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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
Hey, that looks neat Dennis! I still lack the nerve to try to blow glass. It is one thing to do that in a well equipped lab, with the right equipment, but in my garage, with flammable stuff everywhere? Now, if I could blow one with wood I would be going at it.

Rethinking my experience as a college student glass blower (in 1959), the way to do this correctly is:
1. start with a piece of 3/8 inch diameter glass tubing.
2. heat one end red hot.
3. gently blow in the other end while turning the tube around its axis so it doesn't droop.
4. Stop when you have the desired ball diameter.
5. Anneal it by gently heating the whole end area and letting it slowly cool.
6. heat an area about 2 inches away from the ball until red hot.
7. gently blow until that part flares out into another ball.
8. Anneal it again.
9. heat between the two balls until red hot
10. gently blow - very gently - while bending the tube about 135 degrees angle. The blowing is to keep the tube from collapsing.
11. Anneal the whole thing again.
12. The hard part: use a diamond point tool to scribe a cut arount the second ball, so when it snaps off there you have the desired flare left.
13. Heat the cut edge to round it
14. anneal the whole thing one last time.

And, don't forget the very first rule - buy lots of glass tubing so the tenth try will finally all work out well!
 

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Ahh, good explination. The hardest part with mine was making the angle without it collapsing. I thought you were supposed to pull and bend but blowing and bending sounds like it would work better. unfortunately, all this is hard to do with a 3" long test tube. Blowing the ball end was really cool and I have never done anything like that before.

I may need to go find some glass tube locally...

Anyway, back to the subject at hand
 

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Try using a heat gun (like a hair dryer, but hotter) to weld PET plastic. That way if it gets too hot you can just back off a little.

Also maybe try using two different bottles of different diameters. Use the bottom off of the smaller one and flare it out where it meets the top of the larger. That way you get more surface to surface contact which means a stronger weld.
 

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Here is my contribution to the DIY drop checker:

Took me about 15 m inutes and a Benzomatic torch. Truth be told though, I have been dinking around with this for a few days and this is my 5th attempt. Not great but functional and fun to do. I never considered heating and actually blowing the end until hoppy suggested it. Also, you'll notice the end is broken, apparently a screw driver is not a substitute for a carbon rod to flare the end. After it broke I did heat the end so it is not sharp and the fishies are safe. This may turn out ok though as it broke at a real angle meaning that the water interface is a little larger than it would be otherwise. kH is 4.2 (Lamotte-80ppm) and solution has about 4 drops of indicator from the AP pH test kit.

Thats brilliant. I think I will grab a test tube and give that a shot.
 

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May I ask what a Drop checker is?

Never mind. I figured it out.
 

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Ahh, good explination. The hardest part with mine was making the angle without it collapsing. I thought you were supposed to pull and bend but blowing and bending sounds like it would work better. unfortunately, all this is hard to do with a 3" long test tube. Blowing the ball end was really cool and I have never done anything like that before.
This may sound silly but, how do you blow the glass without burning your mouth? It seems like a small test tube would heat up rather quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #67 ·
Glass is a good insulator, so you can have one end of a glass tube at glass melting temperature - red hot - while 6 inches away or less, the glass isn't even warm. That's why you can blow glass safely - just never suck instead of blowing. And, you don't really blow, like you would blow a balloon, you just move some air in to reshape the molten glass. It is extremely easy to blow a hole in the end if you blow hard at all. Another secret is that if you just closed the end of the tube by melting it, then tried to blow a bubble there the glass would get very thin and break. So, you need to first thicken the end a bit by.....as I recall they use a carbon block to rub the end to push it back to thicken the glass. If you do this in the middle of a tube you just push the end of the tube back towards your mouth and that thickens the glass a bit. It is fun and it is easy to just blow a simple ball, but very tricky to get much more complicated.
 

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Just received my 2 drop checkers from HK today - one tear drop shape and one amano style Type 1. Good delivery, 7 days from ordering.

