How To Zip, Stick, And Screw Stuff Together

One of the first problems every new hacker/maker must solve is this: What’s the best way to attach part “A” to part “B”. We all have our go-to solutions. Hot glue, duck tape ( “duct tape” if you prefer) or maybe even zip ties. Super glue, epoxy, and if we’re feeling extra MacGyver-ish then it’s time for some bubble gum. For some Hackaday readers, this stuff will seem like old hat, but for a beginner it can be a source of much frustration. Even well versed hackers might pick up a few handy tips and tricks presented in this video after the break.

In part one of this series, [Ben Krasnow] shows us the proper use of just a few of the tools and techniques he uses in his shop. [Ben] starts out with a zip-tie tool which he loves in part because of a tension setting that ensures it’s tight but not overly. He moves on to advice for adhesive-vs-material and some tips on using threaded fasteners in several different circumstances. He also included a list of the parts and tools he uses so you don’t have to go hunting them down.

[Ben] is no stranger to us here at Hackaday. He does some epic science video. You can subscribe to his channel or follow his blog if you enjoy what you see.

51 thoughts on “How To Zip, Stick, And Screw Stuff Together

  1. Side note on the taps.. don’t bother buying a bottoming tap. Just take one of your broken taps and grind the end square. Start the threads with a standard tap, then finish it off with your free reclaimed bottoming tap.

  2. One of the best glues I’ve used is called Weldmount. Expensive but dries very quickly, it’s a two part tube you need a hand-actuated “gun” for.

    The stuff is basically plexus, which is used to glue structural parts of boats together, I’ve used it a lot in my last few jobs.

    To get an idea of how strong it is, I use it to glue wire tie blocks to fiberglass and carbon fiber. In the few times I’ve had to remove one, 90% of them RIP the fiberglass or carbon fiber off the boat, instead of the glue failing. Very good stuff.

        1. Duct tape is aluminum tape. It’s a roll of thickish aluminum foil with glue on one side and a paper backing. That’s what you should be using on vents and HVAC stuff. It’s made of metal, and it’s tape.

          I have some friends renting a house. It is the perfect house to rent, because the previous owner tried to do one of those, ‘fix it up in a weekend and flip it’ things that were popular before the housing bubble. It’s horrendous. It looks nice, but I can go down into the basement, look at the wiring job, and just say, “what the fuck was this guy doing?” It’s like that all over the house. Looks great, but if you know anything at all, you know it’s crap.

          Their HVAC ducts have duck tape on them. Yes, the crappy plastic-ey tape that comes with a cartoon duck on it. It’s falling off the ducts, and the only thing left behind is a mess of glue and some fibrous material.

          In that idiot’s defense, they sell duck tape in the HVAC supply isle of the local Lowes. relevant video.

          1. @Adam
            There’s a big difference between Duck tape and gaffer tape. They were actually made for very different things. Gaffer tape was made for holding wires/cables to a surface temporarily (even days/weeks) and then removing from many surfaces cleanly. Duck tape was designed as a waterproof tape to seal ammo cans during WWII. This is why you notice duck tape looks like a very flexible plastic with fiberglass reinforcement, and gaffer tape is generally a cloth that’s easier to tear.

  3. Is it really a good idea to use a power tool when tapping holes?
    I’ve been taught to do it by hand slowly so you don’t tear out your new thread due to the sheer torque. Acrylic however is strong stuff, less easier to tear out. lesser quality plastics or early workable woods, I’d consider it a no no.

    1. I use a drill with the torque adjustment set on the low end to tap aluminum all the time. Fast and easy way to tap the ends of 80/20 extrusion with 1/4-20 tap. You must use tapping fluid.

      For really small taps, I put the tap in the drill press and turn the chuck by hand. It’s really tedious and good for a few tap holes. Anymore I’ll bring out the Tapmatic and set that up. You can do many tapped holes in an hour with that.

    2. Using a drill with a normal tap isn’t the “right” way to do it but if you are experienced and careful you can do it without breaking any tips. The better way to do it is with a tapping head in a drill press or a helical tap that pushes the chips ahead of it.

  4. Am I the only one who hates using glue? Not due to mess or anything, but on principle; If you’ve glued it together, it’s a lot harder to open up and work on later. I know there’s times when glue’s best, but I always avoid it as much as possible when designing things.

    1. I don’t have much respect for things that are taped together with electrical tape, duct tape etc or with hot glue as all of these are very messy to work with after a while.

      I use the right type of adhesive, fastener or heat shrink etc.

  5. I used to be content just gluing parts together using whatever glue I thought suitable – PVA, aliphatic, hot glue, liquid solvent, epoxy, CA and others.
    But those joins can still fail. For the past few years I have been making virtually unbreakable joins by binding and gluing.
    The binding thread I exclusively use is Kevlar, available on eBay quite cheaply, used for making custom fishing rod bindings.
    Firstly I tak glue the items together and drill 0.8mm holes with a pin vice through them. Using a strand of Kevlar in a needle, I then sew and bind. Each time the needle is threaded through, a sharp tug pulls it tight – you will NOT break it!
    Once a few loops through the holes are done, a drop of CA will hold the loops and the thread can be tied off and cut with sharp scissors.
    Then I apply a thin coat of 5-minute epoxy, not for strength but to seal the join.
    I’ve repaired RC car chassis, transmission mounts, wheel rims broken in half, telescope mount, computer items, eyeglass frames, jewellery and other things. Some of these I combined the Kevlar binding with carbon fibre rods and epoxy.
    Ty it, you will be amazed.

    1. That does actually sound like a good idea (dispite my previously stated viewpoint). Similar to how some boat hulls are made, so far as I know. not kevlar thread, but similar technique.

  6. “Duct Tape” is what hillbillies use to fix the leaks in the mobile home.

    “Pressure Sensitive Tape” is what we use to repair our expensive electronic gear

    okay so maybe they are the same thing

  7. CA + Baking soda is a well known reaction, for example. Less well known is CA + grungy blue jeans = clothing spotwelded to your leg. This is a very exothermic reaction, and smokes/fumes while it melts your leg. As you can no doubt tell I have tried this (all be it accidentally). Some glues are unsuitable for some tasks because of their reactive nature. CA (superglue) is very poor for anything involving optics for example, due to its fuming nature (which clouds and damages optical surfaces).

      1. If you get the smell of almonds and have a choice about whether or not your should stop breathing, you aren’t in much danger.

        I was careless in opening a tin containing a bottle of sodium cyannide once and my body didn’t give me much choice in the matter of whether I breathed or not. It was like my diaphragm was paralyzed for an instant…long enough to for me to lurch away from the noxious gases before gasping for breath.

        I don’t recommend it.

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