Regardless of whether you are doing professional electronics work, filling a patient’s cavity, constructing an aquarium or putting together a model airplane, if you need to apply glue with precise, measured control, you need the right adhesive dispensing needle. Sounds simple enough, but it turns out the process of finding the perfect needle is complicated enough that folks almost invariably struggle to learn it on their own.
Thus, today’s blog post: a quick primer on everything you need to know about buying disposable dispensing needles. Let’s get started.Find the right tip for your application and material. Generally speaking, adhesive dispensing needles come with four different kinds of tips: Flexible, Stainless Steel, Tapered and PTFE-Lined (PTFE is the primary synthetic polymer in Teflon®.) The type of adhesive you plan to use for your project is the most important factor in determining which tip is right for you, followed closely by a few application-specific concerns. Here’s a list of the most common pairs, by adhesive and application, adapted from Nordson’s great, much more exhaustive table, which can be found here.
- For general adhesives, pick a tip – any tip. All four are perfectly fine.
- For light-cured adhesives, go with a tapered tip. You can use PTFE-lined and stainless steel tips so long as you have a shield, but as with epoxies, never use flexible tips.
- For fast-cure glue, you will get peak performance from flexible, tapered and PTFE-lined tips. It’s okay to use stainless steel needles if that’s all you have, but you won’t get the best results.
- Non-gel cyanoacrylate adhesives follow the same rules as fast-cure glues (see above.)
- Gel cyanoacrylate adhesives, are fine with all four, but you’ll get the best results from tapered and PTFE-lined tips.
- For general epoxies, use PTFE-lined, stainless steel and tapered tips. Do NOT use flexible tips.
- For silver epoxies, use a stainless steel tip (preferably chamfered.) Do NOT use any others.
- For solder or braze paste, go with tapered or stainless steel. It’s okay to use PTFE-lined tips (though it’s not recommended) so long as you do NOT use flexible tips.
- If you’re smearing or spreading the adhesive, you can use any of the four, but you’ll have the easiest time with tapered and PTFE-lined tips.
- If you’re beading or striping the adhesive, you’ll get better results with tapered, flexible and stainless steel tips. It’s okay to use PTFE-lined tips, but not recommended.
- If your substrate is easily scratched, dinged or damaged, you’ll have an easier time with tapered, flexible and PTFE-lined tips. It’s okay to use stainless steel tips if you’ve got a really steady hand, but it’s better not to risk it.
Find the right gauge of needle for your project. We’ve got your back with the chart below – you don’t have to memorize anything. As you can see, there are two broad categories of adhesive dispensing needles, Standard and Precision, and several subtypes that fall under each. All of the needles are organized by gauge and color-coded so you can easily skim and determine which size needle will work best for your particular project.
Browse our collection. Once you know the tip and gauge, you’re ready to buy adhesive dispensing needles! You can see our full line-up here.
Questions? Comments? It’s our mission to help you get the right product at the right price, so don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 855-437-7700 for any reason.