Build Or Buy

When the original SCK-100 model was released some years ago, the options if you wanted a Spin Coater was either go through the trouble of building your own with almost no online help, or spend about $5,000 for a commercial unit. Today, there are more options.  If you want a DIY Spin Coater, there are a quite a few sites and Journal articles for doing so, including a 3D Printed version.  Moreover, the price point for some low-end Commercial Spin Coaters now start at around $1,400 USD.  We can’t comment on the quality, or level of technical support for these models, but for that price, we wouldn’t expect much.  Even so, the questions still remains, when do you build your own, buy a commercial unit, or buy one of our SCK-300 kits.  To help with this decision, here are some simple rules of thumb.

  1. If you need a Spin Coater for precise/production work, or for coating relatively large substrates (greater than 100 mm), then definitely get a good commercial unit from a company with a document track record ( Chemat Scientific, MTI Corporation and Laurell).  These units will allow for better control of the coating process and are more flexible.
  2. If you need a Spin Coater to establish proof of concept, or for none precision work etc…, then consider buying one of our SCK-300 kits.  In general, you should only consider building one from scratch if you already have the in-house electronics/machining expertise and tools.

From our analysis, the cost of building your own Spin Coater would be about $200 dollars in parts using readily available R/C and Arduino components, provided you have the in-house expertise and tools on hand.  If you don’t have such expertise, then the DIY cost can easily be over $1,400.  Getting custom parts fabricated and hiring a programmer is expensive.  Obviously, this is not worth it, since for an additional $200 – $500, a low-end commercial Spin Coater can be purchased.  Better yet, for half this cost, we go through the trouble of building one for you, and it’s guaranteed to work.  We like to think of ourselves as a Build Service, rather than a Spin Coater supplier.

Also, take a look at the easy to build, computer controlled DIY Spin Coater we put together from readily available components.