Universally Accessible Contact Cement Applicator

Designers: Ian Gong, Jing Guo, Mike Kotecki, David Tainter

Client Coordinators: Joe Bumgarner, Jamie Gills, OE Enterprises

Supervising Professor: Larry Bohs



The goal of this project was to create a device that enables employees with disabilities at OE Enterprises, Inc. to quickly and safely apply contact cement to pieces of foam insulation.  Contact cement is used to glue foam pieces together to make insulation elbow joints.  The Universally Accessible Contact Cement Applicator allows employees to swipe pieces of foam across a rotating roller to apply a thin, even layer of contact cement. The disposable roller is housed within a removable glue tray fabricated from high-density polyethylene. Glue trays housing either 9” or 4 ½” rollers can be inserted depending on the size of the foam pieces. A D-profile connection attaches the axle of the roller to a DC motor, which rotates the roller. The device makes the task of applying contact cement to foam pieces more accessible to employees with a wide range of disabilities.


The device provides employees with a quick, easy, and safe way of applying contact cement to pieces of foam insulation. Replacing the former method of hand brushing, the device increases the accessibility of this employment opportunity. The adjustable glue scraper ensures that a desired amount of contact cement stays on the exposed part of the roller during use. Jamie Gillis, OE’s Business Development Manager, reported that the device not only increased efficiency, but allowed clients who could not previously perform the task to do so.  One OE client, after using the device, said “That’s a real good unit.  I like that much better than brushing.”


The Contact Cement Applicator (Figure 1) is comprised of a Base, Glue Trays, Roller Mechanism, Glue Scraper, and Drive Motor.  The Base, constructed from ½” High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), includes vertical side walls that house the Glue Trays.  Rubber feet on the bottom of the base prevent movement as the client exerts forces during use.  HDPE withstands the solvents in both the contact cement and the lacquer thinner used for cleaning.

Two HDPE Glue Trays are included: one for a 9” roller, and the other for a 4.5” roller, to help conserve glue on narrower pieces of foam. Holes on either end of the glue trays accommodate the roller axle, allowing the roller to rest just above the bottom of the glue tray.

The Roller Mechanism includes the roller axle, onto which a commercial glue roller slides.  At one end of the roller axle, a D-profile connector allows the axle to mate easily with the shaft of the Drive Motor.  An adjustable scraper, made of sheet aluminum, mounts to the edge of one of the Base side walls to remove excess glue from the roller.

The Drive Motor is a 12V DC gear motor that runs at a speed of 6.8rpm.  An insulating electrical box houses the motor.  An LED switch attached to the box exterior provides easy on/off control, and a DC wall adapter supplies power to the motor.

A clear protective plate over the D-profile connector prevents injury due to moving parts, and maintains visibility for aligning the D-profile connector and the motor shaft.

The device was designed for easy cleaning.  The glue tray can be detached from the frame and electrical components of the device and submerged in lacquer thinner. After 30-60 minutes, the supervisor can then clean the glue tray with stripping gloves and a metal-bristled brush. The roller can easily be removed and discarded after each day’s use.  The cost of parts for the device is approximately $150.

1 comment to Universally Accessible Contact Cement Applicator

  • ITW

    This is a really interesting innovation. It’s nice to see someone giving disabled employees the edge they need. Keep up the great work.