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The Goo Fountain

All > Tech > Inventions > The Goo Fountain by natetrue
The idea is simple - I set out to create a fountain that showcases the elegance of moving thick, viscous goo!

I would be remiss if I didn't start with a video:

You can also download this video in Standard Definition or in HD.

The majority of my inspiration for this fountain is from Arthur Ganson's "Machine with Grease", which unfortunately doesn't have any video online of it working (Jesse showed it to me on the DVD). It's basically a machine with a moving pump that cascades thick grease over its own workings. I can only imagine what it smells like, though!

I had learned about sodium polyacrylamide crystals from a 9th grade science teacher (thanks Mr Ricks!) - they're these crystals that can absorb something like 400 times their own weight in water, forming clumps of gel crystals that are very soft and gooey-feeling.

These are the crystals in their unwatered form. You can find them at home and garden stores as an additive to soil that makes it hold water better. I've also been able to find them on eBay as "soil crystals".
Just dump them in warm or hot water and over several hours they will absorb all the water and become clumpy gel. What we want is goo, so have at them with a hand blender (I love hand blenders) or a normal blender.
You'll notice that the goo is very white and cloudy - this is caused by the blender making very very very tiny bubbles in the goo. To get rid of them you have to make the bubbles rise out of the goo.

How do you do that? Boil the goo in the microwave!

Caution: Hot goo is hot and can burn you! Also watch to make sure the goo doesn't boil over. It's not inherently dangerous but hot goo is difficult to wipe up.

The boiling goo looks really cool. Crappy video ahoy!

Make sure to allow the goo adequate time to cool before rubbing it all over your body. Goo burns hurt!

Now that we have clear goo, what's next? The pump, of course!
I decided to motorize a pump modeled after a basic bicycle air pump - the center "shuttle" moves up and down, with a valve in it to make sure fluid only goes up. There's another valve at the bottom with the same orientation so that the pump both expels goo at the top and draws in goo at the bottom when the shuttle is moving up - the shuttle moving down is just a 'reset' cycle where the shuttle moves below the goo that's already in the tube.

The design of the valves is fairly basic - two brass flaps in the tube flip up when there's pressure below them and flip down against an O-ring when the pressure's above them.
Add the valves into a tube (here seen behind dripping goo) and use some fishing line to pull the shuttle up and down the tube.
Then wind the fishing line around some spools and connect them to a motor. I use a 30 RPM AC timing motor from All Electronics to turn the spools. This motor has a great feature (for this at least) where when it encounters resistance (for example when the shuttle hits the top or bottom of the shaft) it will reverse direction. That's perfect for my goo fountain!

(You may also remember this motor from my creation The Balltrack.)
Next thing, find some elegant wooden bowls. I found these at Wal-mart! The small one is shown with the hole I drilled in it.
To keep everything together, drill some holes in the end of the tube and insert short brass pins.
Press the pins against the wood and drill holes there too.
Now everything fits together and the goo fountain is done! Add goo, plug it in, and enjoy the beauty and zen that is falling goo.
That's all for the goo fountain! If you like my stuff be sure to check out my other creations, as well as the other beautiful creations by other members of the site. Check out the random creation bar to the right, I'm sure you'll find something that interests you!

More creations by natetrue

More creations in Inventions


Posted by natetrue 8 years ago ( 16-Feb-2007 11:27:45 )

Oh, and I may be interested in selling the original Goo Fountain as I will be moving soon. E-mail me if you're interested; the link is at the very bottom of every page.
Attached image:

Posted by natetrue 8 years ago ( 16-Feb-2007 13:10:02 )

And if anyone's wondering what the polyacrylamide crystals look like when they're fully engorged (with fluorescent dye too):
Attached image:

Posted by deffboi 8 years ago ( 10-Aug-2007 10:22:36 )

I've been planing on making my own fountain during my next break from my studies. My original intention was to build a skull where the green fluorescence water would pour out of its mouth. However having stumbled across this goo fountain i believe green fluorescence goo would work so much better! i love your creativity. how ever i am curiously befuddled as to how you have gotten your pump to work. hope you can post more pictures of the mechanics of your pump as i don't have the resources to spare (i wish i did, more fun) to cut open pumps to brainstorm how it would work. Hopefully i'll be able to contribute my own creations to this site:D (not that they would be near your level)


Posted by deffboi 8 years ago ( 11-Aug-2007 09:50:25 )

hehe, nvm... watching ur video i have worked it out. hopefully i can find that motor or similar in australia:D ta ta

Posted by julian 7 years ago ( 28-Jan-2008 02:33:05 )

I think it would be neat to have LED strobes surrounding the underside of the rim, so that you could create a slow-mo goo fountain. Would the goo's consistency make a time goo fountain unrealistic?

This comment was edited at 2008-01-28 02:34:04

Posted by moomoomeal 5 years ago ( 20-Jun-2010 23:25:04 )

add some strobe lights and make the goo look like it is moving backwards and get back to me... lol Just kidding that is a pretty cool product even if it doesn't look like its bending the laws of spacetime.

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