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Snow Machine Fluid Recipe


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If you have an artificial snow machine, you know how expensive fluid can be. Despite all those dire warnings about voiding your warranty, and with a little research I've come up with and tested a snow formula that works great and is inexpensive!

A note about those 'Warnings'. I personally think they are bunk -- simply there to make you purchase their outrageously priced fluids. Buying a new printer is similar: the price is LOW for a whole new printer simply because the company knows you are now on the hook to buy their expensive inks. (My Samsung color laser printer is probably the worst. The printer new cost $399. 4 replacement toner cartridges are $360 + shipping.)

I have serious doubts that there is anything in a home made fluid that could 'damage' your snow machine. I have several reasons for this. 1 - Snow machines are NOT 'precision' instruments. The fluid handling part ofmine is a small table-top fountain pump, some plastic tubing, and a fabric 'sock'. 2 - Snow Fluids (including those you purchase) are mostly WATER. I'll bet you do MORE damage to your snow machine if you use tap water instead of distilled. 4 - Everything in a snow fluid has to be safe to be around humans. 5 - Machine makers say you can only use THEIR fluid. Fluid makers say their solution is safe for ALL machines. There is a disconnect there.

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I also have to confess. This isn't exactly my recipe. I found a few on the net (and posted them here). I took one of them and modified it slightly. I tested this with my Amazing Snowman for 20 minutes. NO PROBLEMS.

Recipe:

  • 2 1/4 Gallons DISTILLED water. (Do NOT use tap water)
  • 16oz Mr Bubble Bubble Bath (I used the pink 'Original Bubble')
  • 16oz Wintergreen Rubbing Alcohol

Pour all 2 1/4 gallons of distilled water into a large clean bucket. Add the Mr. Bubble and mix. Add the Rubbing Alcohol and mix again. Note: Add the Alcohol to the water and not the other way around. Rubbing Alcohol and water react creating heat. Use as normal.

Cost:

The Mr. Bubble cost me $4.29 for 40oz. 16oz is therefore $1.71. A oz bottle of wintergreen rubbing alcohol (Walgreens' brand) was $1.79. A gallon of distilled water was $1.19 (total cost $2.68).

The total for 2 1/2 gallons of made solution is $1.71 + $1.79 + $2.68 = $6.18.

Per gallon that's $2.47!

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Notes:

Why 'wintergreen' alcohol? I dunno! The recipe I found said using it was important and that normal alcohol would not work. They were both the same price, so why tempt fate?

What about the 'Snow'? It looks no different than the expensive fluid stuff, blows as high, sticks together as much, the whole 9 yards. The only slight difference I could detect is that the snow is a little bit more 'wet'. I don't know if that can be adjustedby adding even more water (I ran out).

What about adding more water? I'd LOVE to hear from you if you try to 'thin' this recipe out even more. I'd would have tried but ran out of distilled water! Not only would adding more water make it even cheaper, it may make the snow less wet. I know that sounds counter intuitive, but I think the wetness is controlled more by the soap preventing the water from evaporating than by the actual water content. Adding more water would mean there is less soap per flake, which may allow the water to evaporate more quickly.

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I've done some more experimenting and here is what I have found.

I was completely wrong when I thought more water would make the snow less wet. My thinking was thatthe soap kept the water from evaporating, and by having less soap per bubble the bubbles would dry out more quickly. More water does indeed mean wetter flakes.

I did not however take this experiment to it's final conclusion: by trying more/less alcohol,or more soap.

The type of rubbing alcohol also doesn't matter. I used regular this time around and there was no change except the solution did smell a bit better. Wintergreen and Mr. Bubble do NOT mix. The bubbles have no scent. I also found that purchasing supplies from my grocery store was much more economical:

  • Distilled Water was $.89 vs $1.19
  • Rubbing Alcohol was $1.19 vs $1.79
  • Mr Bubble 40oz was $3.79 vs $4.29

The new and improved recipe is:

  • 8 oz (1 cup) Regular Mr. Bubble Bubble Bath
  • 8 oz (1 cup) rubbing alcohol
  • 1-3gallons of distilled water

You'll notice that the amount of water is variable. If you want bigger fluffier flakes, use LESS water and turn your machine DOWN (think flurries). If you want a higher quantity of smaller flakes use more water and turn the machine UP (think ice storm). I would not exceed 3 gallons of water. I've hadthe solutionover 4, but the flakes were not up-to-par.

