Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

G-Force : my first home-made lava lamp!!!!!

At first, it was only a chemistry project. As I got deeper and deeper into studying it, it got more and more fascinating.

Vid really doesn't do it justice. This was filmed the night I finished it. Now after a few times of turning it on and off, it flows perfectly! Better than the lava lamp i bought!

Took around 50 hours and $30 to pull off.......after five tries. In total, about a month to perfect.

Built using the reto-basic formula.
Wax: 1/3 cup of perc, 2/3 cup of melted wax, 1 teaspoon vaseline, a few drops concentrated blue candle dye.
Liquid: 5 teaspoons pure salt, a very small drop of dishwashing fluid.

I'm very proud of this. Tell me what you guys think!

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Comment by kjun on June 22, 2009 at 10:35pm
Materials:
(ratios given instead of measurements, as measurements change with water quantity)
 Glass bottle
 Large pot
 Stove
 Light bulb socket
 Switch of your choice
 Wiring with an electrical socket adapter
 Distilled water
 Empty tin can
 Candle dye (regular food dye will dissolve in water, coloring the liquid)
 Glass jar
 Pickling salt (non-iodized, so it won’t cloud the water)
 Clear candle wax
 Funnel with a short neck
 Perchlorethelyne (common automotive brake cleaner, also used in dry-cleaning)
 Vaseline (petroleum jelly)
 Light bulb (start with 30watt)
 PVC pipe CONNECTORS ONLY (they can withstand higher heat than the pipe alone)
 Spray paint of your color choice
 tongs
 measuring cup
 power drill
 thin stainless steel wire (less than a millimetre thick)
 metal bar (no thicker than 5mm)

