Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

I have a 1963 Astro with orange liquid oil, unfortunately although the oil rises when heated it tends to stick to the top or neck of the bottle and only drops down when its gone cold. Any help and advise, thanks Patrick

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Two choices here - make the wax (looks like oil to you) heavier or the globe fluid less dense.

(1) Add some DI Water (get at grocery store) -  Swap some of the fluid with some DI water. What you are trying to do here is to reduce the density of the fluid by diluting it with water.  Basically right now your heated wax is lighter than the water so we need to change that. Base on what you are saying I would store 1/4 cup fluid and replace that amount with the water. DI water will make sure your fluid stays clear. I usually cut one of my wire shirt hangers where the straight bottom bends almost 90 degrees to make something that I can stir the fluid with in the bottle, basically making a tall "L" with the hanger. I then spin the hanger like a propeller in the fluid.  Point here is that unless you stir it somehow the fluids will not mix and adjust density rather the H2O will be separated at the top of the bottle. You will likely have to swap out some more water for fluid but make those adjustments slowly.

Warning here is that if you add too much water then the wax will not rise at all or just dome on you so you need to adjust slowly with this method or have some polypropylene or glycerin on hand to get the density back up if you take it too low with the water.

(2) Make the wax heavier - you will need Brakleen brake cleaner by CRC in the red can is 100% Tetrachloroethylene (PERC). This stuff does not like plastic very much  so I usually spray it in a small glass and then use a glass dropper to add it to my wax.Do not empty thing in a sink on top of your plastic cups, believe me.

I would get the lamp hot, open the, bottle and add about 10 drops of the perc to the wax, or add drops until at least half the wax is staying at the bottom. At this point you are going to have light wax at the top of the bottle and heavy wax at the bottom. Let it cool. Now you will need to store the globe fluid in a container leaving the wax in the bottle. Put the bottle / wax on the base and turn it on ... wax will melt, mix the wax together with coat hanger, let cool, add fluid back to bottle (funnel highly recommended), run it again. If wax is still too light then you can usually just adjust it in the bottle when running by adding a couple drops of perc at a time being sure not to add too much perc or the wax will be too heavy. If wax separates again the drain fluid, heat wax on base, add small amount of perc, stir, cool, fill, run, repeat,

No matter what the most important thing is to make adjustments slowly. Good luck!

Disclaimer: Any time you try to fix a lamp there is a good chance that you will not be successful.

Hi,  the main fluid is distilled water, not sure what the liquid wax/oil is, but it stays in a liquid when cold (does not set). May be the answer is to add something to the wax/oil, to make it heaver.

The problem here my be that I haven’t fixed any lamps from the 60’s. Only 70’s and on. No matter what the goal would be to take whatever is separated and get it mixed back together. Just not sure how you do that if it never solidified.  Note that the other fluid is definitely more than just water or all the wax would float when cold. 

All in in all sounds like a tough job if you have not done this type of thing before and don’t have experience with perch or propylene glycol. I see that in my previous post I said polypropylene which is actually a plastic that we use at my work so that was a mistake in regards to chemical used to adjust density of fluid. 

The biggest problem here here is the viability of the fluid and wax in your lamp. If the lamp was severely overheated or somehow shaken while running 50 some odd years ago then you could try all of this and have nothing to show for it. Even with lamps from the 70’s I’m probably 50% success rate after spending many hours. 

I would get some brakleen (non flammable important) from Lowe’s and spray it into a small glass measuring cup, add some to the lamp and see what happens. 

Hi, I will try and put some photos on so you can have a look.


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