The new cost per gallon of this solution is:$2.25 - 1 gallon, $1.60 - 2 gallons ($3.20 total), and $1.36 - 3 gallons ($4.08 total).

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Nice job Oldcqr, I saw the same recipe On-Line and was going to try it this weekend. I actually went and bought the stuff last weekend but did not get a chance to test it out. Glad you cleared up the mixture ratios. Just curious, I picked-up the wintergreen alcohol what’s it smell like mixed with Mr. bubble :?

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Rod R wrote:

Nice job Oldcqr, I saw the same recipe On-Line and was going to try it this weekend. I actually went and bought the stuff last weekend but did not get a chance to test it out. Glad you cleared up the mixture ratios. Just curious, I picked-up the wintergreen alcohol what’s it smell like mixed with Mr. bubble :?

Mr Bubble has a very nice smell, even at the higher water to soap ratios. I was amazed at how pretty it smelled. The wintergreen alcohol completely masks that scent,and what you end up with doesn't smell like wintergreen either....

The good news is that the actual snow made by either wintergreen or regular has no scent. The only person who will get to smell it is you mixing the batch.

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  • 1 month later...

Thank You , Thank You, Thank You , for posting this. I am going to start buying snow machines this year for next years show. I was "Floored" over the cost of this fluid.

I now know I can start buying these everyday products to make snow and save alot of money. Please keep us updated on your trial and errors.

Duane

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I remember reading the recipe last year some time, after buying my Amazing Snowman snowmachines for this years show.

Thanks for actually testing it out for us all... thats a great help.

As a side not to the Snowman machines, they make enough "snow" per se, but they don't throw it out far enough for outside use in my opinion.

I had to re-wire my snowman's to just turn on when power was applied - as mine were remote controlled. So I simply removed the remote box, and tied the wires together...

If there is a slight breeze, the snow travels, if its calm, the snow kind of goes up, then comes right back down less than 10 ft from each snow man... Overall while its cool... my opinion is, its hard to see if you don't know its there... if you catch them at a good deal after the holiday for next year - go for it... I wouldn't spend hundreds for one.. I don't think it worth it. AT LEAST THATS MY EXPERIENCE... YMMV.

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Great info! I have tried it and it will work. My question is, does anyone know how to make it "Float" better. The snow fluid really has a great float to it. I am finding that my homemade concoction is not as good. Am I just dumbing this up? I have 2 animated light snow machines and man they have some power but my suace is just lacking something I am sure of it!

Any advice is appreciated!

Lee

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Little to late for tonight but I'll make it to night and jump on the roof and let everyone know the out come.

Thanks again.

p.s has anyone found the longer they let the liquid sit prior to blowing it, cuase any affect on the solution?

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okay scratch the little too late part!

16oz Mr. Bubble

8oz Alc (12 oz for me!)

2 gallons distilled water

equals float~!!!!!

Thanks I was kinda doing the same backward thinking that you had mentioned earlier in this thread!

Lee

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slinkard wrote:

p.s has anyone found the longer they let the liquid sit prior to blowing it, cuase any affect on the solution?

As long as you seal it back up, it should last indefinitely. The alcohol should prevent anything from 'growing' in the fluid.

You may get some separation (possibly from the glycerin from the Mr Bubble coming out of solution), but a few shakes SHOULD make it blend back in. If you store it, take a look at it next year when you go to use it. If there are no lumps, it should be A-OK.

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OK... So I tried the snowjuice formula tonight in my Amazing snowman snow machine. I happen to have a couple of them, so I put the included snow mixture in one snowman, and made a batch of home-made juice for the other one.

I used:

8 oz Mr Bubble (white bottle, clear - unscented, no die)

10 oz 70% white alcohol (based on the above recipe, a little more alcohol for fluffiness)

the remainder of the gallon filled with distilled water.

