Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

So i've been working away at this using the retro formula and i seem to be encountering a world of trouble.
1. I bought candle dye and it separates from the wax.
2.. when i use the formulas given in the retro formula, it still doesn't seem to work.
3. Adding the salt as they suggest when making the water , it just sinks thru the goo and sits there. I pre-mix the salt in a little water before adding it now, is this a good idea?

What is the best wax to use ?
I've been using paraffin wax and I have two empty lava lamp bottles with coils in them that I have been using.

any help is GREATLY appreciated

Thanks,
Ian

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I'm working on a homemade right now as well. I haven't been able to get candle dye yet(mostly out of lazyness, haha). I'm currently working with a mixture of chunks of used up candles and petrol jelly(about 2:1), and it works fine. It rises and falls as it should anyways. Are you adjusting the specific gravity of the wax using a solvent that's heavier than water? From what I've read, generally people use tetrachloroethylene(non-flammable brake cleaner) for this. That's what I used. Dilute the hot wax with this until the hot wax sinks when dropped into water. You want to use a pure type of salt that wont cloud the water. I hear some brands of Epsom salt work. The Epsom salt I used made the water a little cloudy. I hear pickling salt also works well. I believe pickling salt is a type of acetate. You want to make a super-saturated solution of the salt(dissolve salt in a cup of really hot water till no more will dissolve in it), and then you want to add this in small increments too the hot lamp till the lava starts to float. I got my lamp working, but I used way too much surfactant, and I had tiny water bubbles all in my lava and tiny wax bubbles all in my water. Otherwise, my lamp was working fine. I was wondering if anyone more experienced had an opinion of what to use to adjust the density of the water? I was thinking of going with glycerin, actually. Does anybody know if this would be better? I notice glycerine is very crystal clear in the bottle, and I thought I might try that. My lamp was working just fine other than the surfactant issue. Also, if I start with fresh water tomorrow, do you think the bubbles in the wax will fix themselves, or should I do a complete refill? I almost had issues with the wax sticking to the sides, but they resolved after the lamp ran a little more. I don't want to risk taking my homemade spring out and messing it up in the process if I don't have to. I'm really worried the streaking problem will get worse if I completely refill it. Also, can I possibly wash the streaks off the inside of the cold bottle without disturbing the wax at the bottom when I replace the water?
Hey Casey, Nice to hear back from someone.
Sounds like you've got it going good.
Yeah i use the chloroethylene but I wasn't using a 2-1 mixture of wax and petrol jelly.
I AM using the picking salt because it's recommended for not clouding the water.
I like the tip about the super saturated salt water, thanks.
I wish I could answer some of your questions but i cant.
I think I'll get some glycerine and pickling salt tomorrow and test out their ability to float lava with my leftovers. Then I can pick the one that takes less. I really don't know what you do about the candle dye thing. I hear you can use oil paints for the colouring as well. I was thinking of picking some up at the walmart tomorrow when I get my other supplies because my wax was clear, but now It is an awkward bluish green. I think the colouring in my dish soap went into the wax or something, because the dish soap is green, and there were a couple of blue candle pieces....I really wish I could make the lava opaque. There are not many candles that are opaque when melted... I don't know what do to about the surfactant. I'm not sure if it's only dissolved in the water, or if it's equally between the two. The lava didn't want to separate from its main snaking arms into bubbles in the water, but the lava was full of bubbles of water. I thought there were small bubbles of lava in the water, but now I think it was just cloudiness from the cheap epsom salt. I'm not sure whether that means there was too much surfactant or what. I think the Jelly is what helps prevent the wax streaking the glass. The website I read said that's why they used it, they used just the jelly by itself, but I decided to mix them. It seemed to work that way, because when the wax went up the glass, it didn't leave a film, and didn't stick back in that same place again(which is the problem the person who wrote about the petrol jelly was having with just wax).

