ZAP CA (cyanocrylate glues)

Discussion in 'Armory - Q&A' started by jjefferies, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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    I seem to have been having problems with ZAP CA (the thin CA) and would like ask if others have seen anything similar. The problem is that the glue appears to lose it's "goodness" if stored for long. Dwight is an aficionado of the medium ZAP CA and passed me a container of it. There my problem is that the glue is going off, i.e. becoming solid, before I can use it all. The thin CA on the other hand seems to lose its adhesive abilities if opened and then kept around even if re-sealed. The re-sealed glue retains its liquid nature but I've had several wires pop up despite very careful attention to cleaning the blade before applying the re-sealed glue. So I'm asking if anyone else has similar experiences. My previous experiences with ZAP have been generally positive. And the thin CA does flow rather well making it easier to wire the blade. And when the bottle is freshly opened I don't experience the issue with wires popping up.

    I've seen one alternative, very small tubes of regular CA being sold in auto parts stores. Perhaps to try that despite the fact that the regular glue doesn't flow as easily.
     
  2. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    I've been having a number of popouts recently...might be the glue degrading. I use Instaflex gap filler, but I suspect it might be an issue with most CAs.

    I never thought to check, but during the season I do so many rewires my glue might not have the TIME to go bad after I open a new tube. The off season is another matter.

    Just opened a fresh bottle, and the work is starting to come in. I'll see if there's a cononection.
     
  3. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    What kind of weather / humidity / temp conditions is the CA glue stored in? If some wet-cure glues are left in my garage, which has big humidity fluctuations, they go bad sooner. Tucking them into a zipper-seal freezer bag helps a lot.
     
  4. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    And placing the bag in the frig. Picked that up somewhere, but unfortunately can no longer recall source.
     
  5. Fairfield_Fencing_Armory

    Fairfield_Fencing_Armory Made the Cut

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    I’m having issues too, so I’m very interested to read what everyone posts.

    I have had the best success with INSTA-FLEX Flexible Thin CA by Bob Smith Industries that I buy at Hobby Town. It is more expensive ($10) but it seems to remain flexible and adhesive better than anything else I have tried. The other CA types seem to pop and crack more. It also seems to last forever in the bottle if I keep the cap clean.

    ... I do have a recurring problem with the lightweight Leon Paul epee blades though. No CA of any type seems to adhere to the blade for very long. I have taken to using E6000 from Home Depot. It is a clear waterproof elastic glue that takes longer to set, but it appears to be working... for now. It also seems easy to scrape off and clean up with lacquer thinner.
     
  6. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    Ask Armourer Al at this weekend's event.
     
  7. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    The club is in the San Fernando Valley, so it’s usually hot and dry there. I put the cap on when not using it. In fact, I put on an unopened spare nozzle.
     
  8. brtech

    brtech Podium

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    CA does not last after opening. Zip lock in a fridge will keep it the longest. Just buy the smallest container you can use up in a couple of months and have a new bottle ready to go. One trick is to slam the bottom of the bottle while upright after glueing to make sure it drips back into the body of the bottle instead of clogging the tip. Put both the inner cap and the outer cap (on the Zap products) back on after you are done. I do prefer Zap, but Bob Smith Industries is good. For foils, I don't have problems with cracking using the pink (thin) Zap. I use the green thick Zap gel for epees. No cracking there either. I've tried flexible CA and didn't notice any difference. Perhaps you are using too much? You only need enough to soak into the insulation on a foil. Just cover it, or a little less on an epee
     
    damianip likes this.
  9. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    I've switched to the self-mix tubes of two-part five minute epoxy.

    You can do three or four blades from one tube. It's instructive to try to pull the wires out of broken blades. Even the best prepped thin CA comes out pretty easily. Epoxy sticks.
     
  10. neevel

    neevel Armorer

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    Yes, CAs do age out after the bottle is unsealed- moisture from the air gradually gets absorbed. In addition to the tricks of keeping the opened bottle in a sealed zip bag or other sealed container, with the Zap bottles you want to clean off any hardened glue that builds up on the nozzle and can keep the caps from snapping on tightly. I find the double-cap does help Zap glues keep a bit longer than the BSI glues which only have a single cap. If you don't use it enough to consume a larger bottle before it goes off you are better off getting a few of the smaller (1/4 or 1/2 oz) bottles instead of one of the larger bottles.

    For Leon Paul epee blades, as a final preparation step use a Dremel wire-wheel to clean off and rough up not just the very bottom of the V, but 1/3 or so up the sides as well. Also, the epoxy resin the LP uses for their factory wired blades does not dissolve in acetone well, so if you are relying just on acetone to remove the wire you may well be leaving some residue behind. I find that a heat gun is the best tool for removing LP factory wiring jobs.
     
