The DIY microscope incubator is complete!

I did it,  it is finished, and it works.  Now I can keep the brains warm as I shove photons of light through them!  Scroll to the bottom of the post for a gallery of images with details about various parts of the incubator project.

Finished incubator (left side)

Finished incubator (left side)


  • Hair-dryer
  • thermal controller
  • Silicone caulk
  • 2 1/4″ PVC fittings
  • 3/4″ PVC and fittings
  • PVC glue
  • Plastic tubing
  • Adjustable metal clamps (for the tubing)
  • 3mil plastic sheeting
  • duct tape (for anything attaching to the incubator)
  • masking tape (for anything which attaches to the microscope or table)
The Evolution

The Evolution

I always like looking at how a project evolves and becomes more refined and improved with each step.  The image shows the 3 physical versions of the incubator (a secret version 2.5 was made in CAD but never made since plexiglass is expensive).

The gallery of images below contains additional information about the incubator.


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5 Responses to “The DIY microscope incubator is complete!”

  1. Chris Cunningham Says:

    I’m stoked about this. You need to think of an eponym.

  2. C.Y. Says:

    I’ve built something similar for my tissue samples that cages around a micro-spectrometer but used a ceramic heat emitter bulb as my heat source. I don’t use it for prolonged periods as I’m worried the 35-37C I keep it at might affect the optics. I’d be interested on your opinion, does my caution make any sense?

    • CodonAUG Says:

      I think your caution makes good sense. The microscope I used with the incubator chamber was specifically designed to handle chambers with humidity and high temperatures.

      Whether your spectrometer is able to handle temperature on its own or not is something you will have to ask the manufacturer about or test to see its limits yourself.

      I would guess it should be able to handle the temperature fine since many electronic devices have a running temperature above human temperature but keep in mind I am not expert.

  3. Ryan Huang Says:

    Have you thought about long term heater use? I.e. Is the hair dryer capable of sustaining 37C for prolonged periods of time (6-8 hrs)?

  4. CodonAUG Says:

    The hair dryer was able to sustain the heat for long periods of time. The used hair dryer we used managed a few nights just fine but ultimately it did die out because hair dryers use cool air coming in to maintain themselves and our re-circulation prevented that.
    A lot of alternatives can be used instead of the hair-dyer. Waterbaths in conjunction with a fan, small space heaters, cooking elements.

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