Cloudy Lava Lamp (Updated)

lavalamp

I have enjoyed my lava lamp since I got it for Christmas last year.  It is my very first lava lamp and I sit at my desk chair sometimes staring at it for literally 10-20 minutes.  It is that interesting to me.  What is even more interesting, or probably more disturbing, is the fact that the water used to be crystal clear, and now it’s yellow.  I don’t know why it has turned yellow, but apparently it’s a common problem with lava lamps.

Here is my lava lamp in December 2011 when I first got it, and here it is now in January 2013 a year later.

 lava lamp december 2012 lava lamp january 2013

What a huge difference.  I wonder what would cause the water to turn yellow like that?  I never thought anything of it until I was browsing through the pictures in the My Pictures folder on my computer and came across it.  I then suddenly remembered how clear it used to be.  Naturally I went to Google to research it to see if anyone else has had this issue and to see if there was anything to do about it.  I did find several websites that mentioned it and even a solution.

Update: I deleted everything I had typed out before and retyped it.  I took out those links and here is why.  I followed their instructions which seemed legit to me because more than one website mentioned the same exact thing, but all it did was mess up my lamp.  Here is what it looked like after I tried their fix.

lava very cloudy from salt

I was devastated when this happened to my lava lamp.  The instructions were to let it cool so the wax was solid and open the top of the lava lamp and dump the water out into the sink.  Then put new water from the tap in and swish it around to get all the grease off the walls of the lamp which meant doing that a couple of times.  Then they said to fill it up with tap water and add a couple drops of dish liquid and add a mixture of epsom salt and water with a straw.  Those white flakes in the image to the left is the result of the epsom salt.

I let the lamp cool down and dumped the water out and added new water and more soap, but not the epsom salt and turned it on and there was still epsom salt in the wax at the bottom, so it took several times of rinsing it out to get it back to this…

lava afterI was thrilled beyond belief when the lava lamp was back to normal and the lava was rising.  But then it stopped rising and went back down and never went back up again.  What did I do wrong?  Like an idiot I mixed a tiny amount of epsom salt with a lot of water and added an inch full from a straw and I got that image from above again.  UGH!

That blew my mind that such a tiny amount of epsom salt would do the same thing as a bunch of epsom salt in a smaller amount of water.  I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.  I rinsed it out again and didn’t add ANY salt at all and the lava wouldn’t go up again.  I searched for more instructions because I really want this working again.  I found one guy who made a video and said don’t use too much soap because it will ruin your lava lamp.  He also said to use 1 tablespoon of regular table salt and use the straw to add it, which I did and it still won’t rise.

I’m not sure if every time I had to rinse it out and added more soap if the soap ruined the wax or what, but it’s not rising anymore at all.  I rinsed it out again and didn’t add anything and it is just not working.  I think I screwed it up beyond repair.

Of course I have questions, like did I use the wrong dish liquid?  It’s Palmolive anti-bacterial, maybe it didn’t have enough of the right ingredient.  Maybe I used the wrong epsom salt.  The epsom salt I have is generic and it’s hard as a rock.  I assume it’s because the ziplock bag it is in wasn’t manufactured properly because the zips don’t line up right so air gets in, maybe that’s why it’s hard, maybe moisture got in.  Perhaps if I bought a brand name epsom salt then it might work, but what if I bought some and tried it and it still messed it up?  What if, what if, what if…

Another update:  It works!  Here is a brand new post with a video.

Walnut Hollow Hot Tool Issues

July 15th 2009:

I just emailed Walnut Hollow with this query but I wanted to post it here as well.

I have a Creative Versa-Tool wood burning kit.  Sometimes the points get black from being used so much or maybe from being turned on for extended periods of time.  The points I can sand with a very fine metal sandpaper which I usually use when needed but the threads on the points also get black.  I can use a wire brush to get the black off the threads on the points but what about the inside of the tool?

I’m having issues getting the points on and even taking them off.  I have to use a pair of pliers to put the points on and take them off because it’s so tight from all the black on the threads.

So while I await their response I’m going to save this post as a draft so I don’t have to edit my post.

I am still waiting for their response but while I was waiting I decided to try my own little experiment.  I tried looking for a wire brush, it looks like a tooth brush but it’s wire instead of the normal plastic bristles your tooth brush has.  I wasn’t so lucky but I did find something that is a bit longer than the average tooth brush with longer bristles and is meant for use in the kitchen.  So I grabbed that and also a can of WD-40 meant to keep my bicycle lubed up at all times.

I sprayed some of that on 2 of my points and it soaked the In ‘N Out Burger napkins on my desk so the bottom of my desk is now an oily mess.  I proceeded to scrub the shit out of the points with the brush and even though I could see some blackness going onto the bristles, the threads didn’t change.

I then squirted some WD-40 into the chamber where you screw the points, not too much, I flipped it over and tapped it on the napkin so in case I put too much in there then it would drip out.  I then tried screwing a point on and unscrewing, you know, to grease the threads and it seems to have helped a little but not too much.  Maybe it just needs that to be done several times to get that shit out of the threads on the inside and on the points.

It’s too late now to get a response so back to the draft this post goes until I get a response hopefully tomorrow (Thursday).

July 20th 2009:
Dear Michel,

I believe that the ‘black’ on the Points and threads is due to a reaction when the metals get hot from the tool. To remove this, you can use fine grade sandpaper. As for any difficulty you have changing the Points using pliers, try using powdered graphite (found at most hardware stores) to help with changing Points on the tool. Powdered graphite is mostly used in locks to make keys slide in and out easier – works on our hot tool threads also.

Hope this helps,

Chris

Bike Wash

I decided that today I would wash my bike.  When I was at the store I bought some Dawn dish soap because it’s better at cutting grease than any other soap that I’ve used.  So I put some in a big bowl and grabbed a cleaning brush, it looks like a very very big tooth brush but it’s not.

I scrubbed and scrubbed every thing that was dirty and then I put some WD-40 on it so it wouldn’t give me any problems.  Then after that I started screwing everything that I thought needs to be screwed.

I do need some new peddles though.  The right pedal is breaking so it’s going to be no good soon and I won’t be able to ride it at all until I get some new ones.  The peddles that came with it are hard plastic so you have to expect that.  I’m going to get some metal ones that look the same but aren’t plastic.  And the reflectors keep slipping out of the right one too so that could pose problems.  Good thing I don’t ride at night.

I also adjusted the generator for the lights so it’s not on the top of the tire which provides more resistance when I’m riding.  I made it so it touches the metal wheel instead.  That’s actually the way it’s supposed to be but the directions said I could put it on either way.  I just never changed it until now.

Bike Maintenance

Yesterday when I came home from riding my bike I tightened the gears on the handlebars and fixed that but decided today was the day I was going to do maintenance on my bike.  I wanted to get some degreaser and cleaner for the gears on the back wheel and the chain and scrub it all to clean it then put some new grease on it but I need Darrin to take me to the bike store.  I don’t want to ride it there because it’s kinda far and I don’t want to have to have bottles of cleaner and grease in bags hanging on my handlebars.  Yeah I know I could use a backpack but that’s ok.  I’d rather be driven there.  I’d also like to walk through the store looking around and not worry that my bike is getting stolen.

What I did do today was I took the back wheel off because it has been wobbling and I know it’s not supposed to do that.  Before I figured out how to fix it I noticed that the ball bearings were getting close to falling out.  That’s not good.  I knew that I am lucky that I finally got around to fixing it because if it got any looser that I’d be in trouble.  I got it tightened but too tight so I had to loosen it hehe.

All fixed but not lubed up so hopefully soon I can get the cleaner and grease and get that done.