Locally Sourced: PLA Adhesive

When I first started getting into 3D printed projects that would require final assembly from multiple parts, I wanted to make sure I had an adhesive that would really hold up. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than spending 10’s of hours printing and assembling something, only to have it fall apart because my adhesive wasn’t up to the task. So I spent a lot of time trolling 3D printing message boards and communities trying to find the best way of gluing PLA. It should come as no surprise that, like everything else in the world, there are a ridiculous number of opinions on the subject.

If you’re printing with ABS, the general wisdom is that solvent welding with acetone is the best bet. You put some acetone on the printed parts, rub them together, and the plastic fuses together. This happens because the ABS melts slightly when exposed to the acetone, so they end up essentially melding into one piece. This sounded like exactly what I wanted, but unfortunately, acetone doesn’t have this same effect on PLA.

After some more research I found people suggesting Weld-On #16, an acrylic adhesive that will actually melt PLA. A little of this applied to the parts, they said, and you can solvent weld PLA just like acetone on ABS. Sure enough, the stuff works great and I’ve used it to put together nearly everything I’ve printed in PLA over the last few years. Only problem is, this stuff is a bit nasty, takes 24 hours to fully cure, and nobody has it locally.

So as an experiment I thought I’d take a look at a few adhesives sold at the local big box retailer and see if I couldn’t find something comparable. Do I need to keep ordering this nasty goop online every time, or can I pick something up off the shelf? More to the point, is solvent welding PLA really any better than just gluing it?

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Make a cardboard bookshelf in less than a day

Lucas came up with a real winner when upcycling cardboard to use as a bookshelf. It’s visually pleasing, can be built basically for the cost of glue and a mounting brackets, and you don’t have to feel bad if you decide to get rid of it later on.

What he saved in raw material cost he spent in labor. There are 23 different layers of cardboard that went into the project, not including the spacer squares between each piece. The vast majority of the time spent in the clip after the break shows a fast-time video of him cutting out the layers. It apparently took about eight hours of cutting, and we’d image he’s got a claw of a hand after all of that work.

This is hanging from a single L bracket positioned in the square opening with two nails to keep it level. We’d suggest including a better mounting technique in your design. If you have some ideas about this please let us know in the comments.

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