A new open source design with readily available components will make it much cheaper to build a peristaltic pump.
A peristaltic pump has a rotating head that compresses tubing during its rotation, moving a fluid along the tube. This allows for sterile handling of liquids, as the liquid never leaves the tube. Commercial peristaltic pumps with high dosing efficiency, however, can cost upwards of $1300. A team of our Engineering Technology students worked with Dr Martin Hohmann-Marriott of United Scientists CORE to design an open source peristaltic pump made with 3D printed components.
The students, Angus Avery, Julian Knaf and Luke Patel, opted for an adjustable pump head design so that their pump could be used with a variety of tube sizes. Experimentation showed that a triangular shape for the pump head was best. The pump is electronically controlled by an Arduino Uno Microcontroller, with a user interface displayed on an LCD screen. Control software for the Arduino was written in C++ and allows for setting the pump's speed and dosage volume, amongst other features. A PCB enables easier assembly of the pump by avoiding the majority of wiring work.
The team was pleased to have a working prototype which they could test in order to improve accuracy. Having 3D printed parts meant they could implement design iterations quickly and test different prototypes simultaneously. The pump is reliable once calibrated and produces accurate, repetitive dosing operations, but the students have also have identified several areas for future exploration and optimisation.