Needle tip glue applicators... how does that work?


I am facing several hundred glue joints in which a tiny drop of glue will be individually applied.  Fast drying plastic glue is called for by the kit maker.  I have a few syringes but only one remaining long needle (tip rounded off) that I've used to lubricate various mechanisms.  It looks like the ideal tool but I am concerned the fast drying glue will quickly become a solid column inside my dull needle.  Is that a problem with plastic glue needle tips?  Any tips for how to combat this or thoroughly clean the needle once the gluing is done would be most appreciated.


DKRickman's picture

Model glues


It depends on the glue and the kit.  My preference for many years has been MEK applied with a long handled paint brush.  As long as you let the MEK flow into the joint (don't brush it on) it will usually not bother a painted surface.  I built a painted Proto 2000 Mather stock car kit that way.

As far as the syringe goes, I'd be more worried about the solvents in the glue attacking the components.  There are some needle tip glue bottles sold for the purpose that I would suggest, rather than a syringe.  Whether the glue dries in the tip is dependent on the type of glue.  Some have a lot of body because they have dissolved solids in them, while others are very thin because they are more or less pure solvent.  Again, I like MEK or lacquer thinner because they are pure solvents, and will not clog or leave blobs or residue on the model.

Ken Rickman

Danville & Western HO modeler and web historian

rtw3rd's picture

Glue applicators


One of our advertisers, MicroMark has a number of tools for the job.  Here's the link to one:,8048.html 

The picture with description:

And here is another:,7841.html

Here's the picture with description:

And a third:,7807.html

Here's the picture and description:

There are others - just go to and searche for "glue applicators".




The Richlawn Railroad Website - Featuring the L&N in HO  / MRH Blog  /  

Kevin Rowbotham's picture

MEK & A-West Applicator

Like Ken, I use MEK to bond Styrene plastic.  I find it easy to apply where I need it, a drop at a time, with an A-West needle point applicator.  I use the blue, #16 needle tip.  Another good idea I got from watching Joe Fugate's videos.

MEK is a solvent that when applied to Styrene, melts a bit of the plastic, which becomes the glue in the joint.  Do be aware of the hazards associated with the product.  Use it in well ventilated conditions, protect skin & eyes, avoid open flame or spark, etc.

I do still use some CA (Cyanoacrylate) glue, also known as Krazy or Super glue.  The brand I have at the moment is made by Loctite and it is fairly easy to apply in controlled amounts from the applicator bottle.  A gentle squeeze of the orange sides will produce a drop of glue at the tip.



Appreciating Modeling In All Scales!

Plastics store

Hi Roy, I'm not sure where you are but if you have a Taps Plastic store near you they offer several "squirt" bottles with different sized needles for application.  I would get the smallest.  You should have a plastic store of some sort near you if Taps is not near you check the yellow pages for your area. 

Also, Joe mentions one in his DVD series but I don't recall off hand the brand - A Line with a 0.125 needle? that he uses so if you have that series you can look it up and order that from the net  Oppsss Kevin beat me to it see back to his post


gregamer's picture

A great replacement for the

A great replacement for the MicroMark mini loop applicator is the eye of a sewing needle held in a pin vise.

I tried a Tap plastics needle tip squirt bottle with some Tenax and didn't have much luck. The Tenax would come squirting out too rapidly and flood the joints. I'd like to try the MicroMark glass tube applicator, I think that would be perfect.

glue needles

Thanks to all for the suggestions.  My application is uphill- I'll have to fight gravity to get the glue where it needs to go.  My collection of clock repair tools includes a glass syringe (plunger also glass) which I can clean afterwards and it gives me very good control of flow through the needle... as long as the tip doesn't clog.  I'll wait for my online order for a few different applicators before subjecting the old syringe to a test- if the throwaway tips work I'll be happy.


>> Posts index

MRH search (Google)

User login