Best Glue For 3D Printing 2023: Buying Guide
There are many instances in 3D printing where you need to bond two or more 3D-printed parts. The most common reason is the build size limitation of your 3D printer, and it is also easier to print separate parts instead of a larger one. However, it is tricky to glue parts of 3D printing. Different methods are used for gluing 3D parts; some leave large and ugly bumps, while others result in almost invisible seams. No matter which method you choose, ensuring that the surfaces you want to bind are clean and smooth before applying glue is essential.
Different types of glues for 3D printing are available on the market, and each has pros and cons, so it is better to review them all to choose one that suits your current project. In this guide, we have compiled all the best glue for 3D printing to make things easier for you.
Best glue for 3D printed parts
For most 3D printing projects, super glue or cyanoacrylate is the best option. It is easy to use and cures quickly. It provides an excellent result, a strong bond, and almost an invisible seam. Even though it only takes a few seconds, you should think about it twice before you use it and make sure you’re ready. For the best results, make sure the parts are lined up right before you use superglue, and keep a firm grip on them for at least one minute. Allow an additional few minutes for complete curing.
Notably, except for flexible materials, most 3D-printed materials can be effectively bonded using superglue. Because, once cyanoacrylate is dry, it forms a thin, hard layer that is likely to break when applied to a flexible material.
- Best to use for rigid plastic, including PETG, ABS, and PLA
- Strong bond
- Cures quickly
- Used to bond most 3D printing materials
- Not suitable for flexible materials
Using acetone or a paint thinner can be highly effective when bonding 3D-printed parts made of ABS or HIPS. Any material that is soluble in acetone can work well for bonding. This method yields a powerful bond that results in an invisible seam.
First, to bond two pieces using acetone, apply a thin layer of the solvent to both surfaces that need to be joined. You can do it by using a small brush or a cloth that has been soaked in acetone. Too much acetone can damage thin 3D-printed parts, so it’s important not to use too much of it.
As the acetone is applied, it will dilute a thin layer on the surface of the parts. When the two pieces are pressed together, these layers will “mix.” It may be necessary to hold the pieces in place using tape or clamps during drying. After some time, depending on the size of the parts and the amount of acetone used, the solvent evaporates and a compact plastic layer will be formed.
Overall, this is likely the most effective method for bonding two pieces made of ABS or HIPS. When executed correctly, the resulting bond is incredibly strong and visually discrete.
- Suitable for bonding parts made up of HIPS or ABS
- Invisible seams
- Make an incredibly strong bond
- It may take time to dry
3. Plumber’s Cement
Plumber’s cement is another viable adhesive option for bonding ABS, PLA, and HIPS. This solvent-based glue interacts with plastic and produces a robust bond. However, the cement is typically noticeable due to its coloring. It is not compatible with materials such as nylon and PETG.
When using plumber’s cement, it’s important to make sure the things you’re joining are clean. It is also important to avoid exposing the glue to open flames, as it is flammable. Even with these things in mind, plumber’s cement can give your 3D-printed parts a strong and reliable bond.
- Affordable and easily available
- Easy to use
- Bond different 3D printing materials
- Its fumes can cause dizziness
4. Silicone Glue
Silicone is also considered the best glue for 3D-printed parts. It provides a strong hold, keeping the parts securely in place. The main problem with this type of glue, though, is that it usually needs to be spread in a fairly thick layer, usually a few millimeters or more. This makes it hard to hide the seam. The curing process takes several hours, and various options are available. Check the ingredients very carefully, because different kinds of silicone glue are better for different projects. One advantage of silicone glue is that it can bond all types of materials.
- Bonds strongly
- Clear adhesive
- Suitable for most 3D printed materials
- Thicker than other glues and leave a seam
5. Epoxy Resin
Epoxy is another good glue for 3D printing, particularly with plastics and most filaments. But for flexible materials, it might not be the best choice because it can lead to rigid bonding points. Once cured, epoxy becomes very hard and can be used as a bonding agent and filler.
Epoxy typically sets in about five minutes and requires 24 hours to cure fully. It creates a robust bond and can be sanded and painted after curing. Applying epoxy in thick layers is possible, but the resulting seam will be rigid. Even though it has this problem, epoxy is a good way to secure your 3D-printed objects.
- It acts as a glue as well as a filler
- You can apply it n a thick layer
- It can be applied to surfaces even if they are not flat
- The epoxy resin creates rigid seams on flexible materials
6. 3D Pen
Using a 3D pen is another excellent option for bonding parts together. Since you use the same filament that you use to print your models, the joint looks smooth and attractive. However, it is important to note that this type of bond is not the strongest and should only be used for non-functional parts.
- Easy to use
- It matches any color easily
- Hardens quickly
- Not strong as other glues
Things To Consider When Using Glue For 3D printing
Here are a few tips and tricks that you must consider when using glue for 3D printing:
- Remember how your print settings can affect the gluing process by paying attention to print orientation, print settings, and build plates.
- Do not place support materials around joining features if possible.
- Consider if your 3D material can shrink.
- Give proper time so that all the parts fit properly.
- Make sure that all surfaces are smooth.
- Sand all the trouble spots.
- Choose the right type of glue so that your model is perfectly attached.
- Start gluing from the center and work your way out to ensure the even spreading of glue.
How Can You Make Stronger 3D-Printed Parts?
If you’re looking to strengthen your 3D-printed parts, there are several methods to consider:
- Opt for stronger materials, such as ABS.
- Increase the wall thickness to add more strength to the part.
- Increase the density of the infill to make the part more solid and sturdy.
- Try changing the extrusion direction to improve the overall strength of the part.
- Decrease the print speed to ensure a better bond between layers and improve overall strength.
Which glue can Work For All Filaments?
Most basic adhesives, such as super glue, Gorilla glue, epoxy resin, urethane glue, and silicone glue, are compatible with the most common 3D printing filaments. While some adhesives may work better with certain filaments than others, you can generally use any of them to finish your 3D-printed projects if they are all available.
Focusing on the best adhesive for each filament type is usually more effective than finding a one-size-fits-all product. For example, the best way to stick PLA and PETG together is with superglue, while the best way to stick ABS together is with solvent welding.
When it comes to bonding 3D-printed parts, there are numerous options available. While standard superglue and epoxies are suitable for most types of 3D printing filament, other methods such as homemade ABS glues, PLA welding, and friction welding can also be used to join 3D prints together.
Whether you’re piecing together a large model, repairing a failed print, or connecting two different materials, it’s essential to understand how each type of glue interacts with different plastics to make sure your bonded 3D prints are strong and durable. For bonding PLA, the recommended adhesive is Cyanoacrylate super glue.
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