Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hello all, first time here.

I have an old lamp that was my grandma's and I'm a little sentimental about it.  It must be early 70's minimum because I remember it as a child.  I'm sure you all can probably identify it and that might help what I'm trying to do here.  A few years ago the cap cracked, it got cloudy and didn't work good anymore.  I'm in the process of trying to restore it, using the lava formula I found here.  I was about to say goodbye to it because I could not find a replacement cap.  Then I realized I could 3D scan the old cap, use that to build it in CAD, and have a replacement 3D printed!  So the cap should be back from the printer soon and hopefully it fits and the re-lava goes well.  I want to share the file used for the 3D print, it took about 10 hours and some pretty expensive equipment/software to reverse engineer.  The cap only cost $13 to print once I made the file.  I do want to make sure my replacement fits before I upload it.  I will also try to give updates on my overall success with the restore.  Here is a picture of the lamp so maybe someone can identify it.  Hard to tell in picture but it is gold-ish in color, and the cap screws onto the glass threads with an o-ring seal.

Buy it here https://www.shapeways.com/product/4TJ6AR66D/lava-cap-for-70-s-quot-...

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this is great and has the potential to benefit many individuals with broken caps. best of luck!

i think that lamp is probably around72 or 73. the pin holes are closer together on the early 70s centuries like on your lamp

This has been discussed around here, but to my knowledge no one has acually attempted it yet.  Here's to success!  Definitely would be interested in the file, the local library has free use of 3D printers!!

Well I'm glad there is a demand.  Some folks might just get lucky that a convergence of resources and skills aligned with a niche problem.  I'm pretty confident it will work.  I can compare my CAD to the actual scanned part and it is only off by 0.2mm in a few places.  Which I figure is due to 1970's molding technology.  I even beefed it up in a few places inside so it should be better.  A word of caution, some of the plastics used in 3D printers are weak and for decoration/prototype only.  The one I chose is supposed to be for more "functional" parts.  I'm going to tighten it hard before I paint it.  Which leads me to this...  Sorry purist collectors, but because the gold anodized aluminum base was kind of faded and I need to paint the new cap something besides boring 3D printer colors.  I decided to polish the aluminum base and I'm going to paint the cap chrome.  I just finished polishing the base and I think it looks good.  Yeah it's not perfect but looks better than it did.

You could post the file on Shapeways.com and then share the link here. I think you get a kickback every time someone buys one of the objects they print. They do all kinds of material too, even metal.

The polished base is looking good.  Some of my lamps are "purist" in that I want them all original, then there are others that I wouldn't mind modifying.  It's all in how you want your lamp, it is "yours" after all!

Noted regarding the plastics used in 3D printing, I hadn't considered that.  One thing I have also thought about is that 3D printed caps could be more decorated than a standard cap.

Duane Kucinich said:

Well I'm glad there is a demand.  Some folks might just get lucky that a convergence of resources and skills aligned with a niche problem.  I'm pretty confident it will work.  I can compare my CAD to the actual scanned part and it is only off by 0.2mm in a few places.  Which I figure is due to 1970's molding technology.  I even beefed it up in a few places inside so it should be better.  A word of caution, some of the plastics used in 3D printers are weak and for decoration/prototype only.  The one I chose is supposed to be for more "functional" parts.  I'm going to tighten it hard before I paint it.  Which leads me to this...  Sorry purist collectors, but because the gold anodized aluminum base was kind of faded and I need to paint the new cap something besides boring 3D printer colors.  I decided to polish the aluminum base and I'm going to paint the cap chrome.  I just finished polishing the base and I think it looks good.  Yeah it's not perfect but looks better than it did.

I've always wondered when someone was going to get around to 3D printing these caps! Good luck with your efforts and keep us posted! Very cool. 

So there was a little mix up with the 3D printer service.  They thought the units were inch, but it was cm.  So my cap wont be done until Monday/Tuesday, but I get a free one that is 2.54 times bigger than it is supposed to be.  Anybody want a candy bowl that is a replica of a lava lamp cap?  I have no use for it.

My file is good, it fits like an non-cracked glove!  A couple things to point out;  My original O-ring seal was a little brittle and had some glue stuck to it from a failed repair attempt.  I replaced it with a 1-1/2"x1-3/4"x1/8" #81 (for faucets, purchased on Amazon).  It was very close to original size, but hard to measure due to the glue.  I designed the new cap to fit the #81 O-ring, the original should work, but I can't verify that.  The 3D print job I got was a little disappointing, there were some deep grooves/flaws that were not from my file.  All 3D prints will have slight ridges from the layers, this was worse.  I can still use/experiment with it, but I'd like a better print quality.  My idea here was, since I have the file, to try to pay back some internet karma.  So many people have posted things that helped me over the years.  I don't want to sell this or make money!  So I will upload the file and anyone can print it anywhere they want.  But I also want to help people get a quality product (unlike my first print).  So I checked out shapeways.com as suggested by Syrinn.  I uploaded the file and ordered one from them also.  I put the part for sale and marked it up $3 (they pay when you make $30).  I will post unbiased info about their print when I get it (approx. Feb 4th).  Please do not feel obligated to buy from them/me.  You can print the file anywhere you chose.  I just figured if shapeways.com makes a good part for little hassle it might be easier for someone to get what they need.  The file is in millimeters (mm), .stl files don't carry units, so you need to tell the printer.  The link to the listing is here: https://www.shapeways.com/product/4TJ6AR66D/lava-cap-for-70-s-quot-...

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I've had pretty good luck filling the gouges and priming the part.  Sorry I didn't get a pic of the flaws, I was too eager to try and fix them.  After this dries good I'll sand it a bit and one more coat of primer should do.  I'll give notes on the paint process when it is done.

awesome!

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