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Thread: making your own fog juice?

  1. #1

    Default making your own fog juice?

    EDIT: please read mixedgas's posts to learn why you should be cautious about doing this.

    So many knowledgeble people in this forum. i thought i'd ask you guys if this is okay:

    So is it okay to make your own fog juice and use it for a cheap ($40) fogger?

    Ive never had a fog machine before.

    A fog juice seller I know says it is bad and not usng their fog juice with their fogger will decrease the life span of the fogger, but I wouldnt be surprised if they were lying to sell their fog juice.

    Im planning on buying a cheap fogger like that, but the litre of fog juice the person sells is like 40% of the price of the fogger. And since he says 1 litre gets used up in 1 minute by that fogger and also he doesnt always have fog juice in his shop i think i should try to make my own juice.

    There are tutorials on the internet telling you just need 70% distilled water mixed with 30% glycerin.
    is that really all you need? No danger or damage to the fogger involved?

    Id like to ask this too: how long can you keep your fog juice for later use?

    One last question: how much fog is too much? I easily get carried away with these stuff, wouldnt want to get high in my garage from too much fog...

    Thank you guys as always.
    Last edited by zorn; 05-27-2014 at 05:25.

  2. #2
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    Water plus glycerin is not the best mix. It works, sometimes, however.... A lot of tutorials are on the web by people who will do anything to save a Euro/Dollar/Ruble/Pound/Centavo.. Some of them find something that works, but it may not be tested for audience exposure. Fog juice is usually a mixture of food grade / fish derived glycols, related to glycerin but not the same molecule. Food grade chemicals are used because in bulk they are cheap, and yet they will be more then pure enough and consistent for good "process control".

    So the fog is "cracked" when it passes through the boiler. Sort of like burning, but without the oxygen. So what you breath is the product of this chemical process. If you use the wrong stuff, long term it is hazardous. If you use the really wrong stuff, it can be very hazardous, especially if you use Ethyl or Methyl Glycols..(Antifreeze)

    Most manufacturers do not disclose their exact mix, so there is a lot of bad information out there. Is it worth risking your health? Especially indoors!

    30% Pharmacology grade Glycerin will work in some machines, but is not optimal for maximum, clean, nearly odorless, fog. It may have a perfume or preservative added to it, at least what my local drugstore sells, does. That perfume when "cracked" in the machine smells awful.

    In most parts of the world, if you buy professional juice in bulk the pricing is not that bad. Its the "per litre" costs in small batches that are expensive.

    1 LPM is a huge amount of juice. How many Watts/What model is this machine? 1 Litre in your average single car garage is a couple of days of useful fog.



    Steve
    Last edited by mixedgas; 05-26-2014 at 10:33.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorn View Post
    So is it okay to make your own fog juice and use it for a cheap ($40) fogger?
    You can, but as Steve posted, you will have unpredictable results. And yes, you will probably shorten the life of your fogger. But at $40, that isn't a huge concern.

    A fog juice seller I know says it is bad and not usng their fog juice with their fogger will decrease the life span of the fogger, but I wouldnt be surprised if they were lying to sell their fog juice.
    There is *SOME* truth to this, but it's more about using cheap fog juice vs premium fluid. Cheap fluid can shorten the life span of the fogger. It causes carbon build-up in the heating element and can eventually plug it up completely. Your "home-made" fog juice is even more likely to cause this. However, most commercial brands are safe to use in just about every fogger. Just be sure you are actually using FOG juice (and not hazer fluid).

    the litre of fog juice the person sells is like 40% of the price of the fogger.
    That's crazy expensive. I buy Froggy's Swamp Juice, which is a premium fog fluid that really lasts a long time, and I pay around $28 per GALLON for it. The reason I use it is because it lasts (hangs in the air) longer than any other fluid I've tried (and I've tried over half a dozen brands) and it gives the best looking fog. Check Amazon or E-bay for "Froggy's Swamp Juice" and buy some. You won't be disappointed.

    he says 1 litre gets used up in 1 minute by that fogger
    He is wrong. Way, WAY wrong! There's no way a $40 fogger will use up a liter of fog juice in one minute. If you had the button held down continuously you might use that much in an hour, but I doubt it. (With small foggers, even if you hold the button down, once the heater cools a bit the pump shuts off until it warms back up again, so you can't produce fog continuously.) Besides, unless you are trying to fog up an auditorium, you wouldn't want to run it continuously anyway.

