Introduction: DIY Hot AirGun 2: the Glue Gun Mod

Picture of DIY Hot AirGun 2: the Glue Gun Mod

A glue gun is the perfect hot air gun, 1 because its shaped like a gun, and 2 because the back in the entry for your airline and the front is the heater, not extra extension coming off the top like that hot air pencil mod. This is a concept right now, mainly because I just haven't gotten the parts yet but none the less this still should be a relatively easy project.

Step 1: Supplies

You will need:
1. a glue gun (any will do; you can probably pick one up for
about five bucks at some craft store)
2. desoldering braid
3. hose thin enough to fit through the glue stick feed
4. something to go between the plastic and metal to prevent
it from melting (i'll think about this one and then get
back to you with something; rubber is a possible solution)
5. a metal coupling to hold the hose in place, or some heat
resistant adhesive (now that one I don't have an answer
to yet)
6. some sort of air compressing system. the aquarium filter
as a source of air seems a little to bulky, so look around
for a water pick and use the thing inside of that. you
could probably mount it for more portability to something
like your belt. (i will have pictures of this soon)

Step 2: Reference

Search digg or make for the "surface mount soldering" stories, and you will eventually end up at endgadget. this is just as good as any of the other ones, because they are all the exact same thing. you might end up at a site about a pencil tip hot air gun as well. in these articles, just follow their instructions on how to modify the tip which should be the same for the glue gun's tip. if not, go out and buy a different tip or use common sense and compromise.

Step 3: Assembly

it's really just as simple as assembling the parts in a logical way. first, attatch the hose line to the insulation, and the insulation to the very entrance point for glue sticks. then, attatch the other end of the hose to the air feed assembly, whatever it be that you decided to do, and then fire it up. it should work just as well as the pencil hot air gun mod, and if not, then use it to melt the glue off of circuit boards. otherwise, modify it to be more like a soldering iron and up its heat output.

Step 4: In Conclusion

Now while i know i say conclusion, i will come back to this instructable and finish it. I am really sorry about the obvious lack of pictures, and when it's not 5 AM in the morning, I will do this project and fully document it, and then repost/revise this instructable to be easier for you. If not, then someone else can do it for me.

For all of those who want to do it right now, then i wish you good luck.


mutinyishell (author)2013-01-24

I was an imaginative 14 year old with absolutely no electrical engineering knowledge when I wrote this. Please don't read into it :)

RikJamez (author)mutinyishell2013-02-09

Some very thin material that is non-conductive to heat ( and electricity ), and can withstand up to 1000 degrees Centigrade, is the synthetic mica sheet that insulates heat gun tubes / barrels. I found a sheet of it rolled around my heat gun's barrel when I disassembled it.

mutinyishell (author)2013-01-24

I was an imaginative 14 year old with absolutely no electrical engineering knowledge when I wrote this. Please don't read into it :)

mander1141 (author)2012-10-24

Re: protecting the tube = Thermal tape.

Available at most big box hardware stores.

suzhixi (author)2011-12-26

I have to admit,that is a very good idea ,but have you ever considered about the plastic ?Even if the temperature is hot enough,what about the plastic near the heater ?The plastic may melted......How do you solve this problem ? I don't think some clay can prevent melting ,it can still conducting the temperature ...

Spuzzum (author)2011-10-20

depending on what the heating element's made of, you could always make a vaporizer :D

vishalapr (author)2011-06-11

Neat reated 4*

triggernum5 (author)2008-03-24

Thanks, I've been looking high and low for plans to an awkwardly shaped, faintly tepid breeze gun..

julesa (author)triggernum52011-04-22

My next instructable is gonna be for a solar powered jetpack. I'll start writing it up tomorrow, hopefully I'll have it working in the next couple months.

xwall (author)2011-03-25

sorry but i trying to finish this project and i get a bad news, the power of resistor is not enought to desolder some component as the incoming air temperature does not reach, the only way is modify the element resistor for more power, i trying when i have good result post here

~Z~ (author)2011-03-25

For the something to keep your hands from burning, you could use pvc pipe.

