Researchers of RVP Didática, Lisbon, and the Bath Spa University demonstrated in their publication “low-cost (<€ 5), open-source, potential alternative to commercial spectrophotometers" how 3D printing can offer a cheap alternative to commercial bought spectrophotometers.
Spectrophotometers allow the quantitative measurement of the reflection or transmission properties of a material as a function of wavelength. The fundamental technique is used in many areas of science but usually comes with cost caused by commercially available products. To make spectrophotometry available to more researchers and teachers, the team developed and published an open-source plan for a 3D-printed cuvette holder. The cuvette holder contains an interchangeable narrow–spectral bandwidth LED that can be used in conjunction with a smartphone ambient light sensor to perform spectrophotometry.
They tested the functionality of the self-made spectrophotometer in comparison to commercially available spectrophotometers and also presented a Lego version with an interchangeable LED block.
The plans for the 3D-printed model are freely available on GitHub, in the form of editable files to allow customisation by users.
Pereira, V. R., & Hosker, B. S. (2019). Low-cost (<€ 5), open-source, potential alternative to commercial spectrophotometers. PLoS biology, 17(6). Link: https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3000321