Any user reviews for the Opentrons Flex?

I’m wondering if there’s anybody here that has an OT Flex that would be willing to write a short review of it, and if you previously owned an OT2 before buying one.

It’s been about five (?) months since the release and I’m curious how the user experience has been for early adopters


@Shinedalgarno I’ll invite some Flex users to the chat! :slight_smile:


Hey there! We have an Opentrons Flex in our lab. I am a new Opentrons user (didn’t use OT-2 much, though our lab has one), but have experience with other liquid handers.

As a new Opentrons user, I’ve really enjoyed starting to use the Flex! So far I’ve just written some simple protocols to prepare plates with reagents for other processes, and made some simple demo protocols. The Opentrons API feels intuitive, the documentation is pretty good, and I even easily made a custom labware using their Custom Labware Creator.

I have run protocols from the Opentrons App and from the touchscreen directly on the robot. Both are easy, but I like how slick the touchscreen is, especially for people who are just getting started as operators.

I think the size is good as it JUST fits on our lab bench without modification (about 27" deep). Feels like the Flex steps up the game from the OT-2 and still manages to be a little more friendly to newbies than some other LH platforms. There’s a lot to still put through the paces (using the grippers, 96-head when it arrives, more complicated protocols), but first impressions from me and the team are very good!


How’s the calibration been so far?


@DanLord recently joined Opentrons so I’m sure he can assist you with reviews and additional help.

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Thanks @DanielYip - as we’re doing a phased roll out of the Flex, the first users are going to be in N.America. Stay tuned for European users early in the new year.

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Thanks Daniel! I really like publicly posted reviews without prompting from the companies that make the machines here, it’s great to get a pulse on the raw opinions of the users!

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Hi @DanLord , is OT2 available in EU/UK yet ?

Hey @Nikolay - the Flex and OT-2 are both available in the EU/UK. We started installing Flex units in January!

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Hello :slight_smile: I’m a flex user from Australia - we just got ours a couple months ago but we’ve had an OT2 for ~6 months now. I use the python API rather than the Protocol designer. We’re using the 96 channel head and the gripper. It’s pretty great but I do have a few qualms with the Flex.
First (as far as I’m aware) when you calibrate the Flex you must use their custom “calibration tip” - this makes your initial calibration a breeze as it automatically detects the center of deck slots etc. However - when I run my labware position check it uses the same custom tip mechanism. This is fine but is more variable when checking placements of labware such as deep-well plates and single reservoirs. On the OT-2 because it has a tip attached during the position check I can navigate the tip to the bottom center of the well and ensure it’s in the right spot and then just adjust the tip back to the top of the well for calibration, but with the Flex’s “calibration tip” I can only roughly guess where the true center is.
On that note - my institute is currently not allowing my Flex on the wifi - but labware position checks do not persist between runs when connected via USB connections (currently -I’ve been assured this feature is coming).
While the Flex is shaking (on a single heater-shaker) you cannot perform any other tasks.
Finally - I’ve noticed a weird behavior where if my tips are not clear (I’ve dispensed a substance but some remains attached to the inside tips), when I “return tips” back to their original rack there is some mechanism that aspirates the liquid into the head before it drops the tips? I’m just hoping it doesnt damage the head at this point.

Some features I was told that might be coming soon to the Flex is collision detection (both when colliding with another object and/or the bottom of a plate!), also tip detection - to know if there is a tip currently on the head (would be cool to be able to write a program to re-fill a half used tip rack!), and being able to change the colours on the front bar (could be really cool to indicate steps of protocol currently being executed)

I’ve only just found this forum/ their github so I’ll be requesting these features/listing these bugs soon. But so far overall the Flex has been great - I can’t say it’s better than the OT2 because I use them for very different purposes but really love the option to truly customize each protocol.


Thank you for sharing your experience, glad that you’ve enjoyed it so far and those features on the horizon sounds like fantastic quality of life upgrades!

With that said, is the inability to do anything else on the Flex while it’s shaking an artifact of some hardware limitation or a scripting limitation?

I believe it is a scripting limitation. You can use the Temperature module while performing other tasks but I believe they’re worried about the shaking of the machine interfering with pipetting accuracy. This is totally reasonable and I understand the limitation on the OT2 as it does cause some vibrations - but on the Flex there is almost no vibrations and the deck stays stable.

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Great to have found this thread, which is really helpful.
But are there any other thoughts on OT/Flex?
Seems like there is fairly limited experience even though it’s been out for a while? Or maybe people are too busy running experiments and not going on here. :wink:

I think part of this is that a lot of Opentrons (and other platform) users aren’t aware of this forum. Opentrons recently started sending out a survey for the Flex, so hopefully we’ll see some more feedback soon!