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How to Glue or Bond Acrylic Using Acetone

Fri, 21 Jan 2011 20:18:37 EST

Two custom rings on top of the acetone that was used to glue them.
Along with the Real Time Web Sign I also had plastic rings cut that have a band and associated surface. I needed a way to bond the acrylic together with enough strength to survive the usual wear and tear of a ring. After a decent amount of research I found out that Acetone is actually a very common solvent used to glue acrylic.

Acetone is a very strong solvent that can be purchased in many hardware stores. I get mine from Lowes because they always have an excellent chemical selection. Acetone is very similar to nail polish remover. I would categorize it as slightly stronger than laquor thinner. I commonly use Acetone when doing circuit board etching to clean permanent marker and laser printer toner off of copper. Acetone evaporates very quickly. I was unable to use a Q-Tip to apply Acetone for bonding because all of the liquid would evaporate before any bonding could occur. In order to get by this issue, I obtained a syringe and was able to put a lenient puddle of acetone on the surface to be bonded.

The methods for gluing Acrylic that I found involved bonding heavy pieces together using acetone. I was concerned with the ammount of pressure required to successfully bond two pieces of plastic. During testing, just sitting the pieces to be bonded together on top of eachother with a nice puddle of acetone, resulted with an extreemly strong bond when left for a day. Here is a list of the general procedure I used.

1. Clean off both pieces to be glued together.
2. If possible, use the two most corse edges avaiable for gluing. A coarse surface allows more liquid to fill the area to be bonded.
3. Use some method (I used a syringe) to place enough acetone on the area to be bonded so that it doesn't evaporate before you can position the parts.
3A. Be aware that if the acetone will leave marks/residue on the parts it touches. I have had to tape off areas where I didn't want the acetone to flow in order to prevent dulling of shiny areas.
4. Place the part to be bonded into the acetone on the other part and let it sit for roughly a day.



I have been really surprised by the resulting strength of glued together pieces using this methodology. The small parts I have glued did not require any pressure applied to achieve an extremely strong bond.

Charles Palen has been involved in the museum and visitor center industry for several years. He works as a senior interactive developer at Transcending Digital where he can be hired for your next contract project. Charles expertise covers the areas of A/V integration, touchscreen programming, creation of original devices, and much more. Charles created Technogumbo as a way to share lessons learned while making original products.

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