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AKA: Ray Box

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Fig 1: Simple steel raybox
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Metal or plastic housing containing a lamp which creates beams of light when combined with combs or slits allowing pupils to study properties of light.


Rayboxes are usually low voltage devices containing a 12 volt lamp. They are connected to a labpack so that the correct brightness can be achieved.

Combs or slits as they are known are placed in the beam creating either a single beam or multiple beams of light. Prisms, lenses, glass/plastic blocks or mirrors are often used in conjunction to produce spectrums and to demonstrate refraction, reflection and dispersion of light. To see these beams accurately, screens are sometimes used. These can be bought from lab suppliers or made in the preproom from two small squares of card or plywood painted white.

Rayboxes come in many shapes and designs depending upon manufacturer. Some have multiple orifices allowing up to four separate rays to be created, some have lens attachments or various sized combs allowing narrower or wider beams

It is useful to know the types of lenses that teachers may ask for in conjunction with this equipment, for details see our Info Library.

Replacement slits and combs can be purchased or easily constructed from sturdy pieces of card or heatproof plastic. When making replacements, be aware that rayboxes often get very hot during use and so plastic slits may melt.


 CautionThe contents of this page are for information only. Please refer to CLEAPSS or ASE safety advice and/or publications before undertaking any preparation, practical experiment or using any equipment featured on this site or any other.