This study provides designs for a low-cost, easily replicable open source lab-grade digital scale that can be used as a precision balance. The design is such that it can be manufactured for use in most labs throughout the world with open source RepRap-class material extrusion-based 3-D printers for the mechanical components and readily available open source electronics including the Arduino Nano. Several versions of the design were fabricated and tested for precision and accuracy for a range of load cells. The results showed the open source scale was found to be repeatable within 0.1g with multiple load cells, with even better precision (0.01g) depending on load cell range and style. The scale tracks linearly with proprietary lab-grade scales, meeting the performance specified in the load cell data sheets, indicating that it is accurate across the range of the load cell installed. The smallest loadcell tested(100g) offers precision on the order of a commercial digital mass balance. The scale can be produced at significant cost savings compared to scales of comparable range and precision when serial capability is present. The cost savings increase significantly as the range of the scale increases and are particularly well-suited for resource-constrained medical and scientific facilities.
3-D printing; additive manufacturing; distributed manufacturing; laboratory equipment; open hardware; open source; open source hardware; scale; balance; mass
CHEMISTRY, Analytical Chemistry
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