Saturday, January 2, 2010

CA (Cyanoacrylate) Adhesive

Commonly known as Krazy Glue or Super Glue, CA adhesive is indispensable in the workshop. Following are a few brief points about it:

a) It bonds skin instantly. The stuff can be dangerous.[1]

b) Dollar stores carry it. I've found the dollar store stuff to be perfectly good for my purposes, and considerably less expensive than the brand name products.

c) There's a gelled version available, but I really can't imagine why.[2] One of the adhesive's biggest virtues is that it's extremely runny. It will wick into the tiniest gap or crevice.

d) Runny though it is, it can be made to 'build' with repeated applications. That can be very helpful in the restoration of rusty old machinery; small unwanted crevices can be filled with it. The resultant fill can be filed or sanded, is impervious to water or oil and can be painted.

e) Further to its use as a filler, I've read that you can fill a larger gap with baking soda, then apply drops of CA. I've yet to have tried this myself. I suspect that pungent fumes result when it's done. Some types of applications result in fumes, and this is likely one of them.

f) It's not terribly heat resistant. LePage's website advises that immersion in boiling water can soften cured adhesive, so it's likely unsuitable for any application that will subject it to temperatures approaching 100° C. That said, you can safely use it as a threadlocker, or for any machinery assembly application that may need to be taken apart again. Just as with threadlockers, sufficient heat will soften it.[3]

g) Its water and chemical resistance is impressive. I've read that acetone will soften it. Apart from that, though, the stuff seems to stand up to just about anything.

h) Keep it in the fridge. Heat, light and humidity all tend to thicken it. Kept in the fridge, a tube of it will stay fresh and runny; you'll get the use of all of the tube's contents.

i) I've read that if it gets on cotton, it generates a lot of heat as it sets, enough heat to be dangerous.

j) There are many specialized versions available, but you have to go to industrial supply houses for them. So far, I've gotten by fine with the common variety. There's much more information about the material available on the web.

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[1] There's an upside to this.

If you're plagued, as I am, by splits in fingertip skin through the winter months, CA adhesive is a therapeutic. The instant you acquire a fingertip skin split and notice the attendant pain, seal the split with CA adhesive. The pain stops. The split is cleanly sealed against infection and can heal from beneath undisturbed.

I've read that some individuals may find the adhesive irritating and consequently useless for this, but it works for me.

[2] A Bit Of New Information -- SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2013: Since this post was first written, I've learned what the gelled version of the material is good for -- it's a great boon to model makers. The gel's thickness helps to hold tiny parts in place until the adhesive 'takes'. That feature can greatly simplify many steps in the construction of a model.

[3] This post illustrates a useful machine shop application.

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