DIY ultrasonic plastic welding

Here’s something that may be of interest to all the reprappers, vacuum formers, and other plastic fabbers out there: ultrasonic welding of plastics. If you’ve ever wanted to join two pieces of plastic without melting them together with acetone or screwing them together, [circuitguru] is your guy.

Ultrasonic welder setups are usually reserved for companies that don’t mind spending tens of thousands of dollars on a piece equipment. There are smaller versions made for heat staking – melting plastic pillars into rivets on the work piece – and [circuitguru] was lucky enough a somewhat reasonable price.

Because the heat staking gun was a handheld unit, a rotary tool drill press was put to work. The end result is a relatively inexpensive way to join two plastic parts without screws, glue, or solvents. The bond is pretty strong, too. Check out the video after the break to see [circuitguru] join two pieces of a plastic enclosure and try to tear them apart.


  1. BitMage says:

    Please proofread your articles!

  2. Jeremy says:

    Well that’s disapointing. I was hoping this was a hack or an actual DIY build. He just picked up a piece of industrial equipment cheap and put it to use.

  3. Rob says:

    @BitMage +1

  4. uzerzero says:

    Is this what Sandisk seals their flash drives with? I’ve taken to using a paper slicer or a hacksaw to open them now because I’m tired of getting shanked by plastic shards.

  5. hospadar says:

    I’ve been wondering if the ultrasonic transducer from an ultrasonic humidifier could be put to exciting use like this. I suspect it can probably put out enough power to do a little ultrasonic welding, and you could probably build your own amp/signal generator if the setup for humidifying isn’t appropriate to welding.

    For that matter there are probably some tweeters out there that could go high enough to weld or do other ultrasonic tasks

    • macona says:

      The ultrasonic welders I have seen are pretty big, the power supplies that drive the ultrasonic horn are about the size of an ultrasonic humidifier itself. So no, I don’t think it will work.

      You might be able to start out with a used ultrasonic driver for a big US cleaner tank. I see those go for cheap.

      Bad thing about ultrasonic welding is they can create a of noise when putting inserts in. Makes finger nails on a chalkboard sound pleasant.

  6. XOIIO says:

    Agree, all his DIY stuff listed is quite honestly pathetic, all he’s listed is stuff he’s bought. Why don’t you make your HD camera, that would be DIY.

    I was also disappointed in this. This is just re-using something, not really DIY except for using a pre made drill press for a mount.

  7. Macpod says:

    I know ultrasonic cleaners can affect crystals on PCB boards… what are the “gotchas” that can arise when sealing electronics with ultrasonic welding?

  8. biozz says:

    please define … DIY … it just seams like he made a mount for a drill press for something already advertised as a plastic welder … also may i add these are far from cheap
    it cant be THAT hard to make your own high frequency welder they have been around seance the 40s

  9. BlueBot says:

    He is being facetious.

  10. Colin says:

    XOIIO: Really? That went right over your head? *facepalm*

  11. jiggiday says:

    I think the point is that low-cost sonic welding for plastics would be very useful for many DIY projects in general, so has a strong application in the DIY field in general.

  12. pmh says:

    I’d bet you could use an electric engraver if you swapped the pointed tip for something blunt…

  13. Mike bradley says:

    Omg, I can’t believe it, HAD yanking comments? Yea, yank profanity, but yanking someone 2cents, hmmm… Gonna lose support

  14. capn says:

    Soooo, he designed a mount?

  15. khordas says:

    This was rather disappointing. Might as well sum it up as ‘how to build an ultrasonic welder; Step 1 go buy an ultrasonic welder’

  16. jimbob says:

    hey guys, check out my new submission, diy full color e-reader (i put a wrist strap on my nook)!

  17. JasonPCtech says:

    Look into the TIDE BUZZ stain remover pen. Unmodified I can weld styrene sheets easily and re seal bister paks. I have considered making a sonic screwdriver out of Buzz parts.

    • erniejunior says:

      That is some bit of really interesting information! What thicknesses could you weld and what materials? I was looking for a solution to weld plastic foils for quite some time now and would buy the device (is it that one [0]?) right away if it was not for the heavy shipping and taxes to europe.
      It would be great if you could provide more details so I can be sure not to waste 70$ on a useless device.


  18. cphoenix says:

    The project was a lot more DIY than the description given here.

    He had to modify the drill press for better precision, add a spring-loaded slide for force control, fabricate a bracket, bring in parts from another piece of equipment…

    So he didn’t build the ultrasonic generator, but he did build the hardware to provide control over the welding operation.

  19. cphoenix says:

    He did a lot more than what’s described here. He modified the drill press three different ways, including fabricating parts. He had the welding head, but needed to build a pressure-clamp system for it to be useful.

  20. Tom says:

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