The process of gluing acrylic is somewhat different from gluing other materials, such as paper and wood. Instead of working simply as an adhesive, acrylic cement creates a chemical reaction that physically bonds objects or welds plastic. While it may sound complicated, the process is quite simple as long as you work carefully, thoroughly, and patiently. You just need to make preparations and wait.
Part 1 of 3: Choosing the Best Work Environment
Step 1. Find the appropriate workspace
Since adhesives will give off steam, make sure your workspace has good airflow. For example, you can work outdoors or in a room that has more than one window.
- Position your work area between windows or between open windows and doors.
- It's also a good idea to turn on a fan or two to blow the air away from you.
- You can also use a room equipped with an exhaust fan (hexos).
Step 2. Take preventive measures
You must wear safety glasses, gloves and a face mask. In addition to the harmful fumes of acrylic cement, particles from cutting and sanding should also not enter your lungs and eyes.
Also make sure you follow the steps on the acrylic cement packaging to prevent mistakes
Step 3. Select your work surface
Whether you're working in a den, garage, or even the kitchen, make sure the surface you're using is acrylic cement-compatible. Preferably choose a surface made of concrete, metal, or wood. Do not paste acrylic on surfaces containing glass or paper.
Part 2 of 3: Preparing the Ingredients
Step 1. Check all the edges of the acrylic
Make sure the edges of the acrylic to be joined are flat and do not have bumps or streaks. Acrylic cement won't stick to or seep into crevices and scratches like regular glue. Instead, it softens the acrylic and bonds the two pieces together chemically, ensuring that the surface of the acrylic you are gluing is as flat as possible.
- If you notice any rough edges, use a router (a tool with a shaped cutting blade) or light sandpaper to make sure the edges are perfectly smooth and even. However, avoid sanding the edges until they are dull.
- Make sure all of the glued surfaces are lightly sanded and are not shiny as very smooth surfaces are difficult to blend.
Step 2. Clean the acrylic with isopropyl alcohol
After you have sanded and smoothed the surface of the acrylic to be joined, wipe it with a cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol. This will ensure that all dirt, dust, and other particles have been removed from the acrylic. The isoproyl alcohol will also wash off any excess oil from your hands, which can hinder adhesion.
Make sure your acrylic surface is dust free. This is very important for the gluing process
Step 3. Prepare the acrylic cement
The most common adhesives used for acrylic are solvent-based glues such as Weld-On 4, which can be purchased on Amazon for IDR 200,000. This glue is also available with the applicator bottle and needle. To use it, simply fill the applicator bottle with the help of the funnel until it is 75% full.
Once filled, squeeze the bottle gently to release some of the air inside
Part 3 of 3: Gluing Acrylic
Step 1. Put the acrylic pieces together
Touch the acrylic piece to your desired gluing position. The acrylic pieces should meet at a 90 degree angle. You can then use the combination square tool to make sure the pieces join at the right angle. Once done, use your hands or tongs to hold your two pieces of acrylic together.
- It's a good idea to test when the acrylic is dry to make sure the pieces fit snugly before applying glue.
- It helps if you arrange the acrylic pieces with adhesive tape. After that, the adhesive tape can be applied without disassembling the acrylic piece.
Step 2. Position the applicator bottle and apply glue
Turn the bottle upside down and place the needle over the rim where the two acrylic pieces meet. Squeeze the bottle gently while moving the bottle along the edges to be joined. It's best if the bottle is pulled towards you. Acrylic cement should be poured between the fused edges and fill any joints or spaces.
- Try squeezing the bottle gently and moving it along the edges without stopping. That way, you don't waste glue.
- If you are gluing the corner joints of the box, pour acrylic cement into the inside of the edges of the fabric. However, if you are gluing flat joints, pour cement on both sides of the fabric.
- Don't let the acrylic cement touch the acrylic you don't want to glue. Acrylic cement will permanently soak the acrylic surface it touches. If the acrylic cement has dripped onto the acrylic, allow the cement to evaporate. Do not rub the acrylic cement.
Step 3. Let the acrylic cement dry
Usually acrylic cement will dry within 10-15 minutes. During that time, you can hold the edges together with your hands or tongs. If it is tight, leave it for 24-48 hours so that the cement hardens until it is strong.
If the acrylic pieces are glued together well, the dry acrylic cement will look clear. Previously, the cement looked cloudy white
Step 4. Trim the acrylic
If any pieces of acrylic are excess or missed, trim them with a router. However, be careful of the heat it generates as it can melt the acrylic. It's a good idea to let the acrylic cement harden completely before trying to fix it.
- Do not use superglue as it is not effective against acrylic and creates a toxic chemical burn.
- Wear safety glasses and rubber gloves when handling acrylic cement.