As we all know, 3D printing is an expensive and time-consuming process. Gluing of 3D prints is essential
1. To break down the large objects into small parts, print them and glue them to get a larger object
2. Gluing of 3D prints is also needed when 3D prints break and to rejoin them without printing the same object. Thereby avoiding the time and printing expenses.
Gluing of 3D prints will differ based on the material types. This blog will give you a clear idea of the gluing process and an easy-to-use option that you can stick with.
Keep reading this blog in order to understand the best Glue for your 3D prints and their types.
Which is the Best Glue for Bonding 3D Printed Parts?
As per many 3D users, superglue is the best glue for 3D printing as it strongly bonds the 2 different plastics together. If you choose a good Superglue brand, for materials like PLA, ABS & PETG, it can quickly get cured and works great. It is not suitable for flexible filaments such as Nylon or TPU.
There are many other glue products that have wired great for many 3D users. But of all those, superglue is highly endorsed and recommended in the 3D community.
Use the superglue in a well-ventilated place and cover your mouth with a protective mask and wear eyeglasses for protection. The odor of superglue can irritate the breathing pathways and skin if it touches the skin.
If you are looking for a high-quality superglue for your 3D prints, then Gorilla Super Glue (20 Grams) is highly recommended. It is available on Amazon with good reviews and ratings.
This superglue takes more time to cure and to speed up the curing process, you can use a separate activator-like baking soda. Many users have seen the same results even with water.
You can also buy a combination pack from Amazon such as Bob Smith Industries BSI Maxi Cure Clear Adhesive. It contains superglue along with an accelerator that speeds up the curing within 15-25 seconds.
The manufacturer claims that it can bond leather, wood, plastic, ceramics, and more.
Keep reading this article to understand the gluing of your 3d print much further.
Which is the Best Glue for PLA?
One of the best glue for PLA 3D prints is considered to be superglue. The other popular options are 2-part epoxy resins which are mixed to accelerate the curing & bonding capabilities. Another specialized product that bonds PLA products well is the PLA Gloop. It can bond the 2 PLA objects together in a strong manner. It can also be used to increase bed adhesion.
Superglue is known for its short curing duration. This Superglue adds only a thin bonding layer which is highly invisible if done properly. If the superglue layer is thick, then it can be reduced by using baby oil. The baby oil is capable of penetrating between one side of plastic and superglue.
Other adhesives that join PLA are:
Some of the other PLA bonding adhesives are as below:
- Epoxy Resin
- 3D Gloop
- 3D Printing Pen
- Soldering iron
- Contact Cement
- Hot glue gun
For Gluing and joining the PLA 3D prints, Epoxy Resin is a popular glue. The downside of this Epoxy Resin is it takes more time to cure when compared to superglue. The curing time is around 5 minutes for half cure and around 10 to 15 mins for full cure.
Please note that Different Epoxy Resins offer different levels of strength and they need to be wisely used based on the objects.
Epoxy resin works great for larger 3D prints like cosplay items. The best results can be seen when epoxy resin is clamped down at the time of curing.
Amazon has a great product by the name Loctite Epoxy Instant Mix which is a highly recommended Epoxy resin to go with.
If you are looking for a great alternative to superglue, then 3D Gloop can be the best. 3D Gloop is a solvent that does the gluing/bonding of PLA 3D prints together by slightly melting the PLA plastic and welding it together.
MatterHackers in the below video shows how this product can stick the 2 different PLA parts. It is also preferred to increase the adhesion with the print bed while printing.
Contact Cement is also highly endorsed by many 3D users for its great PLA banding capability. But there are some complaints about its visibility after applying it. However, with practice, it can be applied invisibly without showing up much.
If the Contact Cement layer is highly visible then you can sand using 120 Grit Sandpaper.
One product by name Permatex Contact Cement 1.5 oz is known for its high and instant bonding capabilities. It is also water and heat resistant which can and other materials like rubber, glass, metal .etc
Many user reviews say that clamping is not required for this product.
Hot Glue Gun
Hot Glue Gun is another popular way of bonding the PLA prints together. It offers good strength and is easy to apply which needs only 45 seconds for application.
This glue looks thick and more suitable for larger 3D prints like cosplay armor. For smaller 3D prints like miniatures, a hot glue gun is not recommended.
Gorilla Dual Temp Mini Hot Glue Gun on Amazon is a great product when you think of Hot Glue Gun.
It offers some of the great features as below:
- A Trigger that is easy to squeeze
- Hot glue-sticks that are weather-resistant for outdoor usage
- It works in 45 seconds and is capable of withstanding strong impacts.
- Contains an Insulated Nozzle to prevent burns
- It comes with an integrated stand and avoids the nozzle touching other surfaces.
- The Operation gets easier due to the precision nozzle that comes with it.
Acetone can weld and smooth only certain types of PLA’s based on their chemical properties and methods used to manufacture them. Thomas Sanladerer in the below video shows the same.
