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How to Glue Acrylic Sheets Together

by: (7/21/2014)

Gluing acrylic sheets together is a much different process than household or traditional gluing. When household gluing, two objects or materials are joined together by simply applying a viscous adhesive or glue between the two surfaces. The viscosity of the glue enables it to fill all the gaps or cracks between the two surfaces. Once this adhesive dries, the two surfaces are bonded together by the strength of the glue.

Gluing acrylic sheets is a much different process. In fact, you are not necessarily gluing the two sheets together, you are welding. When connecting two acrylic sheets, fabricators commonly use a substance called acrylic cement or Weld-On Adhesive. Once this adhesive is applied it will actually soften the two plastic surfaces. Once the plastic softens, the two pieces then merge together into one piece and the adhesive then evaporates entirely. This process is actually referred to as “solvent welding”.

When gluing or welding acrylic sheets together it is important that you follow the steps below to ensure the procedure is done properly and that you do not get hurt in the process.

1. Purchase acrylic cement and a solvent cement applicator to ensure that the adhesive is properly applied. Plastic On Demand has a variety of Weld-On Adhesives including Weld-On #3#4 and #16 Adhesives. Make sure to read the instructions and warnings on the type of adhesive you need for your project to be forewarned about any potential dangers.

2. Put on rubber gloves and safety glasses to ensure that your hands and eyes are protected before starting the process to join the two plastic sheets together.

3. Open the acrylic cement container carefully and use a funnel to pour the adhesive in the solvent cement applicator. Do not pour over ¾ full!

4. It is important that the surfaces of the acrylic sheets you intend to bond are not rough or jagged but smooth. If the surfaces are rough, we suggest routing or lightly sanding the surfaces before gluing.

5. Place the two surfaces you intend to bond together. Ensure that the pieces are at a perfect right angle by using a combination square.

6. Once you have the best angle, squeeze some air out of the solvent cement applicator to ensure that you do not drip any on yourself or the acrylic sheets. You do not want the cement to drip on the acrylic surface you do not intend to bond because it will ruin the acrylic. If this does happen do not wipe it with your fingers, but wait until it fully evaporates. As you turn over the applicator, release the pressure on the sides to cause air to enter the applicator preventing the acrylic cement from dripping everywhere.

7. Place the needle of the applicator along the joint of the two surfaces and lightly squeeze an even amount of cement across the length of the joint. As you squeeze, you will notice that the cement flows into the joint between the two surfaces

8. The bond will set in just a few minutes. The joint should look perfectly clear if it is set properly.

Now you know how to glue acrylic sheets together correctly! We have all the fabrication supplies you need to ensure that you are properly bonding two acrylic sheets together. If you have any questions on what type of Weld-On Adhesive to use or about the gluing process please contact us today!