Procedure:
1. build a base using the wiring, the switch, the socket, and the bulb. This varies with every design, so I can’t walk you through exactly how to do it
2. mark both 1/3cup and 1 cup on the measuring cup using a permanent marker
3. cut up the clear candle wax into small pieces, this will make them melt faster
4. fill the pot halfway with water, then turn to stove to boil it
5. fill the measuring cup to 1/3 cup with the perchlorethelyne
6. fill up the can most of the way with the wax bits, then proceed to melt them by partially immersing the can in the boiling water with the tongs (there is no direct heat to the burner by putting it in hot water, you can’t burn the wax this way)
7. when the wax is TOTALLY melted, pour it into the measuring can until you hit the 1 cup mark. You now have a 1:2 ratio of perc to wax.
8. add 1 teaspoon of Vaseline (as it’s easier to handle than melted wax) to this mixture of perc and wax and let it melt in.
9. Pour all of it into the glass jar and add 2-5 drops of CANDLE DYE until you are satisfied with the color.
10. seal the jar and leave it overnight to cool (rapid cooling may cause thermal shock and change the goo’s properties, but submerging the glass jar in cold water should be fine if your in a hurry)
11. attach the metal bar into the power drill, and duck tape the end of the metal wire to the end closest to the drill
12. SLOWLY spin the drill while guiding the wire outwards, this is by far the easiest way to make your own spring for the bottle. (WARNING – this is the most dangerous part of making the lamp, take it slow to avoid getting your fingers caught in the wire while spinning it!!!!!!!!!)
13. when you have about ½ foot of wound spring, cut the other end and remove the metal bar you used to wind it. Twist the two ends together and you now have a good spring (it helps to evenly distribute heat, and also breaks the surface tension when blobs return to the bottom allowing them to reform)
14. insert the spring into the bottle and let it drop to the bottom
15. reheat the goo using the same method as before, when it’s all melted use a funnel to pour it into the glass bottle
16. seal the bottle and leave it overnight
17. Pour in the distilled water up to a couple inches from the top of the bottle. Then pour that into a measuring cup to see how much water you have exactly.
18. add the pure salt ALL AT ONCE (1 tsp salt per 115mL of water)
19. allow the water to settle, if you need to agitate it, only stir it. If the water is still clear after all the salt has dissolved, pour it all into the bottle and seal it shut. If not, try again.
20. place the lamp into your base and turn on the light. Give it at least six hours to see if it works or not.
21. if it didn’t work
 try a bigger bulb first
 add salt ¼ teaspoon every four hours until the goo “domes” and looks like it wants to rise
22. add ONE DROP of dishwashing fluid to weaken the surface tension (wax is a form of grease, and dishwashing liquid is designed to break it down, so you don’t need a lot)
23. You’re done if it starts to circulate
Comment by João Roberto Gabbardo on June 6, 2009 at 6:25pm
Ok, finally I have all the ingredients to make the lava lamp according the retro basic formula: perchloloroethylne (from a chemical shop, not he break parts cleaner), pure salt (also from a chemical shop), distilled water, vaseline and ethylene glycol (if necessary to measure the ooze density), wax, blue and red dye. I also purchased an erlymer, beaker, pipettes and a graduated cylinder to make the whole thing on the better way – it means try to hit the goal as quickly as possible. Of course nothing is perfect: I was able to break the graduated cylinder before starting the experiments, aaarrghhh!!!
Comment by kjun on May 11, 2009 at 5:48pm
i also built a better one out of a SKYY VODKA bottle. I know the bottle is blue and you can't really see through it.........but i added phosphorescent paint to the lava so it'll glow in the dark!!!!
The bulb doesn't noticeably light up the lamp, but it provides the heat necessary for the glow-in-the-dark lava to move!!!!!!!!! The best night-light i've ever had!
Comment by kjun on May 11, 2009 at 5:45pm
No reaction or environment has perfect conditions. There are small particles of contaminants in the lamp no matter how well you build it, and these become infused in the was over time. These particles slowly diffuse into the wax as it's heated and cools several times. By heating the lamp the first time, you knock off most of them from the edges of the bottle, they then sink to the bottom when the lamp is cooled and become struck in the wax the next time it's heated up.
Ever notice the label on storebought lamps that says the lava will behave differently when used a few times?
Comment by Jennifer on April 14, 2009 at 9:00am
Very nice! I too make my own lava. I don't use your recipe but I'm going to. I do equal parts of perk, mineral oil and parraffin wax. I have had some problems with my goo not sticking to the coil. Some of my lamps seem to overheat after about 3 hours of running the lamp. All the goo is at the top and none of it cycles. Do you know why the wax seems to get more opaque after a few runs? I love making goo, it's such a challenge, but so rewarding and fun once you get a good lamp! Check out my pics. They are titled homemade goo 1,2,and 3.
Comment by kjun on March 20, 2009 at 8:24am
after turning ot on and off a few times, the lava has gotten more opaque and it's now a perfect cobalt blue color. The lamp looks perfect.
Comment by dj leo on March 19, 2009 at 4:13pm
would ask your e-mail because I do TBN such lava lamps but sometimes I fail to prefeccion maybe if we contact may help achieve this, I leave you my e-mail is always connected dj_agency@hotmail.com to msn, I hope your answer thanks.
my name is leonardo and I'm from bs as argentina
Comment by kjun on March 3, 2009 at 11:33am
I highly reccommend the retro-basic formula and a cheap bottle (the SOBE was $2.00). I wanted to use an absolut Vodka bottle but i couldn't find an empty bottle, with the actual vodka in it, it was like $60!
I wanted to try the formula that uses benzyne alcohol, but that stuff's like $25 for 100ML, far too expensive for experimentation.
This formula works awesome when you get it just right. The one I built works and looks better than the one i bought from a store!
Comment by kjun on March 3, 2009 at 11:29am
At first, I tried Dry Cleanser everywhere but they all use someyhing else now. So I went to candaian tire and lookd at BRAKE CLEANSERS. I found one without a "flammable" label. I looked at the First-Aid section of the label since that's where they tell you what's in it, it had pure Perc (listed as tetrachloroethelyne on the can, but it's the same thing as perc) and C02 as the propellant. Take a look at Wal-Mart or any automotive store and find a Brake Cleaner that DOES NOT HAVE THE FLAMMABLE LABEL, and it's probably what your looking for.

Hope this Helps!
Comment by Keith on March 3, 2009 at 10:32am
That is fantastic!! You have accomplished something that very few people ever have. I have not attempted this yet and I have a question - Where did you get the perc?
Hope you get extra credit for this project!

Keith

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