Glue (or Cement)

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skyliner

Member
What kind of glue are we talking about here? Solvent cement, aka plastic model cement? And for what purposes? Kits? Scenery? Benchwork?

You made me go downstairs and count, turns out I have 17 different types of glue that I use for hobby purposes. However, some are just different brands of the same kind of glue, some are different viscosity (e.g. I have 3 thicknesses of CA glue), and some I haven't touched in many years (found a green tube of Testors wood glue, must be 20 years old).

I guess I don't pay it too much mind. Sure, glue is more expensive than when I was young, but it's not something I need to get very often. I've got bottles of solvent cement that I've been using for at least five years. Besides trains, I've been building plastic model kits on and off for over 30 years now, so I guess I've developed quite a repertoire of adhesives for special purposes. Liquid cements in different thicknesses, clear parts glue, foam glue, wood glue, CA glue, gel glue, spray glue, latex caulk...

You can get most solvent cements for less than $5/bottle, and that generally lasts me a couple years. But with a lot of hobby stuff, if you extrapolate it into home-size quantities, the price is kinda high. For example, your average hobby paint comes to around $1000 per gallon.
 

GeeTee

Active Member
So, who else here thinks a tiny bottle of plastic glue cost too much? Anyone using PVC pipe cement? Or how about M-E-K?

I have used straight acetone, but with less than satisfactory results.
Straight Acetone should work , MEK and PVC cement may be the same. The problem with acetone is it evaporates quickly and parts have to be moved relative to one another to get good mixing to make a satisfactory weld .

Non Tox glues I believe have citrus base . Not sure about the older "outlawed" glues, seems like they had a mustard (sulfur?or Hydrogen Sulfide) base ?

I would just add some base material to the Acetone and mix for styrene. With base material it should even work for wood it just needs to be thin enough to soak into the pores of the wood.

A good laquer based paint might also work - Acetone with an acrylic resin base.
 

TLOC

Well-Known Member
I have used MEK and Barge cement in a mix for gluing rail down onto Central Valley tie strips and it has worked great since Xmas of 2014. I have tried using the MEK for building a Cornerstone kit and didn’t like it. The MEK is thin, very toxic and didn’t hold the pieces together. I ended up using the black label Model Master glue for styrene.

I have used and still do use MEK for scratch building Evergreen styrene, while still thin, it welds the styrene with a very strong bonds. I now have a dual computer fan setup at my modeling bench to move the fumes away as I work. I now apply MEK with micro brushes and sometimes a thin pointed paint brush. Using a needle applicator for me with MEK just doesn’t work but YMMV.

I have various CA glues, Gorilla glues and some citrus smelling glues in the cement drawer and they have their uses in some situations. I have never used plumbers cement but doesn't it leave the a blue coating?

The price situation, what you consider expensive, I may not. I use MEK not because of price but because it works well for me. But a quart of MEK does go a heck of a lot farther then the Model Masters or red labeled Testors glues which come from the same factory. The MEK I use is purchased at Sherwin Williams paint in 2014 and recently in 2019. I understand but have not tried the sanitized smell versions at Home Depot. Have fun and be safe.

TomO

these are what are in the glue draw as of a few minutes ago. Missing is Arleens tacky glue and the gorilla glue is being used in the garage on a project my wife is playing with
8B569B45-061C-4F59-BFDC-5B0AD27E0142.jpeg
 
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JazzDad

Gandy Dancer
Tamiya 87012 20ml (.67 oz) = $7
Microscale MI-6 1 oz = $8
Plastruct 2 oz = $10
Weld-On 704 8oz = $4 (Yes, it's grey, but don't we paint over everything?)

I know, I'll never use 8 ounces of glue building models, but then I have it for plumbing projects, too. check.jpg

When you look at the SDS for most of these solvent-cements, they have M-E-K, acetone, maybe toulene, maybe some other trace amounts of other volatile nasties.

Thanks for the discussion!
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
I like Ambroid for both wood and styrene. A guy on another forum who is truly skilled says lacquer thinner should work well on styrene. He uses it.
I would not use acetone. It’s nasty stuff, like xylene, and is meant for clearing organic materials from surfaces that are to be primed prior to painting. It has other uses, but machine shops and auto painting shops use it to clean metals.
 

beiland

Well-Known Member
I was a real fan of Tenax7, but it also worked very similar to MEK. i went looking for MEK recently for a particular project I had in mind, but was only finding this 'MEK Substitute',...not happy about what it was nor how it would work in structure building.

