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posted by LaminatorX on Monday March 17 2014, @03:07PM   Printer-friendly
from the Kilkenny-Flubber dept.

Open4D writes:

"The Guardian has the story behind the creation of Sugru, which it calls 'the new wonder material.'

Its 'rise in popularity [was] initially among the tech and maker community,' but it's not something I've heard of through my usual channels of tech news, despite it being one of Time magazine's "50 Best Inventions of 2010".

According to Wikipedia, 'Sugru is malleable when removed from its airtight, moisture-proof packaging, retains its plasticity for thirty minutes, and is self-curing at room temperature after approximately 24 hours.' In other words, it's Blu-Tack that sets. You can see it in action on You Tube or see plenty of demo project photos on the Sugru website.

So, who else missed this? Would you now consider buying some to have available as an alternative to superglue or duct tape? And who has enountered it? Modern miracle or over-priced rehash?'

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by VLM on Monday March 17 2014, @03:25PM

    by VLM (445) on Monday March 17 2014, @03:25PM (#17648)

    The problem with "the maker community" is its silicone caulk about 50:50 with talcum powder. So some maker types will just mix their own. This is not rocket science, for decades I've mixed this bulking powder stuff with superglue for R/C modeling. I can mix my own epoxy too. There exists epoxy putty products too.

    One problem is silicone caulk will self cure on a hardware store shelf in a couple years, and adding stuff to it doesn't seem to help. Thus the half year or so shelf life for this Sugru stuff. So you can't really buy the stuff and let it sit around till you need it, because likely in 2015 when you really need it, and then it'll be a solid cured blob. So you kind of need a job for it the day you order it, but not be in enough of a hurry to use a somewhat substandard product like a tube of plain old hardware store caulk. If I could buy it at the hardware store sitting right next to the caulk, yeah, I could see using it. Maybe if I keep it in the shop fridge next to the cyano glues it'll store better. I've kept superglues liquid for a decade in the shop fridge, which supposedly is some kind of achievement.

    I considered using it as a replacement for coax seal for outdoor antenna / RF connection waterproofing, but I don't know the material compatibility (some caulks acid cure and will ruin the metal...) and frankly coax seal sits on the shelf for a decade and still works (Its a strip of roof tar, basically).

    Ditto plumbing putty. Hard to compete with $1 for a jar of plumbing putty which is supposedly the ideal material for the job and has a near infinite shelf life. Then again sugru may or may not work better. All that material compatibility. I know plumbing putty works really well with plumbing (shocker) but does sugru tolerate eternal immersion in water, light detergents, stuff like that?

    Another possible use is handles, but again, there is a dip oriented product which is cheaper and probably shows fewer fingerprints specifically oriented around tool handles. Unsure of its shelf life.

    I could smoosh it into a mold, but again, I've done stuff with molding resin and casting compounds and the liquids are easier to use and probably cheaper. This is for model railroad stuff.

    For just screwing around with putty, its cheaper to give the kids play dough.

    In the 70s someone described the laser as a solution in search of its problem. Turned out to eventually be pretty useful. I'm sure sugru will eventually turn out the same way.

    TLDR the entrenched alternatives that I know of are custom designed for their tasks, cheaper, and better shelf life.

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by MozeeToby on Monday March 17 2014, @03:41PM

    by MozeeToby (1118) on Monday March 17 2014, @03:41PM (#17661)

    Here's the thing, you just listed half a dozen possible uses for which there are alternatives that are equal or better. With a bit of work, I can list about a couple dozen more. It's not that it does any one thing fantastically, it's that I can keep a little foil wrapped pack of it in a drawer for 6 months and use it as a quick fix for many different problems.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by VLM on Monday March 17 2014, @03:52PM

      by VLM (445) on Monday March 17 2014, @03:52PM (#17667)

      "use it as a quick fix for many different problems."

      Yeah well, that's your second post along those lines without any details, and I really like hearing stories about interesting problems w/ interesting solutions, so ...

      You wanna talk about things that are interesting but don't have a "real" use? I can entertain you all day with running commentary on tunnel diodes and vortex coolers and homemade DTL logic gates and the like.

      So what can you actually do with sugru?

      Here's another brainstorming idea which may or may not work... if you can get a tape-like wad of it, would it be useful in a first aid kit to kinda sorta attach a broken limb to a splint strongly enough to not flop around but loosely enough that it could never impede circulation? And being, basically, silicone caulk, the doc putting the real cast on can cut it easily enough. Nobody cares what medical stuff costs because either 1) you're unconscious so don't care 2) insurance will pay anything 3) no insurance means you can't afford anything at all so may as well get the good stuff. So this brainstorm idea is interesting. Then again does it set fast enough and if you get it in an open wound (aka compound fracture...)

      • (Score: 1) by vortechs2000 on Monday March 17 2014, @06:22PM

        by vortechs2000 (2477) on Monday March 17 2014, @06:22PM (#17739)

        I've added a support bar to my dishwasher rack by wrapping a 12 gauge copper wire around the existing rack wires and coating it with Sugru. I even managed to color match the existing rack color. It's lasted for months now with no issue.

        I also repaired a plastic dustpan that had cracked.

        It's pretty cool stuff!

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by wjwlsn on Monday March 17 2014, @03:43PM

    by wjwlsn (171) on Monday March 17 2014, @03:43PM (#17662) Homepage Journal

    ^^ Great reply.

    Right now, about the only real use I can see for pre-packaged Sugru-type stuff is in "emergencies" when you're away from home... take some with you if you're going camping, keep a package in the car, etc. Even then, maybe hot glue would be sufficient in many cases; there are plenty of battery-powered hot glue guns on the market, or you could power one from a utility socket in your car, or even just heat up a glue stick with a lighter or a match.

    I am a traveler of both time and space. Duh.
  • (Score: 1) by sgleysti on Monday March 17 2014, @06:06PM

    by sgleysti (56) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 17 2014, @06:06PM (#17731)

    I once had custom molded earplugs made at the audiologist. He stuck a foam backing attached to some string into my ear and then filled my ear with some 2-part silicone epoxy. It cured in 10 minutes while touching my skin and left no irritation. I was really impressed with that substance.

  • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday March 18 2014, @12:53AM

    by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday March 18 2014, @12:53AM (#17870) Homepage

    Ordinary silicon caulk, you say? Is there any particular trick to mixing it with the talc?

    How weatherproof is it? how well does it stick to metal? (Yeah, I'm looking for something easier to work with for fixing my roof. Silicon itself is too much of a mess to work into the cracks.)

    And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.