Super glue tips and tricks

If you want some secret super glue tips and tricks, I have you covered.

I just read a great tip about how to store Cyanoacrylate for long periods of time without it drying out on you. Cyanoacrylate (often abbreviated CA or CyA), sold under the Krazy Glue, Super Glue, Superglue, and a number of other brand names, is cured by the moisture in the air. Moisture in the air also causes a tube or bottle to dry out quickly after you open it.

Making super glue last longer

super glue tips and tricks
It’s possible to keep super glue from drying out, increase its strength, and debond it if you accidentally glued something. Here’s how.

To make it last longer, place the opened tube or bottle in a reasonably airtight jar or vitamin bottle. Drop in a packet of silica gel.

You can salvage silica gel from consumer packaging. Consumer items made of metal often include one in the package to prevent rust. If worse comes to worse, you can purchase some from craft stores, since it’s used for drying flowers.

Keep both silica gel and CA away from children. Both are poisonous, and the stuff bonds skin very eagerly.

Two options for unbonding super glue

Here are my two favorite super glue tips and tricks. You can unbond it more easily than you may think.

If you glue something together that you shouldn’t have, or if the parts just didn’t line up right, you can try to un-bond them with nail polish remover or something else that contains acetone.

If solvents will damage the item, put it in the freezer for a couple of hours instead. The cold temperature will weaken the bond and make the glue very brittle, so it will come apart easily. You can then clean off the remaining glue and try gluing it again.

When taking something apart, remember that up-and-down strength is good but side-to-side isn’t. So twist rather than trying to pull.

Increasing super glue strength

Super glue’s strength tends to be in one direction only. The vertical strength is usually great, but side-to-side strength is not.

When you use it, you can gain extra side-to-side strength by reinforcing the bond. If possible, drill a small hole in both pieces (be careful to line the hole up), then insert a small piece of wire in the hole and test the fit. Shorten the wire until it fits. Then apply a drop of glue to the wire, slide the pieces back together, and clamp for 5-10 minutes. The wire gives the glue a lot more surface area to bond to. It also gives strength where the glue is weakest. Clamping the pieces ensures a strong bond.

Further reading

I discuss the permanence of super glue if you’re interested. Regular super glue isn’t the best for modern plastics, so here’s what to use instead. But I do like super glue for plastic model kits.

That wraps up my collection of super glue tips and tricks. I wish you well on your project.

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