Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hello.  I saw some really old posts about the Mille Luci Glitter Lamp.  Hopefully, there are some people around that still have an interest and can answer a couple of questions.

I picked one up for $10 at a Goodwill and it still works just fine.  However, it's only 1/2 full.  I was wondering if that's how these were actually designed?  Based on the patent documents, I'm guessing it's not.  

The 2 ingredients that make up the liquid are trichloroethylene ((900 gr (brake cleaning fluid)) and dichloroethylene (100 gr).  Obviously, brake cleaning fluid is easy to get and cheap.  But the dichloroethylene seems to be pretty difficult to find and could be very expensive (well beyond the worth of the lamp).  Are there suitable replacements for these liquids?  I would like to refurbish the entire lamp, keeping it as original as possible, but am faced with this liquid issue.  

I appreciate any comments.  Thanks.

Dave

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Hello from across the Pond- nice lamp!

We have fast glitter lamps in the UK too (typically Crestworth "Living Jewel") and they suffer similar evaporation/fluid loss.

It is invariably the solvent - in the UK case it's perchloroethylene, aka "perc" - that evaporates.

It may well be the same for you, so if it's a case of "try it or bin it" might it be worth topping it right up with straight  trichloroethylene?. That's what I'd do anyway, but no guarantees...

Btw, I believe trichloroethylene is also used in perc fills, so they could be more or less the same, but not sure.

I've topped up many Crestworth and other fast glitters in this way, just be very careful of the vapours - the prec solvent is potentially carcinogenic

Thanks, Andy.  I appreciate the thoughts and might give that a try.  Will continue my search for the "D" chem, as well.

Dave

andy ross said:

Hello from across the Pond- nice lamp!

We have fast glitter lamps in the UK too (typically Crestworth "Living Jewel") and they suffer similar evaporation/fluid loss.

It is invariably the solvent - in the UK case it's perchloroethylene, aka "perc" - that evaporates.

It may well be the same for you, so if it's a case of "try it or bin it" might it be worth topping it right up with straight  trichloroethylene?. That's what I'd do anyway, but no guarantees...

Btw, I believe trichloroethylene is also used in perc fills, so they could be more or less the same, but not sure.

I've topped up many Crestworth and other fast glitters in this way, just be very careful of the vapours - the prec solvent is potentially carcinogenic

It's a long and difficult process. Lot's to explain in detail, but I don't feel like writing up a really extensive guide.

Buy this stuff. You can get it all on Amazon.

  1. Pycnometer
  2. Pipette
  3. Perchloroethylene
  4. Mineral spirits

Watch this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StGbFkSevy0&t

Measure the density of the existing glitter formula.

Make a mixture of perchloroethylene and mineral spirits of the same density.

Looking at your picture it looks like your glitter formula works by the liquid expanding which lowers the density of the liquid allowing the glitter to flow. With your mixture more perchloroethylene will make the glitter float. More mineral spirits will make the glitter sink. Keep this in mind when tinkering.

Add the mixture to the lamp. See how it runs and adjust the density appropriately if necessary. Make sure to leave a lot of room for expansion or your lamp will break.

Serious safety warning. Do this outside. Use a respirator rated for organic solvents. If you breath a lot perchloroethylene it will literally make your brain and body hurt and can kill you if you keep huffing it.

Final step.

Take pictures and post them here. Report back in 3 months how the lamp looks with more pictures. :)

Wow.  I wonder what your extensive write-up would be like. :)  Thanks so much for your help.  I'll see what I'm come up with.

Dave

Autumn said:

It's a long and difficult process. Lot's to explain in detail, but I don't feel like writing up a really extensive guide.

Buy this stuff. You can get it all on Amazon.

  1. Pycnometer
  2. Pipette
  3. Perchloroethylene
  4. Mineral spirits

Watch this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StGbFkSevy0&t

Measure the density of the existing glitter formula.

Make a mixture of perchloroethylene and mineral spirits of the same density.

Looking at your picture it looks like your glitter formula works by the liquid expanding which lowers the density of the liquid allowing the glitter to flow. With your mixture more perchloroethylene will make the glitter float. More mineral spirits will make the glitter sink. Keep this in mind when tinkering.

Add the mixture to the lamp. See how it runs and adjust the density appropriately if necessary. Make sure to leave a lot of room for expansion or your lamp will break.

Serious safety warning. Do this outside. Use a respirator rated for organic solvents. If you breath a lot perchloroethylene it will literally make your brain and body hurt and can kill you if you keep huffing it.

Final step.

Take pictures and post them here. Report back in 3 months how the lamp looks with more pictures. :)

Dave, a user named Kirk used to make refills for both fast-moving (like yours) and slow-moving glitter lamps. It would be worth seeking him out.

Sadly, Kirk seems to have dropped off the radar, I have tried several times to reach him but no reply.

He was the "Glittermeister"...

Likewise, I haven't heard from Kirk for several years now.

If someone could signpost me to some good solvent resistant glitter flake material I'd be grateful.

Ideally small strand or squares (large or small). 

Over the years while designing different glitter lamps using other makers liquids/glitter your best bet is to find a used glitter lamp on ebay and replace the fluids only using the replacement fluid you just purchased...never mix fluids.  I purchased many Fantasia glitter lamps and mixed old with working fluids and it did not work out.  I mixed other lamps glitter liquid and ruined many since some have oil in them and some do not.  Be crazy careful when opening up the lamp you have now as the chemicals within the lamp can cause severe breathing issues johnny on the spot and is high on the list of cancer causing liquids.  Perk or Perc as it's known to some is used in dry cleaning and embalming and is highly toxic.  Do not open this lamp in your home or pour contents out unless you want the most toxic smell invading your home and it takes awhile to clear out even if you have many windows open.  It reeks.  Took half a day one time after I poured the contents of a Fantasia Glitter Graphics lamp into a glass jar to clear out and I honestly felt super dizzy right after opening.  I'm guessing gasses build up in the bottle over time and these gases can kick your backside once released.  When buying another glitter lamp make sure it has enough to fill the lamp you own now so you don't have to buy two of the same lamps to fill the one you have.  I prefer buying used lavalite brand lamps since they hold up best.  On a not so good note - I purchased 2 Grande glitter lamps worth of glitter and liquid from a seller here and at first the lamps rocked for about a year then suddenly the glitter lost it's chromatic effect and the liquid turned a piss yellow.  I did not ask for refund and just moved on. I did notify seller.  It cost me over 300.00 for the glitter and liquid.  When it worked it was beautiful.  I took pictures of the glitter going from shiny to clear and the liquid turning yellow from crystal clear.  I should dig them up and post.  I never ran the Grande lamps I created more than a few hours a day and had a 45W bulb instead of the recommended 75 to keep the heat from boiling the liquid so the lamp lasts longer.  I also made sure they were sealed big time and never near a window.  Side bar - Be careful when replacing caps.  I used a cap that was recommended here for Grande lamps and when I opened up the lamps to replace liquids the plastic stoppers recommended here had warped and shrunk really bad and looked like they were both about to fall into the lamps which would have been a disaster once sealed.  I can see why the Grande lamps have rubber stoppers in place of plastic.  I have the stoppers still and will post what they look liked after I opened up the glitter lamps that crapped out on me.  I'd been meaning to post but keep forgetting.  I just want to warn others who are thinking of using them in the future.  I hope this helps to encourage you to refurbish the lamp you have which is very nice.  I would.  Just be mindful when handling chemicals.  Please post when completed.  

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