Step 9: 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.
I'm trying to recreate this with some extra twists (fiber optic cable too out outside the tube) but I'm stuck on the growing the crystals part. Its becoming very frustrating. I've used a big back of alum granules from the internet then I went to the store to buy 10 more little spice alum granules (not mccormoicks) and now I'm thinking my best bet is going to be lab grade (found 500g for $11). Because the crystals just arent growing on the structure, theres a layer on the bottom. Any help would be extremely useful
Very impressive! We had done something somewhat similar (minus the awesome lights!) with copper wire and silver nitrate. I will try your to make your lamp, and use the silver nitrate for the crystals!<br>Great job!
A word concerning another problem you may have in time: the laser-cut acrylic plastic can crack due to internal stresses set up by the laser-cutting process. Any cutting process heats (and melts) the surface at the cuts. These surfaces cool and try to shrink, but are braced by the bulk of the unheated material. They remain in tension, and cracks can start from imperfections over time.<br><br>You can see these stresses by illuminating the pieces with polarized light and viewing through another polarizer. Stressed areas will pass light; the rest will be dark.<br><br>The solution is to anneal out these stresses. You take the parts (remove the protective paper) after fabrication and put them in an oven. They are heated to a temperature that allows stress to relieve, but not enough to warp (probably about 180 degrees F), hold at that temperature until the bulk is at that temperature, then cool slowly so that essentially the entire bulk cools together. This will require at least 12 hours. The large gear will be the item you must watch carefully for warping. Annealing can be done more slowly at lower temperatures. The quality of the anneal can be checked with the polarizer set.
Thank you for the wonderful information!! This is really good stuff! I just started to notice these cracks and I was wondering what was causing them since they didn't form in areas that would experience stress. Thank you for clearing that up for me and everyone else viewing this! I hope you don't mind, but I've included the information you posted into the instructable.
WOW! You should enter in the teacher contest... ;)
Hehe, thanks. Though I think I'll leave that one for the actual teachers out there. :) They don't get enough love as is.
Very cool. Well structured 'able, plus it was entertaining to read. It was obvious you had time to devote to writing out each step and it was well spent. I'm curious if you did the same with RGB LED strings if you could actually mimic a DNA strand or at least sync your base string with the encapsulated string as the base appears to wash out the EL wire a bit.<br><br>Good luck in you job hunting. If nothing else, maybe you can sell a few of these to some high end boutiques, maybe even turn them into a 'smoking accessory' and tap that market - heard a few of those sold in the thousands...
Hehe, thank you! Yeah, I had thought about the RGB LED strands, it is a good idea but it complicates the process a bit since supplying it with power becomes a bit more difficult than the current process. I think it is totally doable and I have considered it, but it hasn't gone much further. As for washing out the EL-wire. I think that is likely due to the batteries being low when I was taking the photos and videos. Initially it was much brighter. Though, I suspect I may skip the el-wire in future versions. I've had two strands fail on me so far and I've yet to track down the failure point and the difference between on and off is noticeable, but only if you know what you are looking for.
This is great stuff guy, check out my friends art work featuring crystals... http://www.twentytwelvenataraja.com/Gallery-%20Main.htm ...Hope you enjy! :)
Thank you for the kind words and the link. Your friend's artwork is really impressive. Those are wonderful paintings.
Going to make it into the Left-handed DNA hall of fame (http://www.fred.net/tds/leftdna/). DNA is usually a right-handed helix.
Dorght, I was thinking that as well. Either way, it's fantastic. Brilliant work :)
Fascinating, I was completely unaware that it had a preference, though I suppose that shouldn't surprise me. Thanks for the info!
Excelente!!<br>Sin dudas una escultura con mucha ciencia..<br>Voy a tratar de reproducirla. Es probable que cambie algunos materiales, pero intentar&eacute; que quede lo m&aacute;s parecida posible.<br>Mis felicitaciones por tama&ntilde;o trabajo!<br>Ah! Seguramente puedas desarrollar este y otros trabajos para poder comercializar y asi pagar tus cuentas y hasta puedas seguir siendo un artista independiente para hacer lo que te gusta y vivir de ello.<br>Te deseo felices fiestas y un pr&oacute;ximo a&ntilde;o lleno de bendiciones y fortuna.<br>
Thank you!! I would love to see the results when you finish it! I am hoping I can, this is kind of my first attempt at doing so. We'll see. Happy holidays to you as well!
FYI, heating distilled water can be a bit dangerous. It can become super heated without boiling, and when you stick a spoon in it, it will instantly boil and explode all over, possible causing burns. If you are stirring the entire time though, it shouldn't be a problem and I think having the alum in the water will prevent it from doing this as well.<br><br>Nice looking lamp by the way! I like the idea of using crystals to shape the DNA.
Wow! I had never heard of this. Absolutely fascinating though. Thanks for the info!
Cool lamp, you should try to do so.
Congratulations on being featured. Great looking sculpture. I hope it looks good on your resume.
Thank you everyone for the kind comments. I am glad people seem to like the project.
Autocad inventor? 2010?
Oh, oops, I should clarify. <br><br>Autodesk Inventor 2012. I was using the 30 day trial version that changed over to the student/unemployed version that they offer through their education community. http://students.autodesk.com/ <br><br>
I have Autodesk 2012 also, but I don't like one of the menus and the new rendering process, however I got a new videocard so it might run smoother. I currently run Autodesk Inventor 2011 Pro. You can even see some of my &quot;widgets&quot; I made on my instructables page. I don't even have the more sophisticated ones on there like my new computer case I'm building in a HS shop class, Since I'm a junior on my last shop class, I'll leave with a BANG!<br>I have some pictures of the 3D Rendering in ACAD. My favorite part is that you can either draw it in 2d or 3d and convert between them. I'd rather make an object then make steps, even if I have to redo it over for them, like in my tutorials I've done it at least twice before I record so it free-sails nicely. Tell me what you think of my project. I was actually going to make your lamp, but i'm a little low on money right this moment...<br>
Nice looking stuff. Personally I am rather impressed with Inventor as a whole. This is my first real attempt at making something using it. I was impressed at how intelligent it was overall. <br><br>On your project, it looks nice. Very stylish for a computer case. Good work.<br>
Gorgeous lamp, it looks amazing!
super awesome!!!!!
I love the way this looks, nice job!

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Bio: I am a visual effects artist (games mostly). I enjoy building random stuff, especially lamps. I am hoping to move into producing commercial products in ... More »
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