Is there anyone among us who has not known the “thrill of victory” when placing the last LEGO®* on the castle’s last turret? And the “agony of defeat” when an overly excited Rover careens into it. Might not be a castle; might not be a dog. But after weeks or months of painstaking work, anyone would be crushed to see a plastic-brick creation come apart in a minute.
Tripp Phillips knew what that was like. He had been playing with his LEGO® sets just about his whole life (whole life = 11 years) and had his share of collapsed buildings. He felt especially frustrated when he built something with moving parts to play with, and it didn’t hold up long enough. He tried gluing the bricks together with the popular heavy-duty glues. They kept the bricks together but ruined them so that they could never be used again. Many precious bricks were lost in those experiments.
When Tripp was given a class assignment to find a problem that kids, as well as adults, come up against and solve it, he knew which problem immediately. Besides, his father is a scientist specializing in advanced adhesive solutions. Tripp, his dad and some of his dad’s glue-expert colleagues got right to work to find a glue that would keep the bricks together without ruining them. It had to be non-toxic, of course, but more than that, it had to be made of natural food-grade materials, because kids will eat anything (that they shouldn’t eat). Wisely, they added a bitter taste: Just because the glue is edible doesn’t mean eating it is okay. The result: Le-Glue®, a temporary glue that is strong enough to hold the bricks securely in place but dissolves easily in warm water, and your bricks are like new and ready for their next project. The glue complies with EPA, CPSC and OSHA requirements and with ASTM D-4236, a requirement for art materials that any potentially hazardous ingredients appear on the package. CleanGuard® antimicrobial agents prevent mold or fungal growth, whether the glue is wet or dry. In addition to all that, Le-Glue is easy to use and mess-free. Just tap the brick lightly into the jar of glue and attach it to another brick.
Tripp’s teacher entered Le-Glue into the International Torrance Legacy Creativity competition, and Tripp won the “Inventions-Toys and Games” category. He also placed first in the inaugural PitchDIA (Dalton [GA] Innovation Accelerator) contest, won $5,000 and became the first occupant in the DIA space in downtown Dalton, Tripp’s hometown.
Tripp intends to see his glue on the shelves in all major retailers and, ultimately, included in every LEGO® set sold. For now, he’s concentrating on finishing middle school.
* Or Mega Bloks®, Nanoblocks® or any brand of plastic building bricks.