Foldable Spectrometry Starter Kit

New to [spectrometry](/wiki/spectrometry)? On a budget? Looking for something to introduce a group to spectrometry? You might like to try the **Papercraft Spectrometry Starter Kit**, a simple foldable paper spectrometer which you can attach to a smartphone or webcam. It’s made of paper to reduce cost and complexity, and is mainly intended as a low cost “introductory” or educational kit. ## Get a kit now You can use the PDF in the assembly instructions below or get a kit from the Public Lab store: Get a kit > **Update:** There's an updated version of this design available at [Papercraft Spectrometry Kit](/wiki/paper-spec) **** ## Purpose The resolution and stability (ability to hold a [wavelength calibration](/wiki/spectral-workbench-calibration)) of the spectrometer depend on how carefully you construct and store it. This kit is designed to be easy to assemble, and is not focused on precision or consistent measurements; it’s made of paper, and will crush if you put it in your pocket -- but it can be made out of easy-to-find materials and assembled in ~15 minutes. For a more rigid, robust device intended for more advanced work, check out the [Desktop Spectrometry Starter Kit]( To improve it, see the related [upgrades](#Upgrades) and feel free to post your own improvements there. Most digital cameras can record light in the visible range, ~400-700 nanometers, so this determines the range of your device. The resolution is mainly limited by the resolution of the camera (and its focus!) and by the narrowness of the slit -- but measurements should be possible at better than 3 nanometers per pixel. See [limitations and goals](#Limitations+and+Goals) for more. ## Activities [activities:foldable-spec] **** ## Get involved in the next revision Have you made improvements to the kit? Share them as [an upgrade](#Upgrades) and we may get in touch to integrate your changes into the kit itself. ### Upgrades Have you added to your starter kit, improved it, or redesigned it? Show others how to take it to the next level by posting a build guide here: [upgrades:foldable-spec] Add your upgrade guide here Request or propose an upgrade _Upgrades should include a parts list and a step-by-step construction guide with photo documentation. See an example._ **** ## Frequently Asked Questions This section is for questions about the **Foldable Spectrometer Starter Kit**, specifically. For questions about spectrometry in general, [see this FAQ](/wiki/spectrometry#Frequently+Asked+Questions). Ask a question about the foldable spectrometer [notes:question:foldable-spec] **** ## Plans, materials, and what it takes to make one: ### Instructions See [this activity](/notes/abdul/10-19-2016/foldable-paper-spectrometer-instructions) for how to assemble your kit. **** ## Limitations and Goals This starter kit is a great way to begin learning about spectroscopy by building a simple one, but is not meant for quantitative research. Once you’ve mastered it, you can improve it with some of the [hardware mods](/wiki/spectrometry#Hardware+Mods) listed here, or to take it to the next level, see the [Desktop Spectrometry Starter Kit](/wiki/desktop-spectrometry-kit-3-0) for a more robust platform to build on. Though it is specifically designed to be an “introductory” kit, there are a number of goals to work towards, and limitations which you can help to overcome in the current design. Intro-level kits play an important role in helping people build the skills they need to join in the project and improve these methods -- in building a large collaborative community around this project. **** ### Help improve it Again, this is a collaboratively designed kit -- help make it better! Some of the goals and challenges we’re still working on with this kit include: * the alignment between the foldable spectrometer and a smartphone or webcam is hard to keep consistent with soft materials like paper * assembly relies on careful gluing or taping -- could we make a glue-less tab-based version that’s still light tight? * the film-printed slit in the starter kit is really nice, but can be hard for someone to make on their own -- some tips on making your own slits would be helpful * a [wider spectrometer](/notes/warren/05-04-2016/tweaks-to-foldable-mini-spectrometer-design) would make a wider spectrum, which would be easier to capture a picture of * comparing spectra with different light sources, or between different devices, is not well explored ...

Author Comment Last activity Moderation
warren "Hi! There are a few posts exploring this question here: ..." | Read more » about 6 years ago
warren "Great suggestion! " | Read more » about 6 years ago
warren "Good suggestion! And if you could file a bug about the vertical checkbox, we should be able to fix that -- thanks!!" | Read more » over 6 years ago
rmaltzman "I didn't but I wish I had. I would suggest creating a template for an 'inner sleeve' or something of that sort which could be made with dark paper..." | Read more » over 6 years ago
warren "That's so great! Did you darken the interior or use thicker paper? Any suggestions on improving the instructions? " | Read more » over 6 years ago
warren "It would also be really cool to see a design adapted for the Lego Spectrometer! " | Read more » over 6 years ago
warren "Related: How can we detect contaminants in water samples with a DIY spectrometer using reagents?" | Read more » over 6 years ago
warren "OK, my next thought on this would be to scan 2 at once instead of 3, so that at least any non-evenness would be symmetric horizontally. But I'm not..." | Read more » over 6 years ago
warren "We had an old idea for this a ways back -- posted below. But yours connects so beautifully to the spectrometer, it's a great improvement! " | Read more » over 6 years ago
warren "This can be a helpful way to get the same exposure for two samples at once, which can be important when using a less-controlled camera like a webca..." | Read more » over 6 years ago
warren "Here's one attempt from a few years ago: This was designed for a laser, but c..." | Read more » over 6 years ago
programmer1200 "Yes it is possible to redesign it for two cuvette at one time would just need to widen the area toward the spectrometer and double the area on the ..." | Read more » over 6 years ago
warren "Hi, @programmer1200 -- saw your post on a cuvette holder and wondered if it would be possible to use it for two cuvettes simultaneously? Perhaps by..." | Read more » over 6 years ago
programmer1200 "Hi Warren I'm also working on a beers law based machine for testing one cuvette at a time and measuring the amount of light penetrating through the..." | Read more » over 6 years ago
zengirl2 "Yes, this seems to be an easy solution :) " | Read more » over 6 years ago
warren "I think the light is not evenly distributed, and in the scan I took, there's just more light in the middle. I'd like to correct for this but it's e..." | Read more » over 6 years ago
warren "Posted some refinements! Making it much easier to..." | Read more » over 6 years ago
warren "The Raspberry Pi mod would be very cool, especially as it presents opportunities to do un-corrected images (re: chris's above comments); several fo..." | Read more » about 7 years ago
cfastie "Hi Nicholas, That sounds like it was an exciting hour. If a live video connection to Spectral Workbench is an obstacle, it is always possible to ..." | Read more » about 7 years ago