Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hey guys, pretty much a newb here. Technically savvy, but missing something. My kid got an old gold metal base lamp at an antique store. Worked, but missing quite a bit of water, and not very clear. Read the directions on here, seemed easy enough to change water. Followed the "retro-basic" instructions for water change, but goo just won't come off the bottom. Oh yea, it's a 32oz. I have put probably two teaspoons of pickling salt in so far and don't want to over do it. It seems like it needs more salt, I just wanted to check here first. I can slowly stir the goo with a skewer, and when a bubble does break loose, it quickly sinks back to the bottom and rejoins the rest. This indicates to me the goo is still to heavy compared to the water.

 Am I on the right track, or doing something horribly wrong? (something in-between...hope-hope)

Thanks in advance for any tips.

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  Indeed, that is consistent with my observations. Assuming that they did not bother with UV inhibitors 40-50 years ago, I'd say that the wax has been holding up pretty well over the years, without it. If that is the case, a wax you make today is likely to practically last anyone for the rest of their lives. If UV inhibitors were used in the 60s/70s, then the link provided above should allow anyone to protect their wax, in a similar manner to how the old ones were formulated.



Keith said:

Wax will fade from usage and light exposure, but it takes a LONG time.  Heavily used lamps from the 60's and 70's definitely show fading.

I am not knocking the UV blockers at all as they could be usefull however I think the best way is just to treat your lamps well and don't put on the window unless you want them to fade and there is not much need for UV blockers and other ingredents to be added.

I don't know about others hear but I personaly dont have much natural light into my room where my lamps are so I don't really worry about fading of lamps.

Hiya Carl!

As far as the "bubbles" problem, I found that adding a drop or two of a surfactant such as Dawn or other dish washing fluid will cause the bubbles to slowly but surely leave the goo. With a larger lamp (52oz) of course you'll need a bit more. If you are going to buy a goo-kit as I have, there is a bottle of surfactant already in with the kit.

Made some new goo from the "retro-classic" recipe. So far the ooz is just clear. Looks pretty cool actually. My son chose to dye the water purple. So far I have been adding salt by way of disolving it in water first. Again though, just like last time, somebody had recomended that it would take a teaspoon or two of the saline solution, I've put in twelve teaspoons and I think it may just be getting close.

 I had another question for y'all however.....I've read of people saying the lamp gets "overheated" when left on a long time or the bulb is too hot. What are the signs of overheating? How can you tell?

Thanks all, will post pics of new lamp process soon.

Carl

Sines of overheating are:

- Lots of bubbles when ushally the flow is not like that,

- The wax just stays at the top for ages and takes a long time to come down

- The wax just dosent much if at all.



Carl Rishel said:

Made some new goo from the "retro-classic" recipe. So far the ooz is just clear. Looks pretty cool actually. My son chose to dye the water purple. So far I have been adding salt by way of disolving it in water first. Again though, just like last time, somebody had recomended that it would take a teaspoon or two of the saline solution, I've put in twelve teaspoons and I think it may just be getting close.

 I had another question for y'all however.....I've read of people saying the lamp gets "overheated" when left on a long time or the bulb is too hot. What are the signs of overheating? How can you tell?

Thanks all, will post pics of new lamp process soon.

Carl

When replacing the water I have always had to add a lot of salt but only in small amounts. Mixing salt with water first helps it spread more evenly & faster when adding it to your lamp, just be sure to leave room in your bottle for the water/salt mixture. If you have any worry about your lamp running too hot, I recommend adding a sliding fader switch to your power line. I use them because you can fine tune your lamp to it's individual maximum efficiency, since every lamp is slightly different. If your lamp is overheating, you can just back off on the fader until the goo drops back down to normal flow again.

 

  I posted on this earlier in this thread and it also involved a 52oz lamp. However, in my testing I reused the factory wax. If you made your own, using the classic formula, your wax may have ended up too dense which would explain the need for far more salt than the factory formula usually call for. It may be that you used less perc than necessary or that it was a perc diluted with something else.

  The purpose of salt is to increase the water density to near the point of equilibrium between the wax and the water. The wax, by itself, is far denser than the water. Perc changes it by "lightening" the wax, if the correct quantity is used. If I recall correctly, perc should be about 33% of the volume of wax. 100% purity perc, that is.



Carl Rishel said:

Made some new goo from the "retro-classic" recipe. So far the ooz is just clear. Looks pretty cool actually. My son chose to dye the water purple. So far I have been adding salt by way of disolving it in water first. Again though, just like last time, somebody had recomended that it would take a teaspoon or two of the saline solution, I've put in twelve teaspoons and I think it may just be getting close.

I used a third of a cup Brakekleen to two-thirds cup wax. Like the recipe states, without getting all scientific, about as good as you can do. However, next time I will add more perc. It's just starting to move around some now, think I just about got it. But yes, seems like the new wax starts overheating way quicker than the factory stuff. About the time I start to see some movement, shortly after looks like the wax is boiling.

  1/3 cup perc, to 2/3 cup wax sounds about right. Take a closer look at the Brakleen stuff though. That company puts out about a dozen different versions of that product or similar products. Some are flammable  some are not, some have other additives added to it, some don't and some have perc in them and some don't. For instance, perc was banned in California and New Jersey so the Brakleen sold there has no perc in it whatsoever. But even the Brakleen sold in the other states, comes in different formulations with various concentrations of perc, per volume.

  If you want a consistent formula for homemade wax, you may want to get friendly with your local dry cleaner service. Mine sells me perc for 5 dollars a quart and he claims that it's 100% pure, industrial strength stuff. It's kind of an under the table thing, since they banned perc for dry cleaning as well, here in California, but I guess some continue to use it. In my experience, the wax matters too. I've seen paraffin blocks for sale in supermarkets, they claim 100% paraffin. Haven't used them but instead I found consistent results with melting down Passover Jewish candles (also claimed to be 100% pure paraffin). About 2 dollars for a box of 6 candles and a little extra work since you have to crack them open lengthwise and remove the wicks, before you melt them down.

  So a number of variables may be responsible for the unusually high amount of salt that your lamp seems to require.



Carl Rishel said:

I used a third of a cup Brakekleen to two-thirds cup wax. Like the recipe states, without getting all scientific, about as good as you can do. However, next time I will add more perc. It's just starting to move around some now, think I just about got it. But yes, seems like the new wax starts overheating way quicker than the factory stuff. About the time I start to see some movement, shortly after looks like the wax is boiling.

Thanks all the info Tim, but a slight correction

Visible light has a longer wavelengths than UV and IR is longer still. The UV that humans can actually see passes through glass but much of the UV spectrum is absorbed.  The vessels used for lava lamps are actually borosilicate for it's low-thermal-expansion properties and it has different UV properties and can often be doped to cut out UV but it's doubtful LL went to the trouble.

A couple of my lamps have faded from sitting in the sun...learned that the hard way.

Tim Gill said:

Just add the dye using a dropper

I am sure that all of the UV light passes through the glass as if it dident then why would a UV reactive lamp work and also if a lamp left in a window fades.

UV light has a higher wave lengh then visual light so more UV will pass through the glass compared to visual light

It also depends where you place the lamp and if the windows in front of it have a UV protective coating on them

  Found another site which sells the main ingredients for lava lamp reconditioning/modification, in bulk quantities and at very reasonable prices.

  The company is called DPS/Morgan Wax

http://www.dpswax.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Catego...

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