Coffee Cup Polymerase Chain Reaction Machine

PCR machines copy DNA. The CCPCR uses a coffee cup, an Arduino and a few other items.Cost to build is about 25$.

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This is a low cost Polymerase Chain Reaction Machine made with an Arduino UNO, a relay, a temperature sensor, a fan, a 3D printer heating element and a coffee cup. A PCR machine supports the process of copying DNA by cycling through three temperature ranges for 20-40 seconds each and repeating the cycle 20-40 times. The total cost is about 25$.

This idea was inspired by Russell Durrett's Light Bulb PCR Machine.

I decided to attempt to make a similar device with parts I already had on hand. I replaced the light bulb with a 3D printing heating element from an old 3D printer. The 40mm fan came from the printer as well. The  UNO, temperature sensor and relay came from an Arduino starter kit I had. I did have to buy the 12VDC/5 Amp power supply since the 12VDC/3Amp one I had was insufficient.

Zip Archive - 13.91 kB - 10/16/2017 at 00:49


Arduino Code

Zip Archive - 3.69 kB - 10/09/2017 at 14:55


  • 1 × Arduino UNO
  • 1 × Relay SRD-05VDC-SL-C
  • 1 × Power Supply for Heating Element and Fan Output: 12V/5A
  • 1 × 4.7 Kohm Resistor
  • 1 × Fan 40mm 12 volt Fan

View all 11 components

  • New software

    Paul McCabe10/16/2017 at 00:46 0 comments

    The Arduino code uses the serial monitor to take the following input. 

    Denaturation Stage Temperature (C)

    Denaturation Stage Duration (sec)

    Annealing Stage Temperature (C)

    Annealing Stage Duration (sec)

    Extension Stage Temperature (C)

    Extension Stage Duration (sec)

     Number of Cycles

    Once these values re entered the process begins. The system is first raised to the Denaturation Stage temperature and held at this temperature for 120 seconds. The the Denaturation, Annealing and Extension stages are executed and repeated for the number of cycles entered.

  • Arduino Code

    Paul McCabe10/09/2017 at 17:50 0 comments

    The current code, CCPCRv1, runs the following fixed routine. 

    0. Raise temp to 95C

    1. Stay at 95C for 120 seconds

    2. Stay at 95C for 15 seconds

    3. Drop temp to 55C

    4. Stay at 55C for 15 seconds

    5. Raise temp to 68C

    6. Stay at 68C for 45 seconds

    7. Raise temp to 95C

    *8. Repeat steps 2 through 17 nineteen times. *(Not Implemented yet)

    9. End

    Use the Arduino IDE serial port monitor to watch progress.

  • Wiring

    Paul McCabe10/09/2017 at 17:24 0 comments

    Hot glue the fan to the plywood top directly over the center hole.

    Then wire the components based on the sketch below.

  • Coffee Cup PCR Machine

    Paul McCabe10/09/2017 at 16:10 0 comments

    1. Cut a small 1/4" piece plywood into a 4 1/2" Square

    2. Cut holes as shown in sketch

View all 4 project logs

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leon.sampson2011 wrote 11/12/2019 at 18:47 point

I stuck a link to your PCR build in my 1 week old unheard of youtube channel if thats OK

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