UC2 CoreBOX: Flexible Instructional Microscopy for $250

CoreBOX is a neat open resource for teaching microscopy and optics from the folks at UC2, Swen Carlstedt, Benedict Diederich, Barbora Marsikova, Rene Lachmann and others. The setup was designed for the “Principles of Light Microscopy” Course at MPI-CBG in Dresden, and is extremely user friendly as a result, even giving estimations of time for each step.

Edit: As of March 3rd 2020, a pre-print describing the UC2 project is available on bioRxiv written by Benedict Diederich, Reńe Lachmann, Swen Carlstedt, Barbora Marsikova, Haoran Wang, Xavier Uwurukundo, Alexander Mosig and Rainer Heintzmann

The GitHub includes a parts list, 3D printer designs and assembly instructions for building the optics. The setup consists of 3D printed parts and basic off-the-shelf components that can be purchased for just $250. They also link to the course and lectures which the setups were designed for, a definite perk if you are designing an optics course of your own.

The website includes not just a parts list, and a GitHub of essential files, but also extras like what tools you will need, with pictures of each tool, and a YouTube video about setting yourself up to 3D print the base:

Using this setup, the UC2 GitHub page provides detailed lessons for alignment procedure of a Compound Microscope with Kohler and Abbe Diffraction. Excitingly, they also plan to provide Light Sheet and Scanning Confocal plans using the same basic assembly soon!