Different varieties of CA?

Discussion in 'Techniques' started by neil_w, Mar 15, 2019.

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  1. Mar 15, 2019 #1

    neil_w

    neil_w

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    I normally use two kinds of CA: medium (usually something from Home Depot) and thin (Bob Smith Insta-Cure). I use the Insta-Cure mainly for hardening nose cones and wiping on the ends of body tubes.

    Today I found myself on the Bob Smith website kind of by accident, and holy moly there are a lot more different kinds of CA than I ever realized. Some look quite appealing, at least from their description.
    • Insta-flex: less odor and more flexible. Would it work as well for hardening nose cones? I'm can't decide if flexibility would be a plus or a minus in that application.
    • Insta-flex+: clear, rubber-toughened
    • Super-gold: foam safe! no fumes! flexible! no fogging! I probably shoulda used this to glue on the clear nose of my IRIS-T.
    • IC-2000: black, rubber-toughened ("tire glue")
    There are a few others but I'm tired of typing. And so my question is: does anyone have experience with any or all of these particular varieties, and are there some that are particularly well-suited (or not well-suited) to typical rocketry tasks? Is any of these varieties better for balsa hardening than the Insta-Cure I normally use?
     
  2. Mar 16, 2019 #2

    Gary Byrum

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    OK,...I'll bite. When I started incorporating CA glues into my building, I wasn't so sure I was sold on using it. Fast drying glues never were very much good at holding things together in the long run, but sooner or later, I'd learn how to use this stuff. One time I had 3 kinds, watery, syrupy, and molasses. (light, med, heavy) The thin stuff proved harder to work with, the Med was OK I guess, and the heavy was good for spot gluing for the moment. I was learning how CA glues just weren't my bag, but I always keep the thin and some heavy around for emergencies on the field or anywhere for that matter. You've already seen what I do with thin CA these days. Mostly hardening wood nose cones, balsa parts and BT strengthening. I guess as an old schooler, I'm better at using proven methods or even some of my own, because that's how I learned to play rockets. Not all of the newer methods are all that in my opinion. CA can make for a quick assembly of your model, but is quicker always better?
    The medium goes to the launch field for quick fixes. I usually buy just any brand but I like having a tiny jar of medium. Then I go to Klingspor's for my Thin CA. Bigger bottle, not as expensive as the tiny bottles, and doesn't dry as fast. This is exceptional for the nose cones, tubes and such. I'll go through that big bottle way faster than that tiny bottle of med. The downside to me using CA is that it'll harden before I can ever use it up.
     
  3. Mar 16, 2019 #3

    neil_w

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    Gee, and here I thought this was going to be the first glue thread on TRF that no one cared about. ;)

    I also use CA in very limited fashion on my builds, same as you (although I did use it for fillets on the Accur8 Ragnarok because there didn't seem to be anything else that would work). I was trying to see if there were other uses for some of these other varieties. Like, one of the standard knocks against CA is that is becomes brittle, but some of these claim to be flexible and *not* brittle. Etc.
     
  4. Mar 16, 2019 #4

    Wallace

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    I do use it, but only for "tacking" things together. I'd never trust CA for an actual structural bond though. The big bottles only seem like a bargain until you realize they never dispense properly/clog/ and dry up. And, you're probably correct, I doubt anyone cares...
     
  5. Mar 17, 2019 #5

    Bruiser

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    I do get a kick out of reading how people don't trust CA. I quite funny because I come from an R/C aircraft background where CA is used quite extensively on everything from the smallest micro R/C all the way to 200+ mph jet aircraft.

    In the model aircraft world thin is for nice, tight fitting joints. Medium is used for most other joints. Thick works good on plywood. Then there is the special CA for foam because regular CA will melt most foam. There are a bunch others that I have never tried.

    -Bob
     
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  6. Mar 17, 2019 #6

    Space Ranger

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    I mostly use the thin fast setting CA, sometimes for tacking some pieces together, sometimes for gluing motor mount rings to the outside of the mmt tube, etc. Often will soak the inside of the end of motor mount tubes, or the forward end of body tubes for heat resistance and strength. Another use is to soak the end of very pointy balsa nose cones for strength and then prime & paint. I used to use a lot of the thin CA to soak paper shrouds to strengthen them but when soaking the outside of the shroud, or the outside of balsa fin surfaces, noticed that the CA tends to leave a somewhat bumpy surface, and find it hard to sand it smooth.
     