    I'm assuming you plan to use this in your home or garage, right? If so, a liter will last you quite a while. And if you go with the Froggy's Swam Juice, it will last even longer. (Best to buy that stuff by the gallon though.)

    There are tutorials on the internet telling you just need 70% distilled water mixed with 30% glycerin.
    is that really all you need? No danger or damage to the fogger involved?
    As Steve said, there's more to it than that. You might get it to work, but it will never be as good as professional fluid.

    Id like to ask this too: how long can you keep your fog juice for later use?
    With good quality fluid, you can keep it for years. example: I have a bottle of Froggy's that is 3 years old. (I bought a case of 4 gallons back in 2011) It's more important to keep your fog machine clean. Either fire it up once every couple months, or else clean it if you know it will be out of service for a long time. To clean it, empty the fog juice tank back into the bottle. Then mix up a solution of 10% white vinegar and water and put that in the tank. Run about 6-8 ounces through the fogger (do this outside, because it will stink like hell!), then shut it off, drain the tank, and rinse it with clean water.

    one last question: how much fog is too much? I easily get carried away with these stuff, wouldnt want to get high in my garage from too much fog...
    If you use professional fluid, you won't hurt yourself if you over-fog. If you think you might have too much fog, turn on the lights for a minute. If you can't see the other side of the room clearly, you have too much fog. It's not a problem, it's just wasteful.

    Adam

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    We use pharma grade propylene glycol, mixed with de-ionised water, it's the same stuff they use in electronic cigarettes, completely non toxic and not expensive.

    Works absolutely fine diluted 3-5:1.

    Nick

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    Propylene glycol is one of the core materials used in the commercial mix. The mix matters, if its too thick, the machine clogs. If its too wet, the machine sputters water. If the mix is mostly water, it rises well from the extra steam, but has poor scattering of light. If the mix is heavy on Glycols, it sinks but can be nearly opaque. You can then adjust the "loft" of the fog by adding distilled water. It is best to start with a heavy mix, and dilute down as needed.
    You can never remove the water once added, so....

    I'm not so sure any amount of man made particulate in the lungs is totally safe. Theatrical unions in the US and Europe have made extensive studies for the safety of dancers and actors, and they have recommendations on what is best for fog and haze. One of the strongest recommendations is to use proper materials with the right molecular weight, and not toy with impure materials. There is a correlation between using the right (high quality) grade of fluid, and being able to reduce how much material you need to do the job indoors. If the particle size is correct, the body is better at rejecting it. Too small and too large are both bad.
    Those studies are on line in many cases.

    higher grade fluid is more expensive, but in the long term it saves you money.

    It stores well (Decades) if you keep it out of the light. UV light very slowly decomposes the material.

    Steve
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    deionized water is best but double distilled should work. The idea is to remove the dissolved solids like calcium or you get fine dust all over everything and the fogger will plug from scale.

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    You should be able to find de-ionised water at your local car accessories store - it's used for topping up batteries.

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    Default ETHICS 101

    Zorn, this is not a critique of what you are personally doing, but intended to be a warning to all who read this thread:

    Just remember. What you expose yourself to is up to you. What you expose a audience to, has to be, professional and ethical. They unknowingly trust you to use the right materials. They assume they are safe. This includes fog juice. Repeated exposure to PG vapor is known to cause respiratory illness, allergies, and asthma in young children. You have a legal duty of care towards your audience.

