# $1.00 Stuff ### Help Support The Rocketry Forum: #### accooper ##### Well-Known Member Am I mistaken or is the Dollar Store Super Glue not as good as the stuff in the hobby store? Andrew From Texas #### AKPilot ##### Well-Known Member Andrew, I have to admit that I've never used this type of super glue and so I don't know anything about it. Having said that, what types of surfaces are you attempting to bond together? Wood/paper to wood/paper? Plastic to foam? For most of our modeling needs, if economics are a factor, we can adequately use wood or white glues. These can be more economical per ounce than super glue or CA. There was a great article in Fine Scale Modeling that I'll have to paraphrase from concerning adhesives, where and how to use. However, in the meantime, I'm sure that many others will chime in with their experiences. #### shrox ##### Well-Known Member Am I mistaken or is the Dollar Store Super Glue not as good as the stuff in the hobby store? Andrew From Texas It has worked fine for me, less to throw away if the nozzle clogs miserably... #### RoyAtl ##### Well-Known Member Should be the same stuff, but they might source it from different places than most hobby brands. Might have different fillers and such. #### accooper ##### Well-Known Member It works OK for me as long as the humidity is below 50%. Here lately our humidity has hovered around 70% Andrew From Texas #### hcmbanjo ##### Well-Known Member I use the good stuff (in bottles with teflon tubing for application) at home on builds. I always keep a few tubes of the cheap CA in the range box for the quick fixes. #### MarkII ##### Well-Known Member I buy the brand-name CA from the hobby shop because ounce for once or gram for gram, it works out to be much cheaper than even the no-name dollar store variety! I buy BSI CA (usually rebranded with the store's name) in 2 oz. bottles. 2 ounces is equivalent to 56.7 grams. I pay$8.99 per bottle. This works out to $0.16 per gram. Dollar store CA usually comes in tiny squeeze tubes, with several of these tubes blister-packed onto a card, for which the price is$1. Collectively, the set of tubes contains maybe 4 grams of CA. (A rough but generous estimate.)

In order to buy an amount equivalent to a 2 oz. bottle, you would have to buy 14 cards of the dollar store variety. So you would pay $14 for the same amount of CA as the 2 oz. BSI bottles contain. This works out to around$0.25 per gram.

When I used to buy those little squeeze tubes of superglue, I would get just one use out of the tube. I would often use about half of the contents on whatever I was working on, and then recap it and try to save the rest for another time. But the remainder would always harden in the tube before I got to use it again. So out of a dollar store pack of superglue that contained a total of something like 4 grams of glue, I would actually get to use something like 2 to 3 grams. So my cost per gram was even higher than the previous calculation.

The hazard with buying CA in 2 oz. bottles like I do is that it can prematurely harden in the bottles just as easily as it does in the little tubes. And if the bottle hardens up before you get to use even half of it, then you lose a whole lot more CA than you do in the little tubes. I take three precautions to prevent that from happening.

1. Once it has been opened, keep the bottle sealed in a zip-lock bag when it is not in use.
2. Never unscrew the cap and dip something into the bottle to pick up a little glue. You run a very great risk of introducing contaminants into the glue when you do this, especially water vapor. Water vapor is the catalyst that hardens cyanoacrylic adhesive, so you want to do everything possible to keep ambient water vapor from getting into the bottle. If I want to pick up a quantity of CA on an applicator before transferring it to my model, I squeeze a small amount onto a plastic plate and then pick it up from there. I also keep the outer cap on the bottle whenever possible, which means that it is on all the time, except when I am actually dispensing glue from the bottle.
3. Keep your CA accelerator and your bottles of CA well-isolated from each other, and don't apply the accelerator in the presence of a bottle of CA, even if the bottle is capped. I occasionally use BSI Insta-Set, which is their accelerator, to quickly set Maxi-Cure CA (BSI's version of extra thick and slow-curing CA). I bought a couple of small pump spray bottles of it and a large bulk container of it. I store them in a sealed container (a recycled coffee can with a plastic snap lid) at all times except when I am actually using it. I keep the container in the room across the hall from my workshop, so it isn't even in the same room as the CA.
I'm a bit of a fanatic about this next procedure, so bear with me. When I anticipate that I am going to use Insta-Set on my model, the first thing I do is get the coffee can and take it outside and leave it on my deck. Then I go back to my workshop, apply the CA, cap the bottle, and then take my model out to the deck. Then I take the accelerator out of the coffee can and apply it where needed on my model. In other words, I apply it outdoors, well away from where I keep my CA. Then I leave the model out on the deck for at least an hour before bring it back inside to my workshop. On my way back into the house, I stop and wash my hands with soap and water before reentering my workshop room. I know, it sounds like I am working with hazmat. But Insta-Set isn't hazardous to anything but uncured CA. And even a couple of stray droplets in the air in the same room as the CA can eventually make their way into the bottle, and if that happens, it's game over.

By following these precautions, I have kept bottles of CA good and usable for almost 2 years after I first opened the bottles. I don't know how long the CA can ultimately be kept this way, because I always use it all up within anywhere from a few months to a couple of years after I open the bottle. But by preserving the CA, I also preserve the money I saved by buying it this way.

