Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

My New Method to Create 1/3-2/3 Ratio "Perc" - Wax Ooze in 5 Minutes.

After spending about 4 hours trying to make perfect 1/3 - 2/3 volume ratio ooze (being super anal like I am, it is quite difficult to heat and cool the ooze quickly and get any sort of accurate volume measurement), I had a thought; why not just use mass instead of volume? Duh. I don't know if it is going to work yet, the Lava Lamp is heating up right now.


Simply use a scale (a cheap letter scale works fine) to measure 1/3 perc and 2/3 wax by mass. I used a plastic container on the scale and re-zeroed the scale. Then slowly add 70 grams of perc, then pour in 140 more grams of wax for a total of 210 gram of ooze (this gets you close to the 1 cup volume). You can literally do this in under 5 minutes. If you decide to purchase a digital scale, try to find one that does not shut off every 30 seconds if there is no change in mass.


If this technique works, you don't have to deal with the whole antifreeze thing (I couldn't find any antifreeze that was pure Ethylene Glycol). The only variable I can think of at the moment is the variable density of different brands of paraffin wax. I have done a little bit of research and found that "paraffin" can vary from .86 to .94 specific gravity. I am currently using Gulf Wax brand paraffin wax manufactured in GA, USA by Royal Oak Enterprises, LLC.


I also changed the way I pour the ooze into the glass to prevent any sort of splashing. I made a tight slightly tapered paper funnel and poured the ooze into that which allowed a nice slow filling into the glass.


Oops, the new ooze did not "dome" as expected but 50% of it popped out from one side and is now floating at the top, partially melted. It is still one continuous body though and it is attached to the lower ooze via a semi-frozen ooze structure.




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Comment by Gordon Freeman on February 6, 2011 at 6:04pm
You were reading my mind, I just fixed (hopefully) the problem of the wax sticking to the glass. It was a long involved process, but I think I might be onto something. First cool down the lamp, then pour the water out. Then I left the ooze in the lamp and cleaned the sides of the glass with various labor intensive swabbing with rods and such. After cleaning it the best I could I used an old bottle of Nu-Finish 2000 to lightly "wax" the inside of the glass. The ingredients said it had silicone and urethane in it so we will see if it works or not. It's been going 18 hours and looks awesome.
Comment by Goo Geek on February 6, 2011 at 1:03pm
I just want to update my prior comment of Jan. 18 about adding perc to wax. After further trial and error I have learned that the risk of adding perc to wax while it is in the bottle is that anywhere the raw perc contacts the bottle the lava will latter stick to that point. This is also why if you add too much perc to your wax, over time, the lava will start to stick to the glass. When you add perc to the lava while it is in the bottle, have the bottle nearly full and use a small funnel to insure no perc drips down the inside of the bottle. But you should only do this for the fine tuning of perc.

What I have started doing is adding perc to the wax just after I add the wax to the bottle using the same funnel with a long tube extension that I add the hot wax so no perc splashes. Then place the bottle in a bowl of iced water too cool the wax quickly and stir the wax gently with something thin and long that reaches the bottom of the bottle to ensure the perc mixes well. The perc evaporates much less when the wax is starting to cool but hasn't yet hardened.
Comment by Gordon Freeman on January 31, 2011 at 6:49pm

Oops, been busy with other stuff. FYI, when I was "blowing bubbles" in my speed evaporation test, I closed my eyes, did not breath and immediately walked away to breathe. Not something I would suggest doing 8 hours a day for your lifetime. Yes, it's nasty stuff and I will probably look at other options now that I have beaten that horse to death.


But the "perc" base lamp is still working nicely, after a day of being on, "something" is separating and floating on the top but you just shake/emulsify, let cool and your good to go again.


The only problem I have right now is the rubber bladder absorbs the "perc" and keep deforming, I suspect if it was vulcanized rubber that would not happen.

Comment by Arne on January 31, 2011 at 6:30pm
I knew a guy who made a perc lamp which worked for some longer time...like two runs or so;-) theres a video in the tube and it looks very cool and transparent like but as I said...once or twice max..
Comment by Arne on January 31, 2011 at 6:27pm
Dont waste your time cash and health! I tried everything tomake a perc lamp work but it only works once. Every time you start it up some perc leaches into the liquid mix and kills the ratio. Believe me, Ive spent weeks trying this and a lot of cash went down the drain. But its possible to make crystal clear masterfluid with distilled water, propylen glycol (from the vets) and some surfactant (basicly just soap but i dont remember which one doesnt cloud up...some car wash stuff) you can buy from the gookit guys. Just make sure the fluids are cold when mixing or you'll get a cloud. About 30% glycol is fine but thats for mathmos...trial and error. Good luck! And let me know if you find a solution for the wax which doesnt involve stinky, pricy, evaporating and leaching perc :-)
Comment by Goo Geek on January 19, 2011 at 6:23pm

You should only put the perc in glass. Perc dissolves plastic. I use an empty Tabasco glass jar. The hole at the top is just right for putting the straw in from the Brakleen spray can and when pouring small amounts without spilling. You should also not be blowing bobbles into perc or getting your face anywhere close to the perc vapors! Perchloroethylene is nasty stuff.



Comment by Gordon Freeman on January 19, 2011 at 10:38am

Did a quick experiment last night. I put 10g of perk in a small plastic bottle. Then I put that bottle in a medium size drinking glass with 125F tap water to help heat the perk. Long story short, I vaporized 7g of perk in about 14 minutes using various method of stirring, swishing and blowing bubble with a straw. On top of that the scale actually drifted "up" by one gram during that time. And I do notice that just about every time I open the Lava Lamp, there is a bit of pressure that come out, probably perc vapor.

Where does one generally find a hydrometer (locally)?

It is Gulf Wax made in GA, USA. Paraffin wax for canning and such.

Comment by Goo Geek on January 19, 2011 at 8:14am
See there is the proof that all your PERC is evaporating. A 90g to 120g ratio is 75% PERC and your wax is still to light. When you add PERC to the melted wax when it is in the globe the wax drops like a rock and stays down with just a few drops of PERC. What kind of wax are you using? Container candle wax or Pillar candle wax? Makes a big difference. Also, if you a serious you should buy a hydrometer and beaker to test the specific gravity of the liquid.
Comment by Gordon Freeman on January 18, 2011 at 9:16pm

Yes, there is so much more to this than meets the eye. Thanks for the tips. I suppose I really need some sort of accurate thermometer too. As I am only guessing based on my hot water heater setting (of around 125F).


Right now I am at 90g of perc to 120g of wax (total 210g) and it still seems too light (in pure distilled water). Also the ooze is not as clear as it once was as if it's not quite melted enough despite the fact that it is slowly flowing.




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