Welcome to the future!

How to glue 3D prints: The expert’s guide to bonding and repairing

If you want to learn how to glue 3D prints, this article will provide the answers. We’ll show you how to choose the right adhesive, repair broken parts, and glue 3D-printed parts together.

The best way to glue 3D-printed parts 

If you work with a 3D printer, there will be times when you need to repair a broken part or attach 3D-printed parts together. Choosing a compatible glue is crucial to success. Select your adhesive based on the material the printed part is made of and the requirements and conditions the part will be subjected to.

You need to consider the strength of the bond, temperature, and moisture conditions that the 3D part must withstand, as well as other relevant qualities. For instance, if the 3D print is flexible, you will need to use a glue that also remains flexible.

Many 3D prints are made of rigid plastics such as ABS, PLA, and PETG. Most types of super glue are ideal for this application because they can fuse the parts together for a strong and barely visible bond.

Plumber’s cement can also be used for ABS, PLA, and HIPS parts, especially those used in wet applications, although this is less common.

Another fine choice would be epoxy. Epoxies are useful when the parts may not fit as tightly since it can span large gaps. Epoxy also cures to an extremely hard bond, which is excellent for durability – but it would not be the right choice if flexibility is needed. Also, since epoxies vary, make sure the epoxy you use will adhere to the material the 3D print is made of.

Polyurethane glue is another option for gluing 3D-printed parts. It also forms a very strong, rigid bond. Hot glue can be used on many materials as well, although it may not dry as transparent as some of the other choices. 

Instructions: How to glue 3D prints 

Here are your step-by-step instructions for gluing 3D prints.

Gather your tools and 3D-printed parts

Here is a list of the tools and materials you will need to glue 3D prints together: 

  • sandpaper
  • clean cloths or paper towels
  • cleaning solvent or soap and water
  • the correct adhesive for the project
  • clamps or tape to hold the parts together
  • razor blade or utility knife

Always work safely. Do the work in a well-ventilated space and wear nitrile gloves and safety glasses. 

Preparing to glue 3D prints

Before attaching your 3D-printed parts, check the surfaces to be bonded to make sure they are smooth, clean, and dry.

  1. Read the instructions on your glue package. Some types of materials need to be roughed up a bit for the glue to hold. If so, use a moderate grit paper such as 120 or 150 grit.
  2. Sand any rough or uneven edges with 220 grit or finer sandpaper. Make sure the parts fit tightly.
  3. Clean away any dust, dirt, or other residue to ensure a good bond.

How to glue 3D-printed parts

When the surfaces to be glued are clean and dry you can continue.

  1. Mix the adhesive, if necessary. Some types of adhesives, such as epoxies, come in two parts and must be mixed together before use. If using hot glue, plug in the gun and start heating it.
  2. Apply the glue. Apply to one or both surfaces to be bonded, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, check how much adhesive to apply. 
  3. Press the parts together. Make sure the parts are aligned correctly and hold them together until an initial bond develops. It may be necessary to clamp them, tape them, or use other means to keep the parts still until fully set.
  4. Clean up. Use a clean cloth/paper towel and soap and water or the correct solvent mentioned in the instructions. If possible, clean up excess glue and spills or drips before the glue cures. If the glue has already set, use a razor blade or acetone to remove it. 
  5. Thoroughly wash your hands.

The right adhesive to glue 3D-printed parts

If your 3D-printed parts are made of rigid plastic, super glue will very likely work well to bond the material. Try LePage Super Glue Gel Control. It dries clear and bonds in seconds, which means no clamping. This adhesive forms an extremely strong bond on a wide variety of both porous and non-porous materials. You’ll also love the easy-squeeze dispenser for accurate application.

For a flexible bond, reach for LePage Super Glue Ultra Gel Control. Its special rubber-toughened adhesive stands up to vibration, impact, and temperature extremes. Ideal for exterior applications, it is water-resistant and will not crack from freezing temperatures.

If an epoxy is needed for extra durability and gaps, you’ll want to try LePage Epoxy Speed Set. Mixed in equal volumes and then dispensed by the dual syringe, it sets in just 5 minutes to form a rigid, highly durable bond that won’t shrink and can be sanded, drilled, or painted.