What Kind of Glue Should I use for my 3D Prints?
So where does one start researching? I think it starts with the internet and just good ole fashion re-search. Of course I did this and everything I came up with said to use
cyanoacrylate glue (basically super glue). Trust me there are plenty of articles on the subject by even my competition.
Now, I am not going to sit here and break it all down like I did some big scientific study and I am also not going to knock on other glue manufacturers in the 3D print space.
I just wanted something that worked rapidly without having to use activator sprays or epoxy. Something that dried clear and would have a quick adhesive set time. Guess what... I don't care what anyone says. Super Glue just doesn't get the job done. Not for me at least. I have been told some CA glues work better than others like 3M TM Scotch-WeldTM Plastic and Rubber Instant Adhesive PR 100 which I will admit I have not tried yet.
I needed to drill down and look deeper. So I wrote the major glue companies to find out what they recommend. I found 3 glues that work well and I was able accomplish my goal.
I want to preface, everything written in this blog applies to PLA Filament only and the glue I was looking for was to glue tiny parts onto a model kind of like modelers glue.
I will just say several companies didn't even bother writing be back. And the ones that did really surprised me mainly because I wasn't sure what to expect.
Loctite or Henkel Adhesives specifically told me that Number 401 and number 406 were great choices for gluing PLA. I bought them both and as a matter of fact they worked great. Now I I needed to find a way to use a brush on with them (like a finger nail polish brush and bottle) which they sell so I bought two of them put my glue inside the bottles and just used the brush. It dried clear and it gave me rapid set time.
Duco which is Illinois Tool Works which is Devcon. #90225 Duco Plastic @ Model Cement. This stuff is slightly cloudy, stringy but dries clear and its not terrible runny its more like a loose gel. It too gave me rapid set time. This glue was not attempted out of a brush bottle and I found it a challenge to squirt a tiny bit out so I had some excess and clean up was involved.
I looked further and wondered how these glues worked. I knew from my background that glue companies are regulated by OSHA (in the US anyway) OSHA tells me these manufacturers need to keep SDS Sheets or Safety Data Sheets. I sought those out next. I started with some of the companies that specifically market their glues for 3D Printing and I began noticing several common components like Ethel Acetate. Basically these glues contain solvents.
Now I am not a scientist but the way this glue works is by melting the plastic so the pieces fuse together. I also noticed the similar chemicals were in the glues I listed above, so I think I am not onto figuring out the secret sauce. Well, I am not sure if I did or not but I know the glues I listed above get the job done and depending on where you buy them the cost shouldn't be anymore than $10 bucks.
The Duco can be purchased at any ACE Hardware. You'll have to probably purchase the loctite online from a store we shall not mention haha.
I wanted to try finger nail polish glue but I never made it that far. I believe some of these nail polish adhesives have some of the similar chemicals I mentioned above but don't quote me. I just know nail polish glue holds nails on and some of that stuff is like cement.
A couple of other mentions: The Glues I mentioned above would fit somewhat under what's referred to as solvent based glues.
Other Options I know work:
3D Print Pen's are perfect for fusing parts together. I recently wrote a blog on Simon who 3D Printed a life size T.Rex on his Ender 3. He specifically said the entire T.Rex was put together using a 3D Print Pen. I can also confirm they work great because we use them.
Acetone works great to fuse parts together and you can use it to to remove layer lines in your prints using a process called "smoothing"
Loctite 435 (not confirmed by us, but one of our customers swears by it)
Glues not tested but rumored to work:
Super Glue or Cyanoacrylate (various)
Craft Glue Gun
For super big pieces I would assume you could use a two part epoxy and clamps but I have not confirmed this either.
*Please note this is not a scientific study. Please use all Glues responsibly, please store them responsibly and keep them out of children's reach. Also, please make sure you use in a ventilated area and or use a mask and hand protection when working with adhesives.
We are working on putting together a more comprehensive list of glues along with videos and how to instructions. The is more to this process and we haven't even tipped the iceberg yet. We will look at how to properly fuse models together such as how do you prep the surface and do you need a straight edge? Does your model surface need to be sanded? More to come on this topic down the road!
If you have anything you would like us to add to this blog please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for stopping by.
by Jessica Hayes