Ryobi recently sent out a press release detailing their new compact glue gun. This mini glue gun uses a separate base with an 18V One+ battery to power it. When the glue gun is ready you can remove it from the base and use it cordlessly for up to 5 minutes.
Since the glue gun has a precision tip and uses 5/16″ diameter mini glue sticks, Ryobi is touting it for hobby, crafting, and small repair projects. Furthermore, it can only apply one and a half glue sticks before needing to be returned to the base.
Ryobi claims the base heats the glue gun up to 365°F (175°C) in 3 minutes. Away from the base, the glue gun will last for 5 minutes or approximately 1.5 glue sticks.
The base accepts any Ryobi 18V battery and has a built-in drip tray to catch any glue that oozes from the tip of the glue gun. The LED on the base lights when the switch is turned on and the LED on the body of the glue gun indicates when it is connected properly to the base.
The Ryobi P306 18V compact glue gun comes with the compact glue gun, heating base, and three mini glue sticks. It is due to be released in December 2020 for $25.
ETA: December 2020
Anybody who uses a mini glue gun probably uses a stand. In my experience, even if the glue gun has a built-in wire stand, the glue gun is usually so light and the cord so stiff that you can’t keep the glue gun upright. So, having a base for a cordless mini glue gun makes a lot of sense. And if that base can power the mini glue gun, all the better.
I have already have the Ryobi cordless glue gun and the Black and Decker cordless glue gun. I’m not even sure the B&D glue gun is made any more, but in my experience it is a superior tool: it’s lighter, more ergonomic, and heats up faster. In fact it has been stolen by my daughter because she uses a glue gun much more than I do and prefers the B&D.
It’s not that the Ryobi glue gun is bad, it’s just more awkward to use. That’s one of the reasons I’m excited about this new compact glue gun: its compact size. For just about every task I use a glue gun, I only need a squeeze to tack things together. The 1.5 mini glue stick and 5 minute limit are not going to constrain my most of my usage.
All that said, the big question in my mind is how does this work? I have three theories (note this was before we got more evidence from the manual, but I thought it was an interesting thought experiment):
- There is a 18650 cell in the handle of the glue gun that gets charged by the base. The real work of heating the gun up to temperature is done by the 18V battery. The 18650 cell just has to keep the tip at temperature.
- Instead of a lithium-ion battery there is a super capacitor in the handle of the glue gun — see the BluCave cordless screwdriver post.
- The glue gun has enough thermal mass to stay hot enough for 5 minutes or 1.5 glue sticks.
Let’s look at the clues that we have:
Interestingly Ryobi uses the word charging and not heating up: “…and reaches a temperature of 365°F after only 3 minutes of charging.” This would imply that the base is charging something. You don’t generally use the word charging to mean heating to temperature.
The glue gun heats up to 365°F. Low temperature glue sticks require about 250°F to melt and high temperature glue sticks require 400°C. It is obviously not going to work for high temperature glue sticks. So why heat the glue gun up to 365°F? Is it because you need to give it enough thermal energy to last 5 minutes or 1.5 glue sticks without any other source of heat?
I really should have been tipped off by the use of “heating base” in the list of what is included, but after finding and reading the manual, it looks like Ryobi’s marketing copy writers might have taken some liberties with the word “charging.” According to the manual:
NOTE: The glue gun will be required to return to the base
for reheating when you feel resistance from the trigger
This statement heavily implies that it works like option 3. where there is no electrical power storage mechanism, only thermal storage.
Another interesting thought I had was that none of the photos Ryobi provides shows any electrical contacts for the glue gun to “charge”. It would be really cool if there were none and the gun was powered inductively.
You can bet that I’ll be picking one of these Ryobi compact glue guns as soon as they come out so I can play with it and figure out exactly how it works.