Retroreflective Materials Test

Earlier this week we received a couple of samples of various retroreflective materials for use on our letters for CAFKA.

One material, the one on the roll, is a vinyl (3M Scotchlite Reflective White Vinyl), perhaps most famously used in the Bright Bike project, while the other is an industrial substrate (3M Engineer Grade White Prismatic Sheeting) used on municipal road safety signs.

I’ve been doing a variety of tests with a flash, the one above ¬†where it appears that the Scotchlite vinyl is brighter was taken with my DSLR with the body flash, but the lens I have on there blocks the flash in the lower part of the frame. Tests with photos from my iPhone seem to favour the Prismatic Sheeting.

We’re still examining the costs of each and we still need to do some more rigourous tests, but it’s amazingly helpful to be able to see these side by side (thanks Sarah!) The vinyl has an estimated 7-year service life, the prismatic sheeting is about 10-years. Not sure on the cost difference yet.

Thursday is catch-up night, so there should be lots to talk about. I know Hiba and Karlyn were working on a budget and I think a whole bunch of the crew met up on Monday to do some work. We’ll have to plan some really well-thought-out tests for these materials, in the outdoors, etc., to see how they fare in the weather. I put up a spec-sheet for both materials to our Dropbox. Anxious to figure out the best plan forward!

Fusing bags

bags2

Justin has some process shots, and those will probably be posted at some point, but I figured I’d go ahead and share the product of five or so hours of ironing inside-out plastic grocery bags. So far, I’ve made some envelopes, a box, and some random swatches to see if leftover scaps can be fused into a solid sheet (they can). Eight layers (four bags or one bag folded on itself twice) yields a stupidly strong, Tyvek-like material that can be fused to itself (that is, you can fuse seams to make envelopes or pouches or fuse multiple, smaller sheets together to make a piece of material any size). Uhm. And you can also weave strips together and fuse that (top left), but that doesn’t really have much in the way of practical applications.

And there’s these guys:

bags1

Each pouch is made from a single bag, and the one on the left is actually compostable (if any of you are Bulk Barn shoppers, you should hang onto those). I do ever so wonder what we’ll do with biodegradable plastic (read: mold-proof) pouches with rare earth magnets embedded in the back…

Flagging Tape

flagging tape from Canadian Tire

300′ of bright orange flagging tape, $5.97 + tax. It’s fairly thin, but should be really easy to work with. We might have to double it up to make it visible on the fence, that is, double the width of each letter. We should test at Lebel later this week, or maybe on Monday before we go out for a site visit and measurements.