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4 Types of Glue for Kit Building

Posted by Jodi A. on 2/22/2018 to Planes
4 Types of Glue for Kit Building

What is your plane made of? Balsa? Foam? What kind of foam? EPP, EPO, Depron, etc.? Do you know what glue is appropriate for your kit? Today, we will discuss four different types of glue and their purposes in kit building.


Epoxy is good for gluing large surfaces together, such as two halves of a fuselage or a wing. Epoxy takes a long time to dry, which makes it ideal for delicate work that may require adjustment. When it dries, it creates a virtually unbreakable bond. Epoxy is mostly used for balsa planes, but can be used on some foam planes, e.g. large ARFs.

Cyanoacrylate (CA)

There are two types of CA glue: regular and foam-safe. Both are fast-acting and will create a bond in seconds.

Regular CA

Regular CA can be used on balsa, plastic, and most chemically-resistant surfaces. It should not be used on foam, with the exception of EPO foam (such as Multiplex Elapor-brand, which is used in the Fun Cub), because it will melt the foam. Regular CA forms a maximum bond in about 12 hours.

Foam-Safe CA

Foam-Safe CA can be used on most foam materials without doing any harm. (You should always test the glue on a piece of scrap foam, just to be certain.) Foam-safe CA does not bond with EPO foam. It will form a maximum bond in about 24 hours.

To speed up the process, you can use an activator.

Flexible Foam Adhesives

Flexible foam adhesives are glues that can be used on most foam and differ from other foam-safe glues due to the flexibility of their bonds. This type of adhesive is especially useful on EPP, from which many park-flyer models are constructed, because the foam is both flexible and durable. While foam-safe CA causes the surface to which it is applied to become more brittle, flexible foam adhesives do not interfere with the flexibility of the foam. These adhesives can also be used to create hinges in control surfaces (e.g. ailerons, elevators, rudder, flaps, etc.). An example of this application is gluing the inside edge of a rudder to the tail section edge to create a durable hinge.

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