HackSpace magazine

Sugru Rebel Tech Kit

By Ben Everard. Posted

Sugru is a mouldable putty. It comes in small packets – like the sort of thing you might get sauce in at a café. Open this up and there’s a substance with a similar consistency to Blu Tack, that you can mould into almost any shape you want. After 24 hours, it hardens into a stiff, rubber-like state. It’s bendable, but no longer re-shapeable.

This reviewer’s headphones have been held together by some Sugru for the past couple of years after they broke in his back-pack. It’s been strong enough to cope with the day in, day out usage, and flexible enough to have just a little give, so it’s not broken again on the joint. He’s also used it fairly extensively when he needs glue to fill a gap – it’s more controllable than hot glue, so you don’t end up with strings everywhere and bits of glue where you didn’t want them.

The Rebel Tech Kit comes with five sachets of Sugru, and what the company calls a ‘Sugru Remover tool’, but other people might call it a guitar pick or plectrum. There’s also a 14-page booklet of ideas, and a metal tin to keep it all in.

Sugru also does a Create and Craft Kit that includes widgets for adding texture to your Sugru, a Magnets Kit that includes four neodymium magnets, an Organise Small Spaces Kit that includes D-hooks for hanging things, and a Hacks For Your Home Kit with a slightly longer guide. Each of these come in at the same price of £11.99.

The range of things they suggest includes using the putty to re-enforce cables, particularly where they join solid bits like USB sockets. This might not be worth it for the vast pile of micro USB cables that most of us have lying around, but if you’ve got an expensive proprietary cable that you use a lot, an extra bit of strain relief may end up saving you quite a bit of money and hassle. Similarly, it can also be used as strain relief on custom-made cables. Another common use is adding ‘little bits’ to things. Do you need a particular shaped hook? No problem. Add a knob or custom handle grip? Sugru works really well for that. Need a protector for something fragile that you just seem to keep dropping? Sugru adds bouncy bits to corners and other vulnerable points. For all these things, we’ve found this solidifying putty works really well.

The metal tin should help protect the sachets from damage in the workshop

The price of these kits is more or less in line with other sized packs of Sugru, but you also get the extra ‘kit’ bits thrown in as well. This makes it a great gift for maker friends, but also handy packs if you’re after five bits of Sugru.

Sugru isn’t especially cheap – however you buy it, it almost always works out at over £1.50 per sachet. As a general-purpose material, that can quickly add up if you use it a lot. However, for repairs and simple upgrades, it’s quick and easy to use, and that can be well worth it. For example, one of the examples from the guide is a headphone hanger. Sure, you could design and 3D-print a similar thing for just a few pence of PLA, but how much time would it take? How much is that time worth to you? Of course, coupled with that is the question of do you prefer to sculpt things with your hands, or do you prefer to design digitally, and perhaps iterate to a look you like?

You get a selection of different colours, so your Sugru can match with what you’re making

One thing to think about when buying Sugru is that it isn’t shelf-stable. Over time, it hardens in the packet. Each packet has a use-by date on it, but it’s not always clear how long you’ll have left when you buy it – the pack you get might have been sitting in a storage facility. The packs we got had ten months left on them. If you do want to keep it longer, according to the manufacturers, it’ll last about three times as long in the fridge or freezer as it will at room temperature.

This reviewer always keeps a few sachets of Sugru in his workshop, and the metal tin will make it easier to find them when needed. The ‘Sugru Remover’ may end up being used more for the guitar than for moulding the putty though.


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