They call this stuff caulk, but I use it as a general purpose glue. It pretty much sticks anything to anything. It may not hold as strongly as epoxy, but for 90% of my attachment jobs it does the trick. Almost everything in my mobile illusions museum is adhered with Lexel. It sticks better than silicone sealant and is not as obnoxious to work with.
Used to stick everything to everything.
In addition to everything else Amazon sells, you can now secure small portions of materials and mechanical parts suitable for building and repair. Amazon has teamed up with the supplier Small Parts (reviewed in Cool Tools previously) to supply a huge variety of metal tubes, springs, raw materials (titanium, nylon, polycarbonate, glass, etc.), gears, plastic parts, fasteners and bins of other stuff that tinkerers and mid-night engineers might need. Of course you can order from Small Parts direct, but Amazon’s option takes advantage of their incredibly handy interface and billing system. Go to their “Industrial & Scientific” tab.
I have been building small portable solar systems for camping and power outages using 12 volts. You can run regular 110-volt devices by sending the 12 volts through an inverter, or more efficiently, there are some really great 12-volt products out there. Unfortunately, most of the 12-volt devices you can buy come with a cigarette lighter plug. These plugs are often of poor quality, and are much too bulky, especially when you want to hook up multiple things to a power source.
I went searching for a better connecting system, and it turns out the ham radio crowd found a great solution years ago. They are called Anderson Powerpoles, and are perhaps the perfect 12-volt connector. Some of the advantages:
* Flat wiping contact system (cleans the contacts every time you use them)
* Interchangeable genderless design
* Colored, modular housings
* Polarized, so you can’t hook things up wrong way
* 15/30/45 amp contacts use the same housing
I chopped off every cigarette lighter plug I have, and now put these on everything. Of course I still keep one lighter plug around (with a powerpole on the other end) for when I need juice from a car.
This is a great tool for touching up paint in your home. There is nothing to clean up at all. Simply unscrew the cap, paint the area that needs to be touched up, and replace the cap. A real time saver.
– Phil Slight
[This product is not consistently available online, as of March 2010. For now, you may have luck on eBay. If anyone knows of a similar product, please let us know in the comments or through our Submit forms. -- es]
Electrical tape simply does not work in a marine environment. Even duct tape won’t stick to something wet. Try getting any tape to stick to a rope or line on a boat. Or try to get a waterproof seal on a hose leak. X-treme tape can do all these chores with flying colors because it is a non-adhesive, self-bonding wrap. It’s not really tape since it’s not sticky. This stuff is sort of magical. You stretch it on and it self-fuses tight under tension. It works in cold and wet, and won’t melt on hot surfaces, so you can use it on engines. It is easy to apply even when it is below freezing. The tape doesn’t stick on itself until you want it to. Once tightened this silicone based wrap forms a reliable bond even in water. I use it as an insulator around wires, like electrical tape. I wrap the end of ropes with it. X-treme tape bears up for many seasons under constant UV and sunlight and the extreme cold, heat, and wet of harsh weather. It’s so good I use for any outdoor tape application.
This stuff is incredible. It essentially undoes any sticky sticker from any surface, and then totally evaporates leaving no mark. As an art teacher, I’d find that masking tape, for example, when left too long on the back of a displayed piece of artwork, was impossible to remove. Un-Du released its stickiness, and AMAZINGLY, after a few moments of evaporation, the masking tape reverts to it’s original sticky state. The original ad for it demonstrated removing a piece of duct tape from a piece of toilet paper. BOTH were intact after a few seconds of application.
– Duffy Franco
Available from Amazon
Un-du is nice but it’s way overpriced. I buy the same thing but a quart at a time. It’s called Grip Solvent and it’s for regripping golf clubs. $5.69 for a quart instead of $9 for an ounce.
Available from Golfsmith
I just had occasion to fix my daughter’s eyeglasses. They had snapped at the hinge, in a place where neither glue nor tape would find any purchase, and we needed a way to repair them until we could replace the frames. For about $5 at Home Depot I got a tube holding enough epoxy putty to last for years of small repairs.
Epoxy putty is your standard two-component epoxy in concept, but like plasticene in initial consistency. You mix two strips by cutting an equal length of each and kneading them together with your fingers until it’s even in color. Once it’s kneaded, you mold it into shape with your fingers or the same kind of craft tools you would use on clay or plasticene. When it hardens, after about a half hour, it’s like rock–you can pound it with a hammer with no apparent effect. I’ve used it to make handles for broken pocketknife blades, for fixing glasses (like this time), for temporary patches on water pipes, and for a variety of other repairs and odd tasks.
[Magic-Sculp epoxy clay was featured in Cool Tools on March 3, 2005 but is packaged in a much larger quantity, at a much higher price, for larger repairs and sculpting. -- KK]
Originally marketed to repair old tennis shoes (which it does very well), this industrial strength rubber cement has many, many purposes.
I had a problem with the trim falling off of my second Mazda Rx-7, so I went around the car and pulled off all the trim and re-glued it with Shoe Goo. I never had the problem again. Through all kinds of weather and at very irresponsible speeds, the trim was still on the car after the vehicle was used up, wrung out, stripped of parts for my third Rx-7 and sold to a salvage yard for scrap metal.
Goop makes several other varieties that are supposedly specialized for different applications, but after trying them I keep going back to the original.
[Note: Apparently "Shoe Goo" is not a trademark. Several products from differing manufacturers use the same name, in very similar packaging. George's Shoes is the source which Justin Belshe used. Beware of imitations! -- KK]
As a DIY’er, this is one of my favorite products because it REALLY works. I came across it by accident at a small tractor supply store in southern Missouri. The product typically works instantly, but on heavy duty applications, I like to apply a little (or a lot) on a rusted or frozen bolt or car part, tap the part lightly to aid penetration, and wait. After a few minutes, rusted bolts, screws, shafts, piping, any types of “frozen” connections and assemblies will now break lose. I have tried a variety of other loosening products, but they tend to use heavier oils that don’t penetrate as well. Smaller hardware stores, and farm supply stores will probably stock it.
To me, as a commuter, one of the most impressive parts of the EZ Pass toll-paying system is the hardcore industrial “velcro” tape they give you to attach your transponder to your windshield. It’s not really velcro, though — instead of hooks and loops, both surfaces have these tiny hard plastic mushroom-shaped things that grab each other by the hundreds and don’t let go. Both sides are the same, so there is only one tape (called self-mating). And unlike the loosy-fabricky velcro connection, the Dual Lock surfaces don’t join until you’ve positioned them exactly, and then pressed them together with a satisfying “chunk.” They’re primarily used in industrial applications as a replacement for mechanical fasteners, but I use mine to attach my iPod to my dashboard, and tools to the wall in my workshop.