Friday, 15 February 2008

A question of scale...........

1/12th scale is a godsend to the mathematically challenged.

What could be simpler than 1 inch = 1 foot?

Even a mathematical doofus like me can work out that a table which measures 6 feet in 'real life' should measure 6 inches in the dollshouse world.

Even 1/24th (or half inch scale as our transatlantic cousins call it) isn't beyond my numerical capacity. That 6 foot table would be 3 inches in 1/24th.

Things get a bit more hit and miss as we move down to 1/48th, 1/144th and the exceptionally scary 1/900th, which I would imagine even Stephen Hawking having a hard time with.

I tend to stay in the realms of 1/12th and 1/24th, with only occasional forays into 1/144th. To protect my sanity (what remains of it) I have invested in a little scale ruler, which is invaluable for those tricky measurements, like something and 3/16ths, or something and 17/32ths.

You still with me?

So, today I had to downsize a pattern which was designed to fit a 4 1/2" child, and scale it down to fit a 1 3/4" child.

Now I don't want to receive a barrage of emails telling me how to do it, or what the answer is.

Nobody likes a smart ass.

Especially not now I've spent a large proportion of the day alternately scratching my head, actively searching for the displacement goblins (where are they when you need them?) and trying to do complicated sums involving division of fractions.

At one point (am I am genuinely ashamed to admit this) I actually Googled:

"how to scale down 4 1/2" to 1 3/4"

closely followed by an almost infinite number of variations on an increasingly desperate theme.
If you've been using Google today and have wondered why it was running at a glacial speed (ie very, very slow........) then that's probably down to me. The giant cyberbrain that is Google has been doing very complicated calculations of Einsteinian proportions, so no wonder that it hasn't had time to respond to requests for information on 'normal' stuff.

Eventually I gave up on Google. Shortly after it produced this enigmatic result.

As I said before, I'm no mathematician, but even I know that's not the right answer.

So I finally tried some lateral thinking. Using a scaled down pattern which I knew was correct, and by a long and laborious process of trial and error I repeatedly scanned and rescanned the original until I had a perfect fit.

It all took ages, crashed the computer twice, plus the scanner mechanism overheated and switched itself off to sulk and cool down. However, I did finally manage to solve the problem. I have no idea how to do it again , and I am far too exhausted and demoralised to do anything useful with it, but for the moment the answer is 45%.

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