How many times have you bought a fantastic product that is perfect in every way, right up until the moment it breaks. Or you’ve got something that performs a function, but isn’t quite right. Historically, you’d end up going out and buying a replacement – something that may still not do the job. Well, I’ve discovered a product which may help you reduce your ‘throw away and replace’ approach with a ‘make do and mend’ attitude. Only without the make-do.
Sugru is a product I heard about in the late summer of 2010 and it immediately peaked my interest. A product invented in the UK by an Irish woman, it is a mouldable, self-curing silicone with lots of really nice features. When you get it from its sachet, it has the consistency of too-warm bluetak – a sticky clay like substance that can be moulded into any shape you choose. It initially sets within 30minutes then cures within 24hours to whatever shape you’ve moulded it from. When it sets, it turns into something with the consistency of hard-rubber. It retains a slightly springy texture, the sort of resistance of a block-eraser. It also self-adheres to many materials like glass, metal & plastics, works between –60c and +180c, is thermally insulating, waterproof, even dishwasher safe!
I bought some packs for Xmas and gave friends and family a sachet each to try, and kept some for myself. This weekend, I went on a bit of a Sugru session because I had two things to try. First of all, my car stereo security faceplate had broken – one of the retaining clips broke off with plastic fatigue. However, I found that a bit of paper wedged in the slot would hold it in place. So I applied a bit of Sugru to the faceplate, left it for about 8hrs then tried it. It worked! Even better, the clip that holds the faceplate in had moulded a little indentation in the Sugru which held it even more securely. Another 12hrs of curing, and you wouldn’t know that the thing was broken in the first place. That’s £30 saved on a replacement facia or £100+ on a replacement stereo.
The second usage for it was to adapter a mobile phone holder. I’ve got a small phone-chair which is designed to rest a mobile phone in and keep the screen visible. However, because of its shape, I couldn’t put the phone in its naturally portrait orientation and charge it at the same time – it would have to be landscape with the cable at the side, which was OK, but not all apps support rotation. So I moulded two Sugru ‘ears’ at the front of the chair, let it set, and now the results can be seen right. Its not perfect (my craft skills are somewhat lacking) but it certainly does the job. Only a few pounds saved but it does the job perfectly.
Sugru seems like a brilliant product – the WD40 equivalent of a physical medium. However, there are problems with it:-
- it seems expensive – about 95p per 5g sachet (which is what I used here). However, its still cheaper than buying new!
- It can be a bit of a pain to handle – it seemed difficult to get small pieces of it to stick to the object I wanted it to adhere to, rather than my fingers. Plus, whilst it is classified as “not dangerous” it may cause an allergic reaction. Its probably no more dangerous than any other chemical based material.
- It currently only has one cured state. Sugru say that they can mix different formulations, but currently only offer this one.
- Thinking of things to do with it. With only a 6month ‘best before’ date, I will have to find things to use it on in the next few months. However, there are lots of ideas on the Sugru website including repairing broken shoes, making tent pegs softer so that they could be hand inserted, and forming a bespoke golf-club handle.
I would seriously recommend picking up a pack (£6.50 for a 6 pack, £11.50 for a 12 pack) and trying it out on something – really clever stuff.