Laboratory scale wave energy converters provide a cost-effective platform for analyzing concepts, validating numerical models, and innovating control schemes in a controlled environment. To this end, a scaled open-source WEC, named the laboratory upgrade point absorber (LUPA), has been designed and is currently being fabricated to provide a robust platform for research and development. The physical design, initial numerical results, and lessons learned are detailed in this paper. Details of the power take-off system, scaled wave conditions, equations of motion and WEC-Sim modeling, stability, and deflection analysis are topics explored. Possible test configurations and methods are suggested, highlighting key areas of research that are relevant to the device. The LUPA project will be completely open-source and will provide a rich dataset for benchmarking while providing a robust platform for innovative geometry research as well as control system development and testing. The LUPA device will be a valuable resource for future researchers and teach students WEC fundamentals.