I’m currently working on a large commission project. At the start of such builds I often need to do research and test a few things. In all my years of burning acrylic with lasers, I have never had the chance to test out acrylic solvent paste or whatever you’d call it. I use Weld-on/Scigrip #3 all the time. Its thin and flows into the gaps. Great stuff but the paste would be stronger and comes with acrylic medium already in it so it can gap fill and other cool features. Or so I thought….
Let’s start with an amazon search. I need Scigrip 16. The listing is odd. $7ish for a tube seems right but the larger quantities are odd. They jump to $20 a tube! So 3 tubes is $60! Well that gets me curious. I even screenshot it and made a funny post on FB about it. This happens as maybe they discounted it or something but $7-10ish seems to be the price for it. I mean that’s what the Engineer Guys carry it at. So I dig deeper and find this image along with a review. Well interesting.
Let’s take a moment to talk about Scigrip the company. Its owned by IPS Corporation. Who also owns Weld-on. So now we know they are all in the same family so to speak. Ok but why does Scigrip exist? Well the name would imply Science oriented sales and marketing for Weld-on and other products. Ok no big deal this happens a lot actually. Scigrip even advertises Weld-on #3 and #16 in their listings. I’m old so I kinda remember it all being called Weld-on before so Scigrip could have been created to market these brands. Now you may do what I did and check ye old MSDS sheets. They appear to be different products and could just be the relabeling is to save some cash on the backend and the tubes are actually filled with different stuff. I don’t know but the chemicals are close enough that I’m willing to try. I also suck at chemistry but I think the key here is the MEK.
What does all this actually mean? Well not much until my test pieces get here and I confirm it. However, if Weld-on 705 is Scigrip 16 then it opens some interesting doors. The MSDS sheet doesn’t list 16 as having THF (TetraHydrofuran) but 705 does list it. I know Scigrip #3 works with PLA and according to 3D printing Blog THF is the magic sauce for PLA. Its also NASTY stuff. However, maybe under the right safety conditions it could be used to smooth PLA prints like acetone is used for ABS. At around $7 a quart its not too bad a price either. It also likes the evaporate… I mean like REALLY likes to as in open the container and leave it out for several days and it will be empty. At least that is how Scigrip #3 works.
Still don’t care? I don’t blame you. This is me just being a cheap engineer looking to save a buck and enjoying the idea of doing some cool tests. However, the 700 series of PVC solvents have some fun things in them. Namely 711 and 719. Heavy and Extra heavy bodied solvent cements. They don’t come in clear so no need for Weld-on to market them through Scigrip to acrylic users who primarily want a clear glue but who could use a thick gap filling solvent glue? Prop makers working with 3D prints in PLA! If Weld-on 711/719 softens PLA and it probably will. I mean that stuff isn’t what I’d call robust chemically. Then it can be used to gap fill 3D prints and weld them together. The 705 probably works for most cases to seam parts together and when cured make a nice solid sandable surface that will help get those gaps butter smooth. 719 interests me for other reasons. If I need to seam parts with exposed infill together then its a mess. I normally use gorilla glue but 719 could be thick enough to lay between the infill and make a better, stronger bond.
Am I wasting $7 on fancy PVC glue that I’ll never use? Maybe. Am I going to experiment with this stupid idea and see how far it goes? You bet! Maybe no one cares but this is the stuff that gets me out of bed in the morning… well and coffee… or well those pesky bills that keep coming. So Watch this space for more tidbits and testing. Hopefully we find some new tools to add to the arsenal but if not then at least I had some fun!