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Hot glue


k6ccc

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This may be old news to some of you, but I have very little experience using hot glue guns, and I learned something today that I thought I would pass along.

Today I was using a hot glue gun to attach some LED light rope to the inside edge of some curved scalloped edging. The project started very well, but after a while I started having problems where the part of the gun that pushes new glue stick into the back of the gun was just chewing up the glue stick rather than pushing it in. The longer I went, the worse the problem got.

Just before breaking for lunch, I was explaining the problem to my wife and hit upon a likely cause. I realized that the bag of extra glue sticks that I was using was sitting out in the sun and it had gotten quite warm. Maybe the glue sticks had softened enough that the pusher part was just tearing the stick apart. When I broke for lunch, I put the gun and spare glue sticks into the 'fridge. After lunch, the cold glue sticks worked perfectly!

The good news is that the light rope on all 17 of my roses is installed, and the first 5 are powered up and working. Looks good too (if I saw so myself). Next weekend I will finish wiring the other 12 (it's all done except the last few feet) and get them hooked up to 17 ports of LOR DC controllers - yea!!!

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Well I hope that it works for you.
I started running some tests on different adhesives and sealants a little over a month ago and have been researching hot melt for uses as well.
My primary concern was the new use of RGB in displays and the connection of wiring to the RGB elements for corrosion, weatherproofing, and electrical insulating.

I got some flak from people who told me that hot glue was great for it and I am not so sure.

I would recommend that people research hot glue before using it too much. Four out of six suppliers I talked too said that hot glue was NOT useable in outside environments or for electrical connections.
In hot climates it tends to turn soft (as you saw from the effects of sun on a bag of sticks) and in cold climates it turns brittle and cracks.

Now there are formulations of hot glue that will work but they are not generally the kind you will find at the local hardware or crafts stores.

I do have samples of new hot melt coming to test and hope to have some information in the next few months about it for this hobby.

So I hope your rope light stays put but be aware of the limitations of hot melt. Just an FYI for folks.

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Well, I hope it works out well myself. It does seem to hold well for now. We'll see how it lasts. I am a little worried how well it will last under UV (the sun) exposure. This is southern California so I'm not too worried about extreme cold. It does get hot here at times. The physical arrangement here will prevent the glue from ever being in direct sunlight which should help the UV situation. The glue is strictly a physical attachment. No electrical involvement at all. I have no concerns about the glue sticking to the concrete edging since it's a highly porous rough surface, but the rope light of course is a smooth surface.

Ask me in a year or two.

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k6ccc wrote:

Well, I hope it works out well myself. It does seem to hold well for now. We'll see how it lasts. I am a little worried how well it will last under UV (the sun) exposure. This is southern California so I'm not too worried about extreme cold. It does get hot here at times. The physical arrangement here will prevent the glue from ever being in direct sunlight which should help the UV situation. The glue is strictly a physical attachment. No electrical involvement at all. I have no concerns about the glue sticking to the concrete edging since it's a highly porous rough surface, but the rope light of course is a smooth surface.

Ask me in a year or two.


Being in what I sometimes refer to as your sister state on the East Coast {Florida}, I can tell you from experience, HOT GLUES DO NOT HOLD UP WELL when the temps start getting heated up, starting around 80 degrees, they get soft, and start oozing a little and allowing items to come loose, into the high 80's-low 90's and you have hot glue starting to ooze out all over the place, and items falling or pulling off where they were glued, high 90's and just forget it, within about 45 minutes to a little over an hour{if in direct sun}, you have a sticky, gooey item covered in a puddle of hot glue you'll have to clean up, and that glue IS NOT easy to clean off wiring, PC Boards or LED's if you've used it to secure them or items above them and the Hot Glue oozed down onto them.

Outdoors, I definitely would not recommend hot glue to secure anything, what I have used successfully is a type of bonding material made for automobiles and comes in a variety of colors, white, clear, orange, amber and black, this stuff hardens into a watertight seal and hardens, but remains somewhat soft {pliable}. It's used on car radiators and other areas for stopping leaks and comes in a squeeze tube.

I don't recall what the stuff is called, it's similar to silicone, but is a little stiffer and hard than silicone when it dries, yet "bendable".

I buy the stuff at Pep Boys for around $6-$7 a tube. It does take about 48 hours to cure, but, if you're going to use hot glue to secure something, you can use Hot Glue to temporarily secure the item, since hot glue does dry quickly, then use this material over the area to better secure it and cover the hot glue, then the hot glue won't ooze or release your item{s}. Just make sure you cover the entire hot glue area and all edges of the hot glue to make sure everything is sealed. Allow to cure and you're set. Only issue is, it's a bit difficult to get off once dry and will take some time doing clean up of the piece if wanting to reuse it.

Usually I just use this auto sealant material by itself and don't even bother with hot glue.
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I used hot glue to fasten light strings (white M5 LED with green wire) to my black, metal tile roof. I put them up in summer 2008 and they are still up there today. Yes, they need a little maintenance, and some parts are loose, but I'll fix that next month.

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You're making me feel better Steven. Mine will never see direct sunlight which should at least help with UV issues, and keep it a little cooler. We're getting highs in the 90s today and tomorrow so I will get so see how it looks when I get home from work today...


Oh, and yes, I already knew that hot glue was hot - so I didn't drip it on my fingers.

