Atomic Glue Gun

A Hot Glue Gun Rebuild and Paint Job.

creator: x14km2d | build: 2021-10-26 | update: 2021-12-26


I love to modify things or tools. I’ve always done that and if I didn’t like something, I just changed it. Especially tools can be super modified if you buy cheap tools. So my hot glue gun was the cheapest tool I had ever bought and that led me to modify it so I could work with it better and as it turned out later I also improved its design.

In this article I want to show you how strong creativity can work, if you dare a little more out of the box. It’s also great to get inspired by computer games every now and then. Sometimes you see something and can then transfer that to your own object and usually new props are created that way. Because the finished hot glue gun now looks more like an atomic glue gun from the Fallout universe1 and I love my finished project.

Please note that I am working with 230V, so this is not a low current project. Only rebuild something like this if you have enough experience or if you are working with a professionally trained person. 230V can be deadly if you make a mistake.


I have to admit that I bought the cheapest hot glue gun available at the Dollar store. You can’t expect much. So after I bought my 3D printer, I had to print out a hot glue gun stand. This one works great and I am happy with this simple design. Unfortunately, there was now a new problem, which I had not noticed before.

Every time I used the hot glue gun, hot glue dripped out of the tip, which is way too much wasted material in the long run. It also makes my pad pretty dirty. So I came up with the idea of adding an on/off switch to my hot glue gun. This way, when I took a break from a project at my desk, I could turn off the hot glue gun without having to unplug the entire power cord. This allows me to work better and not be distracted by wasted hot glue.

Dissassamble and Build

Before we can start the project, we must first disassemble the hot glue gun. To do this, we look all the screws from the housing and put them in a small bowl. You can of course also take a plastic cup or a completely different container. Sometimes I also take small plastic bags in which actually microcontrollers are packed.

In the process, we find out the following facts. When opening the case, a small spring jumps out at me, which I luckily found on my desk. Apparently, this was to prevent the hot glue gun from being repaired later, or it was simply poorly designed. Furthermore, the hot glue gun is pretty simple in design. There is a trigger that pushes the hot glue into the radiator and it melts there. Two cables. One in the brown color and the second in a blue color. I guess that blue belongs to ground and brown to vcc.

After getting more involved with the technology of the hot glue gun, I’m thinking about how I want to install the switch. To do this, I hold the switch at various points on the housing and try out whether I can get to the switch well with my fingers. If I operate the trigger with my index finger, I can reach the switch very well with my middle finger. To be able to insert the switch, I have to create a little space inside the housing.

With pliers, a small side cutter and a modeling knife, I cut away two partitions in the housing. Then I draw with a Pika Ink pen the place where the switch should be installed. With a caliper I measure the dimensions. After that I drill as many holes as possible in the marking, so I can cut them out with a side cutter and a modeling knife. To test if everything fits exactly, I insert the switch for a test. This must stay in the hole by itself and must not fall out. The switch should also not be glued, if you want to change something later. The switch has small clamps on the side that help it stay in the hole.

Paint Job

Already during the reconstruction of the case I noticed how ugly it was with the red color. Somehow I didn’t like it anymore. Also, I now had marks on the housing, which I would actually have to clean again. Why not solve two problems with one idea. I just give the whole hot glue gun a new paint job to make it look better. It already has this alien like future pistol design and with that you can surely develop something.

Spontaneously I had nothing to think of, so I surfed a little on the Internet and found an article about how a person builds a Fallout 4 prop. Ok, that fit super well. The round future design could really come from the Fallout universe and I liked the colors too. Unfortunately I didn’t have that much green and had to rethink a bit, but overall I’m more than happy with the paint job.

In the first step, I gave the two housing parts a base with chrome covers all. Actually, I wanted to use a primer first, but had forgotten in my rush to do a good paint job. But since the chrome holds so well, the lack of primer didn’t matter and I could continue working in peace.

After that, I applied the primary colors. For the yellow, I used Citadel Yriel Yellow. For the red, the Army Painter2 Vampire Red. At this point you don’t have to work so neatly, because you won’t see the little mistakes later anyway because of the washing. Just work as fast and clean as you can.

Since I only had expensive Castel Castellan green, I could not paint the whole case with it. I then limited myself to the handle, because that looked best to me. Green and yellow contrast well and harmonize as colors. I quickly painted the handle and then wiped the paint away again with a cloth. So this is supposed to look later that the paint eventually peeled off the handle because this hot glue gun was used so long and often. To make the other colors look more worn, I dry brushed the whole case again with a silver acrylic paint from the dollar store. My hot glue gun should later look like it has been used for a hundred years. just like the tools from Fallout computer game.

After the base colors were dry, I could apply the first washing. For this I tried the Army Painter green military shading, which fit quite well. With a coarse brush I weatherd the whole case with the shading.

And again, everything must dry in peace, but you can speed up if you take a hair dryer to help. After washing everything was covered again with the silver acrylic paint, so that the highlights come back to the fore. In the last step I gave the handle an Army Painter soft tone wash to make it look even dirtier and more like a handle. These are the little details that you learn over time to make your prob or conversion look more authentic.

At the very end I applied a matte clear coat with the spray can. I usually never do that, but because I want to actually use the hot glue gun I decided to do it.


At this point, we come to the electronic part of our conversion. I will say this again here. If you rebuild this, please be careful because it is 230V and they can lead to injuries if you are not careful. Please really pay attention to this and do not take it too lightly.

First I put the switch in place after working on it with the nail file. This makes it look a little more worn and more authentic. Then I cut the blue cable in the middle. The plug of the cable must not be in the socket. Pay attention to that! Do not work on a power cable while it is still plugged in somewhere.

Before I solder anything I test with alligator clips if my idea works. For this I connect the cut cable with the hot glue gun and the switch. When I set the switch to off, the hot glue gun must not get hot, and vice versa. When I set the switch to on, the hot glue gun must get hot. Please make sure that the contacts of the alligator clips do not connect, otherwise you will cause a short circuit. If everything works we can start soldering the blue wire.

For the blue cable I put a heat shrink tubing on it, so that it comes less to unwanted contacts. After that I could solder the blue cable to the switch. This was complicated in some places because the cables all had to fit back into the housing as well, but overall everything worked well. The spring caused a few problems, because I didn’t know where exactly it goes and I had to open the case again several times, but I was able to solve that problem as well.


Here you can see the finished result. a new hot glue gun inspired by the Fallout computer game. I love the design and this looks so good on my desk. While there are still a few small spots I need to improve, such as the small brown stripe when washing on the handle. But a project is never really finished. You always find some small details that you can improve, but you should not overdo it. I am super happy with my project and have built an ATOMIC GLUE GUN from an ultra boring dollar store hot glue gun.

  1. I’m referring to Fallout New Vegas here. The best game in the Fallout series. The depth and oppressive end time atmosphere has been implemented incessantly well. Through mods, you can put yourself even deeper into the setting. My alltime favorite, next to Skyrim. If I had to choose because I can only take one game with me to a lone island, it would definitely be Fallout New Vegas.↩︎

  2. I am not a fan of the Army Painter colors, because most smell unpleasant. Also, these are very often much too glossy, unlike other brands and are not suitable, for example, when I work with minis or models. For some large projects like this Atomic Glue Gun, I can still use the colors well, because they set a strong bright base coat, which can later be darkened with a washing again and then still remains visible.↩︎

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