Imagine a material that’s about the consistency of plasticene, but it’ll stick to most anything, and overnight it cures into a solid, rubber-like substance that’ll withstand temperatures from -60 to 180 degrees C. That’s Sugru — which gets its name from the Irish word for “play” — and it’s the invention of a product designer who wanted a way to quickly modify existing objects to better serve her needs. It’s also the darling of the square-glasses crowd right now, featured prominently in Boing Boing, Make, and so on. But replace the pop-talk term “hack” with “modify” and you’ve still got what looks like a pretty valuable material in your arsenal.
The basics: Pull the Sugru out of its package and you’ve got 30 minutes to mash it around and form it into various shapes. Its makers claim that it’ll “form a strong bond to aluminum, steel, ceramics, glass, wood, and other materials including some plastics like perspex and ABS and rubbers like silicone and butyl rubber,” so you can use it to mount one thing to another, modify the shape of something, etc. Within 24 hours it cures to its final set, which is “flexible rather than rigid.” Once set, “it’s completely waterproof,” “easy to clean with soap and water,” and “durable in the harsh conditions of your washing machine and dishwasher.” You can also “remove it with a craft knife and then remove residue with fingernails and tissue paper” (at least on hard surfaces). Some of the uses cited at the company’s website include creating ski pole grips, ruggedizing a camera, modifying a water sprinkler, re-sealing the cooling system of a car, and re-attaching a dishwasher rack. The company reports that Sugru has a shelf life of about six months and isn’t currently certified safe for children or food use (though they claim to be working on both).
The story behind the company seems pretty cool as well, essentially tracking the creator’s development of the material during graduate school, failed attempts to partner with large companies to distribute the stuff, and eventual angel-funded launch of a small business to manufacture and distribute the product herself. It’s an interesting read.
Right now it looks like your best purchase option is to buy directly from their website. (They’re selling in just two stores in the U.S., one in New York City and one in Portland.) It comes in two options, each of which contains 12 “minipacks” of 5g bits of Sugru. For $18 you can have a multi-color pack, which includes white, black, blue, green, and orange, or for $20 you can have only black and white. (We’re not sure why black and white costs more.) You can also buy single-color orders of six packs for $12. Your order will ship within 3 days (they say), and the site says they ship “at cost,” which starts at around $2.40 an order.
What do you think? Worth ~$25 for a look? This strikes me as a great addition to the Plasti-Dip I already keep on hand.
Sugru [Company Site]