Plastic glueing is a very wide field and cannot be described as "easy", "hard" or "recommendable".
The many different plastic materials often react differently on glueing and the construction of the item itself is essential for a satisfactory result.
However, we at Induflex, generally prefer plastic items that don't require glueing, since it is often difficult, time-consuming and it is difficult to achieve a uniform result.
Instead of glueing, we often recommend to change the construction for it to be suitable for bending or the application of locking systems.
Successful glueing is preconditioned by the use of normal opaque materials that easily adhere to glue and large glueing areas.
It is possible to glue acrylic in such a manner that the bonding point is almost as strong as the acrylic itself. However, this requires thorough preparation. The acrylic surfaces must be prepared by means of detension, degreasing and cleaning before applying the glue. Then, the surfaces are bonded, while the glue hardens.
Many of the acrylic projects, conducted by Induflex, are financially not profitable in terms of the working hours, required for an excellent result. Thus, we often go for a solution involving detension of the material and glueing without cleaning. The result may not be very reliable, but it is mostly adequate for the purpose.
Coloured acrylic enables a better result than clear acrylic, solely because you are unable to see the glued areas. Glueing of clear acrylic is difficult, since visible air bubbles blemish the result.
Glueing of technical plastic often depends on the resistance of the plastic type towards chemicals - the more resistance, the harder it is to glue. The two materials PEHD and POM are both chemical-resistant and difficult to glue. Since it is not common to glue technical plastic, Induflex receives only very few enquiries concerning this technique.
In most constructions, plastic is glued with plastic of the same type, but in some cases, the materials differ; two different plastic types or plastic against metal.
Glueing of different plastic types is possible, if the types are compatible in terms of material. Some types cannot be glued together.
Glueing of plastic against metal is also difficult, but not impossible. It is important to consider that the heat expansion is very different; the expansion coefficient for acrylic is 5 times higher than for steel.
Some types of glue have been developed for hardening under UV-light, making the hardening time as short as a few seconds by exposing the glue to powerful UV-light.
UV-glue does not affect the plastic, but simply provides bonding, meaning that UV-glueing is not as strong as chemical glueing. It is further only possible to use, if one of the materials is UV-transparent such as clear acrylic.
Other bonding methods than glueing are mostly recommendable.
Hot and cold bending
Many glueing projects can be solved with bending. However, not all plastic materials are suitable for bending.
Double adhesive is a cheap solution, ideal for light items that only require limited glueing. Often used for logos and letters.
Locking systems (see picture to the right) are used to lock plastic sheets together without or in combination with glue. This method is especially used for sales displays with shock-proof acrylic. Regular acrylic is to brittle and will break.
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