  11. brtech

    brtech Podium

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    Well now, that not be such a good thing. Depends on who the fencer is. If you are an elite international fencer, then your armorer wants to be able to rewire your blade in 10 minutes, less if s/he has to. If you are a fair to middling fencer who has plenty of blades at a domestic tournament and you do your own armoring, then go for it. I like being able to get the wire and the remaining adhesive out in 2-3 minutes with a torch. That's usually not possible with epoxy, but some epoxies do release with heat pretty well. But, for us, the speed of drying is what makes the difference. We're expecting the fencer to fence with the weapon after that 10 minutes. "5 minute" epoxy generally sets up in 5 minutes, but takes multiple hours to reach a decent pull strength in my experience. Thin CA set up in seconds, but takes a few minutes to really hold on.

    OTOH, epoxy generally lasts a long time even after the package is opened. I regularly get a few years out of an opened epoxy package if I'm careful to cap it well when I'm done. Gotta mix thoroughly! I've been using Bob Smith Industries Quick Cure 5 minute epoxy lately. I get it in 4.5 oz bottles (
    ). Very handy to use.
     
  12. Quinn

    Quinn Made the Cut

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    I find that using small tubes of extremely cheap CA works well for me. The pack I'm buying costs 1€, contrains 5 tubes, with 2g of glue in each. With glue that cheap it's really no big deal if a little leftover glue goes bad, and I have not yet had issues with wires popping out if the blade was properly prepared. Just my 0.02
     
  13. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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    Thanks for the tips. I think I will try Quinn's suggestion as I've seen the very small tubes of CA at Pep Boys Auto stores. I'm in the SF Bay Area and humidity and heat are not a problem. And as I don't do blades for anyone but myself, I probably am not using the glue as quickly as a professional armorer. Will give that a try.
    best regards all
     
  14. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    How long do you keep the blade in the gig?
     
  15. brtech

    brtech Podium

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    If I am in a hurry, 2 minutes. If I have time, 5 minutes.
     
  16. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    Or if you're REALLY in a rush (like at an event)...accelerator and maybe 15 seconds.

    Depends on the glue....with the pink-label Instaflex (the gap filler) 15 seconds after being sprayed with the accelerator is sufficient. With the more aqueous green-label Instaflex -- which I tend to use for wire popouts, as it gets around the wire better -- I generally wait 30 sec or more after the accelerator.
     
  17. Emfuser

    Emfuser DE Bracket

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    Yep, it goes bad. The bottle breathes every time you squeeze it and most bottle plastics are slowly gas permeable. I now buy it in 1/4 oz quantities from a quaint, tiny little mom & pop model train supply store and I store it in the fridge (not the freezer!) when not in use.
     
  18. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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    I'm primarily interested in epee and I'm finding that the ZAP soak in and flow rather well. Hold the blade by one end, put a bit on and watch it flow down. But with the ZAP thin it doesn't cover as much as soak into the wrap around the wire and that seems to have been a problem. Just picked up a package of 4 tubes 3 g each for USD$3.99, Permetex brand. I find that 3g will do two weapons. It is quite a bit thicker consistency than the ZAP and flows about as well as molasses. The recommendation to store in the refrigerator I'm assuming applies to opened tubes as I don't see the metal tubes being particularly subject to gases permeating through the metal.
     
  19. twisterfencing

    twisterfencing Podium

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    The Pink Zap-CA once opened has a shelf life of about a year.
    Once opened, store in a dark NO MOISTURE area like a cabinet.
    Zap-CA is a quad distilled CA to remove any and all "fillers", meaning: has no gap fillers, pure CA.

    Now, working with pure CA, here are a few notes that you need to know:
    1. Your blade needs to be clean. Not sorta clean, not kinda clean, but clean. Pure CA does not stick to a film of CA on a blade.
    2. The tensile strength of Zap-CA is right at 6000 lbs.

    How you can tell when a tube of Zap-CA is reached its end of life: shake the bottle, if the liquid looks more like a gel, rather than water, it's done.

    Reminder: you put a lot of moisture in CA, aka: refrigerator, you are adding moisture to the product and kills the life span of the product by 75%.

    Now, popped blade wires: there really is only two things that can cause this with this product.
    1. The blade is not clean, now, all of us which includes me, have thought a blade was clean and sure enough, it was not.
    2. Did not look to see if we are trying to use a gel'd up bottle of pure CA, and the tensile strength is just gone.

    Zap products are/is the only CA products we use on blades and other. We use it, we sell it, and my darn fingers are almost always covered in it, but that is my fault.

    Hope this helps,

    Gary Spruill

     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  20. Emfuser

    Emfuser DE Bracket

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    Unless you live someplace rather arid, or your refrigerator is broken, then your refrigerator will have less humidity in the air contained within it than the air in the rest of your house, save for immediately after it has been open or closed and even then, that is relative humidity. Because a fridge is always running air over a cold coil, it condenses the moisture out of the air, which dries it out. It's why your fridge has a drip pan and your AC or heat pump at home has a drain line. Your fridge should always have less absolute humidity than the air outside of it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018

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