Baking Soda and Superglue are Lifesavers

Ever regret throwing out stuff even when it was broken seemingly beyond repair? I do. If you’re like me, this way of repairing cracked or broken plastic will make you question your entire existence, as I did.

If some of your stuff broke and turned out to be ungluable by normal means, baking soda and superglue are real lifesavers here.

Some technobabble if you’re interested:

Liquid cyanoacrylate is capable of anionic polymerization under the influence of slightly alkaline agents, including ordinary water. Continuous hardening of “superglue” in thin layers (within 0.05-0.1 mm) is caused by moisture adsorbed on the glued surfaces or contained in the near-surface layers of the material (which, along with the influence of animal amines, explains the way your fingers stick together harder than anything else). Harmful solidification of the adhesive mass when stored in loosely closed containers is not caused by the evaporation of the solvent, as in the case of nitrocellulose adhesives or PVA, but by the effects of atmospheric moisture (as is characteristic of silicone sealants, for example); during production, the adhesive is sealed in a dried atmosphere. There is also an alkaline curing mechanism associated with the neutralization of the acid stabilizer, as stated in the manufacturers’ descriptions.

Okay, let’s begin. Let’s start with superglue.

There’s a fairly common trick involving thick layers of cyanoacrylate involving sequential filling of the seam with baking soda dabbed with superglue. In this case soda not only serves as a filler but also as an alkaline polymerizing agent. The mixture hardens almost instantaneously, forming an acrylic-like filled plastic, and in some cases can successfully replace epoxy compositions, including fiberglass reinforced ones. Finely ground plaster or concrete can also be used as a filler, e.g. dust from drilling holes in such materials.

The reaction of cyanoacrylate with soda is carried out with the release of temperature, resulting in an extremely strong compound that can actually form molecular bonds when applied to plastics and porous materials. Even more incredible is that the bond is so strong the repaired item is more likely to break in any place but the freshly-repaired one.

I’ve tested this recipe on lots of different things, and it worked flawlessly each time. I’ve repaired:

  • broken headlight fasteners
  • radiator connection
  • Mirror fasteners
  • a bumper
  • levers in a buggy 1/8
  • a desk lamp mount
  • a kettle
  • lens mount
  • radiator grille
  • a chair leg on wheels! (even after a whole year it can still handle my 200 pound behind)
  • uninterruptible power supply unit housing
  • screen holder
  • and so on and so forth.

At this point I’ve fixed more stuff than I’ve thrown out.

Now I’m going to explain what I’ve been working on for the past two days, and how it’s been done.

I keep my soda in a glass jar for convenience sake.

Broken item of the day.

First, fix the moving parts.

Apply the glue and hold tightly.

Sprinkle baking soda over the glue.

More glue. Don’t skimp on it.

Repeat the process from the opposite side.

If you want it to be completely bulletproof, repeat the steps one or two more times.

Now the only thing likely to break is the hook thingie.

What I fixed yesterday was the washer motor. Look at this rusty bastard.

Since the hull is sealed tight, it had to be cut open.

I lubed it up, cleaned out the contacts and the brushes. Then I assembled it back together and sealed once more with the soda glue mix.


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