Inexpensive plastic cement

Hosted by Dave Parker from AFV Modeller magazine and Adam Wilder, this discussion group is geared towards modelling technique questions ranging from construction to final weathering. This forum was created so that "newbies" can post without being intimidated by the sometimes highly technical nature of the other discussion groups.

Inexpensive plastic cement

Joined: April 15th, 2003, 3:23 am

September 16th, 2003, 7:12 pm #1

First I would offer an appology if what I am about to
say is yesterday's news for any of the readers of this forum.

I have made a recent discovery of an inexpensive plastic
cement that I thought was worth sharing with this forum.
I have recently picked up this hobby again after a 10
year hiatus (I went back to school and then became a
workaholic for a bit). Prior to returning to school I
had been using Testors liquid cement. Not completely
happy with the long cure times of this product I began
using Ambro Pro-Weld and was quite happy with everything
regarding this product save the price ( a 60 ml or 2
fluid ounce bottle costs between $5-6 CDN in the local
shops).

Searching for a less expensive cement I happened across
MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone) solvent at a local industrial
plastic supply retailer/wholesaler. I was able to
purchase 1 litre (I think that is roughly equivalent
to 33 fluid ounces) for under $10 CDN (which is roughtly
equivalent to $6 US).

The shop also had little 30 ml (1 fluid ounce) squeeze
applicator bottles with a needle tip that work like a
charm. I should note that I found it difficult to
control the flow of liquid cement from the tip until I
carefully squashed it down a little bit (with pliers)
to create a much smaller opening. I also found that
it helps to keep the bottle no more than 1/4 filled
as the hydrostatic pressure exerted by a full bottle
will promote higher flow and hence less control of
the cement application.

I have found that MEK solvent/cement is very similar in
performance to Pro-Weld but that the cure time is a
little faster. However when one considers that a 60 ml
(2 fluid ounces) bottle of Pro-Weld cost between $5
and $6 CDN the MEK solvent is a much more cost effective
solution. The 1 litre bottle I purchase will likely
last me for the rest of my modeling life!!

I still prefer the Pro-Weld with the brush applicator
for really fine work but for 90% of what I do the MEK
in the needle applicator works like a charm. When I
have emptied my bottle of Pro-Weld I will re-fill it
with the MEK so that I have the brush applicator option
once again.

I really can't take all the credit for 'discovering'
MEK solvent as a friend (Neil McLeish) gave me the idea
as he had been using the product for quite some time.

Cheers - Dan


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Lee Dobson
Lee Dobson

September 17th, 2003, 6:34 pm #2

Cheaper alternatives are always welcome, I'll have to hunt for some of that.

best wishes
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mark hazzard
mark hazzard

September 17th, 2003, 11:46 pm #3

MEK used to be sold as a modelling adhesive in the UK under the trade name MEKPAK, however it has now been withdrawn as well as largescale withdrawal in Industry as it is carcinogenic (if I recall correctly)

Please check with your local health agency before going down this road, or use a mask (NOT a dust mask a real gas mask!)

MJH
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Brett Barrow
Brett Barrow

September 18th, 2003, 12:15 am #4

it's still rough, rough stuff to inhale. It can damage your lungs with continued exposure. I have a gallon jug that I've only used about 1/4 of, but I just went back to Tenax over concerns about the saftey of MEK, plus it has crazed some plastics(newer Trumpeter in particular).

*At least on the latest MSDS I've read, which is about 5 years old.
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Brett Barrow
Brett Barrow

September 18th, 2003, 12:20 am #5

MEK used to be sold as a modelling adhesive in the UK under the trade name MEKPAK, however it has now been withdrawn as well as largescale withdrawal in Industry as it is carcinogenic (if I recall correctly)

Please check with your local health agency before going down this road, or use a mask (NOT a dust mask a real gas mask!)

