Will Super Glue work on an ABS 3D print?

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by rebelyell, Aug 25, 2015.

  1. rebelyell

    rebelyell Active Member

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    We had a 3D printed lightsaber arrive broken in two and are attempting to fix it with something we have around the house. Will common super glue bond ABS? I also have Krazy Glue gel on hand. Would either of those work?

    On a related note, the quality of the printing was a bit hit and miss and we're left with several gaps and low spots that need to be filled. Would Bondo glazing work on ABS?

    This is our first 3D printed prop, so we're a bit out of our element!
  2. jakemisra

    jakemisra New Member

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    You can use superglue, but acetone will actually chemically fuse the two pieces.

    Experiment with some other ABS parts first, a little dab will do. People use acetone vapor to smooth the ridges on prints because it chemically melts it.

    As for holes and such, can you post a picture? You're probably best off re-doing the print to avoid the gaps or holes.
  3. NS4

    NS4 Well-Known Member

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    Acetone (nail varnish remover) is what you need to bond ABS.
    For filling gaps, if you have any spare ABS, put some into acetone and it will dissolve to create a slurry that you can paint on (aka ABS juice!).
    Once the acetone has evaporated you can sand/paint as required.
    Bondo will work fine as well.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
  4. dhunpael

    dhunpael Active Member

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    I just stumbled upon this thread, just to see that i've been doing it wrong =D
    So far my super glue is holding, but guess i'll have to change my approach on how to glue my stuff together.
    Luckely i just started :D

    As for the acetone glueing, do you just put acetone on both peaces and then hold them together?
    and how do you use acetone vapor to smooth out the pieces?
    Do you just put it in a jar without touching the acetone?
  5. msleeper

    msleeper Sr Member

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    You should avoid using nail polish remover if at all possible. It has other chemicals that may interact with your print negatively. You can buy pure acetone at nearly any hardware store in the paint aisle.
  6. Darth Lars

    Darth Lars Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Superglue has great pull strength but does not take a beating. One little nudge and it could be broken again - and you would have to sand away the glue residue before trying again.

    I would not use acetone directly. I don't think it is strong enough solvent and it does not fill gaps. Instead, make "ABS sludge": put scraps of ABS in a air-tight jar and cover with acetone and let sit. The result should be a bit like toothpaste in consistency... but will however quickly degenerate to chewing gum consistency with exposure to air.
    You should not lay it on too thick, or the acetone will never evaporate.
    Even better might be Devcon Plastic Welder - from its datasheet I have read that it is a bit like ABS sludge in a tube but made with stronger solvents than acetone. I have never seen it over here in Europe, so I have not tried it myself but I have heard great things about it on the forum.

    I usually use "plastic cement" that is actually mostly solvents, and that is probably what I would use in this case. You can many different kinds in hardware stores and in stores that sell plastic model kits.
    Apply to one part and then rub the two parts together a little bit before you let it sit or clamp it together.
    I prefer the Humbrol Poly Cement in yellow bottle with the long nozzle. It runs, and evaporates quickly however. Humbrol's in a tube is a bit too runny and difficult to apply but should be the same as in the yellow bottle. Don't get Humbrol's glass bottle with brush - it will evaporate too quickly and once the bottle has been opened for the first time it is only a matter of time before all of it is gone.

    For larger fillings, I prefer a two-part clay-like "epoxy putty" such as Milliput because it has much longer time than Bondo and can be used for sculpting.
    For smaller fillings, I often use a one-part model putty, but from what I have heard Bondo's one-part spot putty should work just as well.
    These are also found in stores that sell plastic model kits.

    There are also lots of older threads about solvents, abs sludge, adhesives and fillers on the forum. ;)
  7. juliegrrl

    juliegrrl New Member

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    I too use ABS slurry for gluing and filling ABS prints. I use about 30% ABS dissolved in acetone and keep bottles containing slurries made from each of my most used filaments so it color-matches. I'll start a pot and then keep feeding it acetone and supports/ filament offcuts.
    Just like Darth Lars I use two part epoxy putty for adding additional bits which need sculpting and for filling large holes as it can be sculpted before setting up, minimizing finishing work. If I need to fill small spots and don't want to risk getting acetone around details I'll use Acryl-Red putty (bodywork finishing putty). It has just enough solvent to bond to the plastic and sands like a dream.
    Hope this helps!
  8. dhunpael

    dhunpael Active Member

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    Darth Lars

    Thanks for the info ^^
    I tried going over the forums but most of it is for the American or UK market and I've found that Belgium is just to small to actually find the right stuff.
    (For example smooth on and bondo are impossible to find here and Amazon won't even ship it here)

    The ABS sludge is something I'm going to try for filling up small gaps.
    And I'm going to try and use Acetone to smoothen the print. I just have to find a way to apply it.
    I've seen youtube video's that explain how to do it with a rice cooker?

    Milliput is something that I've worked with before but it seems that I always bought the wrong one =D
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2018
  9. NS4

    NS4 Well-Known Member

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    Acetone dissolves ABS - you don't need any stronger than that.

    The acetone has nothing to do with bonding, it simply melts the two parts togther and then evaporates.
    Plastic cement is simply solvents with the plastic you want to bond dissolved into it and will be no better than an ABS "slurry" that you make yourself, but may be more convenient and easier to apply. YMMV.
    On more intricate/delicate parts it is better to use the slurry so as not to weaken the part in the process of applying acetone.
    Larger/solid parts can safely be bonded with acentone directly.

    Try both ways on some scrap pieces to get a feel for how it works.

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