Public Lab Research note

Clips for the next spectrometer

by mathew | August 20, 2014 23:54 20 Aug 23:54 | #11068 | #11068

What I want to do

find and test a clip that works with the bench design @warren and I brainstormed for the next spectrometer design..

My attempt and results

We started with the clips we had-- binder clips--


But binderclips don't grip very well, and they are easy to knock around.

I explored a series of clips from the McMaster catalog, none satisfactory. The tall hole grip clamp with copper on it has these little tongs at the top that open up when the peg is pressed down, but it requires a custom pair of pliers to really work right, the alligator clips are great but suffer the same problem of the binder clips--too easy to bump.


I was most hopeful about these wire buckles. They are just the thing-- cheap, simple-- except they require a pair of pliers to open up. Too bad-- they are exceptionally nice and simple.


At the same time, I also ordered some anodized black aluminum right angle stock as the mount for our components. Checking if it was "infrablack" (black in the infrared) with an Infragram Point & Shoot, I found that it was more of a grey.


So in otherwords, none of the clips looked any good and the easiest right angle material didn't work either. back to the drawing board.

Next steps

I thought back to the binder clips-- maybe we could use them, but instead of grabbing everything together, use them to hold two grippy surfaces together that would hold the mount points in place. Here I'm imagining two rulers with grippy backs holdinig popsicle sticks in place with little mounting blocks on the popsicle sticks. This seems too complicated.


But then me and @warren were on the phone together banging our heads against online catalogs wondering how we were going to find the right clip when Google AdWords asked me "Are you looking for deals on mongraphed money clips?" Why no, Google, I wasn't, until you suggested it!


Money clips look kind of awesome. We're seeing them priced at 0.30-0.80 straight from a factory, and have seen a few black ones. I ordered a bunch on Amazon for too much money to try out.

I'm imagining we mount little blocks on the money clips, then they can be clipped at any angle to the bench. By printing markings on the bench, we invite people to make changes. If the bench has a little "give" to its surface the money clips should stick in place pretty well.


I also ordered some tie clips. and discovered the existence of a thing called the broccoli wad (youtube). To be continued...



@mathew +1 for broccoli wad. amazing.

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What is wrong with paper clips?

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Or pegs?

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paper clips aren't strong enough when stretched over thick rigid materials and pegs are almost ideal, but don't allow fine adjustment of angles.

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