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I need a force sensor

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I am designing a digital muscle strength tester for physiotherapy use. This is a school project and my goal is to design something that is quite cheap to build. The only type of force sensor that I can find datasheets on are load cells, but they cost way too much.
I need a sensor that can measure 250 to 300lbs. I figure that the sensors used in digital weight scales would do the trick, but I cant find any info on the actual sensors inside them. If anyone knows where I can find some information, I would greatly appreciate the help.
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