OpenPCR is a cool new project dedicated to building plans for an open source PCR machine. There’s not much inherently complicated about a PCR machine and it’s about time — a PCR machine built with $300 in parts using a modern software controller will likely be as powerful as any non-realtime PCR out there. Of course, the reagent pricing is what gets you.
Josh and Tito are raising money for this project using Kickstarter. $1024 gets them to build you a PCR machine, which is a reasonably good deal in the scheme of scientific equipment. I gave them $8, because I like stickers and already have a PCR machine that doesn’t exactly get a lot of use.