I know, this is probably a dumb question to most of you, but I have just
returned to the hobby after about 27 years away from it, and I'm trying
to get up on all the new techniques. I have heard about the use of
"super glues", both as a bonding agent, and as a gap filler. This is
something I'd like to try, but I'm having difficulty locating some tips
on exactly how to use it. Is there a website I can go to that will give
me some ideas on how to use super glue? Also, what are the best types of
super glues to use. Is there one that'll do it all, gluing and gap filling?
Thanks in advance for any help,
I was thinking of super glues (cyanoacrylates or CAs) when I saw your post.
Here it goes. There are as many brands out there as there are hobby shops.
There is a particular brand "Insta-Cure and Un-Cure" that is sold under
different hobby shop names. The bottles are a cloudy plastic and come in very
colorful buffed aluminum over metallic blue, lavender, green and other colors.
Then there is another popular brand, Zap-A-Gap, same thing, smaller bottles.
Prices will set you back from $3.00 to about $6.00 for a .25 ounce to a 1 ounce
bottle. If you are not going to use them for a spell, put them away in the
freezer, that seems to extend the shelf life of the CA. Just make sure that
they are labeled and no one thinks its something to add to the food. All CAs
make things stick together - some fast, some slow and some really SLOW. The
rate of speed for drying has to do with the composition of the CA, of which I
know nothing about, except that they make things stick together, you see, I am
an auditor and not a glue engineer. Some rates of drying are: 1 to 3 seconds,
5 to 15 seconds, 30 to 120 seconds. Then there are the accelerators, these cut
down the drying or setting time in half or less. And of course you have the
debonders, these unstick what you don't want stuck, like fingers to each other
or plastic parts to fingers, or fingers to eye lashes (my brother-in-law). The
slower the drying or stick time, the thicker the CA. For example, the 1 to 3
second time type is really watery, the 30 to 120 second type is more like a
jelly, and it is perfect for filling gaps. Just be careful to just fill the
gap because later on you will have to sand the excess and just might sand away
half of your model, which will leave you with a really nice filled in gap.
What to use CA on. It depends on what you are gluing together. When I work on
my wood ships, I use the slow setting glue. For aircraft parts, I use the 1 to
3 second type and for plastic parts that don't require speed or waiting for
Christmas, I use the in-between speeds. And then there are the myriad of
projects around the house that may require a CA instead of Elmer's or a glue
There, I hope this will give you an idea of CAs and how they work. If someone
out there has a better mouse trap, bring it on and let us help the less
Good luck, now go build something!
Forgot to mention one thing about CAs, use very sparingly - a little goes a
long way. Try not to apply directly from the bottle to the part/parts you are
gluing. Make a small cup out of aluminum paper and squirt a bit in the cup,
then apply with a tooth pick, or a straightened out paper clip, or a sewing
needle that you snipped off half of the eye of the needle. Dip the whatever in
the glue and then transfer (notice I said transfer) the glue to the parts. If
the glue is new and the quick drying type, it should spread very quickly
between the parts - that is called capillary action. Once this happens, press
the parts together - quickly - until the glue sets, usually several seconds.
This is usually when the fingers stick together or the the parts. If you do
not have a debonder, plain acetone will do the trick of unsticking fingers or
plastic from fingers. Or, denatured alcohol, but it is much slower to debond
I have learned some of the tricks of CAs on my own, and from members of the
clubs I belong to here in Austin, TX. If you have the opportunity to join a
local club, do so, the benefits are priceless and you get to meet new old farts
and talk plastic.
Again, good luck and go build something.
Never thought of glue transfere,Testors super glue was weird,it's like
water consistancy,then,when your hand is ready to go limp from hold
the pieces togeather,WANG!,the 2 parts become 1!.I've learned to brace
parts as long as theres pressure for a few minutes,it beats holding
them .On Mon, 26 Sep 2005 00:45:49 GMT, "Ray S. & Nayda Katzaman"
All the messages contain good info, but I never go without my trusty
Super Glue Accelarator!
My modeling woudln't be the same if there was no accelerator! It
hardens the CA glue in an instant!
I never spray it. I dab it on with a toothpick or with my latest find:
There are several brands of accelerator - all are compatible with all
CA glues. But some use acetone as the carrier, so the can mar plastic.
I use the "Bob Smith Industries" (BSI) brand. Safe on plastic.
