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Open-Source Syringe Pump

By Chris Varnon |

I created an open-source syringe pump for my research in animal behavior. In my work, I often want to deliver a precise quantity of fluid, often as a reward for an animal. There are a few ways to do this, but I prefer syringe pumps as they are flexible and precise. Unfortunately, commercial syringe pumps can be rather expensive, and often lack the level of control that I need (for example delivering 1 ml of water contingent on a specific behavior). Due to these issues, I designed a syringe pump to meet my own needs. My pump delivers liquids through a 30 ml syringe. It can operate in the forward or reverse directions, but it is not intended for rapid, precise changes in direction. Instead, it is designed to empty the contents of a syringe, and then reset to an extended plunger position. My syringe pump includes two limit switches, at the front and the back, so that the plunger unit cannot be over extended. My design is under constant revision as I improve the mechanisms, add features as needed by my experiments, or make adjustments based on user feedback. As many animal behavior laboratories would find an inexpensive, easily controllable syringe pump very useful, I made my designs available on my website. I also included assembly instructions, and example control circuits and programs for the Parallax Propeller microcontroller. My design makes heavy use of ServoCity's actobotics line as the structural components are very easy to use and assemble. Use of actobotics parts also reduce the need for custom parts, which can be expensive to acquire if you do not have access to a 3D printer. 

Full instructions are available at:


The full parts lists can be seen at: