(CNN) -- Investigators said Tuesday they'll attempt to reconstruct the bombs that turned the Boston Marathon's finish line into a bloody nightmare and asked the public for help finding whoever planted them.
Federal law enforcement sources told CNN the devices were made from pressure cookers and hidden in backpacks.
At a news conference Tuesday evening, the FBI agent leading the search said fragments of nails, BBs and scraps of black nylon -- possibly from a backpack -- are being handed over to the bureau's laboratory "for a complete and thorough analysis."
Rick DesLauriers, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston office, also asked people to report anyone who talked about targeting Monday's race or showed interest in explosives. He urged anyone who might have heard the sounds of explosions in remote areas or saw someone carrying "an unusually heavy, dark-colored bag" around Monday to come forward.
"Someone knows who did this," DesLauriers said. "Cooperation from the community will play a crucial role in this investigation."
The U.S. government has warned federal agencies in the past that pressure cookers -- airtight pots used to quickly cook or preserve foods -- have been turned into bombs in parts of the world. A Department of Homeland Security memo called it "a technique commonly taught in Afghan terrorist training camps."
"Typically, these bombs are made by placing TNT or other explosives in a pressure cooker and attaching a blasting cap at the top of the pressure cooker," the memo said.
A law enforcement official said earlier Monday that the blasts were likely detonated by timers.
Such bombs are "very effective," terrorism expert Jeff Beatty told CNN. Taliban and al Qaeda militants "use them to make their IEDs," he said.
"That doesn't mean it was the Taliban -- other people can read about this," said Beatty, who served in the FBI, CIA and the military's Delta Force.
So far, investigators have found no foreign or al Qaeda connection to the bombings, a U.S. official told CNN. And in Washington, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters that some of the facts suggest the carnage had its roots in American soil.
"There are a lot of things that are surrounding this that would give an indication that it may have been a domestic terrorist, but that just can't be assumed," Chambliss said. He did not elaborate.
Napolitano: No signs of 'broad plot'
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the bombings don't appear to be harbingers of "a broader plot." But she urged Americans "to remain vigilant and immediately report any signs of suspicious activity to local law enforcement officials."
And members of Congress who were briefed by Obama administration officials on told reporters that the field of possible suspects remains wide open.
"We really don't know if it's a foreign or domestic threat," said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Commitee. "We don't know whether this was a homegrown terrorist or part of a wider conspiracy."
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper held closed-door talks with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. Chambliss,R-Georgia, told reporters afterward that "there's not a whole lot of update to give."
"This is a very fluid investigation. The FBI's in the lead, and I personally know the special agent in charge. He's one of the best," Chambliss said.
Late Monday, authorities searched the apartment of a young Saudi man who was among the wounded at the race. He was found to have no connection to the attack.
"He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time," the U.S. official said.
A Saudi woman, a medical student who was also injured in the blast, has also been interviewed by investigators, according to a law enforcement source.
Boston's 'most complex crime scene' ever
Investigators are combing through shreds of evidence from what Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis called "the most complex crime scene that we've dealt with in the history of our department." The cordoned off area has been reduced from 15 blocks to 12 and will be reduced further in coming days, he said.
Even the smallest bits of debris could help indicate the bombs' "signature," said a federal law enforcement official who works in the intelligence community.
The explosives themselves were small, and initial tests showed no C-4 or other high-grade explosive material -- suggesting the packages used in the attack were crude devices, a federal law enforcement official in the intelligence community said.
Based on the bombs' effects, the devices could have been small enough to be concealed in small bags or boxes, a law enforcement official said. The smoke was consistent with a "low-velocity improvised explosive mixture, perhaps flash powder or sugar chlorate mixture," the official said.
"We will go to the ends of the Earth to identify the subject or subjects who are responsible for this despicable