A hot-melt glue gun is a portable tool that dispenses and uses hot melt adhesives. Today, industrial users use both bulk supplies and adhesive sticks, depending on their applications, whereas many hobbyists use only adhesive sticks for simplicity reasons.
When hot-melt glue guns were first introduced, their primary use was for shoe-sole bonding. Since then, glue guns have become more of a staple tool within different industries.
Types of Hot-Melt Glue Guns
Hot-melt glue guns are surprisingly affordable and can be categorized into three different types. The differences between these three types lie in the intended application, operating temperature and heating time. The three types of hot-melt glue guns are:
Dual Temperature hot-melt glue guns:
This type of glue gun enables you to control melting temperatures to meet the needs of a specific application. Although this glue gun is a more versatile option, it is usually the most expensive of the three.
Low-temperature hot-melt glue guns:
This type of glue gun is much cheaper and smaller than the other two types. Regardless of the name, this gun can get very hot, reaching a temperature of around 120ᵒC. As such, you should use it with caution. But given their low operating temperature, this type of glue gun is safer in comparison to the other types. It works best on very light materials, making it suitable to use for crafting and smaller art projects.
High-performance hot-melt glue guns:
This type of glue gun usually melts sticks at a higher temperature of about 190ᵒC, and it tends to heat up faster than the other types mentioned. It is a high-performance tool suited for use on heavy-duty materials, like strong plastics and wood. It is not advisable to use it on delicate materials, which could get damaged easily by the high temperatures or heat. It mostly works best for simple home repair projects, minor DIY tasks, and industrial applications.
How do Hot-Melt Glue Guns Work?
Hot-melt sticks are normally loaded into the back cavity of a hot melt glue gun. Depending on the model of the gun, the stick movement is either controlled or automated using a trigger or fed manually.
When your glue gun is activated, the adhesive moves to what is called a ‘check valve’, which is located directly before the melting chamber. The check valve is a ball-loaded spring residing directly behind the nozzle of the glue gun and its function is to impede the flow of glue and prevent spills.
Most hot-melt glue guns come with a transparent valve, which helps to determine whether there is enough adhesive inside the melting chamber. Once the adhesive stick gets to the melting chamber, it is heated over a three to four-minute period. The process might be shorter in the case where the gun was already in use, and the chamber was already heated.
Usually, the process of heating is controlled by a thermistor that heats the adhesive without causing the entire gun to become hot.
You can then dispense the melted glue through the nozzle. Most manufacturers consider using a rubber casing on nozzles, so as to avoid burns during DIY projects.
Applications of Hot-Melt Glue Guns
In general, hot-melt glue guns are an extremely effective and fast way of boding different materials. Since there are three types of glue guns available, you can choose the most suitable gun for your application. Normally, the synthetic polymers of a hot glue stick have a flexible texture that makes them suitable for creating non-slip surfaces. If you have a rug that slides on a wooden floor or tile, you may avoid accidents by using a hot-melt glue gun to add traction to your rug, for example. Apart from the traction of rugs, you can also use a hot-melt glue gun in:
- Construction and building applications
- Product assembly
- Deep freeze packaging
- Furniture assembly
A hot-melt glue gun has a wealth of applications, ranging across both home and industrial settings. You and your kids can use it to produce some items which have layers that should be joined together, like corrugated cardboard. Plus, you may use it to seal boxes and assemble crafts, like dollhouses and decorative wreaths.