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3" - 6" bubbles blown with a PVC blower (1.5" pipe) and a 40:1 Dawn Pro solutions.

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Stream of bubbles made with 20:1 solution using PVC blower


About a year or so ago, I performed a series of video shoots documenting the colors typical of different dilutions of water and Dawn Pro. In order to make sure that the videos were documenting differences in the solution and not differences in lighting or weather or equipment, all videos were shot in the same location at the same time of day with the same lighting. I shot every juice on multiple occasions and examined the videos and found that the profiles were highly consistent. One could easily identify the solution from the pictures. These were all done with tri-string wands and the profiles were quite consistent across loops sizes as long as the loop material had reasonable capacity.

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Preliminary color study showing Dawn Pro solutions at 20:1 with different pH


Unfortunately, these profile videos require certain conditions (heavily overcast sky with minimal breeze and 80% or better humidity) that only occur with any regularity a few months per year. And they need to be done early in the morning. Weather interrupted the project for a number of months and then work and life prevented me from getting back to the project when suitable conditions recurred eight months later.

When I finally found myself with some time to get back to work on the project, the conditions were not suitable. I also had a large number of requests for consultations from folks in other countries having trouble getting their juice to work. One of the things that I needed to know was how their detergent compared to Dawn Pro. How much detergent did they need in their mixes to create a bubble film similar to Dawn Pro at 20:1 or 16:1?

I was also wanting to explore some other surfactant sources and needed to know how much was needed get similar soap films thicknesses as I get with Dawn.

The best way to do that is to mix up juice at a few dilutions and compare the color profiles of the resulting bubbles to the profiles of Dawn Pro (currently by looking at the pictures on Dawn_Pro_Dilution_Evaluation -- which are first-generation color profile studies that will be replaced by the not-yet-finished studies).

The problem that I ran into was that most of these folks were sending me pictures in which the bubble colors were virtually impossible to see. (See Evaluating_Bubble_Color). I am pretty lucky in that my neighbor's front yard (which you see in most of my outdoor pictures) is a perfect backdrop for seeing the colors of bubbles on a cloudy day. But, I needed a solution that these people could implement easily at minimal expense without needing to be in front of my neighbor's house.

So, in April, I began trying to come up with reliable methods for documenting color profiles indoors. Every room in my house became invaded at various times of the day with bubble equipment, various light fixtures, and my iPhone 4s on a tripod.

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40:1 Dawn Pro solution on the Longevity Setup

As I worked on things, I was reminded that the Longevity Test setup might be useful, too.

As I reviewed video of these tests, I noticed that while the color profiles changed predictability with dilution (or surfactant strength) with any single piece of equipment, there were more variations in profile than I expected between different bubble equipment -- and sometimes with the same equipment used in different ways. For example, if I blew into a 6" rigid hoop to make bubbles, I got a different profile (bubble film thickness) than when I created bubbles by sweeping from low to high. The bubbles made with the latter method had noticeably thicker films.

I needed to come up with some equipment that was easy to make with materials easy to find the world around. And I needed to test them and see that they delivered consistent results. If I could find equipment that yielded the same or very similar profiles to what I get with my big bubble rigs outside so much the better.

I have been at it for a while, and I hope that I am closing in on something reliable and workable for others.

Here are a few of the tools that I am currently focusing on. Even if they end up not being the tools I'll use, they are still pretty handy. They are easy to make and use. They are much more friendly for little kids than the typical dime store wands which actually require some careful aim and practice to make work.

There'll be an actual how-to at some point, but you can probably figure out how to make these even without it.

Zip Tie (Cable Tie) Hoops

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Hoops with various treatments (to see if they make a difference in bubble capacity). Made from 14" cable ties.

The hoops are made from zip ties glued into a hoop shape (I have used both hot-melt glue and epoxy -- the hot-melt glue is my preference) then bonded with a chopstick (I have used both epoxy putty and hot-melt glue -- hot-melt glue is my preference because the hoops are ready to use in just a few minutes).
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Vertical dipping tray made from foam core, packing tape, a ziploc bag, and some square dowel (used as spacers between the sides)

I use vertical bubble juice containers but you could re-design the handle slightly to work with a standard dipping tray).

PVC and Twine Blowers

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The blowers are simply plastic PVC pipe with some cotton twine glued to the rim. ( I use hot-melt glue.) When you use them, hold them a few inches from your mouth and blow gently, aiming for the center.
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1.5" PVC blower

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