Easy way to glue PLA

How to glue PLA: Your guide to gluing 3D parts 

If you use a 3D printer, you probably print with PLA. But what’s the best way to stick 3D parts together? We’ll show you how to glue PLA easily and achieve long-lasting results.

Best adhesives to glue PLA together 

PLA is the most common type of plastic used in 3D printing. It is inexpensive, durable, and environmentally friendly. It excels as a medium for 3D printers because it has a low melting temperature, yet it’s quite strong at room temperature. So, if you have a desktop 3D printer, you probably load it with PLA.

PLA is made from corn starch, sugar cane, and other renewable materials rather than petroleum, so it is biodegradable.

The question that many hobbyists have asked is how do you glue PLA parts together? At times, you may want to make a large model, join parts together, or repair a broken item. Fortunately, PLA parts are easily joined with two common adhesives: super glue and epoxy. 

One of the best all-around adhesives for PLA is LePage Super Glue All Plastics. This amazing glue is formulated especially for all types of plastic including PLA. It is a simple two-step system. Just apply the activator to both surfaces, wait about one minute, and apply the glue. It dries in seconds to a strong, transparent bond.

For those small repairs requiring precision, like models do, an excellent option is LePage Super Glue Gel Control. This glue sets faster and stronger than most competitors because of the patented additive in our formula. The easy-to-use side-squeeze bottle makes accurate dispensing a breeze. It dries clear and doesn’t require clamping. 

Finally, if you need to use epoxy, we recommend LePage Gel Epoxy. The gel formula resists dripping and can be used on vertical surfaces. It dries in about 6 minutes to a tough, rigid bond that can be sanded and painted once cured.

How to glue PLA: Step-by-step instructions

For most applications, super glue will do the job very well. It’s easy to use and dries quickly. Follow these steps:

  1. Prepare your work area. Set up in a well-ventilated area and wear safety gear such as latex or nitrile gloves and safety glasses.
  2. Pre-fit your parts. Use sandpaper to smooth any rough edges and to scuff smooth surfaces for a better bond. Wipe away any dust or residue before applying the glue.
  3. Apply the adhesive. Apply a small amount of adhesive to one of the PLA surfaces. Then press the parts together and hold them until a bond begins to form. 
  4. Allow the glue to fully cure before using the item.
  5. Clean up immediately. Re-cap your glue and clean up any drips or spills with a damp cloth.

If you are using epoxy to glue PLA together, the procedure is the same except that epoxy requires mixing before use. Epoxy is a two-part adhesive (a resin and a hardener) that must be mixed on a disposable surface, such as a piece of cardboard. Many epoxies come in dual-syringe dispensers for easy and accurate mixing. 

Once the epoxy is a uniform colour, you will know that it is fully mixed and ready to use. Read the instructions for the working time of the epoxy you have chosen, as it can vary. 

The advantage of epoxy is that is dries to a very hard, durable material. It can span large gaps or laminate a damaged surface. This makes it perfect for repairing parts that are badly damaged or don’t fit together tightly. Once dry, epoxy can be sanded and painted for an excellent repair.