DNA Sculpture Desk Lamp: Grown Crystal, EL-Wire, Acrylic, Silicone and Aluminum

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Step 9: Encapsulating the wire and crystals in the final housing.

Picture of Encapsulating the wire and crystals in the final housing.
This step requires the final housing, the Encapso-K silicone, graduated mixing cups (2), a mixing stick, the crystal sculpture, nitrile gloves and popsicle sticks. 

Start by placing the final housing tube, mirrored-acrylic-disk-side, down and making sure it is level.  Suspend the sculpture as you did in the growing chamber with one minor modification.  Because you will be filling this to the rim, you do not want a popsicle stick placed across the opening of the tube--it will result in a strip of bubbles in the silicone that, while not horrible or really noticeable, is not ideal.  To avoid this, break a popsicle stick into a few pieces and glue them to the bottom of another full stick to form a stack that keeps it support on the rim, but not overlapping into the open area.  Use additional sticks to adjust the hang height until you are happy with it. 

Mix up the silicone according to the provided instructions.  Start with one full kit (one bottle each of part A and B).  Once mixed, pour against the side of the tube to minimize air entrapment.  You can do this through a funnel as well if you desire.   After that batch is poured, mix up the next one.  This will not use the entire bottle so do it in smaller batches until it is completely filled.  Allow this to sit for 24 hours at room temperature or as indicated by the instructions.    Important note, do not move it after you have poured if at all possible until the 24 hour window has passed.  It can result in visual tears inside the setup, dislodged crystals, or an implosion.  

Also, at this point it may be beneficial to take the clear acrylic disk with the two holes in it and place it on top of the final housing after running the power leads from the el-wire through the holes.   This will keep the power leads at the appropriate width so you don't tear the silicone later when you cement the disk in place.  It is not necessary, but may reduce the possibility of tears in the silicone later when you adjust the wires to fit through the holes. 

After this has cured, glue the clear disk to the top making sure to only place adhesive on the rim of the acrylic tube and not on the silicone.  It might do bad things to the surface of the silicone... I didn't have the heart to check.  Let this cure and set the entire assembly aside.

Next, the cap and collar.