Sugru is a name that will mean nothing to most of you but those who have heard of and used it will probably have a special place in their heart for it. It is one of those products that once you’ve used you’ll wonder how you got along without. So what is it?
When you first take it out of the pack Sugru looks and feels like play-dough – soft, sticky and easy to form into whatever you want. Once out of the pack it cures in the air going solid in half an hour and after 24 hours turns into a material that feels like rubber and is surprisingly tough, flexible and strong.
So what can you use it for? Adaptions and modifications, fixes and repairs. I’ve used it to fix cables, hang hooks on walls, customise a mouse to fit my daughter’s hand perfectly, for decoration, making a hub to keep cables together, customizing earphones, customizing and labelling keys and as an emergency shoe repair.
Spend a few minutes digging through the Sugru gallery and there are literally thousands of ideas and uses people have found. It’s gotten to the point where a pack of Sugru is an essential part of any repair kit and I’ve stashed packs in the kitchen draws, car glove box and tool kit.
Price: 3 Pack £7, 8 Pack £13
Also available – packs with hint booklets, magnets and extra parts
About Manufacturer: FORMFORMFORM
FORMFORMFORM is a small startup based in Hackney in London. Sugru was thought of as a concept in 2003 but took until 2009 to turn into a real product that people could buy. Inventor Jane ni Dhulchaointigh lays out her journey in detail and its a fascinating read for anyone with an innovative idea they want to get to market. At the moment Sugru is still not quite mass market but they are expanding quickly.
The Ergohacks Evaluation
Sugru is extremely versatile and leans itself to a variety of uses, users, situations and changing circumstances.
It is simple to use and requires no maintenance once setup. It is cuttable with a sharp knife and hence removable if required unless its’ been attached to a porous surface in which case it is harder to take off.
Sugru is temperature resistant from -50°C (-58°F) to +180°C (356°F). It gets hot and cold but it won’t get softer or harder or melt. It is waterproof, dishwasher proof and light proof, freezer proof, UV resistant and electrically insulating.
It isn’t medical or food grade, so you shouldn’t use if for something that goes inside your mouth like a mouthpiece or a forkhead.
Sugru comes in individually sealed and airtight packs that are tough and ideally need a pair of scissors to open. Once moulded and cured it lets things get more ergonomic – the perfect definition of ergonomic design.
Environment & People
Formformform go into quite a lot of detail about the environmental impact of the material itself. In short it’s a silicone that is not petrochemical based but is not biodegradable. It’s made in a low energy and low heat process although the same cannot be said about all the ingredients.
The alternative viewpoint is that although Sugru itself isn’t the most environmentally friendly material it lets you recycle and fix other things – better to repair or maintain than replace and landfill. Formformform as a company deliberately lean towards this viewpoint and it makes good sense.
If you buy the most economic pack size each packet of Sugru works out to cost around £1.60. As when it is exposed to air it starts to cure immediately you need to use a whole pack in one go rather than bit by bit. I’ve found if you’re careful with it each pack can do a couple of smaller repairs or one big repair or alteration. That’s good value.
One other point. The packs have a use-by date of about a year and a half in the future if stored on a shelf (although this goes to about a two and a half years you store in a fridge) so if you’re only going to use it occasionally the largest pack size might not be most sensible one to get.
When Jane Ni-dhulchaointigh thought of the concept of Sugru she hoped to create something that would live in our kitchen draws next to the glue and tape. Sugru has the potential to do that and the last 12 years has shown Formformform take strides towards this and create a product which has that potential. Sugru does exactly what it claims to and is an ideal way to customise, protect and fix almost any ergonomic problem. Highly recommended every household should have some.
The review is based on Sugru. First published on 9th November 2015