MJH
I have a friend who swears by plain old lacquer thinner (cellulose thinner across the pond)

I've never tried it myself, though.
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Joined: February 14th, 2002, 10:06 pm

September 21st, 2003, 5:32 pm #6

First I would offer an appology if what I am about to
say is yesterday's news for any of the readers of this forum.

I have made a recent discovery of an inexpensive plastic
cement that I thought was worth sharing with this forum.
I have recently picked up this hobby again after a 10
year hiatus (I went back to school and then became a
workaholic for a bit). Prior to returning to school I
had been using Testors liquid cement. Not completely
happy with the long cure times of this product I began
using Ambro Pro-Weld and was quite happy with everything
regarding this product save the price ( a 60 ml or 2
fluid ounce bottle costs between $5-6 CDN in the local
shops).

Searching for a less expensive cement I happened across
MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone) solvent at a local industrial
plastic supply retailer/wholesaler. I was able to
purchase 1 litre (I think that is roughly equivalent
to 33 fluid ounces) for under $10 CDN (which is roughtly
equivalent to $6 US).

The shop also had little 30 ml (1 fluid ounce) squeeze
applicator bottles with a needle tip that work like a
charm. I should note that I found it difficult to
control the flow of liquid cement from the tip until I
carefully squashed it down a little bit (with pliers)
to create a much smaller opening. I also found that
it helps to keep the bottle no more than 1/4 filled
as the hydrostatic pressure exerted by a full bottle
will promote higher flow and hence less control of
the cement application.

I have found that MEK solvent/cement is very similar in
performance to Pro-Weld but that the cure time is a
little faster. However when one considers that a 60 ml
(2 fluid ounces) bottle of Pro-Weld cost between $5
and $6 CDN the MEK solvent is a much more cost effective
solution. The 1 litre bottle I purchase will likely
last me for the rest of my modeling life!!

I still prefer the Pro-Weld with the brush applicator
for really fine work but for 90% of what I do the MEK
in the needle applicator works like a charm. When I
have emptied my bottle of Pro-Weld I will re-fill it
with the MEK so that I have the brush applicator option
once again.

I really can't take all the credit for 'discovering'
MEK solvent as a friend (Neil McLeish) gave me the idea
as he had been using the product for quite some time.

Cheers - Dan

That's what my friends in Emergency Services call the stuff, it that's any indication of what THEY think about it. Usually only sold in large containers (1-5 gallon sizes at Home Depot or Lowes here) and is not the kind of thing you want in a household full of kids, or to spill in the garage (or on your wife's carpet) trying to get it into a 3-ounce bottle. Trust me, it's easier and safer to just use the hobby grade stuff in small bottles, and if you need a stronger joint, mix up some 5-minute epoxy. Penny Wise and Pound Foolish.
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Joined: April 15th, 2003, 3:23 am

September 22nd, 2003, 2:12 am #7

Prompted by the posts expressing health concenrs with
the use of MEK, I have been doing a little research.
I found a number of articles online, many of which are
quite technical. However the following set of pages
seems to present a fairly good summary of the baseic
properties and health hazards presented by exposure to
MEK:

http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemical ... files/mek/

It should be noted that this site and many others can be
found by initiating a search using the keywords
'methyl ethyl ketone' with one's favourite web search
engine.

I will not present my own opinions that have been formed
as a result of this research. Instead I invite forum
readers to do their own research and draw their own
conclusions. I have made my own informed decision as
to how I will continue to utilize MEK and I would
suggest that concerned individuals do their own
research and make a similarly informed decision.

I also plan to follow up with the supplier of the MEK
that I purchased and inquire about any health concerns
or special handling procedures. If I learn anything new
I will share the information with the readers of this
forum.

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David A Levy
David A Levy

September 26th, 2003, 2:44 pm #8

Why take a risk with this stuff in order to save a couple of bucks ...

My bottles of Tamiya Extra Thin last me for at least a couple of models, this is only adding like $2 to cost of model

David
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