Plastic cement applicator

I have been using a bottle of Model Master plastic solvent cement for building plastic kits for about 25 years. The bottle has a very nice metal tube allowing very precise application of the 'glue'.

I put some red and yellow paint on the black cap so that I could find it easily on my workbench.

Sadly this week it came to an end. I did however have a very similar bottle of Testors solvent glue but alas, it does not have such a fine application tube, but rather a plastic tube. I used it a few times and found that it kept getting clogged, something that never happened with the "Model Master" bottle. 

I looked about online and could not find the "Model Master" glue available, only Faller and Revell seem to have the metal applicators. I ordered a bottle of Faller cement but delivery is not expected for 3 to 6 weeks!

I came up with a plan to transfer the content of the Testors bottle to the old Model Master bottle.  I initially tried pushing the metal tube into the plastic nozzle of the Testors bottle and letting the solvent run through, but of course there is no way for air to escape from the lower bottle, so I decided that was not working.

Sixteen years ago a train friend Eric Joerg gave me some small syringes and 'stubby' needles. These are not sharp, but attach to the syringes just like a hypodermic needle. They have been very useful for adding smoke fluid to steamers, etc. and I decided to use them for this task too.

The stubby "needles" appear to be the same size as the metal applicator, so I pulled the tube out of the old bottle.

I then drilled a small hole in the new bottle.

I then drew solvent out of the new bottle and pushed it into the old bottle.

When done, I inserted the applicator tube into the bottle.

Well, overall, it worked but here are some important things to know:

  • I am merely reporting what I did. I am not suggesting anyone does this as there are risks involved. If you do this or anything similar you do so at your own risk.
  • The cement does not flow easily, it is very hard to draw the solvent out, it takes time for it to come up into the syringe. I removed the cap so that air could get in. It is also slow to squirt the solvent into the destination bottle, there is no way for air to escape. I tried squeezing some air out of the bottle before inserting the needle but solvent always seemed to ooze out. I also tried pulling air out using the syringe but it is hard to judge where the air is.
  • The operation took me an hour to transfer the glue.
  • Solvent does spill out. This task should be done outside, I ended up sniffing glue for an hour.
  • I tried replacing the cap on the new bottle so I could squeeze the side to speed up the transfer of solvent to the syringe, but I think I may have ruptured a seam because the next thing I knew the bottle was covered in glue. I got solvent all over my hands. Gloves would have been a good idea. I used some cloth rags to soak up spilled glue, and disposed of them outside (in rain) until they could be placed in the trash.
  • To speed things up, I used a second syringe so that one could be drawing solvent out while I used the other to put solvent into the other bottle. It was tricky holding each bottle, so it would have been better to clamp the bottles so that they did not have to be handled.
  • Bits of solvent did spray about, either through syringe operations, or caused by air escaping from the destination bottle. My reading glasses acted somewhat as safety glasses.