rampagetv (author)2010-01-13

"something to go between the plastic and metal to prevent it from melting"
I would use clay or ceramic of some kind, rubber really smells when it gets hot. If you would like to email me, my address is my username here + [at]hotmail[.]com.
The reason I give it to you in this way is to prevent spam. BTW still reading, love your project so far.

hore (author)2009-10-29

have someone try to build this thing, at least try to build it. there nothing wrong if it does not work the way you expect.there always  a way to improve something right.

mutinyishell (author)rotor2006-10-02

rotor, that's the site and story I was refering to. and i understand that the glue gun might not get hot enough ian, but by adding a few more resistors, or tweaking the heating part of the glue to be more like a soldering iron, then your problem is solved

Gigabite (author)mutinyishell2007-04-01

Alright, to start... I am an electrical engineer.

I suppose if you found a high enough temp hot glue gun, it could be possible to melt the lead based solder(lower melting temp). Now, on to the question about adding more resistors etc... you cannot just add resistors. Yes, the heating element in a hot glue gun is resistive, and so is a soldering iron(excluding cold heat), however, you cannot just "add resistors". The only way that you could make a standard hot glue gun hotter, is by increasing voltage... and since your standard local voltage (120v or 240v) is what your iron is designed for, it would be kinda hard(not to mention kinda dumb) to increase this voltage (ever wonder what happens when you plug a US hair dryer into a European plug?)
As for "tweaking" it, if you are able to do anything, the hottest possible temperature air you can get, will be what is produced at the tip of the gun(the metal). So, if you had the best heat transfer material possible(inside the tip), and could transfer every bit of it to the air, you still could not exceed the temperature of the actual tip.

and if you really wanna get technical about it, find the temperature of the air flowing from your gun, then check for the type solder you are wanting to use(lead free usually).


rotor (author)mutinyishell2006-10-03

ok, I thought it might have been. Just thought I'd add the URL for those who hadn't seen it before. The idea of converting a heat gun for this strikes me wrong. It's the wrong form factor for soldering - I want a pen for those situations, not a gun. It'd probably be nice for shrink tubing, but I can't see having a dedicated gun for that. I dunno, maybe you do more shrink-wrapping than I do or have more workbench space.

ian (author)mutinyishell2006-10-03

I am the first one to admit that I am not an EE, but I do love MacGyver. That said, I don't see the tweakability of a hot glue gun heating element. As I understand it, adding resistors will decrease the heat output if put in series with the element supply. Perhaps you have some sort of resistor that is more like a resistive heating element, and you plan to supplement the heating element in the gun (put it in ||). In the latter case, you're going to have to double or triple the output. By the time you A)get a glue gun (multiples if, like me, you tend to destroy prototypes) B) get a good air pump C)supplement the heat D)cobble it all are in, minimum, $25-$30. You can get a hot air rework station for that much, or 10-20 more. I am totally in favor of hacking stuff together. I build every dev-board, programmer, and diagnostic tool I own. In this case though, I really recommend the 'real deal'. I find 420ish C is about the perfect setting for my hot air station, thats quite a difference from what the glue gun is built for.

