Sticking Acrylic

I think I’ve mentioned to a couple of people the glue I’ve started using on acrylic (including @sarahlouise and @wamonite who I happened to meet at the space this afternoon / evening).

This is the stuff - Revell Contacta Professional. It’s a clear liquid that isn’t really sticky, but softens the very surface layer of the plastic so that it fuses with other pieces, and seems to work nicely and makes for quite discrete joins.

Generally I clean the parts to be glued with a bit of IPA first to remove any finger grease etc.

There are a couple of things to be aware of…

  • It’s almost like water so there’s a slight art to applying it

  • Apparently it’s flammable - so no using it in the laser cutter until it has completely and utterly dried (when it’s probably safe, but I haven’t tried yet, so proceed with caution)

  • It takes a fairly long time to dry and reach full hardness (if you can I’d give it 24hrs undisturbed)

  • It isn’t a conventional glue so it will only work on some plastics

  • It isn’t sticky so you’ll need to make sure there’s something holding the pieces together while it sets

  • If the metal applicator tube clogs apparently gentle warming will clear it.

Anyway that’s the stuff, just thought I’d mention it in case it proves helpful to anyone.

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I’ve used that before in my model-making days. Good stuff, and the needle-applicator makes it so much neater than the traditional tubes or bottles. It’s basically your traditional AirFix-style solvent cement. The slightest dab of it anywhere you don’t want it, and it’ll melt a crater in your plastic…

I just remembered that I did purchase some Dichloromethane Methylene Chloride, which is supposed to be great for sticking plastics. Haven’t found an easy way of applying it yet though, so it’s sat in my cupboard :smiley:

I’m a big fan of Dichloromethane due to the capillary action but if you want to use it on laser cut edges on acrylic, you have to anneal the acrylic (80°C, heat for 1 hour per mm of thickness) if you want a flawless finish (otherwise you end up with lots of stress fractures on the brittle laser cut edges). DCM is good for laminating sheets quickly - it effectively becomes 1 homogeneous object (but good technique required for preventing air bubbles).

So there is definitely still a place for liquid cements for casual usage, so I may have to add some Contacta to my toolbox!