Have glue, will travel.
|Available From:||Mercury Adhesives and other retailers, which you can search for at the manufacturer's site.|
You won't believe this, but once... I somehow managed to tip the CA bottle, and the tip got clogged, and I was never able to use it again! Crazy, huh?
Or does that sound like your own story? Happening much too often?
Actually, it's happened to me more than I care to share, and it was frustrating to say the least. But now, I don't have that problem anymore; with the Mercury adhesives caddy, all the bottles stay in one place (no more "what did I do with that debonder bottle I bought yesterday?"). And, with their unique clog-proof caps, the bottles won't dry up again (no more "why can't I get any glue from the bottle I bought yesterday?")
The package shipped quickly via UPS, and it came nicely packaged. All the Mercury Adhesives logos and pictures quickly gave the contents away. I couldn't way to rip that package open!
Upon opening, here's what I found:
What you'll need to build the caddy:
Putting together all of the five pieces should not be a problem and will take you 10 minutes at the most.
Unless you're me, of course!
I must admit, I did mess up and glued the top part of the caddy backwards. Leave it to me to do that, but it was all for a good cause believe it or not! That way, I was able to use both the CA and debonder. All in all, I'm actually glad I messed up.
The instructions recommend the medium viscosity, high-performance CA (M100XF) for gluing the caddy. It is specifically designed for gluing plywood, so it will bond in about 10 seconds, and you won't even need any kicker. Using a CA tip will also help you apply the glue around the more hard-to-reach corners — and apply it conservatively, without getting it all over.
OK, so now you have all these different glues with fancy names and super-high-tech formulas. And what do those names mean, anyway?
Each bottle of Mercury CA has the scientific viscosity (thickness) right in the name. The middle number in the bottle is the key identifier here, so the smaller the number, the thinner the product. M5T, for instance, stands for Mercury 5 viscosity thin. M100F means Mercury 100 viscosity foam. So on and so forth.
And now, which glue should you use for each application? Here's what I would use each for, plus what Mercury Adhesives recommends as well.
What it is: This glue has a very thin viscosity, and it will seep into the material you're gluing rather quickly. It will also set extremely quickly.
Where to use it: If you're a balsa builder, this is going to be your go-to guy. It's the best option for wicking the CA along the areas you're gluing. But remember: You're going to need some CA tips. Otherwise, you're going to end up with glue all over your plane.
What it is: This glue, as the name says, has a medium viscosity, and it sets a bit more slowly.
Where to use it: This could be your jack-of-all-trades glue. Use it to glue plastic parts, thicker pieces of wood or anything that doesn't neccesarily require a lot of soaking, like balsa. You can even use it for doing small filling jobs if you don't need the thick viscosity of the gap-filling one. So, to summarize it in two words, it's just general purpose.
What it is: This kind of CA is very thick and sets rather slowly.
Where to use it: This is a must-use for doing repairs. Once you get your parts glued with the thin CA, you can use some of this to reinforce the joints or take care of little pieces of balsa that might have flown off. With some materials, you will definitely want to use the CA accelerator. Otherwise, you could be waiting a while for it to set. If you're going to be using a tip to apply it, you will have to use a smaller-gauge one (so the glue can flow through it better). The 20-gauge (yellow) Teflon tip from Mercury would work best here.
What it is: This glue is a bit thicker than the thin CA, but it's not quite as thick as medium-viscosity CA. This is a suitable option for areas that require plenty of strength and are subject to plenty of stress as well. You'll also find that, since it's formulated for high-alkaline materials, it will work well on ply, which other CA glues don't work nearly as well with. According to Mercury Adhesives, this product took two years to develop.
Where to use it: Maybe you've got a firewall that is bound to suffer a bit with that powerful motor. Maybe you need to reinforce the tail section. This glue might be what you need, since it's supposed to be the strongest. For ply and carbon fiber, this would be the way to go. Personally, I intend to put it to the test on some upcoming builds, where I will be faced with the dilemma of using CA or five-minute epoxy.
Mercury Adhesives also says that this glue is a good choice for gluing tough-to-bond materials.
Speaking from experience: I have been using this glue quite a bit lately on high-stress areas for some of my build. Specifically, I found great results while reinforcing the landing gear on my Littlebirdz LoLo. The way it's attached involved a thin sheet of plywood glued to a balsa former, and if the landings are less than perfect, that plywood can easily fly out. So I used some of the M100XF, and the results could not have been any more favorable. It works just as advertised.
What it is: This glue is much thicker compared to the other ones (remember the number in the middle? This one is 3500 compared to the regular thick one, which is 1100). It's also rubber-toughened, which, in turn, makes it stronger yet at the same time a bit less brittle (FL does stand for flexible, after all). It's also supposed to work better in situations where there is vibration and changes in temperature. It's advertised to be able to handle temperatures up to 220 degrees Fahrenheit.
