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Inexpensive solvent based glue


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I know that there are several really good solvent based glues out there that people are really happy with, if so, keep using them and move on. 

However, if you feel like it is cheaper to buy drugs than that solvent based glue, I have a cheaper solution for you.

MEK, Methyl Ethyl Ketone. Also known as Butanone. This is the  solvent used to make your favorite glue. Tamyia Thin, Mr. Hobby etc. I can buy MEK for about $10-15 for a gallon. A many year supply. 

I do a lot of scratch building and this is the best glue I have found. It "welds" two parts together almst instantly, just like the name brand "thin" glues do. 

I have also found that if t is too thin, or I want a slighty thicker glue, I take another bottle squeeze out a tube of Testors style tube glue and then add MEK. This makes a more medium glue. MEK can also be used to make "Sprue Glue" or a plastic based filler. 

Yes, I knowt hat there are hazards with using MEK, however as it is the base of most solvent based glues anyway, you are already exposed to them. 

This is by far my favorite glue, per ounce a fraction of the cost, and it works superr quick, dries with no residue, leaves no trace behind other than a glued part. Can be applied with a small paint brush, or reuse that old name brand bottle. 

As always, use at your own risk. It is a solvent after all and as with ALL solvent based products we use there are health effects if not used properly. 

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I have read on this forum of others using MEK. My glue of choice for most close fitting styrene to styrene joints is Tamiya thin or thin quick setting. So I think the MEK might be worth getting next time my supply runs low. I did get one bottle of Plastruct that a local HS was clearing out, but it seemed weak and would not “melt” the styrene together.

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I have discovered the Tamiya glue and now combine half and half Tamiya and Weld On3 for the best of two worlds, Still get capillary action and stickiness and slower set up of the Tamiya glue.

greg 

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2 hours ago, Oldmopars said:

I have also found that if it is too thin, or I want a slighty thicker glue, I take another bottle, squeeze out a tube of Testors style tube glue and then add MEK. This makes a more medium glue.

Thanks for sharing this tip. Sounds like the solution to some of my problems. Solves the problem of thicker CA glue turning solid after a while.

Edited by Miatatom
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MEK is great if you can get your hands on it but it is not available in all states.  Like GLMFAA1 the next best thing I can get in bulk at a reasonable price is Weldon solvent glues at my local Plexiglas fabrication shop. 

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Surprised that Greg reckons that Plastruct's Plastic Weld liquid cement to be weak. I have been using it for years with no problems. It is my go to liquid cement as it bonds different plastics as well as styrene. The other product I get through a lot of is Revell Contacts as my other to go cement.

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9 hours ago, Pete J. said:

MEK is great if you can get your hands on it but it is not available in all states.

I bought a quart (I think) at Walmart here in Tennessee. 

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I agree with MEK. I use it often. But for the folks who are not familiar with straight MEK, keep in mind, it is pretty hot and can dissolve small styrene parts quickly if not applied carefully. Still cost effective, it also evaporates very quickly and sales are becoming regulated in some states due to the environmental bla,bla,bla. Keep it well sealed and If you’re lucky enough to have a spare refrigerator, it will keep the evaporation process and your wife’s temper down. 

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7 hours ago, Bugatti Fan said:

Surprised that Greg reckons that Plastruct's Plastic Weld liquid cement to be weak. I have been using it for years with no problems. It is my go to liquid cement as it bonds different plastics as well as styrene. The other product I get through a lot of is Revell Contacts as my other to go cement.

I tried to build a muffler from some rectangle Evergreen and two pieces of half round using Plastruct. It was well dried, and when I went to drill a hole straight down the seam line….it split apart.🤷‍♂️

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1 hour ago, NOBLNG said:

I tried to build a muffler from some rectangle Evergreen and two pieces of half round using Plastruct. It was well dried, and when I went to drill a hole straight down the seam line….it split apart.🤷‍♂️

what color bottle did u have ? they are 2 types of Plastruct glue. i been using them for many years with no problem at all..

SAM_0099.JPG

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Flex-i-file glue is my favorite since we lost PRO-WELD. Seems to be the same stuff. MEK seems different to me......maybe just in my mind.....but I'll keep using the Flex-i-file while I can get it. 

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3 hours ago, Rick L said:

 If you’re lucky enough to have a spare refrigerator, it will keep the evaporation process and your wife’s temper down. 

Wow, this stuff must be pretty magical - I should get this drum of the stuff:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Methyl-Ethyl-Ketone-MEK-55-gallon-drum/831293952

😁

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Plastruct plastic-weld is MEK. The Bondene is methyl chloride as is Flexifile. Some others are acetone based. They all work but have various advantages and disadvantages. For instance, if you use the Flexifile Touch n Flow applicator you can expect the MEK based glues to clog it up. They all work pretty well on styrene but some work better on other plastics such as ABS.

 

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Greg, I think your splitting problem on your muffler may be an application problem. Any liquid solvent cement evaporates very fast. It may have been that it was starting to go off before you could get the tube halves together, plus the fact that you said that you were trying to drill it on the cemented seam line, its weakest point if this were so.

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3 hours ago, Bugatti Fan said:

Greg, I think your splitting problem on your muffler may be an application problem. Any liquid solvent cement evaporates very fast. It may have been that it was starting to go off before you could get the tube halves together, plus the fact that you said that you were trying to drill it on the cemented seam line, its weakest point if this were so.

It’s possible that I didn’t apply enough cement. If it does “melt” the styrene together…there should be no “weak” point. I will try it again on well fitting joints, and maybe make some sprue glue also.

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To create a strong bond using Plastic Weld or Bondene, brush either on the mating surfaces of the parts to be joined. This "primes" the two surfaces. Position the parts by firmly holding or clamping them tightly together and apply Plastic Weld/Bondene on the joint. Capillary action will cause the solvent to flow through the joint, bonding both parts. The bond strength will gradually increase for some weeks after. I prefer Bondene because it is methylene chloride, which I find to be a superior solvent to MEK.

Edited by SfanGoch
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Another suggestion for the muffler situation is to tightly wrap it with a narrow strip of masking tape a few inches long or clamp it in a hobby vise to hold it together while you drill.

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3 hours ago, SfanGoch said:

To create a strong bond using Plastic Weld or Bondene, brush either on the mating surfaces of the parts to be joined. This "primes" the two surfaces. Position the parts by firmly holding or clamping them tightly together and apply Plastic Weld/Bondene on the joint. Capillary action will cause the solvent to flow through the joint, bonding both parts. 

Yup. Exactly.

I've never had a weak joint using this method, and have been quite able to drill directly on a seam, or enlarge a hole that was on a seam, or file details at the seam, etc.

Occasionally, I'll just hold the pieces in contact with each other while I flow the solvent between them, then clamp them before the liquid can evaporate. You will see a slight "squeeze" of melted plastic, your assurance the seam is "welded".

I had to do rather a lot of this kind of thing on this build:

 

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