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-   -   Microcrystalline Wax (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/alternative-imaging-methods/27433-microcrystalline-wax.html)

Frank Ladner June 11th, 2004 02:56 PM

Microcrystalline Wax
Hey guys!

I just got off the phone with John Gomes, Vice President of Strahl & Pitsch (www.spwax.com), providers of fine natural wax since 1904.

He is a very helpful, very friendly guy. He is sending me a 1 Lb. block of microcrystalline to try out. I will be doing some research on how to work with this stuff, (like preventing bubbles, etc.), and I will let you guys know what I find out.

Any of you that have worked with wax, I would appreciate any pointers you could give me.



Mike Metken June 11th, 2004 03:39 PM

I don't think that this will be a great idea. You may just use white paint and will get better results easier. Realize how it works. The same way.

Bob Hart June 11th, 2004 08:29 PM

-- but if the white paint is thin enough?

Frank. I mentioned this somewhere else here on a wax discussion - (homemade boss screen). To avoid the bubbles and ensure an even thickness of the wax layer, it might be best to liquefy wax in a container larger enough that you can submerge your groundglasses and bring them together uner the surface. To avoid cracking them it might be best to put them in when the wax is barely melted after the glasses themselves have been pre-warmed. Once they have been brought together and no bubbles wan be seen between them, allow the whole wax block with glasses inside to cool and harden then remove the wax block off the outside of the glass.

I would recommend a welders apron and gloves to avoid burns.

The container might best be a metal food can which can be cut away and discarded.

Josh Brusin June 11th, 2004 09:09 PM

I have a sculpture degree working in wax (really!) your best bet is to heat the piece of glass, hold it with tweezers (not too hot) and dip in (one side only) in wax, tilt it quick and if the glass is hot the majority of the wax should run off leaving the glass almost uncoated. I spoke with folks at Rust-Oleum yesterday about their frosted glass spray. Will post any interesting info.

G'luck let us know.

Frank Ladner June 11th, 2004 10:47 PM

I must say I am a little intimidated with the idea of working with hot wax, but I will take your advice and do further research on the subject and let you know what happens.

Mike: I have tried things like petroleum, various papers and different types of tape, but I have not thought of just using paint. After I found out that the MovieTube was using microcrystalline, I just sortof assumed that they'd done all the research and knew what was best, so that was the direction I needed to go. However, your idea is interesting, and would be easier to implement, I think. What sort of white paint would you recommend?

Thank you guys for the input!


Josh Brusin June 13th, 2004 10:04 AM

with the wax you should just use an old pot on the stove. Heat up very small amount. (have never microwaved... hmmm. You can use the microwave to clarify butter btw.) and use tweezers. just get one side and if the glass is warm enough less wax will stick.

Frank Ladner June 14th, 2004 03:27 PM

Sounds easy enough, Josh. Thank you!

Hopefully the amount left on the surface will be sufficient enough for a bright glass.

Thanks again, guys!


Frank Ladner June 17th, 2004 08:41 PM

Ok, the microcrystalline wax arrived today and I did some experimenting, based on you guys' suggestions. (Thanks!)

I put a small chunk of it in an old pot and heated it up. After it became clear and liquidy, I took a UV filter, pre-heated it (with a hairdryer), and dipped one side in the wax. I covered one side of the filter with tape and fashioned a sort of tape handle sticking up, so that I could hold on to it. I just sat the glass side down on top of the wax and wiggled it around a little, to help eliminate any bubbles, etc. I then pulled the glass out and turned it sideways, allowing excess wax to run off the glass, and attempting to even out the remaining wax.

The first try went pretty well. After allowing the wax layer to cool, I put my 35mm lens in front of it to see how the projected image looked. Half of the screen was thicker than the other half, but this was good because I got an idea of where I wanted the thickness to be. The thicker side looked better - no appearance of grain at all. Of course the thicker the wax, the more light it will require.

I took the contraption (holding everything on by hand) outside and shot some test footage. The image was far better than any ground glass I'd ever tested. I was evan able to stop down the iris on the 35mm lens and get no noticeable grain on the thicker side of the glass.

The next thing I tried was to take two glass filters and submerge them in the wax, trying to create a layer of wax between them. *This would be the ideal solution, since the wax would be protected, and you'd only have to wipe the glass sides. (Wax coating would be hard to keep clean.) *
I allowed the whole thing to cool, I cut the filter sandwich out from the wax, and scraped the wax off the outsides of the filters.
I didn't get a thick enough layer, creating a brighter hot spot. (The image still looked good, though.)