Where to use it: Motor mounts could also be a great place to use this kind of glue, especially near the motor itself. Not only will it be able to handle the vibration, but also the temperature increases. Areas where you might want a bit of "give" are also suitable candidates for the M3500FL.
What it is: This bottle contains a CA that's a bit thicker than thin, but not as thick as medium-viscosity glues — and it doesn't eat foam. Also, it's odorless, nice for those who have developed allergies to cyanoacrylates.
Where to use it: Needless to say, this is your go-to glue for foam. It is thin enough that you could wick it through fuselage halves (CA tips are recommended). However, as with most foam-safe CAs, you will want to use accelerator since the low moisture levels of tightly-packed foam beads won't help much with speeding up the setting process.
Speaking from experience: With this foam-safe CA, I've found that it actually works even better if you spray a bit of accelerator first, then run a bead of glue and then spray a tad more accelerator. That technique proved rather useful while touching up some wings during the build of a foamie biplane (Phase 3 Double Time).
What it is: It has the same characteristics of its its foam-safe counterpart, only it's thicker, and yes, it will set even more slowly.
Where to use it: After crashing a foamie, you will often find that there are pieces of material missing. With this glue, you can fill those cracks and gaps and still maintain plenty of rigidity without adding any weight. Personally, I've been looking for a more time-efficient alternative to using Gorilla Glue, and this could be a good option for taking to the field for finishing up repairs. However, bear in mind that you'll want to take the kicker with you, or else a chair to watch it set.
What it is: You guessed it — it's a CA accelerator! It comes as a two-ounce pump bottle, though it can also be used with an eyedropper if you'd like. And yes, it's foam-safe. And finally, if you cared to know, it contains heptane, and what this does is prevent what's known as "CA shock," which gets the CA brittle. Heptane is not as brittle — or fast — as other kickers and will make the glue not bloom (turn white), like other chemicals that speed up the process to almost-instantaneous setting do. So, what you get is quicker setting but not at the expense of rigidity.
Where to use it: You can apply accelerator to any of these glues, but you'll often find yourself using it with either the thicker-viscosity ones or the foam-safe ones just because they take longer to set. Be careful about overspraying or you might end up with a bond that's less strong than it's supposed to be (since the glue can foam up and create air bubbles).
What it is: This is the stuff you use when you mess up. Like I do. Often. It's an acetone-based formula which, when given a few seconds, will dissolve the CA bond. Beware: it will dissolve your foam, too.
Where to use it: Anywhere you've messed up with any sort of glue. I've used it with plywood with excellent results, and I've even used it on my hands when I spilled another brand of CA glue on me. It cleared it off within seconds — a huge improvement from other brands' debonders. And, just like the accelerator, you may want to use an eyedropper for more precise application.
What they are: Thread lockers are used to set metal surfaces together, such as nuts and bolts, servos screws or any threaded parts. They come in three different strengths, from medium strength to permanent (read: think twice before using it!). The retaining compound is a similar product, but it's used to keep bearings in place or gears on a shaft. It's thinner, too, so it'll seep in easier than the other thread lockers.
Where to use them: Anywhere that you'd think your screws would come loose, or anywhere that involves metal-to-metal adhesiveness. If you need to remove the stronger-bonding ones, you can do so by applying some heat.
This is where it really got interesting (especially for me, since I've lost track of how many bottles of relatively new CA I've lost due to clogged tips).
The process itself couldn't be simpler: Just fully seal the CA inside, preventing any moisture from coming in, and more importantly, pushing the CA out of the tip. If there's no CA in the tip, it won't clog. It's that simple. There are three different points of clog prevention engineered into the tip, as a matter of fact. There's a stainless-steel tip in a "calculated venturie shape" which pushes the CA back into the bottle, and a third part which helps with keeping the nozzle clean and the glue moisture-free.
Of course, keeping the bottles upright certainly helps, and that's what the caddy does (along with helping you not lose them).
If you do any balsa building (or any sort of building, for that matter), you know how important it is to be precise — and conservative — when applying CA. Do you like to fly big globs of glue connected by little pieces of foam or balsa? Neither do I, thank you very much.
So yes, you do need some CA tips, and Mercury Adhesives offers four different kinds of them, to be used with different viscosities. They're all made of medical-grade Teflon instead of plastic, and they all fit perfectly on the bottle tip.
Unfortunately, they're the only kind that I know of that you can fit on the bottles, so if you want to use these adhesives, you'll want these tips. They do come at a premium, though; each package of four (you can get specific gauges or buy an an assorted pack) costs $3.99.
How do they work? Just as you'd expect a $1 tip to work: flawlessly. They're all precise and very flexible, and the longer tip on the 22-, 20- and 18-gauge ones will help you get to those hard-to-reach areas.