MarkII

Last edited:

#### powderburner

##### Well-Known Member
MarkII is probably right about the relative costs of hobbyshop versus dollar store CA

I buy the brand-name CA from the hobby shop because ounce for once or gram for gram, it works out to be much cheaper than even the no-name dollar store variety!
I use the dollar store stuff to toughen the surfaces of balsa fins and nose cones. It works fine for that. I don't like trying to keep "big" bottles of the stuff in the 'fridge because around my house it got "borrowed" (and never returned) by mysterious phantoms that no one ever saw, who didn't seem to understand how cheap I am and how much I hate wasting a bottle because one of my kids wants to try to superglue the dog to the floor (that's not really what happened, but the real stunts were equally as stupid).

The hobbyshop brands are probably better quality and stronger, but I don't worry about those characteristics. First of all, I don't like designing any joint to have to carry structural loads so close to the hairy edge of failure that it takes a different brand of adhesive to cover the difference. My approach would be to design a bigger joint with more joining surface that will spread out the load (duh!). Second, I don't like using CA for structural joints---period. The stuff gets brittle over time, and it would be just my luck that right when I needed the super strength that the CA would instead decide to act old, and crack. Again, just design a better joint.

Most white and yellow glues are perfectly strong enough for low, medium, and even some high power construction. They have the advantage of drying to a "tough" condition where they have a tiny amount of flexibility. They are inexpensive. They don't cause many allergy problems. They don't stink. They won't (usually) glue your hand to the bench.

#### Gus

##### Well-Known Member
Dollar Tree carries the brand name "Original Super Glue", both gel and liquid in 3 packs which sell for \$1 each. This is the same company that makes ZAP, Pacer Industrial, and Pro Seal adhesives, very high quality stuff.

The really cheap dollar store 4 or 5 packs for a dollar stuff that comes carded in blister packs is usually garbage. Often you open a tube and the liquid has solidified or become thicker than usual and turned an odd yellow color.

The price of "Original Super Glue" Gel at Dollar Tree is truly a steal at roughly 15% of what Walmart charges.

#### DexterLB

##### Well-Known Member
Here there aren't lots of hobby shops... actually it's 1
But the "Super Glue" as the text on the box says from an 1lev store doesn't work unless 1. It is super cooled in a fridge 2. the surfaces you are sticking fit exactly together 3. The air must be very dry

However, Loctite, which costs 5x the price of the above described glue, doesn't really need to be stored in a fridge and operates in relatively high humidity (70-80%)

#### JoeG

##### Well-Known Member
The hazard with buying CA in 2 oz. bottles like I do is that it can prematurely harden in the bottles just as easily as it does in the little tubes. And if the bottle hardens up before you get to use even half of it, then you lose a whole lot more CA than you do in the little tubes. I take three precautions to prevent that from happening.
My answer to the hardening in the tube/bottle is buying (and selling) Mercury products. This is made in the USA and the company stands behind their product with the guarantee that if it gets hard in the bottle return it to the store and they will replace it with a new bottle. Period.

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
My answer to the hardening in the tube/bottle is buying (and selling) Mercury products. This is made in the USA and the company stands behind their product with the guarantee that if it gets hard in the bottle return it to the store and they will replace it with a new bottle. Period.

Mercury is a pretty new brand. I haven't tried their CA yet, but it's on my list. My RHS doesn't carry it; if they did, I would have some by now.

MarkII

Last edited:

#### AKPilot

##### Well-Known Member
Speaking of CA, I talked to Bob Smith at iHobby about his CA. Asked him if he consider adopting some of Mercury's techniques and theories. Such as the return policy if it hardens and putting a pin in their caps so the nozzles don't clog as easily. I was kinda disappointed, because he gave me the politically correct business answer but, it'll be interesting to see if they eventually implement anything.

#### Micromeister

##### Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Supporter
Once we realize the mositure in the Air is one of the "contaminates" that cause all CA's to cure and take steps to limit the open exposure to it. You'll find your bottle hardening days will be behind you.

I buy CA in 4oz bottles and 16oz refills. Generally Zap, sometimes USA Gold, occasionally Bob Smith, dollar store small packs and other brands to try, and often mix.
I usually refill my 4oz Zap bottles as many a 4 or 5 times before I ruin the nozzle end beyond use.
Keeping the bottles sealed tight in Ziplock baggies between uses, in a sealed can with descant and keeping the accelerator well away on the other side of the table and below the level of the CA. (Accelerator is heaver then air) all lead to no more bottle hardened CA or thickening of the CA being used. I made a little CA bottle stand that keeps the bottle about 2" above the table top so I alway have the accelerator below the CA level. This little trick has worked wonders

Mark II's items 1 and 2 are absolutely right on, #3 is a bit over the top but not by much.

Quality CA is important, but shouldn't keep anyone from using the dollar store stuff if it's going to be used as soon as it's Pack,Tube or Bottle is opened.