Posts Tagged ‘CAs’

2014 Odyssey of the Mind Problem #4 “The Stackable Structure” Uses Balsa Wood & Glue

February 4th, 2014
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Each year creative students, from elementary school through college, participate in Odyssey of the Mind programs around the world.  Aspiring engineering students often choose the Balsa Wood and Glue structure building, weight bearing problem.  This year, as in year’s past, the Balsa Wood & Glue problem is being sponsored by Nasa.  Here’s the problem synopsis:

Problem 4:  The Stackable Structure

Teams will design and build a structure made up of separate components stacked on top of one another.  The structure components will be made of only balsa wood and glue, and will be tested by balancing and supporting weights after they are stacked.  Teams will be scored for the number of components they use in their final structure.  Before they are stacked, the separate components will be integrated into an artistic representation of the Earth.  The team will include the stacking of the components, placement of the weights, and Earth into the theme of its performance.

You can see from the specific instructions that there are many problem-solving challenges involved with this particular structure building project.  One of the important decisions all teams will make is what glue they use to build their structure.  We recommend our ZAP CA glues (preferably medium viscosity although this is something teams should test on their own prior to building their competition-grade structure).  Here is an excellent video showing the best way to cut the balsa wood and apply the cyanoacrylate (CA) to the joints.  Note:  We love the tip of using the packing tape as a surface on which to apply the glue as the balsa wood and super glue can be lifted off of the packing tape with little or no sticking!  We also recommend using Zip Kicker as the accelerator for the ZAP CAs.

[Video Credit:  NC Science Olympiad:  How to Glue Balsa]

We encourage Odyssey of the Mind teams working on this challenge to share your stories with us as you progress through the local, state, national and international competitions.  Good luck to all!!  We support your willingness to take on these creative, problem-solving challenges in an effort to expand your thinking skills!!

Evolution of Innovation: The Story of ZAP Foam Safe Super Glues and Foam Safe Kickers

December 19th, 2011
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RC (Radio Control) Airplane Hobbyists make up a big part of our Research and Development Team at Pacer Technology.  We consult with them, and they consult with us, on a regular basis to work out solutions to new challenges.   As with other industries, an improvement in one step of a process can result in new problems or failure in another step of a process.  Innovation often arises out of necessity or as the Roman philosopher, Seneca, stated in 1st century AD, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” 

Balsa wood has been a mainstay building material for many years and our cyanoacrylates have proven to be the best – fastest and strongest – glues to use for traditional wood construction.  In recent years, a variety of foam and fiberglass materials are being used in building RC Airplanes.  “Foamies” can be made from free or inexpensive plans which can be found online or can come from RTF (Ready to Fly) or ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) kits.  In general, “Foamies” are much less expensive to build and when they crash they can either be repaired simply and easily or remade cheaply reusing the electronic parts.  These new foam materials used in building RC airplanes raised a particular challenge for our R & D team.  Regular CAs (cyanoacrylates) would burn through or melt the foam before curing.  This was a huge frustration for the airplane hobbyists.  Overall, these hobbyists have exacting personalities and strive for perfection in construction of their planes.  Understandably, they did not like adhesives burning through their foam materials yet they needed the added support and protection of  CAs to properly construct their planes.  After much testing, consultation and “trial and error” between the two teams two new terrific products were developed – Foam Safe CA and Foam Safe Kicker.

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When ZAP Foam Safe Kicker is sprayed on the foam surface prior to applying the Foam Safe CA (Zap-O) parts can be joined fast enough so that a foam meltdown doesn’t occur.  (Note:  Some users prefer to spray the kicker along the adhesive edge immediately after joining the parts, but our lab testing showed better bonding when the kicker is applied first.) Whatever works best for your purposes is what we recommend!  It’s always best to test your preferred process on a small piece of scrap foam.

If you do not use the foam safe kicker it will take longer for the adhesive to cure.   Additionally, we found that using the foam safe kicker along with the foam safe CA ensured a bond on materials that didn’t bond with just the foam safe CA alone.

The following video clearly illustrates a unique process of using Zap Foam Safe CA with Zap Foam Safe Kicker to apply fiberglass material onto foam and balsa surfaces.  In this case the CA is applied prior to using the kicker:

 [Video Credit:  Peninsula Silent Flyers with Brett Becker]

Constant communication with our customers and the consumers who use our products is a key to our success.  We want to hear from you.  Tell us a particular challenge you are having with traditional CAs or tell us how you use our products and you may win free samples!  We’d love to help develop a new adhesive product that will better meet your needs, too!