Model in a Block or Clear Glue (FAILED)

Introduction: Model in a Block or Clear Glue (FAILED)

About: I am an automation engineer but I will give anything a go. I don't know if you call if pessimism or just being an engineer, but I look for problems everywhere, then I look for some weird, left field way to s...

This is my failed attempt at trialing a technique for setting a model in clear plastic (or glue)

WARNING: this instructable uses hot, molten glue, contact with this will cause horrific burns.

Step 1: Get Started

You will need:
- a model
- clear hot melt glue sticks
- a melting pot
- a stove top

Before you get going, shock the model fits inside the pot!
Then set your hob to a mid heat and put on the pot within the hot melt glue sticks.
Allow them to melt slowly, remember all materials have a flash point (a temperature at which the burst into flames) so be careful, we don't want to be making explanations to the local fire department!

Step 2:

When the glue is fully melted, use a small stick (matchstick) to tease out as many air bubbles as possible.
Please remember this glue is molten and will burn your skin!
Drop the model as centrally as possible and assist it to sink with your stick, again be careful not to burn yourself and remove the bubbles created by the model.
Remove the pot the cool and set

Step 3: Failure

Hmmm, I came back to my model, never mind the bubbles (this was the trial run remember) but my clear glue set white and my model hidden.
This is where I need advice, I want to encase models in solid, clear material. Ultimately I would like to make blown apart models, like a CAD drawing, suspend them with fishing line and encase them. This way you get a physical 3D blown apart model you can handle and view from any angle.
My mod ideas are:
-solid models
-deconstructed lego models
-dismantled technologies like CD or hard drives



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    14 Discussions

    Epoxy, but thin stuff so you don't have to deal with bubbles, which means you do have to worry about holding it in place so it doesn't sink.

    There is a 'fake water' epoxy that is clear. Usually sold in big craft stores for floral displays.

    I saw a display of a beer bottle in the process of exploding (steampunk time stop experiment). He used clear gel beads and water, carefully placing each piece as he filled the jar.

    Thanks for the tip, I disn't know about the seamless curing of epoxy


    1 year ago

    Two part epoxy is exactly what you need. Best part is that wet epoxy dries clear and seamlessly to dry epoxy. You could make an open top box with a clear acrylic sheet. Fill 1/4 of the box with the clear epoxy, and allow it to dry. Put the item you want to encase onto the dried epoxy. Now fill the rest of the box with wet epoxy, covering the dried epoxy and your item. When it dries, you will have your item fully encased in clear epoxy, and you won't have to use fishing line to suspend it.

    1 reply

    Oops...I thought my first comment got deleted.


    1 year ago

    Two part epoxy is exactly what you need. The best part about it is that wet epoxy dries completely clear and without a seem, to dried epoxy. This way you don't have to suspend your item with a piece of fishing line. For example you could make an open top box with cut acrylic sheets. Fill the box 1/3 the way up with the epoxy and allow it to dry. Take your item and put it on top of the dried epoxy inside the box. Fill the box the rest of the way up with the wet epoxy, and allow it to dry. You would then have your item suspended in the clear epoxy.

    Thank you for having the courage to post the failure. You may have saved several people from making similar mistakes.

    Good luck if you make another attempt and please do post that.

    1 reply

    Thank you for your comment, I think there is always something to learn from in failure. if it works the first time then you learned nothing you didn't already know.

    First off, the hot glue sticks aren't clear, so how could they be after heating?

    1 reply

    many materials change colour after being heated or changing chemically. white pva glue sets clear

    I dint remember how much it was... It was a project for someone else and they bought all the materials... I just did the work as requested.


    1 year ago

    I think you'll probably have to use 2-part casting resin to do this, as I think hot-melt only comes in translucent white(ish) and various solid colours.

    1 reply

    Yes I think you are right, the lady in the shop said it dried clear but that's true of most glues when you apply them in a thin layer

    Try clear epoxy... I've used it before to encase items in a counter/table top.... Not sure of the cure time. Might have to do in stages to ensure it hardens properly. Let me know if that works.

    1 reply