Polystyrene + Glue = Headache

  1. #1
    Stormrider's Avatar
    Member Since
    Aug 2007
    From
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Posts
    2,084

    Polystyrene + Glue = Headache

    Ok, So I have used polystyrene for a helmet, but I can not get any glues to stick to it. However I have heard other say that super glue sticks to it like a dream.

    So please, and of you experts, riddle me this.

    Are there different types of styrene or does it need to be treated with something to make it glueable?

    For example the following glues just peel right off when dried.

    Gorilla glue.
    JB Weld
    Super Glue
    Krazy Glue
    Resin (As in fiberlgass resin)
    Peanu Butter.

    Now I have heard people say that 'it glues like a dream' when using the for sale signs, but thats not the case for me.

    Please someone, fill me in.
    Thanks
    Stormy

  2. #2

    Member Since
    Sep 2007
    From
    North Bay ON, Canada
    Posts
    6

    Re: Polystyrene + Glue = Headache

    One guaranteed way to glue styrene to itself is to use a solvent which will actually melt or "weld" the plastic together.

    Your looking for something that has Methylene Chloride in it.

    Some brand names include Rez-N-Bond and Model Builders Supply Solvent Cement for Plastics.

    You could also use an epoxy putty (found at the hardware store) or something called Apoxie Sculpt (that's not a spelling mistake). However both have very long drying/curing times.

    Hope that helps,

    -Eric

  3. #3
    General Grievous's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 2005
    From
    Olathe, Kansas
    Posts
    136

    Re: Polystyrene + Glue = Headache

    Use the Testors Model cement that comes in the orange tube for building models. It is made for Styrene and Welds it together.
    Works great. Better than superglue imo.
    Just don't over do it. A little goes a long way. since it basically melts the pieces together.
    Wayne

  4. #4
    Stormrider's Avatar
    Member Since
    Aug 2007
    From
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Posts
    2,084

    Re: Polystyrene + Glue = Headache

    Thanks for the info. That helps alot.

    I have the weld-on for glueing it to its self, but occasionally I want to attach something else to it. And thats where I run into problems.

    I didnt make a mold/cast of my helmet, I am going to let my son just wear this one for halloween, and ill make another later. So doing something as simple as putting the chicago screws on the iside surface wont stick very well, because they are aluminum and the surface is ploystyrene.

    Short of couner sinking it from the outside or cutting a top plate out of polystyrene and gluing it over, i cant really fund a way to make it stick.

    The testers model cement though sounds promising, because it has some 'thickness' to it.

    The weld-on I used is water thin.

    Any way thank you kindly, ill try your suggestions.

    Ciao
    Mason

  5. #5
    Jango72's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 2007
    From
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    746

    Re: Polystyrene + Glue = Headache

    To mount the chicago screws on the inside of my styrene helmet, I used a two part epoxy. I got it in the automotive section of Canadian Tire ( check places like Pep Boys down in the States ).

    It's the type that's in a two-sided syringe. Just make sure that you add it to both the back side of the screw half you're attaching, then liberally over the front to fully seal it. ( the black spacers are just that... spacers )



    On a side note, not all for sale signs are made from styrene... most are an ABS material which conventional glue won't stick to. In that case, I'd first try giving the area I want to glue a buff with some high-grit sand paper. This will remove any top coating that might be preventing the glue from adhering. ( it will also give more surface for the glue to "grip", thus giving a better/stronger bond. ) If the sandpaper method doesn't work, you could try an ABS specific glue. ( you know, the smelly stuff you use to glue ABS drainage pipes together )

  6. #6
    I helped at SDCC '08 GCNgamer128's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2006
    From
    Las Vegas, Nevada USA
    Posts
    5,520

    Re: Polystyrene + Glue = Headache

    Go to walmart and buy Plastic Weld. Near the paint section with the glue and duct tape.

  7. #7
    Stormrider's Avatar
    Member Since
    Aug 2007
    From
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Posts
    2,084

    Re: Polystyrene + Glue = Headache

    Thanks a lot. will try all of these suggestions today. Like I said I bought about 10 types of glue, and none of them worked. I have a 2 part epoxy I havent opened yet, Ill try that, and the plastic weld, though I didnt see it last time I was there.

    I found a glue thats a thick set weld on, that is like model glue, that both has 'gummy' substance to keep it stuck temporarily, and the same chemical thats in the thin weld on that 'chemically welds' it. That worked well for the range finder.

    Thank you so much for the help. The glue part is the onl part im really having trouble with.

    For this first run im trying to see what someone can make in just '30 days' and under $200. Im not particularly worried about the money per se, but my other geek friends and I argued whether or not you could have any fun doing any of this for under $1000.

    Id post a progress pic but I doubt anyone really needs to see another 'fast fett'.

    Thanks again.

    ciao
    mason

  8. #8

    Re: Polystyrene + Glue = Headache

    Epoxy does not bond well chemically to ABS or styrene, IIRC.

    To make it stick well making a "mechanical" bond, you need to thoroughly roughen the surface with sandpaper.

    I've heard the polyester laminating resin (like regular cheap fiberglassing resin) works well. It dissolves the surface layer of the the plastic, so it makes a kind of solvent weld. I'm not sure how thick the plastic has to be for that to work right, though. For really thin plastic, the solvent (styrene monomer) may soak too far through the plastic and make it get funky. (Wrinkles, warping, etc.)

    I know people use it for gluing stuff to relatively thick ABS for non-costume stuff. For that kind of thing, it apparently sets up quick enough to hold the shape while the solvents work their way through the plastic and evaporate.

    If you try it, let us know how it works out.

    I'm curious whether Plastic Weld actually works better than other epoxies. Many epoxies are claimed to bond ABS or styrene, but my impression is that most of them don't actually make a good chemical bond. (And whether the package says it "works" for those plastics is more a matter of marketing than truth. Most of them sorta do, sorta don't, i.e. pretty good mechanical bond to well-scuffed stuff, but no chemical bond.)

    Plastic weld may have additional solvents in it to get an actual solvent weld effect, but I wouldn't be suprised if it doesn't.

    BTW, if you're using epoxy, I've heard it's a good idea to swab the surface lightly with acetone just before expoxying. (Lightly, though; too much and you'll melt it.)

  9. #9
    I helped at SDCC '08 GCNgamer128's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2006
    From
    Las Vegas, Nevada USA
    Posts
    5,520

    Re: Polystyrene + Glue = Headache

    Plastic Weld works too well.

Similar Threads

  1. Question: glue
    By wanta be jango in forum The Sarlacc Pit
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Feb 7, 2010, 4:32 PM
  2. Question: Polystyrene
    By Genearal Fett in forum Boba Fett Helmet
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Oct 8, 2009, 3:29 PM
  3. Ive got a Collar/Backplate/bolt method headache...
    By Alcfalath in forum Boba Fett Costume
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: Sep 26, 2008, 11:42 PM
  4. Best glue for MDF?
    By kibosh in forum Prop Building Workshop
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Jan 24, 2006, 4:38 PM
  5. GOT GLUE?
    By BobaFettSlave_1 in forum Boba Fett Costume
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: Jul 19, 2005, 9:12 PM
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •