While 3D printing many times, you can’t complete the whole thing in one piece. You may need to print different parts and then glue them together. Now, that’s where all the trouble begins.
You can’t brainlessly glue just about anything you print out. You have to use the proper methods and ways for gluing the printed models. Especially when dealing with PLA filament, you have to be extra careful since many things can go wrong.
That’s why I am here to help you learn how to glue PLA. I will also leave the best glue for PLA that you can find out there. So, let’s not waste any more time and get started with it right away.
How to glue 3D printed PLA parts
When it comes to gluing PLA, there are several ways you can use that. However, you have to remember that you can’t use just about any glue for gluing PLA parts. Here, I will go through all the different methods you can try out for gluing 3D printed PLA parts. Let’s get started –
Cyanoacrylate glue or superglue
Using superglue is the most common and easiest way you can glue a PLA 3D printer part. First of all, it’s very easy to find almost anywhere you go. Secondly, it’s not that expensive either. You can easily go through 2 projects with a small pack of super glue that shouldn’t cost you more than $10.
Now, when using cyanoacrylate glue, you have to make sure you are using it before any sanding. This kind of glue works best when the surfaces are rough rather than smooth. If the surfaces are already smooth, you should sand them a little to create that roughness.
Using the glue is pretty simple; you put some on the areas you want to glue together. Then clamp both the pieces until the glue dries. Before doing all that, you can also prepare your PLA parts for the gluing. You can use some alcohol to clean up the pieces, so there is no dirt on them.
However, the bond you get from super glue isn’t going to be that strong. It can stay glued in normal conditions without any problem. But if the conditions are rough, the bond will not hold as it lacks that strength. In that case, you will have to try out the other gluing solutions that are much stronger.
Related: PETG vs PLA
Another excellent option for gluing PLA is epoxy resin. It’s a great bonding agent that you can use for a variety of purposes. It’s pretty easy to find almost at any hardware store, and it doesn’t cost much either. It’s a little bit better and stronger than superglue, but not too much.
A great thing about using epoxy resin for gluing 3D printed PLA is the filling mechanism you get from it. Whenever there are small gaps or spaces between the two parts that you want to join, epoxy resin can fill up those gaps. This works great when the PLA parts you are using aren’t flat and have small gaps here and there. In short, along with being an adhesive, it also works as a space filler.
Coming to the usage, it takes a bit more work than using superglue. Usually, you get two different containers with two types of chemicals. One will have resin, and the other will have a hardener. Then, all you have to do is follow the ratio instructed in the manual or the package and mix those two.
As for the drying time, it can vary from brand to brand. Some will dry within minutes, and some may take a couple of hours to dry. If you are working on a project that needs some readjustments or alignments, I suggest going for the ones that take a bit of time to dry.
The drawback with epoxy resin is that sometimes they produce a lot of heat after you mix them. This, later on, can damage the PLA parts a little. So, make sure you are buying the one that doesn’t produce this kind of heat.
Related: PLA vs ABS
A urethane glue is pretty similar to a superglue. It comes as a single component, so you don’t need to mix anything like the epoxy resin. They are quite inexpensive and also readily available in most places, just like superglues. Now, there are some differences that you get to see between the urethane glue and superglue.
The most important factor of a urethane glue is the flexibility it offers in the bond. These kinds of bonds can withstand rough conditions pretty easily. They aren’t as rigid as superglue bonds, so they are harder to snap or break. This is the main purpose of using urethane glue over superglue.
Coming to the usage of glue, it’s pretty similar to using superglue. One thing you should be aware of in urethane glue is the curing process. It cures very slowly, and the preferred duration is one week. Until the curing process is complete, you can’t start using the PLA part for any purpose at all.
As you can tell, the drawback is that you can’t use your parts for about a week or so. The curing process takes up a lot of time. Also, the temperature during that can go pretty high. So, you can’t use urethane glue if you are working with smaller or thinner PLA parts.
Hot glue gun
Well, here is another way to glue PLA without too much effort. It’s a great option if you happen to work with a lot of PLA prints. You can use it for a long time, and it’s great for projects that last for quite a while. You get a lot of versatility from this as you can use the same gun for various other purposes.
There are typically two choices you have for glue guns. You can either get a mini glue gun which works great for smaller projects that beginners do. Or you can get a full-sized one for heavy-duty projects. Depending on what your purpose is, you can choose a glue gun for your need.
Using a glue gun is pretty straightforward. There are glue sticks that you use as ammo for the gun. You have to load it on the gun and start using it simply. Plugin, the gun, place the nozzle on wherever you want to glue and pull the trigger. This gets glue out of the gun and sticks on the parts for gluing them together. Once you start using the gun, you have to keep going without stopping; otherwise, the glue can go hard.
Now, there are some things you have to keep in mind while using a glue gun. It would help if you didn’t use a glue gun in humid environments. Also, never remove a glue stick after you have used it. Other than that, you should never disassemble your glue gun because it may stop working entirely if you do that.
Here’s an unconventional yet attractive option you can use as glue. You can use a 3D PLA pen as a gluing method for your PLA parts. As you can assume, the best part is the glue material is also PLA which makes the whole thing much more suitable. You don’t end up with a mixture of glue material and PLA materials on your project.
Other than that, you can always get used out of a 3D pen regardless of the gluing. You can also use it to cover up the intricacies of a 3D printing project. Or you can also fill up the gaps you may have in your 3D prints. No matter what it is, you can always use a 3D pen to create 3D models.
It’s pretty easy to use a 3D pen for gluing your PLA parts. Consider it the same as using a glue gun. You have to load up the filament on the pen and start using it in the places you want to glue. Just pressing the button or turning the pen on does the job. How you use it is explicitly usually described in the manual you get with your pen.
For the drawbacks, I wouldn’t say this is the best gluing option available for you. Because a 3D printing pen isn’t essentially made for gluing. Also, the bond you get isn’t that strong, like superglue or epoxy resin. On top of that, you have to use a filament to get the job done, which isn’t something you are looking forward to probably.
If you want a heavy-duty bond on your glue, then this is the perfect choice for you. Acrylic glue is usually used for getting the strongest glue bonds in construction sites or product assemblies. So, you know you can rely on the bond you get from this. While all that goes on, it doesn’t cost you too much either.
Now, there are several things that you have to consider for using acrylic glue to glue your PLA parts. You will need to create the perfect conditions for using acrylic glue in PLA parts. You can’t just randomly throw it in like super glue or urethane glue. You have to follow some procedures.
When using acrylic glue, you have to bear in mind that it can dissolve the PLA material. This way, it ensures that the bond you get is super strong and doesn’t come off quickly. So, you have to use a brush or apply the acrylic glue carefully with very thin layers.
Or you can also try mixing it with some PLA filament. The glue is pretty thin, so you can get a denser mix of glue when you dissolve a little bit of PLA filament with it. Don’t use too much PLA filament, though. Once you prepare it, you can apply it as you would do with super glue or any other glue.
Here is the drawback with this glue. You should avoid using this glue if you are working with thin PLA parts. The smaller and fragile PLA parts can’t withstand the strength of the bond that you get from acrylic glue. Also, since it dissolves the PLA a little, you have to ensure that there is enough PLA material.
So, these are the six different options on how you can glue 3D printed PLA parts. You can choose any one of them based on what your purpose and needs are. All these methods are pretty effective for the PLA material.
Best glues for PLA
Now, something you will always have to worry about gluing PLA is choosing the right product. You may know the method, but it’s hard to find the perfect product that gives you good results. To help you find the best glue for your need, I have got some suggestions that you can rely on.
I tried getting at least one product for each method that I discussed above. So, let’s check them out one by one.
1. Gorilla Super Glue
When it’s about using super glue for your PLA material, this is the perfect pick for you. You can also use it for any other plastic, paper, ceramic, rubber, or fabric material. So, it’s usable in a lot of different scenarios.
Another great thing about the superglue is its control and versatility. It has got 2 different dispensation methods. You can either use a brush to have control over how much glue you use. Or you can simply use the nozzle when you are working or larger PLA parts.
You will love using this glue because of how fast this thing dries. It only takes about 10 to 30 seconds for the glue to dry. And with all that being said, it doesn’t cost too much either. They come at a very cheap price tag.
- The glue works very well with a strong bond.
- It dries super quick, so you don’t even need a clamp
- It’s quite inexpensive
- You can use the glue for several other purposes
- You can’t store this for too long
2. VTurboWay epoxy resin
Here’s an epoxy resin solution for all your 3D printed PLA parts. If you choose to go with epoxy resin as your gluing method, this one can be an excellent pick for you. It comes with quality that you can always rely on.
This one is great since it’s pretty clear and transparent. So, you don’t end up ruining the looks of your PLA printed part. This retains the visuals of your projects while holding all the parts together.
Using the epoxy resin is pretty straightforward. Most of all, the strength of the bond you get from this is impeccable. You can hardly have any complaints with this one.
- Provides excellent strength in the bond
- It’s very easy to use
- The clear appearance doesn’t ruin the looks of your project
- It’s usable for a lot of different purposes
- The curing time is a lot longer than you would expect
3. Loctite PL Premium Polyurethane Construction Adhesive
When you need a bit of flexibility on the bonds of your glue, this is the perfect urethane glue to get. It comes with excellent quality and strength on the bond that still gives flexibility. This one can easily withstand some heavy-duty and rough conditions.
The holding power you get from this glue is incredible. You can simply use the glue and be rest assured that nothing will break that bond anytime soon. It works perfectly for heavy-duty projects that need a powerful bond on the glue.
It’s excellent value for money. You don’t need to pay a lot for the kind of strength you get from the bond. Also, the 4-ounce quantity is more than enough for any PLA projects you may have.
- It comes with great bonding power on the glue
- There are no risks of using this glue for your projects
- It’s a value for money glue with good quality and quantity
- The glue is compatible with a lot of heavy-duty materials
- You don’t get any chance for fixing mistakes once you use the glue.
4. Gorilla 104987 Full-Size Hot Glue Gun and Sticks
Here’s a glue gun that you might want to check out for gluing your PLA materials. It comes from the same Gorilla brand that I discussed for the super glue. So, you can rely on this one without any questions.
It’s a pretty lightweight and compact glue gun. It also comes with a comfortable grip, which adds to the comfortability you already get from the lighter weight. And it has a built-in stand that you can use for more convenience while using.
Coming to the performance, you get excellent results from the glue gun. It comes with some glue sticks in the package. And considering the price of the glue gun and sticks, it’s surely a steal no questions about that.
- The glue gun provides strong bonding power
- It has great comfort from the handle and weight
- The size is pretty compact for storage
- It comes with a stand for convenience
- You can’t use the glue gun for too long
5. 3Doodler Create+ 3D Printing Pen
Now, this is a 3D printing pen that comes as a whole package. You can surely use this one for more than gluing your PLA materials. It’s a mini 3D printer in itself with the performance.
First of all, the accuracy on the pen is just simply amazing. You get excellent results coming from the pen right away. And it’s super easy to use at the same time. Even kids can start using this pen without learning anything prior at all.
Coming to the gluing aspect, you get just the thing you need. It works great for filling up those gaps or attaching two PLA pieces. Of course, the bonds won’t be as strong as the glues, but they still do thin and small PLA parts.
- The pen provides decent results for PLA.
- It has excellent accuracy, so you don’t make mistakes
- It’s super easy to use and handle
- There are lots of color options for the pen
- It doesn’t have the strongest of bonds
6. SCIGRIP 10315 16 Acrylic Plastic Cement
This is the glue you use for any heavy-duty PLA gluing project. It has the bonding strength of industrial-grade, so you can always rely on this one to last. It’s perfect when you are using larger sizes of PLA parts.
It doesn’t matter whether you have worked with this or not; you can easily use this one. It doesn’t take too much effort or steps. Almost anyone can use this without any risks involved whatsoever.
Another significant part of using this glue is the quick cure. It doesn’t take a lot of time to cure the strong bond you get from this. This makes the gluing project go much faster and smoother.
- This provides excellent strength in the bond
- It does the curing process very quickly
- It’s very easy to use for anyone
- The glue is worth every penny you pay
- The users can get a bit messy
Well, you can find a lot of other products aside from these. They can also be pretty great in quality. But these are the ones I would recommend based on quality and reliability in results.
Related: How to melt PLA
To sum up, now you know how to glue PLA and also get the idea of the best glue for PLA. You can choose any method that suits your needs and choose a product based on that. There will be no issues if you go for the right method with the right products. All you have to do is consider whether you are going for a heavy-duty glue method or you are doing it on lighter and smaller PLA.