’ For cash-strapped researchers, he could be right…’Open-Source Lab’ is written for a wide audience, from novices to those who are "at one with the force of open source," who can skip the introductory material and get right to work printing their own equipment.", November 18, 2013
    "3dhacker is truly impressed by the amount of work Dr. Pearce has put into Open-Source Lab. It’s immediately clear how a teacher or researcher in any institution around the world can reduce their laboratory equipment costs by 60-90%. Additionally Dr. Pearce illustrates the benefits of open source hardware and how it’s a must if the world wants to move at the fastest pace for scientific development!"--3D Hacker! online, November 18, 2013
    "We are developing a whole range of different kinds of inexpensive high-end 3D printable scientific tools. I documented both our work and dozens of examples from the community in a book: Open-source Lab, which should be published next month. The idea of open-sourcing scientific equipment is catching on and it is really exciting to see what is going on with groups all over the world like at Tekla Labs."--, October 18, 2013


  • Preface
    1. Introduction to Open-Source Hardware for Science
    2. The Benefits of Sharing - Nice Guys and Girls Do Finish First
    3. Open Licensing - Advanced Sharing
    4. Open-Source Microcontrollers for Science: How to Use, Design Automated Equipment with, and Troubleshoot
    5. RepRap for Science: How to Use, Design, and Troubleshoot the Self-Replicating 3-D Printer
    6. Digital Designs and Scientific Hardware
       6.1 OpenSCAD, RepRap, and Arduino Microcontrollers
       6.2 Physics: Open-Source Optics
       6.3 Engineering: Open-Source Laser Welder, Radiation Detection, and Oscilloscopes
       6.4 Environmental Science: Open-Source Colorimeter and pH Meter
       6.5 Biology: OpenPCR, Open-Source Centrifuges and More
       6.6 Chemistry: Open-Source Spectrometers and Other Chemical Research Tools
    7. The Future of Open-Source Hardware and Science


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