I also use (BSI) low odor CA glue to glue in clear lenses - it doesn't
fog them (sepecially when accelerated)! :-)
Baking soda also works as an accelerator. Which brings around the next
point, filler. Use the baking soda as a filler, run thin super glue
over it to solidify it. It goes fast, gets hot and smokes. Anyway, this
makes a better filler because it's not as hard as just super glue,
which is much harder than styrene and so sanding it ends up with the
super glue forming a ridge. But the soda/super glue mix sands down
along with the styrene nicely. Also, since there's no solvent to slowly
evaporate, it won't end up cracking underneath the paint 6 months later.
Yeah, I've read someting about using baking soda (many years ago), but
I never liked the idea. Somehow using a water soluble substance is not
my idea of a premanent glue joint.
It also seems that you don't have much control over the process. The
accelerator I use doesn't have as violent setting speed as the baking
Also, the thinner the CA lue, the faster it will "kick over" when using
Why not use the chemical specifically designed for the job?
Also, if you sand right after the CA sets, it is still softer than
styrene and can be sanded easily. It takes several hours for CA to get
harder than styrene.
There's a lot of weird stuff being sold nowadays. I bought a 3-pack of
glue from an ebay seller and the medium vicosity is intolerable. The
thin and the thick *act* like super glue but the medium is almost like
an unrelated product. Doesn't set well or fast and seems excessively
soft after curing, leaves a lot of soft white 'angel hair' around a
joint where it might tend to spread out.
I've bought good bargains on glue in the past but based on this recent
experience I think I'd rather stick with (pun-hehe) the name brand
stuff. Saving a buck or two doesn't make sense if it screws up your
There are 3 main types of superglue( cyanoacrylates or CA) thin, medium, and
thick. The medium and thick are concidered gapfilling and dry a bit slower
than the thin but any of the 3 can be used succesfully in model building.
Something I have been learning recently is that if there is just a little
bit of dried glue on my aplicator, the dab that I have put out on the glass
or old spoon (both are great for this), will hardden faster and become
unusable. I hypothesize that if there is a little seed of dried CA, it acts
to crystalyze faster.
When using for gap filler, as others have mentioned it is very hard. One
hint given here before is to begin sanding as soon as you can while it is
still workable and has not cured.
I keep two types handy. There is the regular, thin super or crazy glue.
This is for joints that fit tightly. I also keep some thick or "gel"
super glue. This is for joints that do not fit well, and for wood to
Also, super glue has a limited shelf life. I like to buy smaller amounts
than what hobby shops sell. Yeah, it is more expensive than in larger
containers, but if you only get half out of the container before it
starts going bad, that is not economic either. I buy Elmers brand at
local hardware store.
I'm a very big fan of super glue, and I use it almost exclusively in
modeling. My two cents:
- I use worn Badger knife blades (the rounded ones) to apply the glue to the
joint. Put a tiny drop on a piece of plastic card, dip the knife blade in it,
and transfer it to the joint.
- Be prepared to try a few brands. Some brands can be totally frustrating
because of their packaging (I hate tubes for example) and because of the
glue's characteristics. I recently tried another CA of my favorite brand, and
it didn't work at all for me. My knife blade was glued to the plastic during
the dipping for example. So shop around and try a few.
- Don't be tempted to apply the glue to one part, and then press it on the
other, that hardly ever works. Hold the parts together, and let the CA flow
into the joint. If you're doing a fuselage, work in small distances.
- I also do 90% of my filling with CA. Just don't let it cure too long,
otherwise it will be quite hard, harder than the plastic around it.
- I buy the smallest packaging available, 2 grams. This is enough for months
of modelling (!) and ensures that you always use fresh glue. It's called a
'droplet pen' here in the Netherlands, perhaps a similar product is available
in the US.
Rob de Bie
My models: www.xs4all.nl/~robdebie/models.htm
Me 163B site: www.xs4all.nl/~robdebie/me163.htm
AQM-34 site: www.xs4all.nl/~robdebie/aqm34.htm
If you apply the accelerator first to a part and then the glue to the other
part you will get an instant bond.
It doesn't matter if the accelerator dries as the active chemical remains
BTW this technique takes a bit of practice as it is a one shot - there is no
play to allow for repositioning the part while the glue dries.
Is it me, or is it true that if you use a brass or copper applicator,
the glue starts hardening in the bottle faster than normal.
I just thought I noticed it, but i could just as well be using old
bottles (which I don't think)
any answer appreciated,
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