Sunday, October 17, 2010

Student Tips: Working with chemicals (Glues & Paints) for model making

There are various types of glues and paints out there in the market. You will have to use these and other materials that have chemicals in them at one point or another during your architecture student career.

During my first studio class, I noticed I started developing bad reactions to glues such as Loctite, Zap-a-gap, EZ bond, Super Glue, Crazy Glue, Weldon, etc. I tried the liquid glues, the gel types and I tried wearing a mask & goggles but I was showing signs of allergies to these chemicals. I think the chemical that I react badly towards mostly is Cyanoacrylate. Over the past 3 semesters it has gotten worse and now I can't even go near an open container of glue for a few seconds. I also realized, the hard way, that my body reacts the same way for certain types of spray paint and last time I ended up at the doctor's office having to take an adrenaline shot and Asthma medication.

If you are like me and can't use these materials anymore, don't give up Architecture just yet. I would like to share some work-around methods I've figured out that might help you as well.
  • Use natural rubber based glues with wood and paper: there are so many brands out there in the market such as Tacky Glue, Sobo, Elmer's, etc. They work well with wooden elements and paper material such as museum board, chip board, etc. They do take slightly longer to dry than gel based chemical glues (maybe 1 - 2 minutes max). But it does the trick.
  • Cut grooves & make joints: When using even small wooden elements, you can cut small grooves or make small joints so it gives extra strength to the bonds you make with the rubber glue. Some of the types of joints I do are: Butt Joints, Lap Joints
  • Plexi glass: Plexi glass is hard to use. Cutting it is difficult, scoring it is difficult, handling it is difficult. The last thing you want is restriction with the types of glues you can work with. This is the biggest challenge I am facing right now with not being able to use chemical bonding glues. I have come up with 2 solutions for this. I use linear elements to secure the plexi glass. One of the methods is to drill small holes at the corners or identified places and use wooden linear element running through the plexi that will be glued to the main structure. The other method is to frame the plexi with linear elements. I am also going to try a new glue I found that doesn't have that chemical, I will use it later tonight or tomorrow for the first time and I will keep you posted about that.
  • Use a painter's mask, goggles and gloves: Don't use a surgical mask, take my word for it, it doesn't stop giving you the allergies. You can buy a painter's mask at any Home Depot or similar store.
Good luck and I will share with you if I have any new info about these....