Friday, 8 March 2013

More science!

Full-Body Dyeing of Makie Subjects: Lab Experience
North England and Wales Technology (NEWT) Collaboration Team

Professor Plink, Dr Melchett, Dr Duckie: Welsh Institute of Makie Technology, South Wales, UK
Dr Millie, Mr Ted, Dr Fil: High Energy Makie Magic Working Group, Stockport, UK

Makie Subject C was subjected to a timed dyeing process utilising a novel process and specialist nylon dyes with the aim of producing a uniformly coloured Makie of a deep brown hue. 
This first paper from the NEWT collaboration details dyeing method, suggested timings, equipment and  finishing techniques.

The quest to colour Makies is well documented in the Makie Forums. Traditional techniques used so far have included the use of organic dyes, such as tea, coffee and beetroot, and the more common synthetic dyes designed for textile use, such as Rit and Dylon. The advent of MakieLab's own coloured Makies (available in a range of hues from Strawberry Milk to the quite frankly terrifying Pistachio) has produced a drive to achieve reproducible results with minimal effort and ease of use. 

The North England group's discovery of a product specifically designed for use with nylon led to some promising preliminary work on spare Makie Bits; it was decided that the first dunk of a real Makie would be a collaborative effort between the HEMM working group and the WIMT, thus creating the NEWT collaboration team. 

Subject C (MakieLab, UK) was initially dismantled by the team, then agitated in a warm bubbly bath to remove fingerprint oil residue and to provide the subject with a relaxing experience prior to being boiled. 
The NEWT team and Subject C

Subject C dismantled. 

Nice warm bubbly bath!
Jaquard iDye Poly (Jacquard, USA) was prepared according to the manufacturer's instructions in a stainless steel saucepan.
Hubble Bubble
 Subject C was added to the dye bath in batches of a few pieces. The pieces were constantly agitated during their exposure time. Although a variety of total times were used, all pieces were removed for inspection at 1 minute 30 seconds. If pieces were deemed too pale, they were re-inserted into the dye and inspected every 30 seconds until colour was satisfactory. Heating via the gas ring was manipulated with the aim of keeping a constant temperature of around 60-80 degrees. 

The cage was used to keep small pieces together. 

Inspecting the head

Finished bits
Pieces were dried using an domestic hairdryer to facilitate impatient scientists who couldn't wait for inspection and reassembly.

Dr Ted getting a little over-excited with the hairdryer. 


Subject C, post dye bath.
Lovely, isn't she? 
The NEWT collaboration have demonstrated that home dyeing of Makies on a small scale using the iDye Poly can produce an even coverage of deep colour. 

That said, there are a few cautions which must be observed: 
  1. Makie pieces float. Constant agitation is required. 
  2. It is easy to 'lose' bits in the dye. The use of the cage in this experiment allowed for batch dyeing of small parts with no risk of needing to go fishing for them. It is hypothesised that an old net bag, such as that provided with washing powder tablets, would fulfil a similar role. 
  3. Much of Subject C was printed using the older MakieLab specifications which have, we think, changed recently to a thinner print layer. Her legs were printed using the new method and took 60 seconds longer. We therefore would recommend inspection at 1 minute 30 seconds and then every 30 additional seconds until depth of colour is uniform across all bits. 
  4. It is essential to keep the dye at a constant temperature. Ours cooled too much at one point and unsightly specks formed. Re-heating the dye got rid of the specks. 

Regardless of the above, we feel that the results are completely stunning and can't wait to begin work on a purple elf Makie. Or a grey zombie Makie. Or a blue Avatar Makie. Or... or... or... 

Dr Ted believes in safety first.

No comments:

Post a Comment