Sunday 1 December 2013

How to: accelerate CA glue

A little trick I picked up recently. Some may already know it, some may consider this the gift of god. Welcome to my first "How to"-intermezzo.

As much as I like all the nice details in many kits, I hate when they need to be painted separately, either because they need a different colour than the rest of the model or they need to remain movable after assembly. (Just putting them in place before you start painting will unvariably cause their motion to stop)

I do not like painting parts on the sprue, as that leaves the little attachment point to be painted afterwards, when you remove the part. So, what I usually do is put all those little pieces on toothpicks and airbrush them one by one. This goes very fast, accept for the just-put-them-on-toothsticks part of it.

The first time I used white glue, a big blob of it. It dries in roughly 4 hours, but tends to run away from where you put it, making this far from an ideal solution.

The second time, I used CA glue (contact glue, instant glue, ...). While this is called "one-second-glue" in Dutch, it rarely dries thát fast, unléss it's on your fingers. The more porous the substance you're trying to glue, the faster it hardens. Since plastic parts are as smooth as they come, it takes a while for the glue to harden. I tend to hold the toothpick - dipped in CA-glue - against the part for 20-30 seconds before I stop the pressure. Doing this for more than just a few parts tends to stretch my patience to the limit.

I heard of a product that reduces the setting time of the glue, but could not find it in the local hobby shop, until I located it in Bruges. (picture below) 
"Activator", "Accelerator", "Kicker", ... call it what you want, but what does it do? It makes the CA bond almost instantly (you can actually see it happen if you have good eyes). Normal application is 1) apply accelerator (from the spray can) to part A, 2) apply CA to part B and 3) press together.
The accelerated bond is not as hard as when you let it harden normally, but this is for a temporary solution anyway, and good enough.

I don't care much for the spray-can itself. This is highly flammable stuff, not to be sprayed excessively. I decant a little of it into a small dish and dip the parts in.
I made a movie about testing it out. The first piece tried is without the accelarator and obviously has no time to bond. The second piece is first dipped into the accelator and instantly bonds. The rest goes really fast.

(I removed the audio as my 2-year old daughter is yapping in the background about sharing her mango with mommy)

In no time, I can put 30 or more pieces on toothpicks, ready to be painted immediately.

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