Epoxy, the hobbyist's hot glue
September 5, 2008
I agree hot glue is much easier to use and is a good way to get started. At some point you should consider moving on to epoxy. The most common type of epoxy that you will use is a 2 part epoxy consisting of a resin and a hardener. When separate they remain in liquid form. When you mix the two a reaction occurs and after a little while (times vary depending on what type of epoxy you use) solidifies into a rock hard bond. Epoxy is fairly cheap (I've found it at "Everything's a Dollar Stores" often) and even the cheap stuff with 5 minute drying times holds up much better than most hot glues. I have used it on many non electronic projects and to seal up BEAM robots that were intended for outdoor use. I've even used it in molds to create uniquely shaped braces and mounts. A warning though, READ THE WARNING AND USES LABEL. Some epoxies are corrosive and will damage circuit boards and melt plastic. Most of the damaging epoxies will clearly state this so if you check the label you should be safe.
Reasons you should consider epoxy for your next project:
- Very durable
- Longer lasting (parts won't eventually start falling off)
- Cheap (less than $3 US in most places)
- Creates a more professional look
- Dries harder than hot glue (less chance of flexing joints)
- No heat (no burned fingers or chance of messing up solder joints)
I'm sure there are some other high points and warnings I've missed but this should give you a general idea.