Works great. Smells like alcohol though. I wonder how bad it is for my lawn?

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Toaster wrote:

OK... So I tried the snowjuice formula tonight in my Amazing snowman snow machine. I happen to have a couple of them, so I put the included snow mixture in one snowman, and made a batch of home-made juice for the other one.

I used:

8 oz Mr Bubble (white bottle, clear - unscented, no die)

10 oz 70% white alcohol (based on the above recipe, a little more alcohol for fluffiness)

the remainder of the gallon filled with distilled water.

Works great. Smells like alcohol though. I wonder how bad it is for my lawn?

I would try cutting the alcohol down and increasing the amount of Mr Bubble.

I would love to have continued my 'experiments' by adjusting the alcohol, but by that time I was soaked thru to the bone from mixing all the batches!

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I noticed today, after a full night of home made snow juice use - the home made juice is not as clean as the "real stuff"... The snowmachine with the "real" stuff was clean as a whistle. The other one running the homemade stuff still had bubbles on it.

snowman-dirty.jpg

See the residue from the snow juice....

This is the other snow man running the factory juice.

snowman.jpg

Any suggestions for making a cleaner solution?

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I have been making 2 gallons from each bottle that came with the snowman and have been having similar issues (as opposed to mixing with 1 gallon of water), so maybe you should use less water. I haven't had time to experiment and I would rather have residue then pay for more snow fluid.

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A little soap will not harm yor lawn. Actually is good for the soil. It allows the water to penetrate the soil better. I have 2 Chauvet 150x machines that I've used for two years with home made fluid with no adverse affects to any plants or lawn.

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Griz wrote:

A little soap will not harm yor lawn. Actually is good for the soil. It allows the water to penetrate the soil better. I have 2 Chauvet 150x machines that I've used for two years with home made fluid with no adverse affects to any plants or lawn.

What recipe did you use for your snow machines? Be precise please.:}

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I'm having issues with my snowman machines. I'm not sure if its the juice, the cold, or what....

First the air tubes inside were all messed up this year, after NEVER using them last year (got them after christmas, and stored them until now) -- I had to repair that using PVC pipe this time, so they wouldnt break or tear again.

Now they seem to blow snow when they want too.... ANNOYING.

Tonight I tried a little variation... I wanted to try the wal mart brand (landers) bubble bath - just to try it. I don't think it works as well - but since I'm having trouble with my snowman its hard to tell.

I used 12 oz of soap... 6 oz of alcohol, and a full gallon of distilled water, mixed it in a bucket, and poured that into the snowman(s). The lander bath seems much more oily than the mr bubble. And leaves ALOT of soapy residue behind. Smells better (rose scented), but very soapy residue left behind.

Last batch was less than a full gallon of water, like 16oz less.. so maybe it needs less water?

Is anyone else making there own snow juice too? and which recipe are you guys using and what ingredients. I think the Mr Bubble is better - but I'm still testing too.

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Toaster wrote:

As a side not to the Snowman machines, they make enough "snow" per se, but they don't throw it out far enough for outside use in my opinion.

I had to re-wire my snowman's to just turn on when power was applied - as mine were remote controlled. So I simply removed the remote box, and tied the wires together...

If there is a slight breeze, the snow travels, if its calm, the snow kind of goes up, then comes right back down less than 10 ft from each snow man... Overall while its cool... my opinion is, its hard to see if you don't know its there... if you catch them at a good deal after the holiday for next year - go for it... I wouldn't spend hundreds for one.. I don't think it worth it. AT LEAST THATS MY EXPERIENCE... YMMV.

I noticed small snow machines for sale at Kroger for $39.99. These are the kind that look like fog machines. (Kroger is a grocery store chain.)

TED

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Here is a formulaI use to make my fluid

From a gallon of distilled water

remove 22 ounces of water

add 12 ounces of dish washing fluid

add 8 ounces of 70% alcohol

add 2 ounces of glycerin (can be purchased by the gallon at http://www.chemistrystore.com/glycerin.htm)

I use this formula for True North machine. You might have to make measurement adjustments for yours.

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