White Paper // Bonding 3D Printed Parts

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Some 3D printer users may view the size of a build tray as a limiting factor; others however, split, glue and bond parts when a design can’t be built as big as the user might prefer. For parts too large to fit on a single build tray, or for a faster print with less support structure, splitting and bonding is a great way to get more out of your 3D printer.


Three Easy Steps //

  1. Models can be split apart using cutting tools in STL editor

  2. Design is 3D printed on either FDM- or PolyJet-based 3D printers

  3. Parts are bonded together quickly and easily

To prepare a model for printing in multiple pieces for bonding later, the user can import his/her model into a software with a cutting tool. Many STL editors have cutting tools that allow users to add a key to ensure accurate reconstruction during bonding. Here at FATHOM, we use Magics by Materialise for quick reliable results.

Splitting a model can be as easy as drawing a line across your part then selecting “split” or “cut. Once the part is split into multiple pieces, it’s ready to be arranged on your build tray and printed. After printing, the parts need to be thoroughly cleaned and dried as per usual. Once they are fully cleaned and dried, they will be ready to glue.

Bonding FDM 3D Printed Parts //

  • FDM parts can be bonded together through many different techniques

  • A popular technique is to use a solvent similar to paint thinner — the solvent can be brushed on to the split edge of the model and then clamped together until the part dries

  • Other options include using mechanical fasteners, epoxy, or superglue

  • Consider mechanically joined sections — instead of glue, insert fastening hardware in the FDM part during the build process so that the fasteners are integrated within the part

Bonding PolyJet 3D Printed Parts //

  • Many common household or hobbyist glues and adhesives are sufficient

  • Most common glue for bonding PolyJet parts is cyanoacrylate (popularly known as Super Glue)

  • LOCTITE 401 is a great option when working with rigid 3D printed parts

  • Remember, Connex Technology-based 3D printers have the ability to simulate overmolding by 3D printing a rubber-like material over a rigid material

More information on specific glue types and bonding techniques for both FDM and PolyJet, download FATHOM’s 20-page guide.

Carolina Aguirre