Friday, May 22, 2015

A More Magic, Magic Wand

One of Shira's best dollar store purchases is this guy right here:

That's a magic wand made of a glow stick and plastic medallion that slides on to the end. Kids love them, and they're handy during a power outage or other emergency. (And at $1.00, how can you go wrong?!)

A few weeks ago I came across this article on EDC Forums: Wonky cheeser' everlasting glow stick. The article talks about replacing the goop in a glow stick with Glow in the Dark Powder. The result is a glow stick you can recharge and use as often as you want. I had a spent magic wand from the dollar store to try this with, so I went for it.

I picked up the powder from eBay: Green Glow-in-the-Dark Powder Pigment Strontium Aluminate for Sticks/Stars/Paint. Not knowing how much I'd need I picked up 50 grams worth. A week later I had a small bag of the magic powder in my hands.

I clipped both ends off the glow stick and carefully discarded the gunk inside. I then washed and let the plastic tube dry. My plan was to Gorilla Glue one end cap back in place, fill the stick with powder and re-glue the other end cap. Except, Gorilla Glue didn't do the trick. After letting the attached cap set for 24+ hours, it trivially snapped off when I tugged on it. Apparently the type of plastic used in this tube resists Gorilla Glue. I tried some 5 minute epoxy and ended up with the same result. I got the point: standard glue wasn't going to bond to this type of plastic.

I put the project down.

And then it hit me: why was I bothering to re-glue on the ends of the glow stick in the first place? I just needed to properly plug the ends. Gorilla Glue has the property of expanding as it dries, so I figured it would make an ideal cork. So that's what I tried: I carefully filled the bottom of the glow stick with some Gorilla Glue, stood it up on its end, and let it stand for 24 hours. The result: a securely plugged end. Because the leakage didn't bond to the plastic, it was easy clean up any extraneous glue.

Here's the setup as I prepared to fill the tube with glow in the dark powder:

(Note the end caps of the glow stick in the above photos, they're just there to serve as my extra pieces for the project.

And when I was done filling the tube I had the vast majority of my 50 grams of glow in the dark powder left:

I filled the second end of the glow stick with Gorilla Glue and let it dry. The result was in fact an everlasting glow stick! It takes a few minutes in bright sunshine and the results are pretty impressive:

Before you discard all your lighting for glow in the dark powered magic wands, note that there's an obvious Catch 22 here: the wand needs bright light to charge, but when you'd want to use it, it's probably dark out already. So I'm not sure how practical this is. But it's cool, and certainly perfect as a magic wand.

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