Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hello all

I think i found the correct spot to post to...I had posted on a blog a few days ago while trying to figure things out on this site on my phone (my computer is working for the moment so am able to get on the real site)...Just trying to get a solution to my problem.   I have a lamp from 1975.  It got knocked over a few weeks ago and the cap broke, pouring out most the oil (or water?)and I am trying to find whatever it is to fill it back up. Any help is much appreciated.  The lamp is the starlite base, black plastic bottom with three peg legs.  There is a hole at the very bottom and a screw offset next to it to hold the light socket in place.

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To start off, that is a Century lava lamp.  They have a 52 ounce globe that is interchangeable with Aristocrat lava lamps.  It is nearly impossible to find a replacement cap for those globes.  You can get bottle caps that size to fit, but I haven't been able to find any with an O-ring seal like the original.  Someone just recently posted about a solution that they have found to be workable, I'll see if I can find the link.

The fluid is a water-based solution that up until the late 80's had a perchlorate mixture that is not available anymore.  It can be somewhat duplicated if you can get perchlorate, but be warned, it's toxic and hard to obtain.

Another option is to use a mixture of distilled water and propylene glycol, along with a surfactant such as Sodium-Lauryl-Sulfate.

You can also do as above, but instead of PG you can use a salt mixture.

Or, you can find another globe of the same size as a replacement, which should include an intact cap.  You can look on ebay, craigslist, local yardsales, flea markets, ect.

Do you think i would be able to just fill the thing up with just distiled water being as there is still a little left of the original?
The o-ring is still fine and the cap i am going to leave it as is. Maybe paintnit to cover up the cracks

I have doubts about that working.  But it won't hurt anything either.  The function of the perchlorate (and the propylene glycol, and the salt) is to increase the density of the water, allowing the heated wax to expand and rise.  The balance has to be right or you will have either wax that domes on the bottom or wax that all floats to the top.  That being said, some on here have said that they have used straight distilled water and had good results.

The function of the surfactant is twofold; one is to keep the wax from sticking to the sides of the globe, the other is keep the flow of the wax at the right consistency. 

So with that much fluid loss it is most likely that those balances will be off if you just use distilled water.

Chris said:

Do you think i would be able to just fill the thing up with just distiled water being as there is still a little left of the original?

So the cap is still functional and will hold a seal?  That's good 


Chris said:

The o-ring is still fine and the cap i am going to leave it as is. Maybe paintnit to cover up the cracks
As destroyed as it is, the cap still functions.

Thank you very much for the information. I will be heading to the store tomorrow to hopefully get the ingredients and get this thing working again

Propylene glycol is in fog machine fluid, 50/50 with distilled water.  In stores right now in the holloween supplies.  Sodium-Lauryl-Sulfate (for surfactant) won't be in most stores but if you have a chemical supply store you might call and check, but you can also try "Miracle Bubble" , the clear without any fragrance.  Other bubble solutions may cause cloudiness, one that I tried sure did!



Chris said:

As destroyed as it is, the cap still functions.

Thank you very much for the information. I will be heading to the store tomorrow to hopefully get the ingredients and get this thing working again
Fog machine fluid will be much easier to find! Haha thank you.

Keith said:

Propylene glycol is in fog machine fluid, 50/50 with distilled water.  In stores right now in the holloween supplies.  Sodium-Lauryl-Sulfate (for surfactant) won't be in most stores but if you have a chemical supply store you might call and check, but you can also try "Miracle Bubble" , the clear without any fragrance.  Other bubble solutions may cause cloudiness, one that I tried sure did!



Chris said:

As destroyed as it is, the cap still functions.

Thank you very much for the information. I will be heading to the store tomorrow to hopefully get the ingredients and get this thing working again

Would and have poured out master fluid into a small container to keep, left the wax in there.  Then fill with distilled water, then have taken epson salts diluted in a small glass and slowly added that to distilled water until wax begins to float.  Have to find that point were wax begins to float.  Just remember globe wont be fully filled yet. I usually fill about half way with distilled water and start adding the "heavy salt water mixture, till wax begins to start floating. Remember, you can use epson salts or

Propylene glycol to increase the weight of the distilled water.  I pick up a gallon of PG at the feed store, used for cattle at times. Once I got the wax moving slowly drop by drop added SLS to the globe, you will be able to see it hit the wax and be absorbed into the wax.  Picked up my pure SLS from chemical vendor on EBAY.  Add slowly over time, would add then watch for a bit. You will be able to see the wax to start stretching out into the long globs, the more SLS you add the smaller the blobs will get.  I know some of us have different routines or methods of doing this.  This routine has worked for me when dealing with wax other than a goo kit.  Good luck and keep us posted with pics and entries to how this is going for you!  Would love to see the finished product!

I picked up some fog machine fluid but the mixture is water and glycerin, not PG.  Would that be sufficient still?

I think someone has reported using glycerin with success.  I can't say for sure though.

Ok. I shall try it. So far...half filled distilled, maybe a little more than 2/3 with fog machine fluid and the rest with the bubbles. Heating up right now. The botom of the glob of wax strwamed up to the top like normal. I am hoping it will work. I will keep an up-to-date feed on it if i remember. Night shift sucks! Haha!

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