I did some more experiments with just a single filter on one side. I found that if you leave the glass in for a few extra seconds, heating it up, that the wax runs off better, as Josh mentioned.
However, I am not able to get it as even as I'd like.

So now I'm looking for advice on how to get a better, even surface.


Josh Brusin June 17th, 2004 09:23 PM

OK here you go... (you gotta make me one of these... (I'll trade you for a bronze piece (small one)) take two pieces of glass and submerge them squeeze them together (wax shouldn't be that hot but get those dark blue shiny gloves from the dishwasher section of the grocery if you want) You should get a fairly consistent span of wax between the two pieces of glass. After it cools take a razor and simply scrape off the front and back sides of the glass... if it looks right get some rubber cement (or better epoxy) and seal the edges...
after a solid two weeks on a project in Flash I'm dying to use my hands for something other than typing/mouse.

Keep me posted!

Josh Brusin June 17th, 2004 09:25 PM

Other thing is to let a slightly thicker layer build up and then rig a cheese slicer or something similar to scrape the layer down evenly.

Rai Orz June 18th, 2004 01:32 AM

Frank, good work, but here is a way you can make a high top quality GG (It is a inside information from my manufacturer. I make some working low cost prof. 35mm solution with and without vibration GG and this time i only examine the patent problems):

For the best result the wax must have a special composition of paraffin an white bees wax (in german "Paraffin" and "Bienenwachs" i hope the translate software are right). The mixture is approx.. 10% white bees wax.

First test it with 2 thin glasses (like cheap glasses for microscope). The wax layer must be thinner than 0,2mm, best results is about 0,09mm. Use narrow strips from aluminum paper, stick it together as spacer on the left and on the right side between the glasses, so it is a very smal space between the glasses. In a pot heat the Wax up. Keep perpendicular the glasses, alu left and right, spaces up and down. Dip the glasses only at the upper edge into the liquid Wax. You will see, the wax rise slowly and without bubbles up in in the gap. You must also heat the glasses, otherwise the wax cools down. Now leave it slowly cooling. 5 minutes, not faster. Maybe use a hair dryer to heat the sides. It is ideal, if the middle cools first

Because the wax layer is very thin, the loose of light is smal, but it brings a big hot-spot. To eliminate this, put 2 convex lenses (+4dip) with flat sides immediately in front and after the GG. Or...

... Thats the best way of all: Donīt use the 2 glasses, use the lenses and fill the wax immediately between them. In this way, it is particularly difficult to cooled the wax first in the middle. It work with cool air (blow with Straw on the thickest point of the lenses left and right), or soft heat only on the sides. But remind: colling 5 minutes, not faster

Brett Erskine June 18th, 2004 02:15 AM

Hey and dont forget to use parafin with a HIGH melting point otherwise what do you think is going to happen on a hot day inside you black adapter. Also look for something a little more consistant then paper to create a gap. Perhaps a large washer. Dont forget to cut a section out of it to let the wax get in. Good luck guys.

Rai Orz June 18th, 2004 05:09 AM

Exactly, why otherwise comes movietube ( http://www.movietube.com ) with a "INTERMEDIATE IMAGE" ? And why is the housing arround this intermediate GG so thickly, like a big ring? Movietube based on the way i posed before. Therefore it is heatly sensitive, the big ring is a heat protection and the GG should be changed from time to time.

Frank Ladner June 18th, 2004 07:08 AM

Thanks for all the responses!

Josh, I hear you - I program all day, so I am glad to get away from the computer and get my hands on a project.

So wax between 2 pieces of glass w/ a seal or washer around the outside is the way to go.

That is a good idea about creating the space beforehand and then filling it with wax.

Josh: Do you see any problems with creating the right amt of space and sealing the pieces first, THEN dipping it into the wax? Using a washer or seal with a notch to let the wax in would work well, since you wouldn't have to worry about it running out the sides.

Brett: I have thought about the melting problem. If the wax is sealed, with no way to escape, and it melts...well, I guess that would still be a problem since it would turn clear. I was going to say that I didn't think it would matter since the wax didn't have anywhere to go.

Rai: Do you mean condenser lenses, or have you used convex lenses for this? Thanks!


Rai Orz June 18th, 2004 08:26 AM

>Do you mean condenser lenses, or have you used convex lenses for this?
A misunderstanding. Your right. A condenser lens is a pair of matched Convex lenses, placed "back to back" in such a way that the curved surfaces face each other in the middle, and the flats are on the outside. I mean it differently around: A pair of convex lenses, placed "back to back", but the flats face each other in the middle, and curved outside.

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