The Glue Experiment

When I am making custom Minimates, I typically use Loctite Super Glue whenever I need to glue something. It works great on Minimate plastic, and I have used it for years. But sometimes I need to assemble a Minimate accessory that uses a different type of plastic, and Loctite doesn’t always hold things together the way it should.

The most difficult plastic to work with is definitely Lego plastic. I am guessing the plastic is coated with something at the factory, because it is very resilient to super glue. Unfortunately Lego accessories are a fantastic source for customizing parts, so I can’t simply ignore them. Washing the parts in water helps, and scratching the surface also helps, but they are still very difficult to glue.

I decided to run a little experiment and test the performance of a few different glues on some basic Lego pieces:

From left to right they are Loctite Super Glue Control Gel, Gorilla Glue, and Elmer’s High Performance Ultimate Glue.

I took three sets of two black 2×2 Lego blocks, washed them all, and scratched one surface with a hobby knife. I glued each set together, following the application instructions on the backs of the glue bottles (some had you moisten the surface first). Here is a picture of one set before gluing, so you can see the scratches:

After gluing them together, I let the pieces sit for 24 hours. Once the time had passed, I started my test by picking up each set to make sure it didn’t fall apart immediately (none did). Then, I took each set and applied some very light pressure in the middle where it would break apart. Each set held up under light pressure. I kept rotating the sets and applying more and more pressure, trying to find their breaking point.

The first set to drop out of the race was the Elmer’s Ultimate Glue in the 5th round. To be fair, it did withstand a fair amount of pressure. I kept going with the other two sets. During the 8th round, I heard each set start to crack. When the 9th round came along, the Loctite Super Glue set finally broke. It put up a good, long fight, but it couldn’t stand up to the Gorilla. The Gorilla Glue set lasted two more rounds (11 total) before snapping in half.

I realize this was not a very scientific experiment, but I learned exactly what I needed to learn from it. I will be sticking with Loctite glue for most of my Minimate projects, as the applicator is better for Minimate use. But whenever I need to use Legos in a custom, or if I come across some other type of stubborn plastic, I will be reaching for my bottle of Gorilla Glue!

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