Display Part Finishing Solutions-
Bonding and Gluing

Creating 3D printed models which exceed the size of a 3D printer's build tray has never been easier. Bonding and Gluing Solutions are provided by Proto3000.




3D Printing - Display Part Finishing Solutions - Bonding and Gluing 

3D Printing with Polyjet and FDM technologies are slowly advancing in the manufacturing business. 3D printing allows a manufacturer to create amazingly detailed components, prototypes and models. However, you may have prototypes that are too large to fit on a single build tray. Do not let this stop you from creating large models. Combine 3D printed parts through the process of bonding and gluing. 

How it works

Bonding FDM parts 

When selecting a bonding method you need to consider the strength of the bonded joint and how compatible the bonding material is with the FDM part. Other factors that need to be addressed are time, cost, operation difficulty and part configuration. The accuracy of the bonded parts will depend on many the adhesive characteristics, such as viscosity. The skill of a technician, the style of joint and type of fixture will impact the bonding as well. 

Gluing Polyjet parts

Polyjet 3D printing technologies have advanced greatly through research and testings that the need to use gluing and molding solutions is decreasing. In cases where you need to combine 3D printed parts with other components or your prototype is larger than your build tray, gluing and bonding is a necessary process. Polyjet materials; however, have a plastic structure which allows for the ease of attaching components after the parts are 3D printed and dried. 

The Proto3000 Advantage

Choose FDM and Polyjet 3D printing techniques to create prototypes or display models from small to large sizes. 
Your models, which need to be printed in parts, will be attached through the process of bonding and gluing in our manufacturing facility. 
Our technicians are able to create amazingly precise display finishes while finding easy ways to connect parts accurately and maintaining dimensional properties of the glued parts as it was intended in the CAD file of your model. 

Contact the Proto3000 Services Team for further information on how we can help you with this solution. If you want to speak to a LIVE PERSON
- CALL 1-888-88-PROTO (77686). 

The Technology Used for Bonding and Gluing 

To assist in selecting the bonding approach most suitable for your needs, the following is a brief evaluation of the common methods for joining parts made in varying FDM materials. The following bonding and gluing techniques have been developed by Stratasys on their Polyjet and FDM lineup of 3D printers: 


Adhesive (epoxy)

Two-part epoxies are commonly used to bond FDM parts. The epoxy components are mixed and then applied with dispensers, brushes or infiltration. The viscosity will range from thin and caulk–like to thick and putty–like, so application techniques will vary. After application, bonded sections are fixtured or clamped while the epoxy cures. 

Epoxies will differ in cure durations, material properties and bond strengths. But in general, they are easy to use. They offer very good mechanical strength, and typically exhibit good temperature resistance and chemical resistance. These adhesives offer the advantage of working times of 20 to 70 minutes, so minor adjustments can be made after mating the sections. However, the tradeoff is long curing times. When cured at room temperature, parts cannot be handled for many hours, and curing cycles will last from one to five days. If heat–cured, the cycle can be significantly accelerated.


Solvent bonding works by chemically melting the plastic on the surfaces to be joined. The solvent can be brushed onto sections that are then mated and clamped together, or it can be injected into a pre–mated joint or existing crack. The water-thin solvent wicks into the part surface, which improves the strength of the repair or bond. Several solvents can be used, but the recommended product is SAME STUFF from Micro–Mark. This method produces bonds that are stronger that those of many adhesives. Like super glue, the process is simple, and the bond sets in seconds. Another similarity is that it can be applied to hard-to-reach areas since the solvent will wick into a seam or fracture.

An advantage over super glue and epoxy is that after evaporation the bonded part will contain only FDM material. Although the bond sets in seconds, parts should be allowed to cure for at least eight hours. Also note that if the part is subjected to temperatures exceeding 176 F (80 C), surface blistering may occur. Solvent welding is not suitable for bonding PPSF or ULTEM 9085. These FDM materials are chemically resistant, so there is little reaction to solvents.

Hot air plastic welding


Hot air welding of plastic is similar to oxy–acetylene welding of metal. However, a jet of hot air replaces the jetted flame, and a filament of FDM material replaces the filler rod. To bond parts, a hot air welding tool is slowly drawn along the joint. The heat melts the filament, which then fills the seam. This method produces bonds that are stronger than those of all other methods. It is also fast and inexpensive.

Parts can be put into service as soon as they are cool to the touch. Since the bonding material is a small piece of FDM plastic, the cost is negligible. Another advantage of using the FDM material as the bonding medium is that there is material continuity. The bond has the same properties and characteristics as the part. For best results, hot air welding should not be used on thin-walled sections. Also, the process requires some skill, so the results will depend on the experience and technique of the technician.

Ultrasonic spot welding

This technique is widely used in production processes when creating a permanent bond between plastic parts. The ultrasonic spot welding tool uses sound waves to melt localized areas of the joint. With the availability of handheld ultrasonic welders, this method can also be used in low–volume prototyping or direct digital manufacturing applications. Compared to other bonding methods, there are few, if any, disadvantages to ultrasonic welding beyond the need to purchase the welding tool. Welded areas are stronger than the surrounding material, yet, the tensile strength is not as great as that of hot air welded or unbonded parts. The ultrasonic welder’s horn and horn tips are often interchangeable. A variety of horns and welding tips are available, which will determine the thickness of material that can be welded, the diameter of weld, as well as the type of weld created.


 When higher strength is needed, ultrasonic welding may be used in combination with other methods. Tack weld individual pieces to fix their position and then apply adhesives, solvents or other bonding agents. This approach is especially useful for bulky or awkward assemblies. Ultrasonic welding is fast and very inexpensive. Once the welding operation is complete, the part can be immediately put into service. And since there are no consumables required, the only expense is that for direct labor.Since no material is introduced into the joint, there is little change to the accuracy of the part or its properties. This makes ultrasonic welding ideal for medical applications that must consider the quality of the part as well as its suitability of human tissue contact.


Fasteners (mechanical)

Although this approach is a joining method, not bonding, it can be an effective alternative. There are a large number of mechanical fastening approaches and hardware options that can be used when joining FDM parts. One unique approach to mechanically join sections is to insert fastening hardware in the FDM part during its build process. When it emerges from the Fortus machine, the fasteners are integrated within the part.

The Technology Used for Creating 3D Printed Concept Models 

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Technology 

Using FDM technology allows affordability and durability by printing concept models with production-grade thermoplastics. 
FDM 3D Printers are office friendly and they produce small models in hours and large models in days. The FDM printed models can be drilled, sanded and painted according to your preference to create a perfect finishing of your prototype. 


PolyJet 3D Printing Technology

As a 3D printing process, this technology produces amazingly realistic models. The printing technology builds accurate models by incorporating multiple materials into one automated part to create prototypes that look and feel like finished products. With fine details, smooth surfaces, rigid housings, soft-touch buttons, lettering, rubberlike seals and even clear components, your models can look the part at a trade show, a presentation or even during a sales pitch. 



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