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  • 4 weeks later...

k6ccc,

How did your hot glue hold up in the high heat. I am just East of you and about 5-10 degrees hotter during the summer. Was looking at using the glue method, so any input of your results would be appreciated.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So far, just fine. It was 99 today and it is doing just fine. Within a day I had a few sections (or parts) fail to adhere to the smooth surface of the light rope, but scuffing the surface of the light rope that is glued with some sandpaper and re-glueing it, and it's worked just fine. As expected, the glue has stuck to the rough surface of the edging.

BTW, how was your 7/4 fireworks show? Ours (Santa Ana Country Club) went just fine. This was the first year I could have my younger son help me load and wire the finale (he turned 18 last December).

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I consider hot glue to be a seasonal use only item. I have good experience with it holding lights in place for about a month, then letting go without too much fight. But I can tell you that what did stay on the building through the year is badly UV yellowed, and highly embrittled. But that may just be the assorted glue we have used, mostly from WalMart.

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Now that I have been researching hot melt adhesives for a few months and have gained a lot of info from manufacturers on it, it is pretty clear (to me anyway) that hot glue is not a substance to be used for this hobby (again in my opinion).

There are formulations of hot melt that can be used but they are NOT the common type that you would buy in most outlet or big box stores. Once you get into using reactive hot melts it becomes useable but tempermental and must be applied carefully, which makes it not so much of a substance to use for a hobby.

I have not found any manufacturer of hot melt yet that will give a "go ahead" to use it outside or for around electrical connections when using the everyday type of hot melts that we find in hobby/craft stores or in the Lowe's/Home Depot type hardware stores. It is just not considered useable due to its suspectbility to moisture and temperature influence. Though it will work for a temporary use for sure to hold things for awhile.

I still stick with my epoxies and neutral silicone caulk for things as they work and last.

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So far, just fine. It was 99 today and it is doing just fine. Within a day I had a few sections (or parts) fail to adhere to the smooth surface of the light rope, but scuffing the surface of the light rope that is glued with some sandpaper and re-glueing it, and it's worked just fine. As expected, the glue has stuck to the rough surface of the edging.

BTW, how was your 7/4 fireworks show? Ours (Santa Ana Country Club) went just fine. This was the first year I could have my younger son help me load and wire the finale (he turned 18 last December).

Thanks for the info. Our show (Redlands CC) was great. No San Diego fiasco.

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My objection to using epoxy is the amount of time and effort required to mix that much, and the cost (I'll bet I would have used at least $50 in glue). We'll see how this lasts...

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Now that I have been researching hot melt adhesives for a few months and have gained a lot of info from manufacturers on it, it is pretty clear (to me anyway) that hot glue is not a substance to be used for this hobby (again in my opinion).

There are formulations of hot melt that can be used but they are NOT the common type that you would buy in most outlet or big box stores. Once you get into using reactive hot melts it becomes useable but tempermental and must be applied carefully, which makes it not so much of a substance to use for a hobby.

I have not found any manufacturer of hot melt yet that will give a "go ahead" to use it outside or for around electrical connections when using the everyday type of hot melts that we find in hobby/craft stores or in the Lowe's/Home Depot type hardware stores. It is just not considered useable due to its suspectbility to moisture and temperature influence. Though it will work for a temporary use for sure to hold things for awhile.

I still stick with my epoxies and neutral silicone caulk for things as they work and last.

What epoxy and neutral silicone caulk brands (names, part #) do you use?

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What epoxy and neutral silicone caulk brands (names, part #) do you use?

I have many different brands that I use based on the type of materials used, project, the elements that the item will be in (ie. weather and environment), as well as what I am trying to accomplish. So to give you a brand is somewhat hard.

For this hobby I have found (so far) that Locktite makes some nice epoxies that work quite well and are not so bad, messy or tough to work with as well as some of them will set in 5 minutes or so. You can find them at most stores that would carry epoxy. I have found them at Aubechon, Lowe's, HD, Ace and others.

They also make epoxy for plastic and a gel type that will cling and can be formed around things and won't drip off while you let it set up

(which is 6 minutes for the gel).

I also use epoxy in a meter/mix system that is similar to the small tubes you buy now which is both parts of the epoxy in a syringe type tube set that lets you dispense the two parts and you mix them together. My meter/mix gun has a nozzle that mixes the two parts as they are dispensed so that I just apply it right onto the item. Saves a lot of time but the gun and nozzles can be costly for the average person to justify buying them.

For caulk, that is an even bigger range to chose from as caulk is mostly specific to the task it is needed for.

GE silicone in the acrylic latex form is good for a lot of this hobby needs. While GE regular 100% silicone is useful as long as you don't use it on metal items as it will corrode over time due to the acid nature of it.

For electrical connections I am using an Electronic grade silicone from Altex that I found that works very nicely.

http://www.altex.com/GC-Waldom-Electronic-Grade-Silicone-SealantAdhesive-3oz-Tube-19-155-P141838C10576.aspx

I had hoped to find some hot melt adhesive that would be useable for this hobby but so far no manufacturer will give the okay on use of hot melt in an outdoor environment or with electrical usless it is a reactive hot melt (two step process) or done in a controlled environment such as a manufacturing facility.

The standard hot melt that you buy from craft stores and the hardware stores is NOT rated for outside use and it will soften in any type of higher temperature environment.

Though there are some companies that are working on newer formulations of hot melt that looks like it may be useful in the not to distant future.

If I get some free time I will try to make up a list of different brands with the part numbers for some of the things that I use. But I hope this will give you a general direction to follow.

Bill

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