How Not to Glue Axles: A Cautionary Tale

G4DiecastRacing Friday, 11/13/2020

I just had to share this with you all, if only for a good laugh.  Last night I was working late on a few cars and had just spent a few hours prepping for upcoming mail-in races.  If I’m replacing axels and using axel tubes, I usually use the JB Weld with the 6-hour cure time to glue them and let it sit overnight on my axle alignment jig.  However, for the current NASCAR style car I was working on, the wheels already spun good on the original axles.  So I polished the axles with the wheels still on and was just going to glue them back to the base in the original slots.  And since the car already rolled straight, I didn’t use the axle jig and just held it in my hand (Mistake #1).  I grabbed the Gorilla Super Glue Gel because it sets fast and I wanted to test it on my track ASAP (Mistake #2).  I also have a Quick-Setting JB Weld with a 5-minute cure time, but it has a nasty smell.  I have used this Gorilla glue gel before to glue axles and I like it because it comes out really thick and you have good control where it goes before it sets.  But...... I forgot to “Shake Well” like it clearly says on the cap (Mistake #3).   

I turn the bottle over and gave a good squeeze.   Have you ever used a bottle of ketchup that has not been used for a while, and you didn’t shake it first?  Yes, just like a runny bottle of ketchup, the super glue “gel” came out like water.  Before I could react, the super glue was running all over the car base and down the axel into one of the wheel hubs.  My first instant reaction was to tip the car to the other side, but that just made the super glue run into the other wheel hub (Mistake #4). 
While still holding the car with my left hand, I quickly reached for my paper towels and started dabbing the car and axels trying to clean up anything I could.  Both wheels still rotated but they were seconds away from being permanently glued and ruined.  The only way to salvage anything was to cut the axel and remove the wheels.  I go to put the car down and it didn’t come out of my hand.  That’s because I just SUPER GLUED MY THUMB TO THE CAR!  (Mistake # 5) 

Now I have a split-second choice:  Save the wheels or figure out how to unglue my thumb before it sets more.  I chose to save the wheels because they are the only NASCAR style wheels I have and the car is being sent to the Stock Car Smack Down at MAC Mountain (Probably Mistake #6 because I could use any wheel type).  So with the car still glued to my thumb, I cut the axel in half and removed the wheels from the axel.  I proceeded to dab everything with a paper towel, but now the glue is tacky and small pieces of paper towel is sticking to everything.  (Mistake #7). 
I think I savaged the wheels, but they probably will never roll as fast because even a tiny amount of dried glue in the hub will create more friction, even on a new polished axle.   

Now a redirect my full attention to removing my glued thumb from the car base.  I tried to pull as hard as I could, but it absolutely would not budge.   A quick google search gave me the home solution to my problem: Nail polish remover!  Thankfully I have a wife and teenage daughter who love to paint their nails so we have a large bottle of this stuff in our house.   
Using a cotton swab and a capful of nail polish remover, I was able to release my thumb from the car after about 15 minutes of swabbing and pulling.  My wife and kids thought it was hilarious.  
So I hope you learn from my mistakes with gluing axles and never have to unglue yourself from a diecast car!  LOL! 


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Chaos_Canyon 11/16/20

Hahaha. Oh god I wish you had the on video. 

I love that you saved the wheels before your thumb. Priorities. :)

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RLoRacing 11/16/20

With every car I build, I learn something new as in what to do next time and what not to do next time...

  • I've definitely learned quite a bit the last few months and I'm enjoying the process of it all! — G4DiecastRacing

You would fit right in at my workbench, I've gotten pretty good at ungluing my fingers from things! Those NASCAR wheels sure do look good. Great story!

  • Ha! I'm glad maybe a few others can relate to a good super glue story! Lol! — G4DiecastRacing
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SpyDude 11/17/20

It would probably not be a bad idea to get yourself a bottle of acetone to keep near your workbench. At the very least, it would save you embarrassment and the humiliation of asking the missus and your daughter for their nail polish remover.

  • Great tip! I'll put it on my next hardware shopping list! — G4DiecastRacing
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