Things I have never seen before

Blognosticator Head

Happy New Year from The Blognosticator!

This last week I saw two things I have never seen before, and I thought I would share them with you. And, I have a few other musings to discuss, as you will see.

One was the new Mac Pro computer, on display at the Mac SuperStore in San Luis Obispo. It’s sleek, small, compact, and very impressive looking. I have been thinking about getting one, but would have to wrestle with the problem of offline storage if I did. That means that I would have to buy a large external hard drive enclosure to house my many terabytes of storage. That would cost a lot of money, so I think I will postpone this purchase for a while. Meanwhile I can admire its sleek appearance.


This is the new Mac Pro computer at the Mac SuperStore in San Luis Obispo. Notice the reflection of the Mac Mini in the face of the shiny new machine. I was buying that to replace the Mini that died on Christmas Day. The Mini drives my Epson 9600 printer, and I really (really!) need that these days.

The other thing I had never seen before was an all-electric car actually using one of those parking lot charging stations we see in every modern shopping center. This also occurred at the Mac SuperStore in San Luis Obispo, so I plan to spend more time there in the coming weeks to see more miracles.

Since my first sighting though, I have seen the same all-electric car charging its batteries at the Home Depot across the road from the Mac SuperStore, so perhaps miracles happen in that neighborhood, not just at that store.

Leaf on charger 01

A Nissan Leaf plugged into the public charger station outside the Mac SuperStore in San Luis Obispo. I had never seen one of these chargers used before.

I am printing huge panels of ink-jet material this week to prepare for my panoramic exhibition at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, which opens in just six weeks and two days. I wouldn’t say I am panicking. I’m just feeling the pressure of this important deadline. I have a to-do list that is two feet long, and I am carefully, methodically, taking items off the list as I complete them. The most recent of these was the near-completion of lamination of the huge panoramic print that I made last month. That photo is going to be 59 feet seven inches in length when it is adhered to the was at the Museum. I printed it as 17 ten-foot sections of Epson Photo Glossy paper, each 44 inches wide. This was covered in my previous blogs on that subject.

Doug and Jeff

Jeff and Doug at Spectrum Images in San Luis Obispo. Their Seal laminating machine is supplemented by a fourteen-foot table that makes handling the output easy.

The prints needed to be laminated to prevent damage from the water-based wallpaper paste that will be used to adhere them to the wall. I researched this, then tested it with my wallpaper hanger expert to determine that it will work when the time comes.

The lamination was done by Doug and Jeff at Spectrum Images in San Luis Obispo on their Seal laminator. I provided the prints and the laminate (the thinnest clear laminate I could find on the market). They provided both the machine and their skills in managing 170 linear feet of material going through it. I helped by providing humorous commentary while they worked. I also nit-picked a bit as they toiled.

In the process of laminating the prints, we wrecked one, and we found digital anomalies in two others. The anomalies were digital noise, where pixels were printed where they should not have, or there were streaks of color caused by who-knows-what. So three panels are back on the printer today, New Year’s Day. I will deliver them to Spectrum tomorrow for lamination (without the humorous commentary).

I have also been experimenting with connecting two sheets of foam core together. I can buy foam core in sizes up to 4 x 8 feet in size. Some of my prints, though, require foam core that is much larger. I have two that are 18 feet in length, and three that are 14 feet in length. I thought that it might be possible to glue two sheets together using various glues. I experimented with Elmer’s White Glue, which wasn’t strong enough, and with Gorilla Glue, which is amazingly strong.

Glueing foam core

This shows the results of my gluing experiments with foam core. The top two examples A and B show the Gorilla Glue creating a small dimple on the photo side of the joint, while clear packing tape does not make the dimple. The taped seam appears to be the best solution in my case. The photo mounted to the other side becomes the second structural member of the joint.

I couldn’t get a glue joint without a bump, however. I tried undercutting the foam core on the backside, then applying the glue, and that almost worked, but it still left a visible bump in the front when a photo is mounted across the joint.

In both cases I used standard clear packing tape on the good side, which is the pressure-sensitive adhesive side of the foam core. This tape worked wonderfully to hold the board together. So, I decided (my wife suggested this) to try using the packaging tape by itself on the backside of the foam core, then simply mounting the photo on the sticky side. This turned out to be the solution that works. The result is a barely visible seam where the photo crosses the seam. I am considering making the seam on a bias so that the line is not perpendicular to the foam core edges. This may result in a less visible seam.

These are the minor tribulations of a man preparing for an exhibition at an art museum. I wake up in the night thinking about different methods for attaching foam-core-mounted prints to sheetrock walls, or methods for getting the huge photo panels safely to the museum on the day we set up the show without dinging the foam core (which is surprisingly difficult).


About Brian Lawler

Brian Lawler is an Emeritus Professor of Graphic Communication at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He writes about graphic arts processes and technologies for various industry publications, and on his blog, The Blognosticator.
This entry was posted in Adventures, Art, New technology, Panoramic Photography, Photography, Printing and Printing Processes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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