Physics Club + Making Paper

making paper in the blender

It’s been a busy last week, getting back from Victoria, and launching the Text In-Transit Call For Submissions, but we still had time to meet for our weekly Office Hours and continue working with the Massey Physics Club. Our adventures in paper making for an upcoming planters project we have in mind, and in learning more high school physics and math are after the jump.

physics club, brainstorming on the chalkboard

Danielle and I went over to Massey to meet with the Physics Club again to continue working towards a plan for our Message to Detroit project. The students had done the calculations since last week and found that the letters for the sign would have to be approximately 15′ high, which at the length of the line we were thinking about, would either end up being way too long, or would have to be 30′ high to accommodate both lines of the text.

leaning towards projection

We made a lot of lists, trying to narrow down what’s actually possible in thinking through the project. It seemed like there was a consensus towards working with projection instead of building a physical sign.

trying to figure out how we might make a projected image bigger

So, in trying to think about how to get a projection large enough without having to position a projector in a precarious position (like in the Detroit River), the students started experimenting with mirrors. The point where the light seems to cross over is the point at which the image changes from being right-side up, to upside-down. This mirror was concave, though to get the image larger, we would have to use a concave mirror.

doing some crazy math

The students were doing some crazy math to figure out where and how the mirror might need to be positioned.

a list of possibilities

The list of potential solutions to getting the text large enough to be legible from Detroit. We’re meeting again this coming week to try to finalize the solutions and begin to do a rough budget for renting a projector.

ripped up paper

Tuesday night at Office Hours, we set about learning how to make paper from the many, many piles of newspapers we have, to create planters. The first step is to tear up a bunch of paper—it has to be torn, you can’t cut it, as the fibers need to be encouraged to break apart.

adding water to the blender

Filling up a blender with water. I’m not quite sure what the ratio should be, but probably something around 1 part paper for 4 parts water, if that makes sense. Basically, fill up the bottom quarter of the blender with paper, then the rest with water.

getting ready for blending

Make sure you seal the lid.

blending in progress

Then start the blender. Immony tried to put it on full blast at first.

getting better at blending

But Steven recommended we use the pulse setting, so as to prevent the blender from destroying itself.

our first try at a container to make the paper in

We didn’t have a screen, which is usually required for making paper, so instead Steven found some gauze, which we placed into a metal frame we had made last week. 

working with gauze

It seemed to work, but because it was a container into which we were pouring the pulp, it was collecting at the bottom more than lining the sides.

making some more paper pulp

Steven and Immony hold down the blender as we make some more pulp.

the gauze wasn't really working

Immony trying to work with the paper pulp, the gauze, and the frame.

Steven suggesting the use of a scrub pad

Steven then suggested trying to use this scrub pad, in place of a screen.

the process of draining water from paper

It worked well, and the process of draining water from the pulp was pretty easy, pressing it between other newspapers.

squeezing water

Immony draining the water from the pulp on the scrub pad.

the first piece of new paper

Our first piece of new paper!

Josh working with the first bit of new paper

Josh started working with the new paper, we were trying to figure out how to shape it into something that could fit into a planter frame.

Danielle starts blending some more

Danielle starts making another batch of paper.

meanwhile, Cristina goes through photos from Rewriting Windsor

Meanwhile, Cristina was going through the photos from last week’s Rewriting Windsor event, there are a ton of great shots on her flickr page.

paper wrapped around a spray paint can lid

Then Steven brought in some spray paint can lids to wrap our new paper around.

some paper wrapped around a spray paint can lid

This process worked! Although I don’t have any photos since they’ve dried, they turned out really well, strong and they maintained their shape perfectly. We’ll continue working on this project in the coming weeks, hopefully more to report soon!

3 Replies to “Physics Club + Making Paper”

  1. I think this is such a great idea guys!! How innovative and proactive. It’s interesting how much more powerful we can be as a TEAM of minds and hands.
    Keep it up – can’t wait to see what happens next!


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