What is a Hot Glue Gun? Explained

What is a Hot Glue Gun? Detailed Explanation.

A hot glue gun is a very useful tool for joining modeling materials and even more, substantial materials can be fixed together with it. In simple words, Hot glue guns are portable devices that utilize and dispense hot melt adhesives.

Hot glue gun

Hot Glue gun sticks made from thermoplastics which serve as glue are inserted into the back of the gun, the trigger is pressed pushing the glue stick forward and molten glue comes out of the nozzle.

Hot melts thermoplastics, first produced in the 1940s, were created as an improvement to water-based adhesives that weaken when exposed to humidity.

Thermoplastics are plastics that melt and can be reshaped when they are heated. Some are suitable for glues. There are different types of glue sticks and these are selected depending on the material being glued.

Some glue sticks are more suitable for wood-based materials whilst others are for general gluing of a variety of materials.

When thermoplastics were initially fabricated, hot glue guns were used to bond shoe soles, though they are applicable to various other projects and materials. They are used to apply glue to delicate cloth fabrics and to denser materials, including wood.

hot glue gun

Working of a Glue gun


Hot Glue Sticks

Glue sticks vary in width and length and are generally in the form of waxes, resins and a variety of thermoplastic polymers. The chemical composition of sticks varies, because they may produce soft or hard glue product, according to their usage.

They are manufactured in different colors to match specific job applications.

Typically, hot melts are waterproof and able to withstand chemical treatments, but they are not suitable for high-temperature applications.

Glue Gun Operation

During the process, the hot glue sticks are pushed through the back cavity of the device either manually or by pulling a trigger, depending on the model of the gun.

Once activated, the glue is pushed to a check valve, which is a spring loaded with balls that are located directly behind the nozzle. The valves are designed to stop the flow of the glue and to prevent spills.

Various glue gun models are equipped with a viewing window which allows the user to determine if an effective amount of adhesive is in the chamber.

Generally, melting takes between two and four minutes, but the process may be shorter depending on whether the gun has been preheated or is already in use.

Hot glue gun

Glue gun unscrewed

In standard glue guns, the temperature of the hot melts is controlled by thermistors, thermally sensitive resistors that limit the heat current during the melting process. Since they regulate heat, glue gun resistors allow operators to handle the device without getting burned.

Glue is dispensed from a conical nozzle, which is typically metal and may become extremely hot.

Various manufacturers fabricate glue guns that feature nozzles with a protective rubber encasing, to prevent burns.

The glue can be dispensed in thin strips, and once expelled from the gun, glue generally takes only a few minutes to dry and harden.


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