They both look good although no instructions what to do (well, it says fill up to the water line with tank water on the reagent bottle but this is for normal Co2 testing in a test tube, not for this drop checker, and there's no 'line' on the DC's) - thank god for this post!:D

So, off to get some distilled water on way home from work and will let you know how I get on!
 

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This may sound silly but, how do you blow the glass without burning your mouth? It seems like a small test tube would heat up rather quickly.
I found it a good idea to use the tube from a bic pin and tape it into the open end of a test tube. this makes it easier to roll the tube around while you heat it evenly so you don't have a blow out on one side or unevenly formed bubble. Slow air pressure pressure is important when blowing so you don't expand the glass too quickly. I also use a propane torch for this so it heats it quickly. Just besure that the room you are doing it in is not too cold or the tube will crack from cooling too quickly.
 

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I just made one from a glass test tube. It doesn't look half as good as denis' though. I couldn't get the glass to bubble out at the end, just slightly rounded. Function over form I guess. Testing to see if it works now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #72 ·
The only good reason to have the bulb is so it holds enough distilled water/indicator solution so you can easily tell what color it is. Otherwise it functions with or without it.
 

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I just made one from a glass test tube. It doesn't look half as good as denis' though. I couldn't get the glass to bubble out at the end, just slightly rounded. Function over form I guess. Testing to see if it works now.
The trick for that seems to be hotter than you think and to put the tip of the flame directly on the corned of the tube where the 90 degree angle is.
 

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hii..

i just made my DIY drop checker.. with KH of 5.

but the solution is still blue!! after 5 hours and blue?

why??
Seems to me like its still blue beacause its doing its job.... That is, if it's made correctly and allowing for the two solutions to reach eq with each other. It would indicate that you dont have enough CO2 dissloved in your tank. *hint* the whole point of having a drop checker ;) to be able to moniter a general estimated amount of CO2 in the water..... if its blue not enough... green means good to go, yellow.... well Im still playing with that one, for me yellow doesnt always mean to much CO2.... but in general your fish are going to let you know about when there is too much
 

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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
Seems to me like its still blue beacause its doing its job.... That is, if it's made correctly and allowing for the two solutions to reach eq with each other. It would indicate that you dont have enough CO2 dissloved in your tank. *hint* the whole point of having a drop checker ;) to be able to moniter a general estimated amount of CO2 in the water..... if its blue not enough... green means good to go, yellow.... well Im still playing with that one, for me yellow doesnt always mean to much CO2.... but in general your fish are going to let you know about when there is too much
Those of us who were believing the pH/KH/CO2 chart and thought we had plenty, if not too much, CO2 in the water, can now tell if we really do have the 30-40 ppm we should have. And, most of us will have to crank up the bubble rate to get there - to get the blue to change to green. That is the advantage of this method - it truly is an accurate way to measure the ppm of CO2 in the tank water. The only errors will be our judgement of the color green, and our mistakes in setting the distilled water KH at 4 or 5 dKH. We can reduce the effect of those mistakes by being very careful in how we judge the color and the KH of the distilled water.

When the bulb is yellow, with 4dKH distilled water, that means a pH of about 6.0 to 6.2, or 75 to 120 ppm of CO2! That is too much! I doubt anyone believing that even 75 ppm is tolerable in the tank. Of course if the bulb is only slightly yellowish green, the ppm may still be ok.
 

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Those of us who were believing the pH/KH/CO2 chart and thought we had plenty, if not too much, CO2 in the water, can now tell if we really do have the 30-40 ppm we should have. And, most of us will have to crank up the bubble rate to get there - to get the blue to change to green. That is the advantage of this method - it truly is an accurate way to measure the ppm of CO2 in the tank water. The only errors will be our judgement of the color green, and our mistakes in setting the distilled water KH at 4 or 5 dKH. We can reduce the effect of those mistakes by being very careful in how we judge the color and the KH of the distilled water.

