Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Greetings!   I've made some progress on my 4' tall tower lava lamp project.  The base is done, glass vase obtained (nice thick walls), and coupling is done - very secure.   I'm getting ready to mount the 200W spot light (on a dimmer - we will be going at this slowly) in the base and am looking for advice on space between the top of the bulb and the bottom of the glass floor.  In my Magma 3' tower the space is less than 1/2", but that's a pro built lamp with the special low expansion glass, and mine is just normal blown glass.    So, I was thinking an inch, or even two, to lessen the thermal gradients, but wonder if I'll end up struggling to get enough heat to warm up the whole column (5 gallons).

Advice and suggestions welcome!

Todd

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Torpedo? Satellite? - they sound SUPER COOL! Please post photos when they're finished.

Mattgyver92 said:

Larger, no. More of the same? Absolutely. I have two similar designs (a torpedo and a satellite) that I hope to make for the trifecta.

Update! 

Marcel GooLamp's 1300 mm tall bottle arrived more than a week ago, and I finally was able to get it through Customs and released from Lufthansa, and now my welder friend has finished the double ring sleeve which mounts the bottom of the bottle to my base securely. 

Next I'll clean it thoroughly, coat in surfactant, melt the 5 quarts of dyed orange wax, and very slllllooooowwwwly add it to the bottom of the bottle along with the 1/2" diameter stainless spring coil.   Getting nervous!

Todd

looking good!

Todd said:

Update! 

Marcel GooLamp's 1300 mm tall bottle arrived more than a week ago, and I finally was able to get it through Customs and released from Lufthansa, and now my welder friend has finished the double ring sleeve which mounts the bottom of the bottle to my base securely. 

Next I'll clean it thoroughly, coat in surfactant, melt the 5 quarts of dyed orange wax, and very slllllooooowwwwly add it to the bottom of the bottle along with the 1/2" diameter stainless spring coil.   Getting nervous!

Todd

Here's the coil I made for the lamp.  WIth the 8" diameter, I followed Marcel's suggestion to put some coils across the inner area.  Hopefully this will work!

Coil fits well in bottom of base (was worried about curvature around the perimeter. 

I was glad it expanded back into shape after getting squeezed through the top hole!

Wax melt went as before, and I coated tank inner with a good deal of surfactant.

Pour went smoothly, and it's on the stand ready for water to be added after wax cools and I recoat inside with surfactant.

Here's some pics from today, getting close!

Tonight, we filled with DI for the first time, and tomorrow we power on to see what happens!

I did turn on the 250W heat lamp to see what it looked like, see a pic, and wowzer, very cool even just lit up.

10 gallons and 50" tall, it's quite a column next to my Magma Red Tower. 

Will get a nice wooden cap to cover the top 3".

Todd

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TODAY WAS THE DAY ! ! !

Powered the Orange Tower up today, and watched the temps rise sloooowly.  After 2 hours, I wrapped the insulating sleeve I prepped in case this was the case, and things got a bit more on pace.  After 3 hours, I got a fantastic "eruption" which created a 4 foot tall tree of lava frozen in place.   This stayed for the next 5 hours, slowly compressing down as the bottom softened.  At hour 9, it finally happened, molten blobs started rising out of the semi-solid mass at the bottom, and over the next 30 minutes the lamp came to LIFE !   Woo Hoo!    Thank you so much to Marcel Goolamp and Claude J for providing me great products to build this tower with.   It runs GREAT and I am so happy!

Todd

That looks amazing!

Thanks Tim!  I've come a long way from that day when my shop bench and floor were covered in broken glass, wax, and water, and I was thinking of giving up.  With some skills, homemade projects can save 1/2 to 3/4 the cost of new, but sometimes you have to concede that you need the right stuff (in this case borosilicate glass).  Very expensive at this size,, but looking at the lava tower last night I thought to myself "This was SO worth it!"    

The spiking phase looks incredible in this. It's always my favorite part, because it only happens once per cycle.

How long did it take to fully flow and what temps were you seeing?

Awesome work. I gotta continue working to get mine made.


Erupted around three hours, and then the column slowly compressed down as the bottom softened over the next four hours.

Globs finally start going up and down at around seven hours, and within an hour of that the tower was at full flow.  The wax that Claude J provided worked great, no adjustment needed to get huge snakes and wild collisions! 
 
Left on its own in my 65 degree basement, it takes about 12 hours to get to full flow. Top tower temp at full flow then is around 110 F.

Good luck with your own project!  (I HIGHLY recommend avoiding the tempting glass vase path (and disaster it likely leads to) and spend the $$ on borosilicate. 

Todd

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