If you’re currently into, say,
communications, then you might
fear that making the move to DIY
Biotech means selling your DMM
and oscilloscope to buy a used
PCR machine. Don’t do it! The
more you bring to the table, the
Use your 3D printer to
make an affordable centrifuge.
kit from The Odin ($159). This
kit is much more involved than
the Amino Labs product, but
you’ll learn some advanced
techniques such as how to use a
Buy an old PCR machine in
need of repair and use your
electronics skills to debug the
microcontroller. Need to monitor
bacteria growth in agar? Make an
optical density measurement device
with a green LED, a phototransistor,
and an Arduino. Pick up an old Gel
Electrophoresis device on eBay and
power it with a low-current 100 VDC
power supply of your design.
In addition to the CRISPR
kit, I’ve had good luck with the
fluorescent yeast add-on kit
($80). The Odin’s full Genetic
Engineering Home Lab Kit
($1,699) is a bit overwhelming.
importantly, a PDF project book.
Just wipe the swabs between
your toes, on your kitchen
countertop, etc., swab the agar, and
then place the petri dishes in a warm
place. In a couple days, you’ll see all
sorts of bacterial and yeast colonies.
You’ll probably notice a distinct odor
I found it’s a good value, but it’s not
for the novice. You’d be better off
working with the more affordable kits
So, let’s say you’re convinced to
at least explore DIY Biotech, but you
have absolutely no experience with
microbiology. What’s next? First go
to Amazon.com and pick up a set of
premade agar petri dishes. I’ve had
great results with Evviava Sciences
Amazing Bacteria Science Kit ($22.45,
Amazon). The kit contains 10 agar
plates, some sterile swabs, and, most
Next, I’d try a kit from Amino
Labs. I’ve used the Engineer-it Kit
($33) with great success. It’s fun
and you’ll get to pour your own
agar plates and mix the DNA. The
kit comes with everything you need.
There’s also a Udemy course that’s
linked to the project.
So, stay tuned! I’ll have a few
follow-up articles in Nuts & Volts to
gauge reader interest in DIY Biotech.
By the way, if you’re of age and
want to try your hand at the oldest
DIY Biotech practice on the planet,
then consider the Bro oklyn Brew
Shop Everyday Beer Making Kit ($40,
Amazon). If you can boil water, then
you can brew beer.
Plus, you can always buy
additional yeast if you want to try
your hand at green fluorescent beer.
If you’re ready for more of a
challenge, then consider the CRISPR
Music to My Ears
Bryan Bergeron’s editorial in the May/June issue has
really hit home. It was just last year I dusted off my 10
year old stereo amp and large speakers to really hear how
terrible the latest MP3s have become.
Having listened to them for the last several years using
only headphones or small speakers on the computer, I was
blown away concerning all the nuances that I missed in the
latest songs and how full the music really seemed. Sad to
say, I now miss the fully enveloping sounds during my runs.
However, I can’t wait to get home to really listen once
Your comments are much appreciated. I assume/hope
someone out there at Bose or maybe even Apple is working
on a set of tiny earbuds that reproduce the REAL sound that
can be had from a pair of old fashioned theater speakers.
Contributing to the Cause
I have been passing around articles to local ham clubs
I thought would be of interest from Nuts & Volts issues.
I know at least six people have joined the magazine as a
result of just my feeble efforts. Many more are looking the
mag over and are considering joining Nuts and its sister
publication, SERVO Magazine, including my 15 year old
niece near Seattle who wants to be an EE. I introduced
your mag to her classes.
You are doing a great job as the interest I see locally
from 16 to 82 year old citizens can attest. You are helping
us generate more EmComm volunteers. You folks are
making a bigger impact than the aggregate numbers might
tell. Quality followers will stay subscribers longer. We need
radio folk without gray hair ... you are a really important
cog in the national infrastructure.
Keep up the great work.
Jim NB6TE/USN code school, 1967