The Parts of a Bubble Machine
Bubble machines haven't changed much in their design since the earliest models. In fact, there are only four major components to most bubble machines: a tank, a motor, a fan and a disc of bubble wands. The largest part of a bubble machine is the tank, which is usually made out of plastic. The tank is watertight and is designed to hold the soapy solution that makes bubbles. Above the tank is a small electric motor and a small electric fan. Both of these components are powered via an ordinary external electrical cord. The fan is mounted in a fixed position and blows toward a hole on the outside of the machine. The motor is connected to a plastic or metal rod that extends just a few inches in front of the fan. A plastic disc of bubble wands is mounted on the end of this rod. It is positioned so that the top of the disc is directly in front of the fan, but the bottom of the disc is below the liquid line for the bubble solution.
The Bubble-Making Process
To prepare the bubble machine for bubble making, all you have to do is put it on a flat surface, plug in the power cord and fill the bubble tank with a soapy bubble solution. When you turn the power on, the fan will begin to blow and the motor will begin to turn slowly in one direction. These are the only mechanical processes at play. As the bubble wand disc turns, each bubble-making loop dips into the bubble solution, passes in front of the fan and dips back into the solution, repeating the cycle with every revolution. When the bubbles pass in front of the fan, bubbles are blown through the bubble-making loops. There's nothing more complicated about the process; it's just an automated version of the old-fashioned bubble wand and jar of bubble solution.
Making "Bubble Juice"
Commercial bubble solution can be purchased in jugs and poured directly into the bubble machines, but it's just as simple for bubble machine users to make their own "bubble juice." A simple soap and water solution is all it takes to keep a bubble machine in business. Liquid dish soap is ideal for making these formulas, although laundry detergent and even liquid hand soap can be substituted. Mixtures of about 15 parts water to one part soap will make adequate bubbles, but by increasing the soap content, stronger bubbles can be made. Different bubble machines have different fan speeds, motor speeds and configurations, so the optimal formula may vary from one machine to the next. Most bubble makers ship with instructions on how to make the perfect bubble formula.