How do hot glue guns work

Hot glue gun - the right application

How to properly use a hot glue gun

A hot glue gun is a tool that is often used in the craft and hobby sector for assembling, fixing and tinkering with decorative items, for example.

It works by first heating solid glue cartridges in the pistol to up to 200 degrees Celsius and thereby becoming liquid. After application, the adhesive sets in a very short time and becomes cold and firm again. In addition to wood, textiles, leather, plastics, metal and natural materials, porous materials - such as ceramics or foams - and materials with different surface structures - such as wood and metal - that do not adhere particularly well to other adhesives, can be permanently joined together connect.

In addition to handicraft work, you can also carry out minor repairs around the house with a hot glue gun. Craftsmen use them for modeling, grouting and sealing.

There are two versions of hot glue guns: With simple devices you have to move the glue cartridges by hand, with more expensive models this is done using a trigger mechanism. An ordinary hot glue gun consists of:

1. a (mostly exchangeable) glue nozzle, with which precise gluing work is possible
2. an electronic heating element for melting the glue cartridges (some devices also have a temperature control so that the temperature remains uniform while working.)
3. a transport mechanism
4. A metal bracket for safely setting down the pistol in between
5. a trigger / transport lever
6. a connection cable
7. Hot glue cartridges

The glue cartridges can be bought later. In addition to the standard cartridges, special cartridges for wood, leather or ceramics or adhesive sealing cartridges are also available. Because they are melted, they are solvent free.

This is how a hot glue gun is used properly

01Preparation of the adhesive surfaces

You first prepare the adhesive surfaces by removing grease and dust and roughening smooth surfaces a little.

02Insert the glue cartridges

The stick-shaped adhesive cartridges are now inserted into the opening at the rear end of the pistol.

03Heating up the gun

Then you put the plug in the socket and wait until the gun is hot. After about 3 - 6 minutes the first glue is liquid and slowly emerges from the glue nozzle. However, if you need larger quantities, you should wait a little longer so that the glue can constantly re-melt. You should be careful not to burn your fingers on the hot tip!



04 Gluing process

You glue by pressing the feed lever on the handle with your index finger. So you can dose the glue well, because it runs for exactly as long as you keep the lever pressed. The adhesive is applied on one side, then the parts to be assembled are immediately pressed together and held until the adhesive has set. After about five minutes the glue has cooled down completely.

05Refilling the glue cartridges

When the glue cartridge is almost used up and has become short, a new one is pushed in. The rest of the old cartridge is pushed through the nozzle and completely recycled.

06After working with the hot glue gun

When you are done with work, you should pull the power plug. To avoid burn injuries, the hot nozzle must never be replaced with bare hands or closed with a cap! Please wait until it has cooled down a bit. If the glue has pulled threads and glue residues are still coming out of the nozzle, these can be easily removed after cooling.

There are hot glue guns from simple models for the hobby area to complex professional models with additional equipment and mostly they are also relatively cheap to buy.

[The picture is from oskay - via Flickr - thank you very much]