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Suppose there is a hot glue gun that support 12mm hot glue stick. Of course we cannot insert a bigger than 12mm hot glue stick, but can we insert a smaller one, let's say, a 7.5mm hot glue stick into it? Will there be any negative effects, like it will damage the hot glue gun?

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Updated: I've tried it. I don't recommend it.

I needed my big glue gun this afternoon and had some small sticks lying around so I gave it a go. Melted glue came out where the stick goes in, then hardened. It was a job getting it out - several minutes of poking around with knives, wire cutters and screwdrivers, and narrowly avoiding getting burnt. I got more glue out of the wrong end than the right end.

enter image description here I had previously used black glue; that's what you can see just above the "80 Watts" label. The thin stuff I was testing with is clear. As I took the picture the black stuck itself to both the clear and the feed mechanism.

You will (I previously said "may") find that melted glue comes out where you push the stick in, so you will need a plan for cleaning up before it solidifies, or have a pusher handy (such as wooden dowel - a glue stick of the diameter the gun is used for didn't help).

There is one possibility of damage or more likely scorched glue: some big-stick glue guns (like mine) have two temperature settings. The hotter may be too much for small sticks (which I've only ever bought/seen as cool-melt). So be sure to use the right settings, especially as you may have glue hanging around in there if it's not feeding very well.

I'd always buy the right size, but would use only use up thin sticks in a bigger gun if I was desperate.

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    Amazing! Great efforts with testing and picture shown. Upvoted your answer!
    – user275517
    May 27 '19 at 1:39
  • Did you pull the trigger while pushing the glue stick in? I challenge that you will get your issue if you don't pull the trigger. Pulling the trigger allows the glue to flow out the nozzle. If you don't pull the trigger, the glue will just ooze out the holder whether the stick was large or small. May 28 '19 at 10:37
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    @ChrisRogers on this gun (and in fact my little one as well), the trigger operates exactly one thing: the mechanism that pushes the stick. So there's no way it could make any difference. This is obvious even without taking the gun apart, though I've done that in the past. When it heats up a little glue flows out of the nozzle (much more so if you turned it off immediately after feeding some).
    – Chris H
    May 28 '19 at 10:51
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Smaller glue sticks won't damage the glue gun but the gun will not be able to grip the stick in order for it to push the glue through the heating element.

If you wish to use a smaller stick, if practically possible, you would need to push the glue through with your second hand whilst guiding the glue gun where you want it to go.

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  • Great to hear that it will not damage the glue gun!
    – user275517
    May 22 '19 at 4:29
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First of all it depends on the type of Glue Gun that you have, if it is of a good quality, and has a good heating system in place, and you are sure that it won't fuse or burst of do something of that sort when you are playing around with it, only then think of doing something like this because after all it is an electrical equipment, and care has to be taken. And second, I have made this very mistake. I have fused by glue gun, have had it's wire burn by it, and shorted my house.

Despite those horrible personal experiences, I would still say that it is fine to do so. But what will tend to happen if you don't keep the glue gun facing down (towards the end where the glue is coming out from), is that the glue will leak from the wrong end.(depending of Course on the angle of your Gun, which like I said, must be around perpendicular to the ground)

As long as care is taken, you can keep adding in thinner sticks, and it will work fine, though you may have to push it with the your hand because the gripper in the gun may not be for that.

Now if you do happen to leak the glue, then you can use something like a plucker or tweaser or something that can pluck out the dried glue (yes turn if off) and once all the dried glue that leaked is out, you can proceed to putting another stick.

If you are however not prepared for such circumstances, are under the age of 14, don't have adult supervision, then your short answer is NO, otherwise, if you are in some sort of emergency, then your answer is YES

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