View Full Version : Gluing Acrylic Awards- You're kidding, right?

Scott Shepherd
11-01-2007, 12:10 PM
I have a customer who asked if I could do 100 or so Acrylic awards. 2 pieces, one top piece and then the clear base. I told them I hadn't done them, but would order a couple to try out.

I did, got them here, they engrave great, look great, everything is going well and then came the part that made me realize I'm not smarter than a 5th grader.

The glue.

I was using Weld-On #3 in a syringe (sp?). I placed the top on the base, got it all looking nice, squirted some glue at the edge, saw it wicking up under it, all looked good. Until I moved. And it moved. Wow, that's not a fast glue drying process. I did not know that. So it moved so far I had to lift it up, which caused some spots to show up. So when I put it back and glued it again and held it in place, a couple of spots where they bond are not invisible.

I can see fighting my way through a couple, but not 100. Does anyone here do that stuff all the time? Is it easy or a pain? I can see having to build a couple of small fixtures to hold it in place what it dries. Or am I using the wrong product?

I told him it wasn't looking promising, and he's fine with it, he just wanted to give me the chance. I have a couple more samples left to play with. Anyone got any tips?

Also, I know trophies are very competitive in pricing. Are awards the same way? Can I expect to charge normal laser rates, or is this a business that will be fighting over .50 cents?

Rodne Gold
11-01-2007, 1:19 PM
You will probably have to use a jig for positioning and drying.
I would use a Tensol specific to the type of acrylic used , you get thin cappiliary action type (you can use Chloroform or methyl chloride in a pinch and a much stronger slower thicker "filler" glue is available.
Problem with capilliary type glues is the fact that you have to have a totally dead flat to dead flat surface for it to have any strength , otherwise it just bonds the few places non flat to non flat touch.
You could disolve a piece of pex in chloroform and make your own type like the stronger "filler" stuff.
Be careful of solvents near lasered acrylic , especially if its extruded , even the fumes can stress crack or craze the engraving and any other heat stressed areas.

Mike Null
11-01-2007, 1:39 PM
That solvent should set in 30 to 45 seconds. I've tried jigs and they seem to get in the way.

Jim Good
11-01-2007, 4:56 PM
I don't use a jig but when I'm holding the acrylic piece to the base and trying not to let it float away or move, I wish I had a jig! :o I haven't found a good way to make sure it is adhering at the right location.


Paul Brinkmeyer
11-01-2007, 5:17 PM
Talking about gluing acrylics,
I have used Loctite Super Glue for some small jobs.
It is very clear, and holds fast.
Am I going to regret this?

If this is a "no no", I'd like to know now before I cause more damage.


Joe Pelonio
11-01-2007, 5:30 PM
I've found that superglue makes a good tight bond but with enough leverage can be broken. The Weld-On actually disolves the acrylic and the bond is stronger than the acrylic itself. I remember a lady wanting me to fabricate a box to replace one that had broken, the joints were solid, it broke around them.

Mike Null
11-01-2007, 5:31 PM
I can't answer about the longevity of the glue but for many acrylic applications an invisible joint is the goal; particularly for awards or applications where clear or transparent acrylic is used. I don't think you can achieve that with super glue.

Frank Corker
11-01-2007, 6:24 PM
The superglue is pretty good but the biggest side effect is that it leaves a vapour cloud which adheres to the acrylic leaving a smokey white ghosting. The first acrylic welding fluid used to bond in milliseconds, but the last one I used did the same to me as yours did and I moved it. Ruined 3 before I got it right. I made a small set up where the two bonded pieces were flat at the bottom and supported but the supports were not near the edges where the overspill could dribble over or capillary underneath. Irritating bloody job though but great result and a permanent weld.

Larry Bratton
11-01-2007, 8:19 PM
If you want it to stay together forever, Weldon #3 is it. I use it, but I normally use a small artist brush instead of a syringe. That stuff sets very quick and if you can make a jig to hold them, all the better. I just brush a bit along the joint and let it do it's thing. Good luck!

Mike Hood
11-01-2007, 10:17 PM
That would be my suggestion as well. Get a long bristle, small diameter sable brush and it's wick the #3 right where ya want it.

Al Mutairi
11-03-2007, 2:04 PM
Hope this can be of benefit ...


They use Poly Weld for gluing their acrylics.

You can get it online at laserbits.com, lasersketch.com and huangacrylic.com. I imagine there's quite a few others, but those are ones I know offhand that definately have it.

Good Luck.

Mike Null
11-05-2007, 5:08 PM
I just received this month's Engraver's Journal and there is quite a good article there on the subject of acrylic solvents and cements.

This particular article is not available on line.

Bob Davis
11-05-2007, 10:33 PM
Another approach would be to cut a slot (or 2) in the base and a matching projection in the upright. Works well for positioning and you can add a blob of glue to the bottom of the slot for adhesion. Ideally the projection doesn't go all the way to the bottom of the slot (just a few mm's less) and the base is a solid colour so the glue is not seen.