How to take care of them: The tips can dry up rather easily, and that's their main drawback. However, they're not a lost cause after just one build session: If you drop them in the debonder bottle for a little while (say 30-45 minutes), you can then blow some air and/or push a long needle or wire through them, and they'll be performing as good as new. You can also blow some air through them after you're done, but sometimes that won't get all the glue out — it'll just push it around. Be careful with leaving the tips soaked in the acetone-based debonder, though, or the plastic part can get damaged — the Teflon tips will be fine, though.
Or, you can do as I do when I'm building a lot: Since I have this handy caddy I've been raving about throughout the whole review, you can just leave the tips on the bottle — after all, it's not like I have to worry about my bottles tipping over anymore. Be careful, however: The more viscous glues can still dry inside of the tip if you leave them there for a while.
Conclusion: These tips, albeit pricey, are worth having on your workbench (not that you had any other option, now did you?). You'll appreciate the extra quality that goes into them, and how precise they are. They work perfectly with these glues, though I truly wish they did not dry up so easily.
The skeptic in me didn't quite want to believe the claims that these tips would not ever clog. To test them, I decided to kick it up a notch, and the timing could not have been more perfect:
I received my review kit a few days before I was to leave town for a week-long vacation to Hawaii (tough, I know!). So, in the spirit of extreme testing, I decided to tip these little fellows upside down, leave them like that for a week, and I'd see what would happen.
First, however, I did perform that test on the thin CA bottle. 48 hours upside down: What would happen?
It held just fine. No clogging.
But, would nine days prove too much for these helpless bottles, despite the high-tech claims? Would they survive? Would I ever be able to use my glue? What would become of my caddy? And what about my workbench?
Frankly, that was the last thing on my mind while I was in Hawaii. But when I got back, I discovered that...
Indeed, these tips work! There was no clogging, no spilled CA, no damage to the bottle whatsoever. It was a success! These things really do work! They survived!
Not that I'd recommend that you leave them upside down for weeks at a time, but they actually do protect the nozzle and the glue.
These glues are as high-quality — and high-tech — as they get. They work just as advertised, and the clog-free tips are a money-saver, given how often a new bottle of glue gets ruined because of the nozzles. The debonder works better than any other debonder I've ever used, and so does the accelerator.
The caddy is extremely well-built, comes together easily and will help you organize your workbench. And if you need some extra storage space, you could always use the thread-locker openings to put an X-Acto knife or some CA tips.
This package is a great value — if you buy all the glues/thread-lockers/debonder/accelerator separately, it would cost you almost $90 — so at the retail price of $69.99 to $79.99, you don't just save at least $10, but also get a free, cool caddy to go with them! It would make a great gift for that modeler who already has everything — or almost anything, anyway.
Thanks for the kind words! Yeah, it's a whole lot of text, you're right. There are a lot of uses for each glue, and I'm still learning about some stuff about them as I go along. For example:
1. I believe the high-performance glue may be foam-safe on EPP foam. I dropped a couple of drops on some EPP foam, and it seemed to be OK. Do check beforehand, though. However, if it really is — and especially for other kinds of foams — it could be great for motor mounts and the like.
2. The high-performance one also works great when putting down Velcro for batteries and such. I sometimes have a problem with my Velcro coming loose, and I tried some for my LittleBirdz LoLo battery tray, and it works awesome, too.
3. I really like the thin CA — I've actually started using on a "real" build, and I like how extremely thin it is: One drop, and it seeps right through the whole balsa sheet with little need for wicking. So thin, that you can really tell when you put too much!
Yeah, I was surprised how clog-free the nozzles really are. I thought the glues would be heading for the trash after a week of being left upside down, but they did survive. I do take my high-performance one to the field, too.
The only ones that have clogged are the med and thick, mostly the thick one. I have to make sure that I clean the head up after each use or even with the cap it will clog just inside the top. I finally just cut a little off the top to open it up more and it's been fine since.
The thin external tip finally clogged after probably 3/4 bottles use. Just the tip though. I took that tip off, put a new one on and went to using it again. What I was finding is that it's so thin that if I leave the bottle tipped up to long when applying that I end up getting more glue coming out and then it runs down the side of the tip a little and makes a mess. The clog had black in it which tells me that I was picking up some sanding resedue from sanding off laser burn marks, etc... all in all though I'm very happy with the several bottles that I have. I've only used the med, thick, thin, and foam safe stuff so far.
Could be I don't what I'm doing; no doubt this product is a lot different from the glues I used 40 years ago, and the CG Jet 22 years ago.
Picked up a bottle of M100F — Foam-Safe, Medium Viscosity to make a repair on a foamy.
The stuff never set, even ran every where; grabbed the 6 minute epoxy and was quickly finished.
Did I get a bad bottle?
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