Public Lab is an open community which collaboratively develops accessible, open source, Do-It-Yourself technologies for investigating local environmental health and justice issues.
Papercraft Spectrometer Intro Kit
After a few years, we're returning to one of our oldest kits to update and improve it, building on lots of community-contributed ideas, improvements, and refinements. This page collects resources, questions and activities related to the design.
**Already assembled your Papercraft Spectrometer? Visit [SpectralWorkbench.org](SpectralWorkbench.org) to get started on recording and analyzing spectra.**
## Quick start
To get started assembling your spectrometer, try:
Assemble your spectrometer or Get a kit
The first link also includes the design files for printing.
This introductory kit has been co-designed by [hundreds of contributors](/contributors/spectrometry) as an entry point to Public Lab's [collection of Do-It-Yourself spectrometry projects](/wiki/spectrometry). Read about more on that page about what spectrometry is for, what we can do, and what its limitations are.
## Design goals
Our goals were:
- more rigid/robust
- printable on non-black paper
- easier to cut out with just scissors
- put more of the instructions on the object itself, [like on the Antikythera Mechanism](https://publiclab.org/notes/warren/05-04-2016/tweaks-to-foldable-mini-spectrometer-design)
Keep in mind -- this is the "introductory" design intended to onboard newcomers to the project, so we're trying to make it as easy as possible to build. Once you've made this, you're ready to move on to more complex projects, like [scanning, sample preparation, and more robust designs](/wiki/spectrometry).
We haven't gotten all the way there on every goal -- we'd hoped to [make a version that required no glue](https://www.instagram.com/p/BTg-ixkguxq/) -- just locking tabs -- but we just couldn't keep it small enough to be printed on a folded-in-half letter sheet. See [this note](https://publiclab.org/notes/warren/05-04-2016/tweaks-to-foldable-mini-spectrometer-design), [this](https://publiclab.org/notes/warren/07-06-2017/scissors-only-build-of-wider-papercraft-spectrometer), and [some of these photos](https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/papercraftspec/) for my process of integrating all these changes, and see [this page](https://publiclab.org/contributors/spectrometry) for some of the many many people who've contributed. See the [previous version of this kit here](/foldable-spec).
This section is for questions about the **Papercraft and Foldable Spectrometry Kits**, specifically.
For questions about spectrometry in general, [see this FAQ](/wiki/spectrometry#Frequently+Asked+Questions).
## 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.
Once you've gotten a solid footing with some of the above activities, try tackling one of these unsolved challenges to advance our collaborative work:
Have you added to your starter kit, improved it, redesigned it, or solved one of the above challenges? Show others how to take it to the next level by posting a build guide here:
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._
## Limitations and next steps
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 highly 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](https://publiclab.org/wiki/desktop-spectrometry-kit-3-0).
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 less by the narrowness of the slit -- but measurements should be possible at better than 3 nanometers per pixel.