    IF you check the WIKI, you will find there are various purities of PG. Make sure your using Pharma or similar grade PG, and not some 45% purity industrial grade. It does partially decompose going through the fog, so if its impure, you have no idea what's coming out of the machine.

    Once upon a time, a maker of industrial and military haze and fog machines came to the ILDA conference every year. He told us about extensive lab work he had to do in the 90s to prove his machines and fluids were reasonably safe. He had cautionary tales about people getting sick if improvised fluids were used. He actually went out of his way to get monomolecular (very expensive) grades of fluids for his hazers so he knew what he was exposing people to. Those expensive fluids were renowned for their performance.
    Again, Don't cut corners on the materials!

    Steve
    Last edited by mixedgas; 05-27-2014 at 05:21.
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  9. #9
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    One of the problems with chemicals is the names often refer to broad classes of chemicals, there are quite a few glycols, there is more then one variation on glycerine. So we can get into this whole debate about what is what, and who uses what. Obviously it is not in the interest of a theatrical supplier to disclose what they use. So my warning is a generic one. Unless you can find credible, professionally peer reviewed, literature about what has and has not been scientifically tested, one is advised not to use a given chemical.

    A example of a bad site, here is a page that "gives" mixtures used:

    http://chemistry.about.com/od/howthi...machines_3.htm

    Where is a single reference in her article stating where she got the data that those mixtures are safe? For example, She mentions mineral oil. Mineral oil is used in Hazers, not the classical water based fog machine, where it would cause severe problems, including instant clogging of the boiler. I'd love to talk to Dr A.M. Helmenstine, Ph.D. about giving chemical mixtures without citing references. Her page implies credibility, because she HAS a PhD. But if she would have checked, she would have found oil is used in cracking or atomization hazers.

    So I do some checking and she has a history of this: http://blog.chembark.com/2013/06/21/...akes-me-vomit/

    Not just any oil is used in Hazers either. When we made home made hazers, we found drug store mineral oil has additives that irritate your throat. We found out the hard way, by using it. When asked, Marc Gringas of MDG warned us about this and we located proper oil. Here is our page http://www.laserfx.com/Backstage.Las...obbyHaze2.html. We skipped one step, we really should have had a tank of CO2 gas on that machine to stop the oxidizing of the oil. But it worked, although it really stank up the house and was a bit irritating. If I had to do a oil based hazer today, it would not even have a heater, just a compressor and special diffusers to atomize the oil.

    I'll see what I can find on pure glycerin/glycerol, but so far I just have anecdotal explanations that it is used. I can tell you this, it makes a overly thick fog, and does not dilute well. I just tried it. It also leaves a slippery mess.



    I CAN verify that pure PG is used. I CAN verify that Triethylene Glycol is used.

    See:
    http://www.flsi.net/flsi/PDF/Unifire...ke%20Fluid.pdf


    Another Material Data Safety Sheet shows the following:

    Triethylene Glycol CAS# 112-27-6
    Monopropylene Glycol CAS# 57-55-6
    Dipropylene Glycol CAS# 110-98-5
    Demineralized Water CAS# 7732-18-5

    I have not found Glycerin in a single commercial FOG FLUID MSDS. I can only find it mentioned in home-made recipes.

    Clive has a good page on this, explaining why Glycerol/Glycerin is outdated. Clive's been in the business for decades, and has some credibility:

    http://www.bigclive.com/smoke.htm

    Steve
    Last edited by mixedgas; 05-27-2014 at 08:50. Reason: Y
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    Propylene glycol is used to make you clean your bowls before colonoscopy. They sell it on amazon. 13.00 a quart food grade. Buy some fog fluid and a densitometer. Measured the density of the liquid. Add distiller waste to the propyl until they match density. Now your mix matched theirs in terms of water to propyl ratio. That at least gets you in the ballpark. I do not know what other additives are used if any. I think u will find u are better off buying it premade. I like rosco fog fluid.

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