PS: pickling salt is definitely not an acetate. I don't know why I thought it was/must have been thinking of something else
Thanks again Casey !
I'll be interested to hear how that goes.
I was using paraffin wax, petroleum jelly with candle dye and perchloroethylene as prescribed and I'm not sure what the hell was going on because it looked good for a while and then the dye just separated from the wax in little bits, I think it was from overheating it maybe.
I have been using the picking salt, but, with the method of super-saturating the water like you suggested, I think i will have more luck. I'm going to try the oil paint thing too.
It would be nice if some expert from this site maybe had some advice to offer.

good luck to you!
Ian
I'm starting to think using old candles was a bad idea... There are little flakes separating from the wax and floating around the water as the wax is heating up. I think I may have to heat it up and cool it down several times till all the flakes move out of the wax into the water or something, then put fresh water in. I'm thinking the flakes must be the cheap coloring from the blue candle-pieces I put in. The glycerin does work to change the specific gravity of the water, but it takes A BUNCH. it looks like it's gonna take more glycerin than I have in the little bottle I bought, but I got pickling salt too, so I might have to use both. The glycerin IS, however, crystal clear, and I like it better than the crusty salt. My pickling salt has little pieces of junk in it that I'm having to pick out of the solution, which is annoying. I think for the dish soap, I'll add a drop to a larger amount of water, then add that in increments, so I don't over-do it like last time. What ratio of petrol jelly are you using?(sorry about my earlier post, I though you meant you didn't use any when you said you didn't use that ratio) I think some of the candle dye must just be suspended particles or something, because candles don't get completely molten when you use them, and I notice in candles in glass jars that get really molten have a noticeable color difference between the part that's been melted and cooled versus the part that stayed hard at the bottom of the candle. Well, I hope your experiments are going well. I didn't get any oil paints to try because I couldn't find any, so let me know if you try it.
I was usiing the retro formula http://www.oozinggoo.com/ll-form5.html
so I just had a tablespoon or so of the petrol jelly.
I'll be picking up the oil paint today.I was thinking my pickling salt was old so I bought a new bag.
Check out the recommmended time to use the dish soap in that formula I sent you.
I will be checking out the other formulas on the originla oozing goo site as well.
Yeah I was planning on that. I've already read that formula, but I had it mixed up with a different one.. Yeah I realize now that I've said a bunch of redundant stuff, sorry about that. Good luck with everything. I'm gonna start trying to get this one going again once it heats up. By the way, did you do all the steps with the ethylene glycol and measuring the specific gravity of the wax and all that? I just got it to where it would sink in regular water, then adjusted the water from there.
Well I got it running again, but I jumped the gun on the dishwashing liquid again as well. I think that's the problem anyways. The lava was very runny. It would never separate into globs. I tried adding it when the lava domed, but I thought since it wouldn't separate from the blob that it meant I needed more, and that sure didn't help. Also, the flakes I notice are actually some kind of corrosion from the springs that my coil is made of. one of the springs isn't copper, and it keeps sloughing off this white stuff that gets into the water... I dunno, I might have to start all over with a new bottle and coil and everything.
Hey Casey,
sounds like you're getting it done, slowly, like me, lol !

I'll let you know how things go later when i have time to do some more stuff and have some new materials.
It certainly is a learning process, for sure lol. It'll be worth it though.
Well, I got a lamp flowing correctly for about 10 minutes. Unfortunately I didn't put the wax in with a funnel or anything like that. I put it in by letting it cool and squeezing it through the cut off corner of a plastic ziplock bag. The wax must have gotten on the sides, because after a few minutes off good flow, the lava stuck to the side and just flowed through this one glob like a conveyor. One post I read said to use a funnel extended to the bottom of the bottle with a tube and pour the hot wax down into the bottom like that. I can't figure out if you're supposed to do it with water already in it or what, though... I guess I'll have to mix up a new batch of lava and everything, because this stuff keeps getting messed up. I think I have box of canning wax, so I just need some more tetrachloroethylene.
Hmm, bummer.sounds like you're near to it though.
I bought some high quality candle wax and i'm going to start a batch later i think.I also bought some nice oil paint to color it, hope that works.I seem to have everything now and it's just a case of trial and error from here.
I'll keep you updated
good luck !!

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