mutinyishell (author)ian2006-10-03

ALSO AN UPDATE FOR THIS INSTRUCTABLE PLEASE READ it will help I am also no EE, and as I understand it, due to the nature of resistors, they heat up. This is because they are dispelling the excess energy they have as thermal energy, and in this case it is heat. Add enough of them, like in the hand warming mouse or in a blow drier, and they will put out an ample amount of heat to increase the temperature of the glue gun to melt solder. If the heating element is already reaching 120 C, at highest possibly, then there is a good chance you can get it up to the necessary heat level. You could also increase the amount of electricity going into those resistors, maybe by adding in some larger capacitors, which can easily be found in some old power converters for some of your larger computer electronics, like a printer. You already have the necessary electronic components lying around to do this at a very minimal cost. Also, as said in the endgadget surface mount soldering article, just add in some desoldering braid to the tip of the glue gun. This will help heat up the air. Regarding the air pump, you can use something as simple as a hacked servo that goes all the way around, a paper clip attatched at one end to the servo motor, at the other to something like a plunger, then the servo mounted to a piece of wood, or some hobbby box, whatever! Then find something that the plunger will fit in that has an opening at only two ends, add a little hole to the top, and you have got your air system. Attach the hose to the second opening, and you are in business. Simple as the that. You can make the plunger and shaft out of an Averec highlighter or their really big Permanent marker. To do this, just read that make your own claymore article, and you can find a link to that somewhere on hackaday. I hope that answers your questions and doubts. It may be a little extra trouble, but once you start putting it all together it really isn't. The fact that you can really make the air pump out of anything, or buy the one mention once again, as referenced in this instructable, in the endgadget article, means that this is a very customizable and realistic project. And for people like me, who are under 18 (im 14) and don't have money or transportation, being able to make this for under 10 bucks, and maybe you have everything lying around your house that you need other wise, is really nice. I have been on a salvaging rampage for the last week, and have cups full of capacitors, all sizes, massive and small, resistors, diodes, oscillators etc. so this project will be relatively easy for me. If need be I will go and buy a nicer $10 glue gun from Home Depot. READ THE ENTIRE INSTRUCTABLE!!! IT CLEARS SOME THINGS UP, LIKE QUESTIONS THAT DON'T NEED TO BE ASKED

ian (author)mutinyishell2006-10-03

Hi again, I really really like the idea of converting a glue gun to a hot air station. Its really clever, crafty, and cool. Your pump alone sounds like a really cool contraption. I'd love to see an instructable on just that. It is totally against my better judgment to reply any further, no doubt I will regret it. I am the last person to discourage anyone from doing anything, nor do I care how old you are.... Please please please use every precaution when working with line voltages: The glue gun is a resistive heater that uses AC from the wall. (since you say home depot, I assume its 120 volts in the US) Resistors and capacitors you pull from consumer electronics are not intended to be run on high voltage (or any?) AC. They are strictly a DC affair. Capacitors will not store and release extra energy into a resistor without some sort of switching affair (see my instructable on switch mode power supplies). Resistors are not intended to be run hot (outside of audio applications, perhaps, but these things are huge with huge heatsinks). 400+ C will destroy most resistors. Even the resistive element in a hair/blow dryer only gets to a fraction of this. Resistive elements are not the same thing as resistors. My rework station uses some sort of ceramic deal that has to be replaced after several 1000 hours of use. I don't shy way from chemicals or high voltage (see some of my instructables), but the closest I get to AC line voltage is replacing the odd plug or switch on a lamp. Exercise extreme caution if you decide to tinker with this. It can and will kill you, quickly. A hot air rework station is a great investment. It would be a great holiday gift from a parent or spouse (doubly if they know the alternative).

lemonie (author)2007-01-21

That you state "this is just a concept right now" suggests that you haven't actually built or used this. Is this actually of any use?

ian (author)2006-10-02

I like the idea. I'm not sure a hot glue gun gets hot enough to melt solder. Can you melt a little solder on the tip of your glue gun? I did the griddle reflow method a few times, but it was really stressful. I broke down and bought a cheap Chinese hot air-rework and soldering station this month. It was dirt cheap, and will probably hold up to my light usage as well as the 10 euro fire starters I've been using. I always avoided the hot air station because I thought it was really expensive. In reality, Aoyue stations can be had for 50 euros and less. Thats half the cost of a Weller adjustable iron.

crazydaddy (author)ian2007-01-09

Well I tried the idea with an 80 Watt gun. Removed the ball bearing valve from the nosel so the air passes straight through. Lightly filled the inside with some copper solder wick for heat exchange. Passed an air tube through a temporary seal at the glue stick end and drove air through using an aquarium pump. The air temperature was not high enough to melt solder! Interestingly the metal nosel did get hot enough to melt solder, just. In my view its not worth trying to modify the heating element, or to use a different one, relative to modifying a soldering iron, as in the 'mark 1' instructable. The element temperature will surely need to be quite a bit higher than solder melt temperature to compensate for the cooling effect of the air itself. Given that logic not sure why I bothered with the experiment at all. Ah well!

You might want to have a look at this alternative diy design for a hot air pencil:
You can see from the pictures that the element glows red hot! However the article is not specific about the power supply used to drive the element. Such an exposed element would also seem to be rather dangerous!

