Motorized Micromanipulator (Sutter Instrument)
Sutter Instrument MP-285 Motorized MicromanipulatorMP-285 motorized micromanipulator with controller and ROE

The long time flagship in Sutter's line of precision micromanipulators, the motorized MP-285 is affordable yet offers advanced features found in manipulators costing thousands more. Custom engineered stepping motors, precision cross-roller bearing slides and proprietary worm gear capstan drives form the basis of the watch-like mechanical system. The controller provides power to the stage motors with a quiet linear power supply to minimize electrical noise radiation in your setup. Pipette holders and headstages are securely mounted to the MP-285 with one of our several unique and rigid mounting systems.

The MP-285 was designed to meet a wide variety of positioning needs for the scientific community, and is suitable for patch clamp experiments, extracellular recording, microinjection, intra-cellular recording and precision robotic positioning applications. An outstanding feature of this system is the unique definable 4th axis for diagonal advancement of the pipette. You select the angle, then activate the 4th axis. As with the other three axes, you may move with adjustable coarse or ultrafine resolution, select the movement speed, and move continuously or in single step increments. To quickly reposition the pipette, simply select the Home function. Axes positions are continuously shown in relative and absolute scales, and are easily readable on the vacuum fluorescent display.

The extremely low backlash of the MP-285 removes traditional drawbacks of “open loop” technology and eliminates drift. This allows submicron resolution down to 0.2 microns in the coarse range and down to 40 nano-meters in the fine range. With over 1 inch of motorized travel on all three axes, and a user designated 4th axis, the MP-285 allows tremendous range of motion while maximizing resolution.

Available with a table-top or rack mounted controller, our manipulator fits in seamlessly with your other components while the compact design and assignable axes of the MP-285 allows you to easily integrate it into your setup at any orientation.

For users who require repeatable motion sequences, the MP-285 features easily programmed robotic control from the keypad, or via a remote computer. The system can store up to 500 position instructions, including pauses, and will execute the instruction set once, continuously, or in reverse.

  • Features
  • Highly stable for experiments, intolerant of pipette drift
  • Submicron resolution and integrated course positioning
  • 1 inch of motorized travel on all three axes
  • 4th axis with user-selected angle for axial drive
  • Adjustable speed and resolution allows optimization for experimental setup
  • Programmable robotic functions for complex motion sequences
  • Continuous display (in microns) of axes positions
  • Switch between continuous or single step movement
  • Absolute and relative origins
  • Convenient Home function allows pipettes to be quickly repositioned
  • Assignable axes permit any orientation of the manipulator
  • Easy to read vacuum fluorescent display
  • Remote computer control via serial interface
  • Universal mounting system for headstage or pipette holder
  • Optional mounting adaptors

    2.5 cm on all three axis

    Low    0.2 µm/step
    High    0.04 µm/step

Maximum speed
    2.9 mm/s

Long term stability
    < 10 nm/h at 24 °C

Drive mechanism
    Precision worm gear capstan drive

Serial Interface
    RS- 232, 9600 baud, (1 start bit, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit)

    Mechanical    11 cm × 15 cm × 16 cm
    Controller    10 cm × 40.5 cm × 31 cm

    Manipulator    1.7 kg
    Controller    4.5 kg

    115/230 V, 50/60 Hz


Input Device:

Rotary Optical Encoder (ROE). Turning one of three 2-inch knobs produces a movement along one axis proportional to the amount speed of the turn. Buttons allow the activation of “4th axis”, change of movement resolution, “home” return function, and toggle between rapid continuous and slow movements.

Ordering Information

MP-285 Includes manipulator with rack-mounted 1 controller unit and cables, rod holder, headstage adapter, choice of input device (see below), power cord and manual.  Also available with table-top controller unit.

Specify right- or left-handed setup!



285204    4 inch dovetail extension
285210    Mounting adapter plate (for use with MT-70 or MT-75 series stands, or any surface with 1 inch centered holes)
RB1285    Rotating base only


Rotating base Mounting adapters available for most microscopes