Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hi all,

I just joined the forum.  Wanted to let people know that I am working on a color changing lava lamp.  Mine will be called the Fire Light.  I'm hoping to get it on kickstarter soon.  I have a working prototype running now.  I'm also building custom, heavy duty steel bases for them.  I'm in the process of finding parts suppliers and getting costs for the parts.  Just wanted to see if there was any interest in this.  I am working now on getting 3 or 4 different prototype designs of bases built so that I can put together a video for kickstarter.  I'll get some pictures posted soon.  I am having a problem with my phone camera not capturing the colors very well.  I'm not sure how I'll deal with that when I try to make a video.

 

jb

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Thanks ya'll.  I am corresponding with several bottle makers right now.  I will make sure they are very clear with no bubbles/inclusions.

 

jb

Good luck! As someone who has backed several Kickstarters and also documented a lot of Lava Lite's quality issues, I have some advice after seeing so many of the new lava lamps end up being returned or junked:

* Gunk in the coil/lava. If you're using a metal coil at the bottom of the globe, make sure it's something that can't get corroded. Almost every lava lamp I've bought in the past three years from Lava Lite (new) has crap in the wax/coil.
* Like others said, the glass quality should be good. 
* A lot of the lamps I've bought in the last 2-3 years have an issue where the wax sticks around the bottom of the globe. I'd say over 80% of them have this problem. I also had issues with Magma Tower wax back in the day - things like sticking and fuzzies forming in the liquid. I haven't used them in years, but I know quality is hit and miss with them. Do a search here on the forum for Magma Tower and GooKits and you'll see some of the problems some users have had. 

* Re: Kickstarter. I've backed several Kickstarter projects that have had production and shipping issues. I'm currently a backer of the Luma Lamp which is now 15 MONTHS past it's original ship date. Be aware that if you're working with Chinese factories, there will be quality issues, delays and communication issues. 

I wish you the best of luck, I really do! 

Hey Erin,

Thanks for the insight.  I definitely have a lot to learn.  I have used stainless steel spring for the coil in the past.  I haven't had any problem with that, so I thought I'd go with that. 

As far as the bottle source, I'm trying to get info from at least four different companies right now.  I sent them a drawing today of a semi-final design.  I mentioned to all of them that I want clear, bubble/inclusion free glass.  They do take their merry old time getting back with potential customers.  One place said they want $200,000 (that's two hundred thousand dollars) just for the mold, and a minimum order of 1.5 million bottles.  I didn't write back and say what I wanted to say to them. 

Wax:  I've spoken with Richard at Magma Tower, and I may be working with him and including his small Goo Kit with the Fire Light.  I have been using the Goo Kit in several lamps I've made out of bottles or revamped lava lites.  The Goo Kit seems to work fine for me, other than after a while you do start to see some bubbles appear in the wax.  I don't have another source for wax at the moment.  I can tell you that when I do make or revamp a lamp, I am very thorough in meticulously cleaning the inside of the bottle and the spring.  I haven't had the wax stick to the globe.  It flows ok.  I think the surfactant is probably important for that issue.

I've been wondering if I should send the lamp out to customers without putting the wax and water in the bottle and letting them follow the instructions from Magma Tower themselves, or if I should put it in myself.  I think a lot of people will want the lamp ready to plug and play out of the box, so I might put it in myself.  Or maybe I can offer both options.

I appreciate the helpful advice and suggestions!

jb

One thing to keep in mind when looking for bottles is that regular glass may crack when subjected to the temperature differentials in a lava lamp. You might need to use a glass with lower thermal expansion (like Pyrex) or risk the bottles cracking..

True, true.

Alfred said:

One thing to keep in mind when looking for bottles is that regular glass may crack when subjected to the temperature differentials in a lava lamp. You might need to use a glass with lower thermal expansion (like Pyrex) or risk the bottles cracking..

Jeremy. ....it is called borosilicate glass. Or aka the trademarked name "pyrex" you would not want to request "pyrex" ask for borosilicate in your quote requests.

Ok.  I'll find out about that.

Critter said:

Jeremy. ....it is called borosilicate glass. Or aka the trademarked name "pyrex" you would not want to request "pyrex" ask for borosilicate in your quote requests.

Oh wow.  I ran into a problem today.  So I had my basic prototype running no problem.  Today I was working on getting a few initial base bodies put together with my cnc cut legs and all that.  In the meantime, I decided to change out the wax in my one that was running because it had some bubbles in it.  The Magma Tower instructions say that too much surfactant can affect the integrity of the wax, so I wanted to try it with about half the amount the instructions say.  I re-did my lava lamp bottle, and I did another generic wine bottle.  When I got them heated up and running, the wax was completely clear like glass. 

How this thing works is that there is a heater element instead of a light bulb, and an RGB LED is shining up through the middle of the heater element.  Obviously for that to work, I need white/colorless wax.  It was fine before because the wax was translucent, making a perfect diffuser, catching the light from the LED.  Now it looks like crap because the wax is so clear, it just looks like you're shining a light through a window.

I'll attach some pictures of the bottle running as it was before.

The wax can start off clear when new but it will turn opaque / translucent after a few runs.

I let it cool down and am running it again.  Hopefully it goes back to translucent.

awesome design

I love the steam punk/art deco look of the legs

I see the sense/need of using a heating element

and the good part is: you can control the temperature more accurately than a light bulb

Another ave. you might want to consider is a base line of your design that people already with the various lava lamps could buy to retro fit theirs and change the feel and presentation of the owners lamp.Sorta like different bases w/ legs akin to "changing its clothes"I would love to buy a readymade base that would fit my old 60s lamp and give it a more ornate or a more mod feel. Wouldn't have to go into having bottles made or contents mixed for this project and you could concentrate on your great designs and mad metal skillz!

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