Most of today's architectural and engineering offices average 3,500 square feet per month of printing output. Most of these offices use blueprints for countless everyday projects and designs. And while it's typically best to buy your blueprints paper from a reputable supplier, it's possible to create it yourself using a fascinating chemical process. Here's a quick rundown of the DIY blueprint creation process.
For this project, you'll need 15 mL of 10% potassium hexacyanoferrate(III) (potassium ferricyanide) and 15 mL of 10% iron(III) ammonium citrate solution. You'll also need a petri dish, tongs, white paper, and a small, opaque object such as a key or a coin.
This process must be completed in the dark or in a very dim room. Start by combining the potassium ferricyanide and the iron(III) ammonium citrate solutions in the petri dish. Stir slightly to mix, then drag a sheet of paper across the top of the dish with the tongs to cover it. Let it dry completely, in the dark, coated side up. It's important to make sure it doesn't get exposed to light.
When the image is ready to be captured, overlay the ink drawing on tracing paper or clear plastic, or use an opaque object before exposing the blueprint paper to direct sunlight. Let the paper develop in the sunlight for around 20 minutes, cover the paper again, and return to the darkroom to rinse the paper thoroughly and complete the process. Rinsing is an integral component of the process, and skipping this step could ruin the image.
"Thoroughly rinse the blueprint paper under cold running water. It's fine to have the lights on. If you do not rinse away any unreacted chemicals, the paper will darken over time and ruin the image. However, if all the excess chemicals are rinsed away, you'll be left with a permanent colorfast image of your object or design," writes Anna Marie Helmenstine on ThoughtCo.
The 2016 Survey of Architectural Registration Boards reported that there are 109,748 architects in the United States, and while this is a fascinating DIY project, it's best to buy blueprints and other engineering paper from a reputable supplier to ensure the highest possible quality and performance. For more information about bulk engineering paper, contact Get Paper.