Sugru - Self-Setting Rubber

By: on March 29, 2014
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One time when I was a young boy I, like all young boys, wanted to hang a Tawny Kitaen poster on my wall. But I didn't have any poster putty on hand, so as an alternative I licked its 4 corners and stuck Tawny to my closet door with spit. Where she stayed, with nary a hint of slipping, for 8 years. I think sugru creator Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh must have gotten ahold of some of my spit when she was crafting the formula for her equally powerful and all-purpose self-setting rubber.

Like poster or Silly putty, sugru molds easily in hands or around objects into any shape its manipulator can muster. However, sugru also bonds to nearly anything--plastic, glass, metal, fabrics (rubber stormtrooper to patch your jeans?)--and when left in open, room temperature air overnight, cures into a strong, flexible, silicone rubber. As the photos indicate, sugru has nearly limitless practical applications, determined entirely by the needs and resourcefulness of its holder. When bonded with neodymium magnets, the compound's uses only...compound.

Some sugru traits and behaviors:

  • Hand-formable. Once each hunk is removed from its ketchup-pouch-looking packaging, sugru can be pressed and finessed for up to 30 minutes.
  • Sticks to almost anything. Anything includes aluminium, steel, ceramics, glass, wood, and plastics such as perspex and ABS.
  • Air cures at room temperature. sugru, like modeling clay, begins curing once exposed to air. The complete transition from putty to tough flexible silicone takes about 24 hours for a piece of sugru 3 to 5 mm deep.
  • Strong and durable for outdoor use. Once cured, it will stand up to rain, dryness, hotness, coldness, and the salty air of the sea.
  • Flexible when cured. So sugru can be used to repair things that need to be able to move, such as textiles, cables, or shoes. It's also electrically insulating.
  • Soft touch and grippy. Since sugru is a silicone rubber, it feels soft to the touch, but also grippy when cured. This makes it a viable candidate for forming comfortable, non-slip handles and grips ergonomically fitted to a particular individual.
  • Stable at high and low temperatures. It resists conditions ranging from -50 degrees C to +180 degrees C. It gets hot and cold but doesn't get softer or harder or melt.
  • Waterproof. Once cured, sugru is completely waterproof, plus washable with soap and water, and durable in both washing machines and dishwashers. It is even seafaring.
  • Removable. Even after it's cured, sugru is removable by knife from non-porous surfaces.