I would highly suggest you read at least the opening posting of this subject thread,..
Gluing styrene - because not everybody knows
https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/21625

You will probably get a whole lot of good info out of that entire subject thread.
 
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JazzDad

Gandy Dancer
Thank you, Beiland! That was the sort of thing I had searched for, but failed to find.

And you were correct - the thread went on and on about the health aspects of breathing fumes, everyone's favourite brands, and the cost of tea in Taiwan.
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
So, who else here thinks a tiny bottle of plastic glue cost too much? Anyone using PVC pipe cement? Or how about M-E-K?

I have used straight acetone, but with less than satisfactory results.
Too much as opposed to...what? The cost of a kit? A big part of the profit in the hobby business has always been buying a 55 gallon drum of something, then putting it in lots of small bottles and reselling it at a good margin. Capitalism 101. If you look at its cost as a percentage of the total project cost, you'll probably get a pretty small number. I have used MEK on styrene and had good results. I'd test it on other types of plastics before using. PVC cement? Let me know how it works for you, and I'll evaluate your Boris Karloff experiments on your work first! ;) I have replaced hobby paint thinners with commercial solvents when spraying enamels or lacquers. Lacquer thinner and Xylene are pretty cheap when purchased by the gallon and I've saved a ton, but I run through much more of that stuff than cements. My $.02
 

beiland

Well-Known Member
Just a couple of excepts from the posting I referenced above.

My "glue" of choice for styrene is not glue at all. It's a solvent, called MEK (which stands for Methyl Ethyl Ketone), and is sold in hardware stores in pints, quarts, and even gallons. In 20 years, I've used less than 2 quarts, with a fair portion of that being lost to evaporation. Many excellent modelers also recommend lacquer thinner. I have found MEK to be a little more aggressive at dissolving styrene than lacquer thinner, and also to evaporate faster. Usually, those are both useful properties, but there are a few cases where I prefer lacquer thinner for the gentler action or greater working time. Acetone will dissolve styrene and acrylic (like Plexiglas), making it useful for some situations as well.
Another advantage of solvent welding is that, with care, it is possible to use it on painted models without damaging the paint. I remember one particularly challenging build, a Proto 2000 Mather stock car, where I was able to glue the styrene grab irons to the painted body of the car, without any sign of the glue around the joint. In that case, the MEK dissolved the paint and styrene, forming a mix which was strong enough to hold the grab irons securely.
 

GeeTee

Active Member
Too much as opposed to...what? The cost of a kit? A big part of the profit in the hobby business has always been buying a 55 gallon drum of something, then putting it in lots of small bottles and reselling it at a good margin. Capitalism 101. If you look at its cost as a percentage of the total project cost, you'll probably get a pretty small number. I have used MEK on styrene and had good results. I'd test it on other types of plastics before using. PVC cement? Let me know how it works for you, and I'll evaluate your Boris Karloff experiments on your work first! ;) I have replaced hobby paint thinners with commercial solvents when spraying enamels or lacquers. Lacquer thinner and Xylene are pretty cheap when purchased by the gallon and I've saved a ton, but I run through much more of that stuff than cements. My $.02
Capitalism 101 , you buy the 55 gallon drum , repackage it and sell it to the customer for less than what he can make it for himself , thus saving him time and money.

Commoditism 101 , buying something and then reselling it for whatever the market will bear. Prices continue to rise ,its called a "market bubble", when the customer finds an alternative or cannot or is unwilling to pay the profit margins ,the bubble bursts and prices collapse.


People are looking for alternatives , not necessarily to the product but to the high margins.

Profit margin <= product cost , your a Model Railroader. 😉

Profit margin >> product cost , your a Philanthropist. 🙁 your giving money away .
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
Capitalism 101 , you buy the 55 gallon drum , repackage it and sell it to the customer for less than what he can make it for himself , thus saving him time and money.

Commoditism 101 , buying something and then reselling it for whatever the market will bear. Prices continue to rise ,its called a "market bubble", when the customer finds an alternative or cannot or is unwilling to pay the profit margins ,the bubble bursts and prices collapse.


People are looking for alternatives , not necessarily to the product but to the high margins.

Profit margin <= product cost , your a Model Railroader. 😉

Profit margin >> product cost , your a Philanthropist. 🙁 your giving money away .
So who is going to make cement? Or paint? Or thinners? How many people do you know that have a chemical plant in their basement? We're talking about commercial solvents here. If I were to add up all of the money I spent on glues of various types I have in the shop at the moment I'd probably end up with a total investment of somewhere around $50-75.00 which would include all three thicknesses of ACC, three different liquid cements, Goo, Barge cement, Faller Super Expert plastic cement (gel) and some two part epoxy not to mention good old Elmer's white and carperter's glues. That doesn't even break 1% of my hobby expenses over a given year (and all of that stuff lasts multiple years). I think you're, as the old saying goes, "pickin' fly shit out of pepper" here. If you have the time (and just about everybody leaves out the cost of man hours in these discussions), enjoy your search, but I think if you want to save money, there are probably better places to look. I have limited hobby time. I'd just as soon build models. I think the best way to save money on cements is to remember to put the cap back on and try not to spill it! ☺ For me, there just isn't enough potential savings to spend the time looking, or to justify the risk if an experiment fails.

I've also noticed an interesting pattern in discussions on saving money. It's less a question of saving money that it is of redirecting funds elsewhere. People say model railroaders are cheap. That's not true at all. We'll spend obscene amounts on something we really want. I used to sell airbrushes at hobby shows. Like everything else, there are cost levels with those, and as a rule the more you spend the more capable the tool. I can't tell you how many times a guy would tell me that he really wanted the $XX.00 model but just couldn't afford it and bought the cheapest thing he could find. Meanwhile I'd look at his tote bag and see $1,000.00 worth of sound equipped locomotives. It's usually more a question of allocation of funds than reducing total expenditures.
 
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GeeTee

Active Member
So who is going to make cement? Or paint? Or thinners? How many people do you know that have a chemical plant in their basement? We're talking about commercial solvents here. If I were to add up all of the money I spent on glues of various types I have in the shop at the moment I'd probably end up with a total investment of somewhere around $50-75.00 which would include all three thicknesses of ACC, three different liquid cements, Goo, Barge cement, Faller Super Expert plastic cement (gel) and some two part epoxy not to mention good old Elmer's white and carperter's glues. That doesn't even break 1% of my hobby expenses over a given year (and all of that stuff lasts multiple years). I think you're, as the old saying goes, "pickin' fly shit out of pepper" here. If you have the time (and just about everybody leaves out the cost of man hours in these discussions), enjoy your search, but I think if you want to save money, there are probably better places to look. I have limited hobby time. I'd just as soon build models. I think the best way to save money on cements is to remember to put the cap back on and try not to spill it! ☺ For me, there just isn't enough potential savings to spend the time looking, or to justify the risk if an experiment fails.

I've also noticed an interesting pattern in discussions on saving money. It's less a question of saving money that it is of redirecting funds elsewhere. People say model railroaders are cheap. That's not true at all. We'll spend obscene amounts on something we really want. I used to sell airbrushes at hobby shows. Like everything else, there are cost levels with those, and as a rule the more you spend the more capable the tool. I can't tell you how many times a guy would tell me that he really wanted the $XX.00 model but just couldn't afford it and bought the cheapest thing he could find. Meanwhile I'd look at his tote bag and see $1,000.00 worth of sound equipped locomotives. It's usually more a question of allocation of funds than reducing total expenditures.
No one is talking about manufacturing solvents or other VOCs,

Its not about man hours , Its not about redirecting funds , and its not about picking fly shit out of pepper either, Its about not throwing money away on some elses insane profit margins or ridiculously high costs.
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
No one is talking about manufacturing solvents or other VOCs,

Its not about man hours , Its not about redirecting funds , and its not about picking fly shit out of pepper either, Its about not throwing money away on some elses insane profit margins or ridiculously high costs.
And how you determine that the margins are too high when you don't know what they are? Yeah a bottle of Testors liquid cement used to be 25 cents, and a tube of airplane glue used to be 15 cents back when I started building models. Freight car kits were $3.95. A weeks pay was $50-75 bucks, a new car cost $2,000 and you could buy a house for 12 grand. It's not 1961 anymore.
 




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