Middle school students at Mill Creek in Kent, Washington, are benefiting from a call their science teacher, Steven Basten, recently made to the Hermanson Company.

“The first metal work company I contacted was Hermanson and the receptionist knew exactly who I should talk to within the organization,” said Basten. That call led to Ryan Leonhardt, Hermanson Specialty Metals foreman, who despite his 18 years of sheet metal work experience had never received a request quite like Basten’s.

Basten was researching the possibility of building a Low-Pressure Sodium Vapor Lamp for his 8th grade science class. He hoped it would help his students’ understanding of wave properties, particularly absorption and emission spectra, as well as the wave properties of diffraction and interference. However, sodium light can cause temporary changes in color perception if stared at for too long, so Basten hoped to engage Leonhardt in the design and fabrication of a metallic light guard. The guard would protect his students’ eyes and also prevent them touching the hot sodium bulb.

Within days of his initial phone call, Basten and Leonhardt met at Hermanson’s nearby fabrication shop and built a high quality, safe and durable casing and fixture to house the sodium lamp. Leonhardt donated his time and some scrap material to complete the project. “This project has been entirely financed out of my own wallet, so Hermanson’s expertise and willingness to participate has been instrumental in bolstering my student’s comprehension of light waves,” said Basten, “It really blew their minds.”

Hermanson’s Specialty Metals group uses stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, Corten, and aluminum to custom design and craft distinctive items for clients, including trophy cases, custom kitchen and lab hoods, hospital door kick-plates, stair rails, signage and fountains. As one science teacher in Kent discovered, if it can be imagined in metal, Hermanson’s Specialty Metals team can build it!

Submit a project and see it published in SNIPS at snipsmag.com/jobsite-photo-submission. This story originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of SNIPS magazine.