I'm now going to experiment with the instructables soldering iron mod.


i make shooting things (author)2006-10-26

could you like add more pictures casue im like chalanged at this

its just a concept and suggestion

MadScott (author)2006-10-07

Interesting idea -- rather than beating yourself to death trying to force the heating elements to generate and transfer more heat than they're designed for, why not preheat the air feed, so that the glue gun works within tolerances?

Fake_Name (author)MadScott2006-10-17

Because the temperasture the glue gun is designed to operate at isn't hot enough.

josdavlar (author)2006-10-07

sorry, this might be a little late, but i wanted to comment on the following: "I am also no EE, and as I understand it, due to the nature of resistors, they heat up. This is because they are dispelling the excess energy they have as thermal energy, and in this case it is heat. Add enough of them, like in the hand warming mouse or in a blow drier, and they will put out an ample amount of heat to increase the temperature of the glue gun to melt solder." i include myself in the non-ee category. it is true that resistors dissapate energy via heat. but that heat is localized at the resistor bodies themselves. additionally, the level of heat produced is small small small. at any rate, there is no reasonable magic way of moving that heat from the body of the resistor to the tip of the glue gun. anyway, i don't think resistors are generally used as generators of heat. it seems to me that to produce quantifiable heat one would need something much more robust than your average resistor (i.e. heating element). right?

ian (author)josdavlar2006-10-07

I've been watching this thread to see what happens. Our young friend has not replyed any further, so either s/he has given up, or blown up.

acidrain69 (author)2006-10-03

Quick google yields
Which is a dual-temp glue gun, 380F (194C) on high temp mode. The high temp model on that particular site is $8. I'd hardly call that exotic.

Assuming rickharris' numbers are correct for solder, the glue gun WILL make it, assuming you get the same-priced high temperature model. The low temp ones are not enough.

The 1st unit I've seen like this used a desoldering iron with an aquarium pump. The author added some mushed up steel wool or soldering braid into the head of the soldering iron to slow down the air and I suppose increase the surface area for better heat transfer. Could probably do the same thing here, if you can get the glue gun open that far.

rickharris (author)acidrain692006-10-04

there are plenty of hot (very hot) air guns around at a low cost relatively speaking - why not use one of those?

ian (author)rickharris2006-10-06

Yes, lots of people strip and salvage components from old PCBs using a paint stripping hot air gun.

rickharris (author)acidrain692006-10-04

I bet that temp is the element temp with glue (although i would havwe thought it a bit high) - Start blowing air though and it will cool way down. See re think on Soldering temp (I will accept either temp as they are both high)

h2ologged (author)2006-10-05

I am an engineer and Ian is right. I also am a fire investigator and remember: FIRE. Find, isolate, report and extiguish. Have at least a good one hour fire door between your residence and your shop and a smoke/heat alarm. You are headed to disaster. A cheap, modified, electrical resistive heater stuffed with steel wool (have you ever seen steel wool burn!) is what keeps the fire service busy! Most of the hacks I see around heere are awesome, but you're hacking to make the known and a dangerous version of it.

Fake_Name (author)2006-10-05

I just want to point out that if you don't use it continuously, a hot glue gun will begin to burn the glue (at least my high temp gun will). I suspect that the manufacturer is already accounting for the thermal load of melting a certain ammount of glue. They probably get a god deal hotter than 380f if left alone. On the other hand, my glue gun (one of the large ones) is only 40w. That's less than my soldering iron. If you want to build a cheap hot air station, buy a professional replacement heating element and build the rest.

rickharris (author)2006-10-02

Hot glue melts at around 80 to 120 deg C - Solder melts at around 148 deg C a soldering iron will reach about 370 to 426 deg C - Your glue gun will never make it. Stick to the hot glue.

westfw (author)rickharris2006-10-02

> Solder melts at around 148 deg C Standard 60/40 solder melts at 183-190 C, which is about as low as you get without exotic materials.

rickharris (author)westfw2006-10-04

temp from Arpid Electronics for unleaded solder - But close enough the rest stands!.

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