If you want Acetone, you could get a Pure Acetone bottle from Amazon for a good price.
Soldering iron is another method of gluing the PLA parts together. In this process, soldering iron is used to melt the PLA parts and hold them together so that they join as they harden. It is not a glue, but it can bond the PLA parts together.
The soldering can be done using the same filament length which is used during printing and do the soldering into both PLA 3D parts. This welds them together as shown in the below video:
This video gives us some basic instructions as below:
- Bring the 3D printed pieces and clean their surfaces.
- Heat the soldering iron to the temperature of 200°C
- Take a length of PLA filament that you used for printing.
- Keep the filament inline with the edges of 3D prints and melt the filament using it as a solder paste. The PLA filament melts and settles into the gaps and holes.
- Allow the PLA solder to cool down and it joins the parts strongly.
Use the Anbes 60W Soldering Iron Kit from Amazon for soldering the PLA together.
Below is the video that shows the welding of two parts together. When the 3D print failed halfway, the user split up the project and printed the other half. At last, he combined both of them with PLA soldering.
3D Printing Pen
3D Printing Pen is a minimally used solution for joining or gluing PLA objects. It is not efficient as other methods discussed above, but still, some people prefer to use it for 3D printing.
It is almost similar to soldering iron but generates the heat itself to bond the PLA parts together.
MYNT3D Professional Printing 3D Pen on Amazon is often referred product by 3D users.
One user shared how this 3D printing pen was useful in joining the prototype pieces together as they were too big to print as one object.
Results can be further improved by applying heat using a hairdryer or heat gun to the glued PLA pieces. This solution works great and sets faster. It eliminates the need to hold them for a long time.
The 3D printing pen needs to be operated at higher temperatures to get the best results although the heat control setting is simple.
3D printing pen is also helpful to fix minor imperfections and gaps in your 3d prints.
What is the Best Glue for ABS?
For gluing of ABS parts Acetone is the best solution. Acetone is a solvent that has the capability of dissolving ABS when applied. To join the ABS parts, apply the Acetone for both parts and hold them together for some time. The softened part will form a strong bond as it cures and it is called solvent bonding.
Some of the other glues or bonding materials for ABS are as below:
- ABS Juice, Glue, Slurry
- Hot Glue Gun
As we have already discussed, the superglue works great for binding rigid objects and plastics. Apply some superglue to the bonding sides of ABS and hold for some time. The superglue bonds them quickly.
Ensure to hold the 3D parts in a proper alignment before superglue gets cured. Once it cures, realigning will not be possible.
ABS Juice, Glue, Slurry
ABS Juice, Glue, Slurry are great products for bonding the ABS parts. Their characteristics are similar to superglue but differ in thickness. Of all three, ABS Slurry is the thickest and is most useful in repairing the ABS prints and also gluing them together.
It is also a preferred way of repairing layer separation.
Epoxy acts as a great solution in gluing and bonding the ABS 3D parts.
One of the biggest advantages of epoxy is that they are chemical and water-resistant. This makes them a preferred choice for high-strength bonding. Heat is not needed to cure the epoxy, for faster curing you may apply some heat.
As mentioned before, Loctite Epoxy Instant Mix is a great epoxy resin product.
Hot Glue Gun
This is another method of gluing the ABS parts together. This method works by loading the gun with some filaments and applying the glue using heated extrusion. This joins the parts and also can fill the gaps. Don’t bring the nozzle too much closer to the ABS object surface as they melt.
Bonding Surface Preparation: before applying the glue, clean, degrease and sand the bonding surfaces.
What is the Best Glue for PETG?
Superglue is the best glue for PETG as it can hold the PETG parts strongly together while maintaining the 3D print quality and integrity.
Clamping of the PETG parts is not needed as superglue can very quickly bond and cure. Loctite and gorilla glue are the best glues on Amazon
Other PETG adhesives are as below:
- Two-Part Epoxy
- Solder Iron
- Hot Glue Gun
Two-part epoxy is widely used by 3D users to glue PETG objects. The package also contains a hardener or accelerator.
Mix both the products well before applying them to the PETG surface. The usual curing time is 5 minutes and varies with different products. The hardener along with glue can bond the parts strongly.
Hot Glue Gun
Hot glue guns have exhibited excellent bonding capabilities when used with PETG parts.
Check the below video that shows many tests performed using many adhesives and of all, the hot glue gun is considered to be most efficient.
When it comes to hot glue gun Gorilla Dual Temp Mini Hot Glue Gun Kit with 30 Hot Glue Sticks is the best on Amazon
A soldering iron when used properly can glue PETG objects by melting the print surfaces. With some little patience, good results can be achieved.
Please wear a protective mask and eye goggles when using these adhesives. Do the task in a well-ventilated area.
It works similar to PLA and you can watch that video in the PLA section.
What is the Best Glue for TPU?
The flexible superglue like Loctite 406 is the best glue for TPU. It is designed to bond the materials such as rubber and flexible 3D objects together without difficulty. It strongly bonds and cures very quickly which can’t be broken easily.
