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Project Requests

  1. Project Submittal Form

LSA Instrument Shop Rates

  • Our shop rate is $72.50 per hour

  • Initial feasibility consultation is free.
  • Design, drawing, reverse engineering and programing for your project is charged at the regular shop rate.
  • We are happy to provide estimates for your project. Please note that these estimates cover the initial device only. Changes and modifications will be additional.

Job Submission

There are many ways to submit a job to the Instrument Shop:

  • CAD drawings of your custom designed parts. Ideally in english dimensioning format, although we can work in metric.
  • Sketches. A rough sketch of what you need is a fine way to submit a job. Please include as much information as possible such as, dimensions, material,quantities.
  • Reverse engineering to recreate an existing part or to mate a new part to an existing part.
  • Function requirements. Stop by and we can help you formulate a plan when you know how the final device needs operate but don’t quite know how to hold it all together.

You are welcome to attach drawings and sketches to an e-mail but it is most helpful if we can discuss your projects in person. This helps to insure that we have as much information as possible.

A Discussion of Building Scientific Apparatus


Every scientific apparatus, even a device that is fundamentally electronic or optical in nature, requires a mechanical structure. The design of this structure determines to a large extent the usefulness of the apparatus and thus a successful scientist must acquire many of the skills of a mechanical engineer to proceed with an experiment.

The designer of research apparatus must strike a balance between the makeshift and the permanent. Too little initial consideration of the expected performance of a device may frustrate attempts to get data. Performance of a research device is not entirely predictable. A new machine must be built and operated before its usefulness or shortcomings are apparent. The function of a machine should be specified in some detail before design work begins. Too much flexibility may limit performance.

Dynamic Design

The beginning is also a time to consider problems of assembly and disassembly since research equipment rarely functions properly at first and often must be repeatedly taken apart and reassembled. It is useful to allow space in an initial design for anticipated modifications.

Standard Parts

Before beginning a design learn what has been done before. Build and maintain a library of commercial catalogs to be familiar with what is available from outside sources. Many scientific designers waste time and money on reinventing the wheel and screw. Use nonstandard parts only when their advantages justify the great cost of one-off construction compared to mass production.