Thursday, February 17, 2011

Industrial supply/source metrics

While we are looking for a supply of 0.2-0.3mm (0.010") or thereabouts black, waterproof plastic, stiff and highly opaque.  Vinyl, acetate, HDPE, polycarbonate, PEEK, etc. Also, we need to find a similarly sized paper or fiber product, and that got me thinking:

You have to wonder about the metric system in photography. The earliest days of Daguerre and Fox Talbot were full, half and quarters - fractions of plates. The 4x5 and 8x10, 20X24 and more are all English. 35mm is obviously metric. (is it, really? You might be surprised) 6x6 and 2/14x21/4 coexist peacefully, if inexactly. When we say 6X7 we know that means cm and when we say 4x5 we know that means inches.

The inch, foot and mile are based on human scale. The Who "I can see for miles", Shakespeare's "pound of flesh" and the runflat tires on all new BMWs and Mercedes are permanently and immovably entrenched in the so-called Imperial system, which many loathe. Photography the art is cultural. Photography the science is industrial and technical. Our little corner of the art is perhaps even a bit historical, having an affinity with the past, being analog, and we might even say human scaled, as we are apparently not digital (base 2) beings. One could extend the analogy to the metric system, with its rigors of base ten, convenient, yes, but then consider: Does it apply itself as well to us, and what draws us to the analog in art, and in music?

9 comments:

Eric Smith said...

You might want to try McMaster Carr. They seem to have an incredible supply of materials. They have excellent customer service and fast shipping. I highly recommend. Their website is very slick.
www.mcmaster.com

Bob Crowley said...

Hi Eric. We get UPS delivery (and invoices) from McMaster very frequently. If they had it, we'd buy it. You are right: One thing about McMaster is their ability to take an order at 3pm and have it in our lab by 9am the next day - but at a price, of course.

Keep looking!

Eric Smith said...

Rats! That's always my go to place for photo lab stuff. :) I have bought many amber bottles to use for mixing chemicals. I love it because I can do local pick-up! I'll contact my brother who is a mechanical engineer and has access to a large selection of suppliers.

PrePress Express said...

Hi Bob,
This might be to thick but i bought a roll of black poly sheeting from US Plastics.
Its opaque, not even a powerful flashlight will make it through!
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=80733&catid=748
I bought the 6 mil which works extremely well. I made a giant dark bag for my LVT film recorder and blocked out all of the windows in the shop.
I can send you a few feet if you want to experiment with it.

Good luck,
Ian

Bob Crowley said...

That's actually thin enough but is it stiff? Also we have found the black polyethylene to show light when we fired our strobe through it. This has been the way we test for light transmission.

We might end up laminating something like this to stiff plastic sheets. Thanks for the link!

PrePress Express said...

Hi Bob,
I think its a middle ground, not to stiff not to hard.
I can send over a few feet if youre interested. I have a lot left over.

Good luck!
Ian

Bob Crowley said...

Ian

Thanks! Just a small sample, copy paper size, would tell us a lot! I look forward to seeing it.

Bob

PrePress Express said...

Hi Bob,
No problem, where should i send it to?
Best,
Ian

Bob Crowley said...

New55
72 Nickerson Rd
Ashland MA 01721 USA

Thanks!