Hot Melt Glue

There is high-temp hot melt, which works great but burns when touched and burns a lot when stuck to skin.

There is low-temp hot melt, which works ok, but doesn't seem to hold like high-temp glue. It is less likely to do serious damage to careless children.

Now there is glue that works as high-temp or low-temp. How does it do this? Chemistry? My current glue gun has a high-low switch that lets me have it both ways.

Tips for Working with Hot Melt Glue

I like hot melt glue more every time I use it. This must have something to do with getting good at it.

  • The glue gun takes many minutes to heat up to working temperature, maybe ten times slower than my pencil soldering iron. I let my glue gun idle on low-temp and then turn it up to high when I am ready to work.

  • Work on old newspaper. The gun oozes glue when hot. Let newspaper collect this for you. I reuse the same sports section over and over. Cold glue isn't messy so this works fine and saves filling my trash with newspaper.

  • Blobs of glue will stay hot and fluid so long as the heat has no where to go. A bead of glue run along the edge of FoamCoreBoard will cool the instant it squashed against another board. It is a surface area to volume issue. When the surface area is small, the heat is trapped. When the bead is squashed, the surface area grows and the heat escapes. How convenient.

  • When gluing unlike materials (say plastic and metal), apply the glue to the thermal insulator. When the parts are joined, the thermal conductor will cool the glue quickly.

  • Retracting the glue gun can leave a stringy fiber of glue between gun and work. Ignore this until the work is cool so that the fiber can be removed without extending it.


Last edited January 4, 2009
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