Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Not really sure what's going on with this. I've tried a few coils and they all do this- the wax just sits on top of them. It doesn't break the surface tension of the wax and I'm guessing it's not heating it up as well because of this. Any ideas on what's happening and what I can do?

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My guess is that the coil is coated with anything. paint or grease. give it a good bath in acetone and try again

what kind of material is it? It looks a lot shinier than the typical stainless steel coil. Is is chrome plated or so? Chrome is repelling a lot of "stuff" thats why it is so popular in the car/bike industry.

It's the same Home Depot springs I had been using and also seeing it with my 316 stainless steel wire from McMaster Carr that I've turned into coils. I did add a touch of oil paint to the wax to help with opacity and I'm curious if that might be affecting it?

I'll pick up some acetone since I was planning on testing on cleaning some of my dud bottles.

I could also try some other 'shapes' for coils.

Maybe it is the coils. I just mixed up another batch of wax and fluid into bottle the other night with Home Depot springs (albeit, I've used those before with success) and THIS trio of bottles is doing the same thing. Wax just sort of 'drapes' over the coil. Maybe the loops are too tight or close together on it?

I could do a test by pulling the coil from one of my balanced lamps and testing with that.

Arne said:

what kind of material is it? It looks a lot shinier than the typical stainless steel coil. Is is chrome plated or so? Chrome is repelling a lot of "stuff" thats why it is so popular in the car/bike industry.

I picked up some acetone (primarily to attempt to clean some previous bottle lamp attempts to try them again). Let one of my 316 stainless steel coils soak for about 20 minutes before pulling it out, drying it off, and popping it in a bottle with wax and no fluid. I currently have it on my lamp base to warm up.

I'm hoping that with no fluid, the coil will be soaked in melted wax and maybe allow it to interact better with any wax going forward?

I did some research and it looks like the problem is way more common than I thought relating to wax/coil separation. Mostly just looks like folks end up replacing the coil or trying one or both of the methods described above.

Arne said:

what kind of material is it? It looks a lot shinier than the typical stainless steel coil. Is is chrome plated or so? Chrome is repelling a lot of "stuff" thats why it is so popular in the car/bike industry.

The acetone soaked coil that I let sit in the globe with just the melted wax-no fluid, seemed to work initially on a first cycle after letting the wax cool and adding the fluid back in.

I needed to add some PG to the fluid to help with the balance and ran it for a second cycle. It spiked, melted down, and even flowed for a little bit before once again-just a blob sitting at the bottom. When I checked, it was once again not sticking to the coil anywhere.

So- out of the two batches of bottles I've mixed (6 lamps), only one coil partially wants to stick. 5 of them are DIY coils made from .04" 316 stainless steel spring wire I've turned on my jig, one is a stainless steel extension spring from Home Depot. The coil that partially sticks is one of my DIY 316's. The wax won't stick anywhere on the others.

To ensure that it's not a surface finish thing, I took one of the 316 coils, opened it up, slid it on some allthread that I chucked into my drill, and spun the coil while holding some sandpaper and going back and forth along the length of the spring to scuff the surface and in theory, give the wax more to grab on to or more easily break the surface tension.

Washed it off in the sink and popped it in a bottle. No effect.

This sort of explains why the Home Depot spring coil too isn't working since it's already begun to corrode slightly and its fluid was hazy. I had previously attempted to soak a different Home Depot coil in some white vinegar overnight and came the next morning to find the coil turned completely black in the vinegar. After a few cycles, it had flash rusted and yellowed the fluid.

So don't use acids to clean the coils unless they're pure stainless steel since it can remove the zinc coating revealing mild steel underneath and cause very quick corrosion.

The balance and recipe is probably different enough between the 6 bottles for me to think it's nothing to do with the wax or fluid composition, but I could still be wrong.

I can pull the coil from one of the 90's lamps I know works and see how my DIY wax reacts with it.

I don't want to superheat the coil and submerge into melted wax yet because I'm nervous it could affect the spring nature of the steel metallurgy and cause it to deform even more when sticking it in the bottle.

I could also just get a bunch of springs, coils, and just keep trying them until I have 6 that work.

have the same issue with factory coils

We soak it in Muratic acid

Muratic acid. Last time I even saw that stuff was when my dad had to remove the lining from the inside of a motorcycle gas tank. Powerful stuff.

Does it just clean the metal or does it actually affect the surface to help the wax grab better?

Claude J said:

have the same issue with factory coils

We soak it in Muratic acid

cleans the metal but don't soak it too long

It WILL eat the inside of a mason jar lid so be careful what you use to store it

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