Candy Towers Built With a Molten-Sugar Hot-Glue Gun

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About: Eric J. Wilhelm is the founder of Instructables. He has a Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. Eric believes in making technology accessible through understanding, and strives to inspire others to lear...

While everyone else was making somewhat more traditional ginger bread houses, I used a molten-sugar hot-glue gun to make some impressively tall candy towers. The first tower was built from M&M's, and eventually the candy shell on the bottom piece fractured and dropped the whole tower. The second tower, built from strawberry and raspberry Pez, looked like something out of Dr. Seuss.

The trigger assembly on the cheap hot-glue guns was a little too small for the sugar glue sticks, so I ripped the assembly out and just fed the sugar with with my thumb.

If you have never used molten-sugar as a construction material, you really need to try. I honestly didn't expect to get much beyond 20 M&M's high, but as you can see I was approaching 3 feet.

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    20 Discussions

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    CatherineD23

    8 weeks ago

    I tried to message this, but was having dropped-connection troubles:

    I think you are really close to getting a confectioner’s glue gun that will produce an amazing clear sugar product. I did a little searching on the internet, and found the following:


    High Temp glue gun melting point for glue:

    374 — 410 F/ 190 — 210 C

    Table Sugar melting point:

    366.8 F/186 C

    Huffington Post Article on the ways and reasons sugar acts like it does when exposed to heat:

    https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/909712

    Another article on how to melt sugar clear, and how altitude can be a big factor:

    http://thepatricianpalette.com/wordpress/?p=2255

    My own thoughts are if you lower the glue gun temperature slightly, and hold it steady — like a snazzy GHD brand curling iron that has a tight range and can’t get too hot (past 365 F) or it will burn hair — you should make progress in this area.

    Hope this helps out on another project you want to try :^)

    "The candy sticks were home-made"...yup-that doesn't surprise me. You are one amazing guy lol ;0) (neat ideas hope to try them out. Thanks)

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    ewilhelmxtank5

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Click on the molten-sugar link. There's an Instructable about how to do it!

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    zachninme

    11 years ago on Introduction

    What about just making things out of the "glue"? I dont know how fast it cools, but I bet it could work.

    3 replies
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    ewilhelmzachninme

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    It's most similar to molten wax, so I could clearly make drippy-looking stuff. A long while ago at the media lab, Saul and I used the laser cutter as a 3-d printer to make sugar objects. You just caramelize a 2-d pattern in sugar, add more sugar on top, and lower the bed.

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    Patrikzjharva

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    You could also rig a CNC machine with a fat syringe of Royal Icing, and do some 3D plotting with that.

    The molten sugar might be a little too sticky/stringy, and with the icing you don't have to worry about high temperatures, burning sugar, or for that matter, anyone eating the result. ;-)

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    zjharvaPatrik

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    yeah. i want to make a cnc with me and my dad so i could make it so its interchangable with a router and an icing extruder.

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    Patrik

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Eric - stop goofing around!! And get back to the serious business of... um... building ginger bread houses! :-D Thanks for the reminder of the molten sugar glue gun. Were you able to find some candy sticks that fit into the glue gun? The ones you're using seem more candy-red than caramel colored.

    1 reply
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    Awesome! By the way, that molten-sugar hot-glue gun just helped me out a ton! Thanks!