3D printing gluing: adhesive to use depends on the material

3D printing gluing: making your 3D-printed objects stick

Posted By on Jun 24, 2015 | 1 comment

3D printing gluing is a big topic for both hobbyists and professional. We receive questions from people on a near-daily basis who find themselves in a bind over what glue to use on their 3D printed objects. As a materials engineer at Sculpteo, I’d love to help everybody dealing with this sticky situation! Knowing which adhesive to use really depends on the 3D printing material. In all cases it is essential to follow some simple steps and stick to take notes of what you are doing. That way doing it again will be easy.

We will basically cover three different ways to achieve your 3D printing gluing:

  • Cyanoacrylate
  • Epoxy
  • Neoprene glue

First thing first, it is useless to say that you need the cleanest and, if possible, the smoothest surfaces to achieve proper adhesion between the glued parts. You should also ensure that your parts are compatible with the glue, read the instructions on the packaging (and maybe our material datasheets), and make sure to properly ventilate your workroom because of the solvents contained in glues.

Cyanoacrylate:

Better known as super glue, this glue is the most popular.

What materials is it suited to?

  • Multicolor: a material already comprised of cyanoacrylate
  • Undyed plastics: yields good results. To be avoided if the plastic has been dyed: the glue will degrade the dye job

Attributes:

  • Readily available in stores
  • Quick drying action that results in good repairs. Hold the pieces together for a few minutes while the glue hardens, then wait a few hours until the polymerization process is complete
  • Resistant to chemical products and freezing temperatures
  • 3D printing_gluing_cyanoacrylate

    Do you notice any trace of cyanoacrylate? As you can see, when used with multicolor materials this glue is practically invisible!

3D printing_gluing_cyanoacrylate

On the other hand, when applied to dyed polyamide, cyanoacrylate can leave a mark and tends to darken the color of the object.

 

 

Epoxy :

A two-component adhesive that needs to be mixed prior to use. Also quite popular.

Materials:

  • Can be used with any material, including dyed plastics.

Attributes:

  • Very good temperature and chemical resistance
  • High viscosity. Takes a long time to dry. It’s usually necessary to hold the pieces in place as the glue dries. This can be an advantage in the sense that you can readjust the placement of the pieces while you wait. You’ll have anywhere from a few minutes to an hour to lightly rearrange the pieces to make sure that they’re glued correctly. You might have to wait an entire day for the polymerization process to be completed.

 

 

Neoprene glue:

Used less frequently, it is not colorless and does not dry quickly. Its mechanical sealing is also of lower quality. By contrast, its advantage is that it works effectively with any kind of material.

If you have other tricks and methods that you tried for your 3D printing gluing or if you have a question about a possible process, feel free to leave a comment.

And what about for those who want to paint their 3D printed pieces? We’ve already got a post about that for you!

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