  7. Mar 17, 2019 #7

    Gary Byrum

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    I forgot to include shrouds as well. My trick to getting them smooth after a CA treatment is to do all that to it before you glue it to the rocket. In most cases, My shroud assemblies are all assembled with CR's before I treat them with CA. This keeps what I have to sand smooth, easy to handle and you can work those little bumps down nice and smooth. In fact, CA really does well at the shroud joint. Since a lot of us still use the "overlap glue tabs, I found that extra coats of CA will toughen it up enough that you can sand it 98% flat without damage and use minimum amounts of Bondo or whatever you use to hide flaws, seams and cracks with. It's got it's uses, but in rocketry, I never use it to construct a build.
     
  8. Mar 17, 2019 #8

    mcderek

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    The IC-2000 tire glue is great in situations where there is a shock load because it's a bit more flexible and sets fast. I'm not sure where it would make sense in rocketry though. I've used it to glue carbon components together in aeromodeling- pylons to motor tubes.
     
  9. Mar 17, 2019 #9

    MALBAR 70

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    I used the Super Gold on the wraps for the Apogee Saturn V, worked great and didn't melt or crack the styrine at all.
     
  10. Mar 18, 2019 #10

    afadeev

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    I also have the following brands:
    Insta-Cure and Insta-Cure+, both from BSI and RocketryWorks brands - are they the same?
    (sourced from either erockets.com or hobbylinc.com )
    Super-gold: foam safe and fewer toxic fumes, but more expensive and harder to find. I noticed that fumes quantity is correlated with the quantity of impurities in the tubes - the higher quality the tube, the fewer fumes you get.
    Loctite CA: available at Wallgreens and most grocery stores - great when you just ran out and need some in a pinch

    Thin CA for firming up the balsa fin edges, and ends of the airframe tubes exposed to ejection charges.
    Thick CA for tacking components in place, and gluing plastics. It's easy to sand, so occasionally, I use it for non-structural fin-fillet purposes (e.g: Saturn V fin shrouds).

    I don't see the need for medium CA, anyone?

    The biggest two (2) PITAs with CA are:
    1). I always get some on my fingers, and cleanup is a @#$%.
    2). The bottle cap always get either clogged, or glued to the body of the glue tube.

    CA comparison:
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
  11. Mar 18, 2019 #11

    neil_w

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    I'm pretty confident in saying that RocketryWorks is just rebranding Bob Smith. Gotta be the same stuff.

    Other than fumes, do you find it to be different in use?

    The Loctite (triangular bottle + cap?) is what I often have as well... that *is* medium. The thick stuff is like gel, I rarely come up with any uses for it.

    To me medium is good as a *glue*, thin is good as a *hardener*, and thick is good as a *filler*. The thin is a bit dangerous to work with because it flows like water and wants to go everywhere, which is usually a Bad Thing.

    However, I've recently switched to thin for hardening the edges of body tubes... now I just drizzle some directly onto a cotton swab and wipe. It seems to distribute better than the medium.
     
  12. Mar 18, 2019 #12

    Tyler P

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    I use BSI CAs on my low and lighter mid-power stuff. Thin is great for gluing motor mount rings and I use medium for balsa fins to the body tube. I've never had a fin depart the rocket without snapping the balsa, so I know the bond is good.

    Where CA doesn't bond well is with edge-glued ply, so ply fins and ply centering rings. The reason for this is that CA tends to soak into the layers, not leaving enough adhesive on the surfaces.

    I've used several different brands and all work well enough. The reason I like BSI is that it seems to have a slightly better shelf life than other brands I've tried.
     
  13. Mar 18, 2019 #13

    K'Tesh

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    Avoid the CA glue listed as 502 (found in China) for gluing things together. It's very thin, but has almost no strength/durability (can't even hold popsicle sticks together well enough to damage the wood when broken apart).
     
  14. Mar 18, 2019 #14

    burkefj

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    Super gold plus is the only thing i use and recommend for my rc rocket glider kits.
     
  15. Mar 18, 2019 #15

    BEC

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    And that (Super Gold) is what I used to build my Battlecruiser.

