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It is pretty easy to glue similar surfaces and items as you purchase a specific adhesive to do the job. However, if you wish to glue metal to plastic or two different materials together, it can prove to be a little more difficult. Metals and plastics are difficult to bond as they are both non-porous materials. You will therefore require an adhesive that will work on both surfaces.
Table of Contents
- 1 Adhesives for Bonding Plastic to Metal
- 2 Purchasing the Best Glue for Metal to Plastic
- 3 Best Glue for Plastic to Metal
- 4 How to Glue Plastic to Metal
- 5 Safety Guidelines When Working With Adhesives
- 6 Tips for Bonding Plastic to Metal
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
Adhesives for Bonding Plastic to Metal
There are many types of plastic available, from soft plastic to hard plastic, each with its own properties and features. There are different plastics for an assortment of applications, from storage containers, food containers to drain pipes, and loads more. Plastic can be found all around us, in the construction industry, as car parts, as toys, and as items in your home. Scale models are normally made of plastic but can also be constructed from other components such as wood or metal.
There are many different metals around us every day, from copper to aluminum, brass, steel, and many others. You will require a strong adhesive to bond metal to plastic. Certain glues, such as wood glue, are formulated to work on porous surfaces such as wood and are not great options for use on smooth surfaces such as plastic and metal. So, you may wonder what glue options are available for gluing plastic to metal.
Epoxy as the Best Adhesive to Bond Metal to Plastic
Epoxy is the best general, all-round adhesive that works on the majority of surfaces, including metal and plastic. The epoxy will form a very strong bond that is both resistant to water, heat, and chemicals and is impact-resistant. Epoxy is made up of two components, epoxy, and a hardener. These two components need to be combined and mixed before they can be used as an adhesive as a strong bonding material.
Epoxy can also be purchased in a putty consistency. You knead the two-component clay-like putty, and this will cause the materials to activate. This will give you an amazing adhesive that you can wrap around plastic and metal pieces, unlike liquid glue.
You can use a syringe-type product for smaller projects; the product contains your two components and mixes when applied. Other versions come in two separate containers, and you will be required to mix them yourself. It is important to consult the product’s directions to determine the right ratios you need for it to work properly. Keep in mind the type of adhesive depending on the required application.
Cyanoacrylates are just a fancy word that describes a popular super glue product. It is a well-known fact that this form of glue bonds in mere seconds, so you will have to work quickly to position your items correctly.
Will super glue bond plastic to metal? You must select the correct super glue, and there are many types of super glue for you to choose from. Consult the product’s label to determine what surfaces you can use it on before buying. Super glue normally does not work well on smooth surfaces, however, roughening up the metal and plastic surfaces can aid the bond.
A silicone adhesive can be used to bond plastic to metal. The silicone can withstand extreme temperatures while remaining flexible. Unlike instant glue, it takes some time for silicone to cure. Curing can take anywhere from one to a few days to happen. This method is ideal for larger projects and is not ideal for smaller craft projects.
Hot Glue Gun
Hot glue sticks can be used to glue metal to plastic. Ideally, you would be using a glue gun that has been specifically designed for manufacturing as opposed to a simple craft glue gun if you are handling any type of repairs. Look at your local hardware or DIY store to see if they sell different types of glue sticks. Check what each type of glue stick bonds to as certain ones may not bond to metal or plastic. These are also referred to as hot melt glue sticks and can come as acrylic, polyamide, or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) hot melt sticks.
This adhesive is also referred to as PU adhesive and is a very strong product that can be used on several surfaces. It is particularly good at bonding materials that are different from each other, such as plastic to metal. Once cured, the product becomes waterproof and can be used on items that live outdoors and indoors. Once polyurethane has cured, you can also paint and sand it.
This adhesive will only begin to cure when it has been exposed to UV light. Once cured it provides you with a permanent and strong bond. This type of adhesive is effective on all types of substrates, including wood, metal, glass, and plastic. This type of adhesive can be used on several different surfaces.
