Friday, July 29, 2011

Coming Munzee Material Testing

Munzee BenchThe last several weeks we've been getting into the new Munzee game, especially placing game pieces. These game pieces use QR codes to register a find rather than a physical log book. As such they can be placed in the open, in plain view if you like, and scanned without the player touching the game piece (I even have one behind glass at my office). But those game pieces placed in the open must withstand the elements. We've been playing with a few variations on the materials used to produce the game pieces and have had some mixed success.Munzee Pole My first placement (Troy's First Munzee) was expected to be most reliable -- a thermal laminated sheet printed from a color laser printer. The problem with that method was in attaching it to a surface (without risking damage). After placing a few we've found our favorite to be a flat magnet with the game piece attached to the front. The problem in that method has been two fold -- finding a printable surface which will withstand the weather, and an adhesive which will hold through the exposure. As a Geocacher we have used the Rite in the Rain copier paper for our logs with success so started there. We felt that might not last as well as we'd hoped once the first few were placed so we switched to National Geographic Adventure Paper (we played with it some on caching runs but that product doesn't allow pen or pencil marks easily) as it's a plastics-based product. That seems to be working better but we still haven't had them out long enough to really know. What we really need is full scale testing of multiple materials to tell us the best method.

Munzee Micro Magnet ProductionSince that's not likely to happen on a large enough scale to be definitive, I've decided to enlist the help from a few Google+ contacts to print and test several options myself. I'll be testing prints from six different printers (two different HP inkjet types, an Epson UltraChrome inkjet, two different color lasers, and a monochrome laser) on several stocks:
Those will be finished several ways, including:
I'll be subjecting those specimens to several forms of destructive testing in an attempt to replicate, as best I can from my apartment, the prolonged exposure to the elements. The samples are currently being mailed between those assisting in the production of those test specimens so it will be a few weeks before I'm able to start testing. I'll be using that time to flush out the method of tests and which print surfaces will receive which finishes. Watch me on Google+ as I'll be posting updates to my fellow Munzee players there while testing is underway. Of course as I complete the testing I'll be posting the results to this blog.

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