Bonding ABS models together


I've been bonding my ABS models together using Acetone for a couple of years now, and although this works well there are a few things I don't like about it. Firstly Acetone is really low in viscosity so it tends to capillary along the fine thread like structure of an FDM model. Sometimes you want this and sometimes you don't. It can spoil the surface finish of an otherwise pure printed surface. Also it can more easily get onto your hands and contaminate additional surfaces, so you have to be ultra careful. Another reason I don't like acetone for bonding is you need to apply it several times to both faces to soften the plastic enough to create the bond, which takes time and increases the risk of getting it where you don't want it. I also find that it only creates a really good bond if there is a reasonable compressive contact between all of the faces to be bonded. I.e. no gap filling. Lastly, it evaporates really quickly, so bonding large areas is more difficult because one part of the model has already dried before you've finished applying it to the other side. So if you don't use Acetone, what's the answer?

Well, I'm refurb'ing my bathroom at the moment and came across the solvent plumbers use for bonding plastic waste pipe. It's specifically designed for bonding ABS (and uPVC).  It works a treat. It smells like acetone but it's much more viscous. It's completely clear, it stays where you put it and doesn't capillary, you only need to apply it to one of the 2 bonding faces, it gap fills nicely (small gaps I'm guessing only as it works with mine), and you only need to apply it once because it doesn't evaporate anything like as quickly as acetone, which makes bonding large areas easy. Having discovered this I don't think I'll use acetone anymore for bonding. I've only tried it on same coloured parts and don't know what bonding 2 different colours would do with regards to colour leeching but I don't suppose it will be an issue. On the parts I've bonded the quality and control this gives you is outstanding compared with acetone.

Anyway, thought I'd share.



I still use Acetone with no issues. The trick is finding the right applicator and knowing how to use it.( for the people new to this) I use one similar to this..  You don't need much to get the job done.. I might have to try Simon's stuff too..


For rigid bonding i use acetone with a little abs scraps (same color) to increase viscosity. For flexible bond i use shue glue.


I found the plumbers glue very useful recently when doing some DIY (installing my home made heat exchanger and some other bits and pieces. I printed out some parts I wanted to bond to my existing pipes. The existing pipes were either PP or ABS but either way acetone only cleaned them, and wouldn’t even come close to softening the plastic to create a bond. The plumbers solvent made a perfect leak free bond between the original and printed parts.


i use MEK for everything, works great and fast, i have a small container with a needle tip i use to drop it in with, sometimes the plastic will get on the needle and clog it up. all you need to do at that point is use an open flame and run it along the needle and the plastic will clear. CAUTION MEK IS FLAMMABLE. use extreme caution when using near an open flame. i have only small containers open nothing large but seriously no open flames near this stuff. 


I agree, MEK, methyl ethyl ketone is a much better solvent for Abs

To increase viscosity add some Abs to MEK

Plumbers glue as far as  I know is not for Abs but for Pvc

From a technical point of view using a solvent to create a bond of the same material of parts is better than an layer adhesive bond .


Plumbers glue, at least in the UK, is for both PVC and ABS. Says so on the label. Smells just like acetone. If you destroy models which have been bonded they don’t fail at the glue joint. I’ve used it many times with great success, which is why I posted it on the forum. Best to check facts before guessing and posting :wink:


Some plastic pipe glues are intended for both ABS and PVC/CPVC and some just for PVC/CPVC, though I've never checked to see if there is actually a difference in composition.  The MSDS or SDS might provide a clue to that data.



Good to know that there is a plunbers glue also for  Abs, thanks !


I use Methylene Chloride which works much better than acetone.  I think Methylene Chloride is the active ingredient in PVC cement if I'm not mistaken.  It gives stronger bonds with less time and hassle.


I use Plastruct Weld Solvent Cement with excellent results. Go to  and search for either PPC-2 or BOND-2.



PVC Cement have different formula for different kind of plumbing. Some have acetone + MEK + ethyl acetate, others (I think for stronger bonds) THF + MEK + cyclohexanone.


I use acetone - for vapour smoothing mainly, but have used it for sticking abs parts together. my bit of wisdom is the applicator, i use johnsons cotton buds, cut one end off, stick the cut end in acetone and capillary action will draw some acetone up the hollow tube, then touch the abs surface to put the acetone on the surface.

p.s. I have no commercial connection to johnsons cotton buds