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I'd like to attach a piece I printed out of PLA to a small titanium rod. I've previously used Superglue (cyanoacrylate) to glue PLA pieces to each other with great success, but the problem is that if you don't apply it perfectly cleanly, it leaves very noticeable stains on the PLA.

Can anyone recommend a good glue for this application that won't leave stains like that?

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  • $\begingroup$ Not an answer... but have you considered tackling the problem from another angle (i.e.: still using cyanoacrylate but masking the PLA next to the part that need to be glued with some tape, that you can remove afterwards)? $\endgroup$
    – mac
    Feb 6 '18 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ Try using one of the "gooey" forms of cyanoacrylate. Any of the major brands sells this-- it has the consistency of toothpaste, so it won't "run" along your pieces. $\endgroup$ Feb 7 '18 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ @mac The water-thin CA glues will wick under any common masking material -- it makes the problem worse rather than helping, not to mention the issue with gluing the masking material to the part. $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jun 21 at 11:57
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I've been a fan of epoxies for unusual adhesion problems. I found on Amazon a product with titanium in the name, but there's a caution regarding polypropylene plastics.

titanium epoxy

PLA is not of that family of plastic, which gives it a good chance of success. Epoxy is typically more viscous than cyanoacrylates, giving you a bit more control of the application, but also creating the need for care with "ooze-out."

The big glue company, Gorilla, also makes an epoxy that includes plastic and metal in the adhesion listing.

gorilla epoxy

As PLA is somewhat sensitive to heat, one would consider that fast-cure epoxies generate more heat than slow-cure epoxy, but the amounts you'll be using are not likely to create enough for concern.

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    $\begingroup$ "Titanium epoxy" sounds like a marketing term that doesn't actually have anything to do with titanium. $\endgroup$ Feb 7 '18 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ Marketing does go overboard in many circumstances. I suppose that since the packaging reads "contains titanium" they can get away with it. Of course, does 1 gram of titanium allow for such claims? Even what might be considered titanium debris would qualify and validate the packaging. Who can say if it adds strength to the product? $\endgroup$
    – fred_dot_u
    Feb 7 '18 at 17:05
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Try using one of the "gooey" forms of cyanoacrylate. Any of the major brands sells this-- it has the consistency of toothpaste, so it won't "run" along your pieces. Here's one that I've used with success: loctite goo

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After perusing http://www.thistothat.com/ I decided to give J-B Weld epoxy a try.

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  • $\begingroup$ So, how did the epoxy work for you? Your experiences could be very valuable to someone who has to deal with this question in the future. $\endgroup$ Feb 11 '18 at 20:29
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A glue gun would IMO work very well, and you can use transparent (or almost transparent) glue sticks to minimize ugly looking stains.

Things glued together usually break before the glue (in my experience) and it's cheap, you can get one for $10 with some glue sticks. It's fun too, I glue everything since I bought one :-)

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Most glues will leave some type of visual stain. The glues that won't leave some type of visual stain probably won't stick as well. For example, you can use rubbery RTV type glues, but you will need surfaces designed to minimize the need for glue strength. However, an advantage is the glue will flex.

My favorite is Gorilla impact resistant superglue. Superglue breaks easily when flexed if not impact resistant. If you want to go to the trouble, epoxies are best. Rubbery type glues will work if you have enough surface area, especially if it is not all planar.

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