Summary of the Types of Glue
We have put together a table that summarizes the different types of glue available for use on metal and plastic as discussed above.
|Type of Glue
|Can It Bond Plastic to Metal?
|The best option for an all-round choice for bonding plastic to metal
|Check the product’s label to determine if it is compatible with plastic and metal
|Silicone Sealant (Adhesive)
|Not considered an adhesive and breaks down relatively quickly, much faster than other glues
|UV Cure Adhesives
|Forms a high-strength bond but has to be exposed to UV light to be cured
|Water-resistant and durable, ideal for outdoor application
|Hot Glue Gun
|Polyamide hot melts form a strong bond, ideal for tough to bond surfaces
|Craft or Wood Glue
Purchasing the Best Glue for Metal to Plastic
There are many products available, so how do you decide which one to buy? This is particularly true when it comes to materials such as glass, metal, plastic, and other surfaces that are hard to bond. Before purchasing your adhesive, you should consider the following aspects.
Non-porous materials such as glass, plastic, and metal are hard to bond. You will require an adhesive that offers a high-strength bond, particularly if you wish to form a bond between two non-porous surfaces like plastic and metal. Look for a glue that can be applied to several surfaces, and is effective and versatile.
Certain adhesives such as super glue dry in just seconds, while others take many hours to several days to completely cure or dry. So, which glue to use is dictated by what you need to do, and the glue’s drying time. Even though super glue dries quickly, an epoxy that takes a significant amount of time to cure does form a more durable and stronger bond. An adhesive product should state the drying time on its label.
Depending on your requirements, you want to purchase an adhesive that can withstand certain conditions. Will the item you are repairing be living outside? For example, a lot of adhesives are resistant to water and temperature changes. Is the adhesive able to withstand resistance and pressure?
Easy to Use
Everyone wants a product that is simple to use. Certain adhesives you can just apply with ease and leave, while others need you to do a lot more preparation. For example, most epoxy products have to be mixed before you can apply them and require the right ratios or you run the risk of forming a poor bond.
Another aspect to think about is the application, for more detailed and smaller jobs, you need a nozzle that has special precision. Other adhesives may need sponges, brushes, or other tools to spread the glue. Certain adhesives are more toxic than others and you will have to wear safety gear when working with them. This can make things very complicated and quite expensive.
Types of Adhesives
Most glue products can be purchased in a tube, but certain products come in other forms such as epoxy putty. Certain adhesives have a gel-like consistency, while others have a runny texture. It all boils down to your needs. Are you just using the adhesive for craft projects, or do you require something to help with repairs throughout your home? Certain adhesives, such as hot glue sticks, need a hot glue gun. You will also have to take all the costs associated into consideration.
Best Glue for Plastic to Metal
We have put together a list of some of the strongest glue metal to plastic products available. Several brands offer products that are quite similar. The most common brands include J-B Weld, Gorilla, and Loctite. These provide an assortment of epoxy adhesives and super glue that offer great results.
Best Super Glue to be Used to Bond Plastic to Metal: LOCTITE Super Glue
This super glue provides a high-strength bond that is resistant to moisture, cold temperatures, and an assortment of chemicals. This adhesive is simple to apply with a precision nozzle that assists in preventing messes and drips. The glue can be used on heavy-duty items and fix objects like models, car parts, toys, jewelry, and many more. When the glue has been applied, it will dry clear, and you will not have to clamp items for it to set.
Best Two-Part Epoxy for Bonding Plastic to Metal: GORILLA Two-part Epoxy
This epoxy is a very popular product that can be used on an assortment of surfaces. It is thought to be the best overall adhesive for surfaces such as metal, plastic, or wood. The product comes packaged in syringes and is very easy to use. All you have to do is combine the components and apply. The two components – the epoxy and hardener – are kept separately. They are dispensed in the amounts required to create a perfect bond. You will have a short amount of time before the epoxy will start to cure, and it will set in just five minutes. To be completely cured, you will need to leave it for a day. The epoxy when dried is clear, and if you need to, you can sand it.
Best Waterproof Adhesive for Plastic to Metal: J-B WELD Marine Epoxy
This is the best waterproof adhesive available and is ideal for use to repair boats. The product has tremendous tensile strength and is also water and heat-resistant. This product can be used on a variety of surfaces including wood, plastic, fiberglass, metal, and more. The product will take between four and six hours to set, and 24 hours before it is completely cured. Once cured you will be able to file, sand or drill if required.
How to Glue Plastic to Metal
To achieve the best bond when working with adhesives, you will have to clean the surfaces. Ensure you remove any oily residue, dust, and grime. Plastic and metal are normally smooth materials, so it is a good idea to sand down the surface to assist with a better surface for adhesion. You can use either sandpaper or steel wool to roughen up the surface.
If you follow the instructions carefully, you will get the best results from your adhesive product. Certain products need to be clamped, while other products do not require that. If you do not stick to the instructions you could end up with glue failure and will have to begin again.
- Do you require a high-strength adhesive?
- Does the adhesive have to be waterproof?
- Are you working on a project that is quite intricate (such as a model)?
- Will the adhesive be exposed to harsh conditions such as extreme temperatures?
Once you have an understanding of what you require and what your project involves, you can choose the right adhesive. The process of applying the adhesive can vary depending on which product you have selected to use. Applying super glue when bonding plastic to metal is the easiest process as you simply squeeze the super glue directly onto the relevant surfaces.
A two-part epoxy requires you to do a little preparation before you can begin working with it. You will need to combine the two components correctly before you begin with the application and allow time for the epoxy to cure completely. The two surfaces may need to be clamped together to secure the bond.
Safety Guidelines When Working With Adhesives
Many of the adhesive products available contain solvents and extreme levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In these circumstances, you will have to wear safety gear that will protect you from breathing in the glue or any toxic fumes and will ensure none of the adhesive gets on your skin. A mask, goggles, and gloves are recommended. Additional precautions you should take are as follows:
- Take care to protect your airways, you want to work in a well-ventilated area.
- If you are working with a very potent glue you may have to wear a respirator mask.
- To protect your pets and children make sure that the glue is stored in a safe place, out of reach.
- Remember to wipe off any excess glue before it starts to dry.
- To spread the glue you will require the correct tools.
- To save yourself money and get great results, be careful not to excessively apply the product. Only use the amount you require so you do not waste any of the adhesives.
- To ensure that your glue does not dry out, if not in use make sure that the lid is always securely closed.
- Seek medical attention immediately should you ingest or inhale any of the glues.
Tips for Bonding Plastic to Metal
When buying and applying glue, luckily, many other people have done this before and there is plenty of information and advice available online for you to turn to. There are many different forums on which you can pose your questions, however, the best option is to test the product out yourself before applying it to your project.
- Your plastic surface must work with the adhesives you have bought. Different types of plastic might not work properly with all the glue options, particularly if it is hard to bond plastic.
- Silicon will, unfortunately, lose its grip with time.
- Be aware of your needs, certain glues dry strong and hard but are brittle, while other glues provide greater flexibility.
- You only need a little bit of glue to cover a large area
- When using certain glues, you will have to clamp your items, always consult the product label to confirm if clamping is required.
Whether you are looking to simply fix your eyeglasses or are creating a whole new construction, you will require the best glue to adhere plastic to metal. With the information in this article, you should have adequate knowledge to be able to choose and manage the application of the best glue for plastic and metal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will Super Glue Adhere to Smooth Surfaces Like Metal and Plastic?
Yes, you can super glue plastic to metal. However, there are different super glues available, make sure you consult the product directions to see if the super glue you have can be used on metal, plastic, and other non-porous surfaces. Super glue is not the ideal choice for creating a permanent bond between dissimilar surfaces, as there are better adhesive options available, such as epoxy.
How to Glue Plastic to Metal Successfully?
The best product to use is epoxy, which is the strongest glue for metal to plastic. Unlike super glue, epoxy will take some time to cure completely so sometimes you will need to clamp the two surfaces together to ensure a better bond.
Will Craft Glue Work to Glue Plastic to Metal?
Wood glue or craft glue works best on materials such as wood and paper that are porous. This form of glue will not work on non-porous surfaces such as glass, plastic, and metal. You will require glue which is more multi-purpose to glue metal to plastic. Consult the glue’s product label to see if it will work on these surfaces.
Is Surface Preparation Required for Bonding Plastic to Metal?
For an adhesive to bond properly it requires a clean and appropriate surface. So, yes preparation is required. To begin with, you will need to remove any dust and grime and then use some sandpaper to roughen up the surface. Consult the product directions for application and clamp or press the items together. Ensuring basic preparations are done will stop you from having to re-glue the item in the future.