Team:Cambridge-JIC/Make Your Own

Make Your Own OpenScope

If you want to make your very own OpenScope, this is the page for you!

We are dedicated to making the OpenScope easy to assemble and use, even for the inexperienced user. We have put together a detailed instruction and compressed all 3d-printable designs into a single archive. Get started with OpenScope.

instructionsprintablesbill of materials

For software installation instructions, and tips on using the Raspberry Pi, visit the Software Downloads section.

Video Tutorials

Assemble the OpenScope chassis

Having problems seeing the video above? Download the video here.

Assemble the OpenScope optics

Having problems seeing the video above? Download the video here.

Using the OpenScope

Having problems seeing the video above? Download the video here.


What’s the difference between manual and motorised modes?
The microscope has 3 knobs: two of them are used to pan across the sample, and one is used to focus. In manual mode, these knobs are controlled by hand. In motorised mode, they are instead connected to stepper motors. This enables you to program your own panning/focusing routines, and to operate the OpenScope remotely: e.g. when it is in an incubator, or in a different lab.

What is the difference between bright-field, dark-field and fluorescence modes?
Bright-field is the simplest of all imaging modes: just the sample, backlit by a white light source (LED). Bright-field microscopy does not give very good contrast, so it works best for stained samples, or intrinsically colourful samples.
For unstained samples, dark-field microscopy gives better contrast. The dark-field set-up is very similar to that of bight-field, but with the addition of a dark disc (what we call the dark-field tube) in between the white light and the sample. This stops direct illumination from reaching the objective, and so the only recorded light is that scattered by the sample. The main issue with dark-field is that it gives images with very low light levels.
And, finally, fluorescence microscopy allows the imaging of fluorescent proteins (FPs). When excited by light of a specific wavelength (the excitation wavelength), these proteins emit light at a different wavelength (the emission wavelength). Each FP has its own excitation and emission wavelengths. This is why, for each specific FP you will need different LEDs for illumination and different filter sets. For a more detailed explanation on how fluorescence works, and how to pick the filters, refer to our Modeling page.

How do I set up my 3D printer?
You will need to print your parts using PLA filament. Check out our 3D printing guide.

What if I don’t have a 3D printer?
You can send the files from the archive to a local 3D-printing service and they will ship you the printed parts.

What are STL and SCAD files?
If you want to view a 3D object, you will need the STL file. Use your 3D printer's own software, or download OpenSCAD. If you want to edit one of these objects, open the SCAD file and edit it using OpenSCAD. For printing, the STL file is sufficient.

Creative Commons Licence
Open Scope Documentation by Simon Swan, Katerina Naydenova, Richard Bowman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Please note that all contributions to are considered to be released under the Creative Commons Attribution.