LabAutoBox Microfluidics

LabAutoBox consists of the tools needed to convert a 3D printer into a lab automation liquid handler capable of independently controlling 8 pipette tips. The system consists of the following components:

  1. Raspberry Pi computer running the LabBot Robotic Schedular software
  2. Microfluidics components for liquid handling (multichannel syringe pump, 3 peristaltic pumps, pressure compensation vessel (PCV), 8 4-way servo driven stop-cock valves)
  3. Electronic box that contains the boards for controlling these microfluidic devices and the XYZ motion robot that works with them
  4. Aluminum extrusion frame for supporting the microfluidics devices
  5. ATX power supply unit (PSU) normally used with desktop computers
  6. Tubing 1/8 inch and 1/16 inch diameters for connecting the LabAutoBox to robotics for doing 8 channel pipette liquid handling
  7. Pipette tip wash station and pipette tip removal module
LabAutoBox is used to convert a 3D printer into a lab automation liquid handler
LabAutoBox CAD drawings displaying the comprised components: electronic Box, multichannel syringe pump, peristaltic pumps (wash, waste, PCV), 8 4-way servo stop-cock valves, and PCV

Electronic box plug reference

LabAutoBox contains the control electronics for running 3D printers as a lab automation work station.
LabAutoBox electronic box contains a RAMPS board, microfluidics board for running pumps, ATX power distribution board and additional stepper motor. It contains plugs for connect the various devices.

The electronic box is used for controlling XYZ gantries (like 3D printers, old laboratory automation systems, LabBots). The attached Raspberry Pi runs the LabAutoBox browser-based software and on the front of this electronic box are connections for hooking the different devices for doing liquid handling-based laboratory automation.

  • X – X motor and endstop
  • Y – Y motor and endstop
  • Z – Z motor and endstop
  • S – Multichannel syringe pump motor and endstop
  • H1 – Heater controller unit 1
  • H2 – Heater controller unit 2
  • P – Pressure compensation vessel electrocaloric liquid level sensor
  • L – Liquid pumps (wash, waste, and PCV)
  • H3 – Heater controller unit 3

Wash station

Wash station that makes it possible to wash pipette tips in order to recycle them
Wash station for pipette tips. This includes a waste station and a touch dry area for attaching dry fleece for wicking off excess liquid hanging from washed tips. 

Wash stations for pipette tips enable the possibility of recycling these dispensers. Normally these tools work with two peristaltic pumps (one for perfusing the wash station and the other for collecting the waste). Also, these wash stations work with a syringe pump that is used for perfusing the inside of the pipette tip while the tips are also being washed outside using the wash peristaltic pump.

While the pipettes are dried using the dry pad area, it is good to record the positions so that the tips go to a new one every time which is a feature that exists with the LabBot Robotic Schedular software, and there is a link that shows a technique for washing pipettes.

Pipette tip/Tube removal tool

LabBot pipette tip or tube removal tool. This tool is useful for converting 3D printers into liquid handlers
The LabBot can load pipette tips or tubes and this 3D printed tool was developed for removing them. This example shows how to the tubes is posted at this video

Multichannel Syringe Pump

LabBot multichannel syringe pump is used to convert 3D printers into liquid handlers
Multichannel syringe up is capable to connect 8 disposable syringes (Luer lock recommended). There is a mechanical endstop for homing the position. The pumps also include an Arduino driven stepper motor board with firmware optimized for control.

This is an 8 syringe multichannel stepper motor-driven syringe pump. It works with disposable syringes which can be easily sterilized. The system can be used to do accurate liquid handling which is demonstrated using the LabBot Robotics Schedular in this video. The system includes:

    1. 8 disposable 1ml syringes (that are autoclavable)
    2. Arduino based control electronics (command-line interface software can work with any computer)
    3. Tubing and Luer-lock fittings
    4. Mechanical endstop homing

Microfluidic 4-way valve

4-way valve for individually controlling each syringe in a multichannel syringe pump
LabAutoBox has 4 of these 4-way selector valves where each one is connected to each syringe in the multichannel syringe pump. This feature allows for accurate pipetting and cherrypicking. These are polypropylene stop-cock valves

These valves can be positioned in 4 different ways. Input is where the fluid is drawn from the reagent reservoir (like a pressure compensation vessel) to the syringe. The output is where the fluid is pushed from the syringe pump towards the dispensers. The bypass is where the fluid paths are closed. Closed is where the syringe pump to the dispenser is closed but the flow path from the reagent reservoir to the dispenser is open.