Some of the other glues for TPU are below:
- DMF (N-Dimethylformamide
- Soldering Iron
- Flexible Superglue
- THF (Tetrahydrofuran)
One of the experimented and reviewed products used in gluing TPU 3D prints is Genuine Loctite 406 Superglue Instant Adhesive available on Amazon
Some of its features are as below:
- Bonds rapidly with flexible and plastic materials
- Offers great adhesion which is hard to bond.
- Easy to use
- It is multi-purpose and can be used for many applications
This flexible superglue exhibits a small margin of error, so you need to apply it quickly and accurately. It cures and bonds very fast in seconds. So do it with precision.
One user used this product to join the rubber roller belt which carries the heavy load. It is highly efficient when used to bond TPU with PLA. It can bond TPU with TPU well but not as well as TPU with PLA.
DMF is a solvent that is capable of melting and strongly bonding TPU surfaces together. So when the joining of TPU parts is considered, usage of solvent is the best solution.
THF is another strong solvent that can dissolve TPU surfaces and bond them together. When THF solvent is applied on TPU surfaces it melts them and makes them bond as it cures.
Soldering iron can also be used for flexible and TPU 3D printed parts. A shown in the video below he uses the flat or chisel surface soldering iron to create the space for TPU bonding. Now put the TPU filament in the same pathway and heat it like a friction welding to soften and bond them together.
It creates a strong bond after it gets cooled down.
What is the Best Glue for Nylon?
The Hot Glue gun is considered to be the best glue for Nylon Parts. Superglue is not suitable for Nylon and on the other hand Flexible superglue does a good job. Hot glue guns have given great results for many users.
Other adhesives to bond Nylon are as below:
- Soldering Iron
- 3D Printing Pen
Epoxy and superglue can’t do a great job in bonding Nylon pieces. This is due to flexibility and composition. Instead, you could see some good results with flexible superglues.
It is recommended to use a hot glue gun or soldering iron to glue the Nylon together. Another method of bonding the Nylon is friction welding in which a rotary tool is used for heating the surfaces and bonding them with friction.
Be mindful of fumes and dust that friction welding produces. Some users recommend hot glue guns with friction welding in combination for better results.
One of the best products used for friction welding could be Dremel Lite 7760 Cordless Rotary Tool for the best results.
Is it Possible to Use SuperGlue to Bond PLA?
However, in some cases, superglue won’t work for PLA because
- The presence of too many gaps and cavities reduces the bonding surface area.
- The surfaces contain moisture or water which stops the bonding.
- Superglue quality is not good
- PLA bonding might be weak due to prior heat exposure.
If PLA bonding is weak, sand the PLA prints surface with a low grit 120 sandpaper and prepare it for gluing and bonding.
Another way to improve the bonding is to prefer strong superglue if the current one is not effective.
Can Contact Cement Be Used To Glue PLA?
Yes, Contact Cement can be used to glue PLA parts together. It exhibits a strong bond and also allows you to do some corrections as opposed to superglue.
Contact cement works by dissolving the PLA surface and bonding them together. Some of the 3D users tested and verified that contact cement works on PLA, provided a good and reliable brand needs to be used.
Just follow the guidelines of the Contact Cement you buy and you are bound to see the results.
What is the Best Glue for 3D Printed Miniatures (Minis)
If you are looking for the best glue of 3d printed miniatures, then superglue (Cyanoacrylate) can be the preferred choice. It offers strong bondage and cures very quickly. You can use an activator to speed up the curing process and parts need to be held together after applying it on the surface.
It has many advantages such as low price, long-lasting, easy to use as compared to other solvents.
Many 3D users have found success with other adhesives such as epoxy. Epoxy takes more time to cure than superglue. However, many quick curing epoxies can be used for miniatures.
Contact Cement: It is another alternative to superglue for plastic miniatures. When applied to the surfaces, they melt through subsequent fusion and bond together. This bond lasts longer and is highly durable.
Contact Cement doesn’t work great for small miniatures as the corrosion damages that it does to the parts gets visible.
Is it Possible to Connect & Join PLA Filament Together?
Yes, the joining of 2 PLA filament pieces is possible with the help of a PTFE tube and lighter. The pieces of PLA filaments can be used by this process.
The method works by pushing the filament through the tube and lighting both ends of the filaments and holding them together to bond. As they bond, push the PTFE tube back and forth to set the proper diameter.
The below video shows how it is done
To conclude, use suitable adhesives for different materials and you should be able to glue and bond them together.
Experienced Project Engineer with a demonstrated history of working in the field of Product Design & Development industry in Mechanical Engineering. Skilled in 3D Printing and Re engineering Technologies with CATIA V5 , Materials Science, Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Mimics, ANSYS Workbench and Casting Simulation software. Strong engineering professional with a Master’s Degree focused in Industrial Metallurgy from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore.