3D printing has revolutionized the way we create objects. With the ability to print complex shapes and designs, it has opened up a world of possibilities for hobbyists, designers, and engineers alike. However, one common challenge that arises when printing large objects is how to glue the separate pieces together. This is where PLA glue comes in handy.
PLA, or polylactic acid, is a popular material used in 3D printing. It is a biodegradable thermoplastic that is derived from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugarcane. While PLA is easy to print with, it can be difficult to glue together due to its smooth surface. In this article, we will explore the best ways to glue PLA 3D prints together. From using cyanoacrylate glue to epoxy, we will cover the different types of adhesives that work best with PLA.
Why Use PLA Filament?
PLA (polylactic acid) is a popular 3D printing filament that is made from renewable resources like cornstarch, tapioca roots, and sugarcane. It is a biodegradable and compostable material that is safe to use and easy to print with. Here are some reasons why PLA filament is an excellent choice for 3D printing:
Easy to Print
PLA filament is easy to print with because it has a low melting temperature of around 180-220°C. This means it can be printed on most 3D printers without the need for a heated bed or enclosure. It also has a low warping tendency, so it is less likely to curl or warp during printing. Additionally, PLA filament comes in a wide variety of colors and finishes, making it ideal for creating colorful and vibrant 3D prints.
PLA filament is an eco-friendly material that is made from renewable resources and is biodegradable and compostable. It is a sustainable alternative to traditional plastics like ABS that are made from non-renewable resources and can take hundreds of years to decompose. PLA filament is also safe to use and does not emit harmful fumes or odors during printing.
PLA filament is a versatile material that can be used for a wide range of applications, including prototyping, modeling, and creating functional parts. It is a strong and durable material that can withstand moderate stress and strain. PLA filament can also be post-processed using various techniques like sanding, painting, and gluing to achieve the desired finish.
PLA filament is a cost-effective material that is widely available and affordable. It is one of the most popular 3D printing filaments on the market and can be purchased from a variety of suppliers. Additionally, PLA filament has a low shrinkage rate, which means it produces less waste and is more cost-effective than other materials that require more post-processing.
Overall, PLA filament is an excellent choice for 3D printing because it is easy to print with, environmentally friendly, versatile, and cost-effective. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced 3D printing enthusiast, PLA filament is a reliable and high-quality material that can help you create stunning and functional 3D prints.
Types of Glue for PLA 3D Prints
When it comes to gluing PLA 3D prints, there are a few types of glue that are commonly used. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the right one for your project.
Also known as superglue, cyanoacrylate glue is a popular choice for bonding PLA prints. It’s easy to apply and dries quickly, making it a great option for small projects or repairs. However, it’s not the best choice for larger prints or prints that will be exposed to stress or strain, as it can become brittle over time.
Epoxy resin is a two-part adhesive that consists of a resin and a hardener. It’s a strong, durable adhesive that can bond PLA prints together permanently. However, it can be messy to work with and requires careful mixing to ensure a proper bond. Additionally, some types of epoxy resin can be toxic, so it’s important to use it in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gear.
Polyurethane glue is a single-component adhesive that creates strong, flexible bonds. It’s a great choice for larger prints or prints that will be exposed to stress or strain, as it can withstand a lot of pressure without becoming brittle. Additionally, it’s easy to apply and dries quickly, making it a good option for projects that require a fast turnaround time.
Overall, each type of glue has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to choose the right one for your specific project. Consider the size of your print, the amount of stress it will be exposed to, and the time you have available to complete the project when selecting a glue.
Preparing the Surface
Preparing the surface of your PLA 3D prints is an essential step in achieving a strong bond when gluing them together. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Cleaning the Surface
Before gluing PLA parts together, it’s important to clean the surface of any debris, oils, or other contaminants that may prevent the glue from adhering properly. You can use a soft cloth or paper towel with some isopropyl alcohol to clean the surface. Be sure to let the surface dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Sanding the Surface
Sanding the surface of your PLA 3D prints can help create a rougher texture that will make it easier for the glue to adhere properly. Use fine-grit sandpaper (around 220 grit) to sand the surface of the parts that will be glued together. Be sure to sand evenly and avoid sanding too much, as this can weaken the structural integrity of the part.
If you’re gluing two flat surfaces together, you can use a sanding block to ensure that the surfaces are even. This will help create a stronger bond between the parts.
Using a Primer
Using a primer can also help improve the adhesion of the glue to the surface of your PLA 3D prints. A primer is a type of adhesive that is applied to the surface before gluing. It helps create a stronger bond between the parts and can also help fill in any gaps or imperfections in the surface.
When using a primer, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Apply the primer evenly and let it dry completely before applying the glue.
In summary, preparing the surface of your PLA 3D prints is an important step in achieving a strong bond when gluing them together. Cleaning the surface, sanding the surface, and using a primer can all help improve the adhesion of the glue and create a stronger bond between the parts.
Applying the Glue
When it comes to gluing PLA 3D prints, there are different types of glue that you can use. The most common ones are cyanoacrylate glue, epoxy resin, and polyurethane glue. In this section, we will discuss how to apply each of these glues to get the best results.
Applying Cyanoacrylate Glue
Cyanoacrylate glue, also known as superglue, is a popular adhesive for PLA 3D prints. It is easy to use and dries quickly. However, it can be brittle and may not work well for larger or heavier prints.
To apply cyanoacrylate glue, follow these steps:
- Clean the surfaces that you want to glue. Use a clean cloth or alcohol to remove any dirt or debris.
- Apply a small amount of glue to one of the surfaces. Use a toothpick or a brush to spread the glue evenly.
- Press the two surfaces together firmly. Hold them in place for a few seconds until the glue sets.
- Allow the glue to dry completely before handling the print.
Applying Epoxy Resin
Epoxy resin is a two-part adhesive that is known for its strength and durability. It is a good choice for larger or heavier PLA prints. However, it takes longer to dry than cyanoacrylate glue.
To apply epoxy resin, follow these steps:
- Mix the two parts of the epoxy resin according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Apply the mixed resin to one of the surfaces using a brush or a spatula.
- Press the two surfaces together firmly. Hold them in place for a few minutes until the resin sets.
- Allow the resin to dry completely before handling the print.
Applying Polyurethane Glue
Polyurethane glue, also known as Gorilla glue, is a versatile adhesive that can bond different types of materials, including PLA. It expands as it dries, which can help fill gaps and create a strong bond.
To apply polyurethane glue, follow these steps:
- Dampen one of the surfaces with water. This will activate the glue and help it expand.
- Apply a small amount of glue to the other surface.
- Press the two surfaces together firmly. Hold them in place for a few minutes until the glue sets.
- Allow the glue to dry completely before handling the print.
In summary, applying glue to PLA 3D prints requires attention to detail and patience. Whether you choose cyanoacrylate glue, epoxy resin, or polyurethane glue, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take the necessary precautions to avoid any accidents.
Drying and Curing Time
After gluing PLA 3D prints, it is important to allow enough time for the adhesive to dry and cure properly. The drying time refers to the time it takes for the glue to lose its moisture and become dry to the touch. The curing time, on the other hand, refers to the time it takes for the glue to reach its maximum strength.
The drying and curing time of PLA glue depends on several factors, including the type of glue used, the temperature and humidity of the surrounding environment, and the size and complexity of the glued parts.
In general, acrylic glue and cyanoacrylate glue have a short drying time of around 10-30 seconds. However, the curing time can take up to 24 hours or more, especially for larger or more complex parts. Epoxy glue, on the other hand, has a longer drying time of around 5-10 minutes, but can take up to 24-48 hours to fully cure.
To ensure proper drying and curing, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. This may include applying the glue in thin layers, ensuring proper ventilation, and allowing enough time for the glue to dry and cure before handling or using the glued parts.
It is also important to note that the temperature and humidity of the surrounding environment can affect the drying and curing time of the glue. Higher temperatures and lower humidity can speed up the drying time, but may also affect the strength and durability of the glue. On the other hand, lower temperatures and higher humidity can slow down the drying and curing time, but may result in a stronger and more durable bond.
In summary, the drying and curing time of PLA glue depends on several factors and can vary depending on the type of glue used, the temperature and humidity of the surrounding environment, and the size and complexity of the glued parts. To ensure proper drying and curing, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and allow enough time for the glue to dry and cure before handling or using the glued parts.
Tips and Tricks
When it comes to gluing PLA 3D prints, there are some tips and tricks that can help you achieve a strong bond and a professional-looking finish. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Clamping your parts together while the glue dries is a great way to ensure a tight fit and a strong bond. However, you need to be careful not to over-tighten the clamps, as this can cause the parts to warp or deform.
To avoid this problem, use a clamp that has a soft or padded surface, and tighten it just enough to hold the parts in place without putting too much pressure on them. You can also use multiple clamps to distribute the pressure evenly across the surface of the parts.
Mixing Epoxy Resin Properly
If you are using epoxy resin to glue your PLA parts, it’s important to mix it properly to ensure a strong bond. Here are some tips:
- Use a clean and dry mixing container to avoid contamination.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing ratios and curing times.
- Mix the resin thoroughly, but avoid introducing air bubbles into the mixture.
- Apply the resin evenly to both surfaces, and press them together firmly.
- Wipe away any excess resin with a clean cloth or paper towel.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your epoxy resin glue will cure properly and provide a strong bond that will last.
Remember, gluing PLA parts can be tricky, but with the right tools and techniques, you can achieve great results.
In conclusion, gluing PLA 3D prints together can be a tricky process, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done effectively. Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind:
Choose the right glue for the job. Cyanoacrylate glue, also known as super glue, is a popular choice for bonding PLA parts together. However, other types of glue, such as hot-melt adhesive, can also work well.
Prepare the surface of the parts before gluing them together. Sanding or roughening the surface can help the glue adhere better.
Apply the glue evenly and carefully. Too much glue can result in a messy and weak bond, while too little glue may not be enough to hold the parts together.
Allow the glue to dry and cure fully before using the parts. This may take several hours or even overnight, depending on the type of glue used.
Remember that gluing PLA parts together is just one method of joining them. Other options, such as using screws or clips, may be more appropriate for certain projects. Experiment with different techniques to find the one that works best for your needs.
Overall, with a little patience and attention to detail, gluing PLA 3D prints can result in strong and durable bonds that will hold up over time.