You need a compatible glue, adhesive, or cement to bond or fuse 3D printed plastic parts, and in many cases, PVC cement is not the best option for most 3D printed materials.
PVC cement does not work on PLA because the chemicals in PVC cement don’t adhere well to PLA. PVC cement dissolves and fuses plastics like PVC, but it doesn’t react well with PLA.
You cannot use PVC cement on two PLA parts, but you might wonder if the material is suitable for one PVC and another PLA component. Also, PVC glue and cement are not the same things. Read on as I explain why PVC cement does not work on PLA and what you may use instead.
PLA (polylactic acid) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) are two different plastics. In 3D printing, these two thermoplastics have different printing temperatures, post-print attributes, and processing methods.
Since PLA and PVC consist of different materials, they also require some very specific glues for a secure bond.
PVC cement is an industrial solvent used to fuse polyvinyl chloride parts. Hence, you can use this cement to bond two PVC components, such as a pipe and its fitting or connector.
Every brand or type of PVC cement doesn’t have an identical formula, but the compositions are similar. Generally, PVC cement comprises the following chemicals:
- Polyvinyl chloride resin
- Methyl ethyl ketone
- Fumed silica
These chemicals and ingredients work swimmingly on PVC. Here is what happens when you use PVC cement to join two polyvinyl chloride parts:
- Cyclohexanone and methyl ethyl ketone in the PVC cement dissolve a thin layer of PVC plastic.
- The polyvinyl chloride resin in the cement bonds with the parts at their joints or interference fitting as the two chemicals soften the PVC.
- Meanwhile, the fumed silica serves as a thickening agent while also preventing caking of the cement.
This process does not pan out the same way when you try to bond a PLA using PVC cement.
The methyl ethyl ketone and cyclohexanone in PVC cement can dissolve PLA more extensively than PVC. Thus, you may have significant material degradation of the PLA part with PVC cement.
Therefore, PVC cement does not work on PLA. The same reason explains why you cannot glue two PLA parts together using acetone. While acetone works well on ABS, you cannot dissolve and re-bond PLA with it.
The 3D printing filaments you can use PVC cement on are polyvinyl chloride and CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride). You can also use transition cement on PVC, CPVC, and ABS. However, you must confirm if a particular PVC cement is also a transitional variant.
So, your standard PVC cement will only work on PVC parts.
You can use PVC cement for two polyvinyl chloride parts. However, it won’t work for the most popular and common filaments, so you’ll need another type of adhesive for your 3D printing projects.
If you have two PLA parts, you can use anything from silicone glues to a 3D pen using the same filament. However, not all glues or adhesives will work if you have to join and fit a PLA 3D printed part with a PVC component.
Here are five alternatives to PVC cement for PLA 3D prints:
- Cyanoacrylate adhesives, like Super Glue.
- Acrylic cement or adhesives, like Scigrip.
- All-plastic sealants or adhesives, like Selleys.
- Two-part epoxy resin (any reliable brand).
- A hot adhesive in a glue gun.
Superglue offers the best, most secure bond for PLA. You may choose a multipurpose cyanoacrylate adhesive like Gorilla Super Glue Gel (available on Amazon.com). This glue works great on PLA, and you can use it to seal PLA to a PVC part.
However, you cannot use Gorilla Super Glue Gel for polypropylene and polyethylene plastics. So, if you want an all-purpose 3D printing adhesive, stay away from the gels.
Another exceptionally effective option is SCIGRIP 16 Acrylic Cement (available on Amazon.com). You can use this solvent cement on PVC, PLA, ABS, and many other plastics. Also, you can use this acrylic cement for PVC-PVC, PLA-PLA, and PVC-PLA, among other combinations.
Selleys is a popular plastic sealant and adhesives brand, but you may not find their products online. The Kiwis & Aussies Down Under can buy Selleys’ products from Amazon.com.au, but their adhesives are yet to feature on Amazon.com when I last checked while writing this article.
So, you may check out the Loctite Super Glue Plastics Bonding System (available on Amazon.com), which is similar to Selleys All Plastic Fix. The Loctite glue works on all plastics, including PLA, PVC, PC, PS, etc. Also, you can use this adhesive on metal car parts, rubber seals, cameras, and wiper blades.
Alternatively, use an epoxy resin to glue PLA, PVC, and other plastics. Consider the bestselling Gorilla 2 Part Epoxy (available on Amazon.com) that comes with a syringe. You do not have to mix the resin yourself with this convenient applicator. The two barrels and syringe do the job.
In addition, heat does a great job fusing PLA parts. High-temp hot glue will bond 3D printed parts very well as long as the glue is hot enough to melt the 3D printed parts barely. When applying hot glue, try to melt the plastic with the glue gun nozzle as you insert the adhesive. Then, quickly clamp together the parts for a durable, fused bond.
I always use this Gorilla Dual Temp Mini Hot Glue Gun (available on Amazon.com) for my 3D printed parts. The Gorilla Glue sticks that come with it always offer the best hold of any hot glue gun, and the dual temp settings make this gun helpful for other tasks. You can also use the lower temp setting for a less secure or temporary bond with PLA, making it easy to test your prints before permanently fusing them.
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PVC cement works excellently on polyvinyl chloride parts. However, PVC cement does not work on PLA-PVC and will not adhere to PLA parts.
Consider Gorilla Super Glue Gel or 2 Part Epoxy, Scigrip, Loctite, or other all-plastic adhesives when you want to glue some PLA 3D printed parts together.
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