When the bulb is yellow, with 4dKH distilled water, that means a pH of about 6.0 to 6.2, or 75 to 120 ppm of CO2! That is too much! I doubt anyone believing that even 75 ppm is tolerable in the tank. Of course if the bulb is only slightly yellowish green, the ppm may still be ok.
I found out the reason.

i've an external filter that built in with the tank hood, and it's type wet dry that came with spray bar..

i stopped the filter for about 4 hours and notice the color of my drop checker is turned to slight green..

with KH of 5 and look's like PH of 6.5 means i've enough CO2,,

even the plant's it's pearling like it never was!!...

then.. now i know the "Drop-Checker" give's the accurate amount of Co2 in my tank..

when testing the water with usually test kit.. test KH and PH and estimate how much CO2 you have.. that's not accurate... DON'T BELIEVE IT!!

Now by MR.Drop-Checker you'll be able to know how much of Co2 you have..

"LIKE YOU NEVER KNOW"
 

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The welded bottle drop checker got me thinking that there has to be a simple way to make a drop checker out of readily available materials that are cheap.

What I came up with I think is easy enough for anyone with a little of the DIY gene. Everything I used came from a LFS except the glue which came from a good hardware store (also available from Tap Plastics online).

The materials are as follows
1 3/16" Lee undergravel filter lift tube
5/8" Lee undergravel filter lift tube
Top Fin airline tubing holders
Acrylic cement




To make this project you need to have some flat plastic for the end caps. Preheat your oven to 200 Degrees F, cut off a piece of the larger tube that is longer than the tube is wide, 1 1/2" should be good. Then cut the tube lengthwise with scissors, Place this piece in the oven on a cookie sheet or any other surface to keep it from falling through the rack. heat until pliable, remove from heat and flatten the plastic by hand and let cool. Gloves can help at this stage, I just lay it out on the counter top and hold it down until it cools. Now you need two flat pieces to stack with the plastic between them for the final flattening. I used two lids off of some glass jar canisters. Place the plastic piece on one surface and lay the other on top, I added a cup of water for weight, bring it up too temperature, leave it hot for a few minutes, then let cool.




nice flat piece of plastic to work with.

Now cut a piece of the larger tube for the body of the drop checker, I made mine 1 1/4" long, I used a chop saw to cut it but any saw or even a knife can cut this material. The Chop saw gave me nice true ends to work with which is important for a good glue job, if you use a less true way to cut the tube then you can true up the ends by laying sandpaper on a flat surface and rubbing the tube end on the sandpaper. Once the ends are true glue the tube down to a piece of the flat material. I then ran a bead of glue around the inside to insure a good joint.

Sorry about the focus on this one.

I sat a weight on top and let sit until the glue cured.

Next take one of the clips for the airline holders.


and trim off the actual clip to give you a flat surface to glue to.


and glue to the side of the body.



Now you need to make the bottom end, to do this you need a hole in the flat material the size of the smaller tube, to cut this hole I used a step drill.


These bits are a very useful tool as they will drill a true round hole in thin material. If you don't have a step drill cut the hole with a hobby knife and sand to fit. Cut a piece of the smaller tube 1/2" shorter than you cut the body and glue it into the hole flush with the end, let dry.
Now take the two pieces and glue together lining up the smaller tube in the center of the larger one and let dry.



This is the bottom


Trim the excess material off of the ends using scissors then file or sand the joints smooth. I hit it with a buffing wheel to clean it up but it's not necessary.

Stick the suction cup on and you are ready.



Happy building
Brian
 

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That's very clever. Well done. A suggestion though, next time try painting the inner tube white so that the color of the indicator is easier to see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #80 ·
Wow! That is a neat way to make one of these. How much did the materials cost you? I wonder if a TAP plastic store would sell such small lengths of tubing? I know you can buy a foot of most of their tubing sizes, but I don't think you can an inch. Acrylic is a great plastic to work with since it is so easy to glue.
 
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