Instructables
A simple mod turns a cheap hot glue gun (messy) into a precision tool (neat) suitable for more professional and intricate modelmaking and prototyping.

Hot glue guns have a bit of a reputation for clumsiness in the maker community. The liberal, messy application of glue in a project tends to be associated with amateurish, quick or kludgey projects (what we in the UK might call bodges), but glue guns are cheap, quick to use, and allow parts to be separated again relatively easily if required. Hot glue can also be useful in sealing against water ingress.

It occurred to me that a cheap glue gun could be easily and rapidly modified to turn it into a precision tool. It's basically just a heating element surrounding a tube through which the glue stick is pushed, and a nozzle. The gun shape is useful in allowing the user to use a trigger action to force the stick through the heater, but not necessary for the actual application of glue, nor desirable for the precision control needed. A pen shape would allow more precise control.

This is still to some large extent work in progress and ultimately, an even better tool will evolve from the simple modded version; I have plenty of ideas for turning this into a real professional product and would appreciate suggestions and ideas from other makers.
 
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gfsecured3 years ago
what is the name of the element that heats where can i buy , mine unfortunatly blowedup becouse i let melted silicon get on it and i don`t want to buy a new one !
THET1 gfsecured24 days ago

so sad

gluefarm7 months ago

Nice ...great work.....<a href="http://gluefarm.in/methods-tips-to-store-super-glue-or-cyanoacrylate-glue">Super Glue or Cyanoacrylate</a>.

for the body to isulate try sugru i know its heat resistant i have a pack of it now i can take a look and see how well it works since i have a very cheap glue gun that broke due to its cheap ness
donna7 years ago
Dear Sir, I am a manufacturer of a Jewelry Display (see attachment for photo’s of product) and am looking for the best glue gun for the job. If it is not your machine I hope you will direct me to the best source PLEASE! This Jewelry form is being made from Duponi Silk and must be glued in two places. 1. First picture is the top of the display which I need a longer nozzle to get down into the inside of the neck to glue the top piece of fabric inside and it is there to stay. 2. Second Photo is a full length photo that shows you the metal base that hot glue is spread on the metal rod that is then slid into the base of the display. I am looking for a glue gun that has a longer nozzle and glue sticks that will be able to adhere the metal rod to the fiber that is inside of this display. I have used some of the glue guns that Michaels carries and they are not a strong enough glue to hold the metal rod in sturdy. I am also using silk at the top and do not know if I am supposed to use a low temp or high temp gun. I have been using a high temp for crafters. I am hoping you might have some suggestions for me. If you could call me ASAP please. I have to ship several thousand dollars of these displays by April 1 and am not happy with my glue situation. I now realize there are so many kinds of guns on the market and do not know which one would be best for this application. I need some expert advice. Thank you so very much. Donna Tomasi Tomasi Designs 214-535-2666
knektek donna5 years ago
dude get ur writing shorter, otherwise people wont read ur comments m8.
i know a glue gun that you could use. my dad uses it for gluing lexan into jewelry desplays. (you might see one if you go to a big R or any store that carries elk creek or vogt jewalry.) it is, how some would say, industrial strength. very strong. itstead of cheap little gluesticks these sticks are about 1ft long and feel like their made of plastic. its very stong. im not sure how expensive ti is. ill try to find it.
pwmc donna7 years ago
This site has tools you may be interested in. I ran across it (and this) in a search of "glue guns"...

http://www.gluemachinery.com/champ5.shtml

Patrick
RetroPlayer6 years ago
Just wanted to let you know that I saw something really close to this at Michaels crafts yesterday:
http://www.michaels.com/art/online/displayProductPage?productNum=gc0270
that one sucks
What's wrong with it?
it says cordless but its not. u unplug it and it lasts 5 min
Nowhere on that page does it say cordless...
go buy it
The page does not say cordless, maybe your thinking of a different glue gun. Standard glue guns cool down after they're unplugged. This one does not say cordless, so should cool down after being unplugged.
thats wat it does. wen i looked in the store it said cordless. it is made to be kinda semi cordless
*FACEPALM*
can michaels' hot glue gun melt solder?
prsrose6 years ago
I recommend checking out /www.gluemachinery.com as well (http://www.gluemachinery.com/hot_melt_handguns.shtml)-- There may be a way to modify or use their many nozzles for this kind of DIY application.

Or perhaps use their design as a model-- aside from the threading, some of the concepts seem possible to create with a little DIY metalwork.
Here is a pdf of some of their traditional nozzles for their hotguns: http://www.gluemachinery.com/pdf/Nozzles-Champ3-5.pdf

Their guns are awesome-- but are definitely high end/industrial quality... Not something you could find at a store- and not priced as a craft gun. I've had the opportunity to use the Champ3 and Champ 10s (attached to compressed air!) -- geekdom galore!

Now if you want the lower end of their line but the higher end of glue 'stick' guns-- check out their champstick400... adjustable temp up to ~470F!

Sorry- dont mean to sound spammy, but its just cool to use 'the real deal'...I'm a dork for cool tools.

I also know they do custom machining and metal work at their shop-- so if you ever needed a custom part to spec, you might be able to have one made up. Though I've never had this done so I cant hold them to the claim.

cheers!
Shifrin6 years ago
Not bad! this can be really use full for arts/crafts! -Alex
gyromild7 years ago
Great instructable.. if i might add, for increased precision, apart from the nozzle, i think the tempreture should be increase as well. Would liquify the glue further, opening possibilities for smaller nozzles and more precise glueing.
Adding temperature control and higher temperature would be nice. perhaps you could make one where molten glue is pushed by a piston and the stick is fed from the top into the melting chamber.
I never knew such a thing was possible! This is great.
Don H.7 years ago
Dang, I could have used this on my first Instructable!! I'm going to make one of these this week!!
lord xeon8 years ago
this is a very neat idea, i have been using glue guns for everything i can for the last 10 years, i love them. i do agree though, they can get messy when your glueing small things together. The method i used has been to just wait for it to cool a little, and use my finger to get it there. Sure it stings a bit, but its part of the project i say!
lord xeon, I keep a bowl of ice water nearby when I smooth hot glue,cools my fingers instantly, peels off easily,provides a temporary receptacle for glue waste.
mje7 years ago
Great instructable. I suspect that adding the finer tip makes the biggest difference. A set of small, cheap guns with different tips would be great- like curved tips. I could use something like this in one of my electronics projects that involves filling a small cavity with glue for insulation and stress relief of tiny wires.
aggememnom7 years ago
that is really cool
jtobako7 years ago
how about using the trigger so that you squeeze the barrel to get more glue rather than pushing on the end?
Using the same tip you used in this project, from the ballpen, would it work to just add it to the gun without dismantling it?
Dan Lockton (author)  Cristian Lavaque8 years ago
Yes, it would - I guess part of my aim was to make a glue gun that was smaller overall, with a different way of holding it, but you could of course just put a precision tip onto a normal glue gun!
peanutgnome8 years ago
What about using the tip that inflates basketballs or footballs? It usually has a thread and a long thin tip which could be shortened to keep heat disbursement to a minimum. Just my thoughts, I haven't tried this yet.
Dan Lockton (author) 8 years ago
Thanks everyone, those are some really useful ideas. I like the nozzle extension suggestions - will look into them. It did occur to me that it might be a good idea to have a range of nozzles to fit, for different jobs, just like the cake/pastry ones - very small diameter, extra-long, angled, curved (for getting into awkward places - the work light would be useful here) - even a flattened one, for applying a consistent width of glue and smoothing it (spatula-style) as you go. Think I have a copper thermocouple sensor somewhere from an old oven - I'll have a look! I did do some work a couple of years ago on a miniature power drill/screwdriver that had a white LED work light built-in - it was useful but as you say, would be much better on a stiff bit of wire for precise illumination. A mains voltage bulb would be easier than an LED just because of the power supply to the glue gun - stepping it down & rectifying it would add too much bulk I think. (Please ignore the colour of the drill in the picture - it was for 'marketing reasons'!)
handymandyled.jpg
Thaikarl8 years ago
keen! if you made the nozzle extension from copper, it will conduct the heat nicely. (see http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/thermal-conductivity-metals-d_858.html ) there is some really small copper tubing that is used for the temperature sensor in um, refrigerators, or ovens or the like. you could drill out the original nozzle to insert a piece of thin copper tubing to make very precise tips. if you wanted to make fairly long tips, you could make the body of the skinny nozzle thicker by wrapping copper wire around it - to provide more copper to carry the heat out to the end of the nozzle.

seems like the indicator lamp could be useful as a 'point of contact' work tip light. you might have to use a different bulb of some sort... or an white LED. if it was stiffer wire you could bend the work lite for precise illumination.
TheeObskure8 years ago
Finally, somebody has addressed this problem! I've gotten pretty adept at using a glue gun with semi precise results, but have often pondered ways of making it perform better at more intricate work. This instructable addresses several issues nicely. Have you looked into the nozzles that are used for cake decorating and pastry filling? I was just the other day rifling through a grocery store supply catalog and noticed that there are several small diameter metal nozzles that are used on pastry bags for various sorts of decoration, there was also something called, I believe, a bismarck (sp?) needle, used for filling donuts with cream or fruit fillings. Basically it's a long hollow metal needle...
very nifty my mom just threw away some old ones i'll try this