    I use Hobby Lobby's thin and medium in other roles as discussed quite a bit above.

    Bob Smith stuff is relabeled for many vendors....I've gotten BSI with the name of several different hobby shops on it. So I would expect that's what's going on with RocketryWorks.
     
  16. Mar 18, 2019 #16

    mbeels

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    Yes, that can be annoying. I've found two things that help somewhat. First, with the bottle upright (so there is no CA in the nozzle), squeeze the bottle sides to blow air through the nozzle. This clears the inside. Second, do a quick pinch-wipe on the outside of the nozzle to clean off any CA that dripped down the outside of the nozzle. Repeat the squeeze if the nozzle opening isn't clear. Doing these two things, I can get through 2 oz of medium CA without any clogging or glued on caps. Occasionally I'll scrape off hardened CA from the outside of the nozzle, it slowly builds up over time.
     
  17. Mar 21, 2019 #17

    Chad

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    I use the medium when putting together various ebay designs i come up with. It's strong stuff, I had an ebay take pretty much a direct hit after a launch with a failed recovery deployment. The ebay had a decent amount of mass since it was carrying a raspberry pi, battery, and a handful of sensors i had put on a breakout board. The plywood i used ( 1/8 " ) broke in front of the glue joint, this is a good indication of that mythical "glue joint stronger than what it's gluing together" rating.

    I use to use thin a lot in other hobbies but i always seemed to end up gluing my fingers to other fingers or to something else when i used it haha
     
  18. Mar 21, 2019 #18

    Tyler P

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    Yup, it's part of the reason I use so much CA. I built the entire balsa structure of my Carden 32.5% Yak with CA except the ply components, and the foam parts sheeted with balsa. 30lbs airplane, 111cc motor, pulling pretty heavy Gs. Never had a joint come loose, even with the constant vibration of the engine.
     
  19. Mar 26, 2019 #19

    Charlee

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    BSI makes three thin CAs: Insta-Cure, Insta-Flex & Super-Gold. The solid balsa model below was prepared for painting using Super-Gold. I first tried the Insta-Flex since it is easier to sand and has a tolerable odor. It did not pass, however, my fingernail test. Tapping the surface with my fingernail left a dent (not a crack since it is flexible). I then did the bottom of one wing panel with Insta-Cure, which resulted in a very strong and hard surface, but about wiped out my sinuses when applying it to such a large surface. I then switched to Super-Gold, which leaves just as hard a surface as the Insta-Cure without the odor.
    For sanding, it is important to use a hard backed sanding block as soon as possible after the CA has cured (within 5-15 minutes). If you wait an hour or more, the CA is much harder to sand.



    TR24.jpg
     
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  20. Mar 30, 2019 #20

    lcorinth

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    I'm finding this thread really interesting, because I didn't know there were so many varieties of CA. I figured you had your thin, medium and thick, and from brand to brand it was like sugar - pretty much all the same (apart from the no-smell, no-foam-melty stuff).
     
  21. Mar 30, 2019 #21

    neil_w

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    Daniel, I think the clear answer is that you need to buy one bottle of each kind and do an extensive blog post about it. Or maybe a podcast. :)
     
  22. Apr 18, 2019 #22

    JoeG

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    I do a lot of model airplane building as well as rockets. I don't use much CA in rocketry but do in R/C.

    The one I use and recommend is by Pacer industries. It's called Zap (Thin) an Zap+ (medium). There is also other formulations called Zap-a-Gap, and Canopy Glue, etc much like BSI. I find these to be the best (for me) with the longest shelf life. They are more expensive than the others but worth it in my opinion.

    The sudden shock loads in rocketry make make more flexible adhesives more suitable such as carpenter glues and epoxies. Even the "Flex" ca's are not that flexible. IMHO.
     
  23. May 3, 2019 #23

    Chris_H

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    Have been buying from this business for years. Excellent products. I keep CA in several viscosities, thin for stopping fine checks in wood, and some sealing. A medium viscosity for bridging some gap, and filling, and a heavy for gaps. They have accelerators, and provide extra little bottles and tips with the larger sizs sold.
    These last a long time in a refrigerator. I keep a fridge just for adhesives and some finishes.

    https://www.starbond.com
     

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