DIY Lab Equipment Hack

UPDATE: Deadlines for project submissions have been extended! Get your submissions in by Sunday, January 22. Then voting will be open from January 23-February 3 with our wrap-up event on February 13. Read more here: 


The Cap City Biohackers were founded with the goal of democratizing access to the tools of scientific inquiry. To that end, throughout the past 18 months we’ve put our energy into growing the community, meeting the people who need access to those tools. This week, we want to begin moving into the next phase of our group: providing those tools to the community we’ve worked so hard to build.

Our long-term goal is to open a biology lab that’s open to the community. The first step to this is stocking the lab with equipment. And because we want to provide those tools to as many people as possible, we need to rely upon the collective creativity of the people of Columbus. But because we’ve always been a grassroots group that do without the resources of professional laboratories, we need to get creative.

We’re partnering with the local maker community under the roof of the world-famous Columbus Idea Foundry. We’re asking all creative people in the community to come together on Tuesday, December 13, to bring each’s individual expertise to help us build the lab equipment ourselves. It won’t be easy. We’ll need electrical engineers. We’ll need software developers. We’ll need scientists. We’ll need metal workers. We’ll need designers. We need you. By bringing together individuals with diverse backgrounds and expertise, we can find new solutions to old problems and deliver on the promise of DIYBio.

Here’s how it’ll work. This Tuesday, we’ll all get together and build a DIY incubator using these plans: We’ll be taking off-the-shelf parts and, with a little creativity and ingenuity, turn it into an essential part of a biologist’s quiver. That’s where you come in. Using the incubator as inspiration, we want you to pick a common piece of lab equipment and think of a way to build it ourselves. Our goal is 80% of the functionality of the professional models at 20% of the cost, or better. Form teams or go it alone. Once you have your idea and your plans to make it a reality, head to and fill out an application. Tell us what you’re going to make, how you’re going to make it, and how much it’ll cost. Apply before January 22. Then, from Jan.23 - Feb. 3 people will vote with their dollars which project to tackle first. Then, on Feb. 13 we’ll all get together again for final pitches and to tally the votes. All the money goes into one big pot from which we’ll draw to purchase materials and support future meet-ups.

We want to get a long list of possible equipment hacks to choose from, not only so we can raise more money to sustain the group, but also so we can plan recurring meetings to come together and stock our lab full of awesome tools that we build ourselves.

We hope to see you Tuesday at the Idea Foundry. Bring your expertise and your creativity. We’re going to build great things together. This is just the beginning.


David TaffanyDIY, Events, Equipment