Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Geek Dog

A friend of mine sent me an interesting request a few weeks ago: could I create a dog collar with the Balmer series on it? My friend, a chemist, had just got a new dog and wanted to deck him out in something geeky. Always up for a nerdy challenge, I considered the best way to install the hydrogen emission spectrum on a small dog collar.

I thought of several options for putting an emission spectrum on a collar, including fabric paint and machine sewing, but eventually settled on using embroidery floss. The floss would make the lines stand out more than simply sewing back and forth over the collar and I won't have to worry about the pup ingesting paint. The hardest part was actually picking colors of floss to match the emission lines!

Part of the reason my friend asked me to do this project was because I'm anal-retentive detail-oriented about spectra being correct. I had to calculate the scale of the collar in nanometers per inch and then where, in inches, this would place each of the lines. It isn't perfect, but it's pretty darn close.

For each line, I used 3 strands of floss and went over the line 1 to 3 times, depending on its relative spectral intensity. Hopefully this embroidery stands up to the exuberance of a puppy.

I'm really happy with how this project turned out and I hope my friend (and his dog) also like it. It was an interesting challenge and a different project from the ones I normally craft.

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