Joshua M. Pearce has an article on Scientific American’s blog, talking about making lab hardware using Open Source Hardware model.
Science for All: How to Make Free, Open Source Laboratory Hardware
[…] If you are a working scientist, it is in your best interest to share the designs for your hardware. Consider for example the humble lab jack, which is used to move heavy or bulky equipment small distances up or down (we use one in my lab to move solar photovoltaic materials into a light path, for example). I received a shocking $950 quote for one. Although much less expensive lab jacks are available, we wanted a customizable lab jack. We designed one for less than $5 and shared it on the web. Then the fun began. A Finnish maker recommended an improved assembly that made it better and since then over 3,700 others have downloaded the designs. Next, a French scientist shared a better design that reduces the number of non-3-D printed parts. Most recently a Seattle-based company posted a 100% 3-D printable version. It even prints assembled! Now anytime I need a lab jack I can print one out of recyclebot-made plastic filament for a few pennies. […]
PS: Next year’s Open Hardware Summit will be in Portland Oregon in October 2016-timeframe: