Friction welding

Discussing what we do with our prints after we make them (clean up, integration, etc)

Friction welding

Postby killbox » 2014-Mar-Mon-13-Mar

Since no one has talked about this on there I'd thought I'd share my experiences with "gluing" parts together. I have tried using super glues, and epoxies to glue and connect the parts of prints together. But either it was a 50/50 chance of the glue working, or it just took too long to properly cure, I thought there was a better way. upon trolling around the internet for ideas I stumbled upon this article in make magazine

Now most of it is common sense but there was part in it that looks perfect. Friction welding. It's super simple and I think we all have some kind of rotary grinder lying around, simply find a collar that will fit the OD of your filament, place about 1 1/2 inch of filament in the tool and spin up to half-max power and gently touch the filament to the parts you want to weld, hold it there till a puddle forms and slowly walk along the part till you run out of filament or you complete the weld. Heating the part up with a heat gun does help the process but I find I don't really need it and it can cause warping, but I do recommend using it on thin parts as the first time you start the weld it has a tendency to burn a hole in the surface of the part.

Hope this helps someone with making there prints a bit better
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Re: Friction welding

Postby MegaMoonMan » 2014-Apr-Wed-15-Apr

I just wanted to say this is an awesome idea, I tried it on a couple PLA parts I needed joined and it worked like a charm. It doesn't make the nicest looking joint, but if you don't care about a perfect looking seam give it a shot.
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Re: Friction welding

Postby 2pandas » 2014-May-Tue-12-May

I tried this with a power drill but the drill doesn't spin fast enough to get the PLA melting. Another reason to get a rotary tool / Dremel, I suppose.
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Re: Friction welding

Postby killbox » 2014-May-Tue-17-May

yea your gonna need high speed. so drills don't work that well. the weld could be filed down to make it less prominent, but if you care about looks chances are you bondo-ing the thing or coating it in epoxy. both will cover it once it's filed down
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Re: Friction welding

Postby thawkins » 2014-May-Tue-20-May

killbox wrote:yea your gonna need high speed. so drills don't work that well. the weld could be filed down to make it less prominent, but if you care about looks chances are you bondo-ing the thing or coating it in epoxy. both will cover it once it's filed down


What is the advantage over using superglue?
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Re: Friction welding

Postby killbox » 2014-May-Tue-21-May

superglue is a chemical bond. or at min a capillary bond. both are not ideal, mostly do to the chance of the bond not being strong enough to take much force or the chemical bond never forming. friction welding you using the material and preforming a mini printing operation on the part, since PLA likes sticking to PLA your going to form a strong bond. with the welds I've done it is often stronger then the connection between the infill and and the wall.
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Re: Friction welding

Postby EddB » 2014-May-Wed-05-May

thawkins wrote:
What is the advantage over using superglue?


Lots of benefits over SG. I hate the glue on my figers. :D The one I find that makes it so much better than SG is that you can use it to fill gaps! Can't do that with adhesives.
That's just the basics of friction welding, it's an art and the quality improves with practice. It's very similar to metal welding in theory (same angles/gaps have the same effect for metal welding or plastic friction welding) I read this article before I even got my printer and it sold me on pla.

http://makezine.com/projects/make-34/sk ... d-objects/

Love the tip for warming joints with your smd heat tool. Could also be done with a hot air gun or maybe even a hair dryer.
Ed
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Re: Friction welding

Postby marmil » 2014-May-Thu-18-May

Fran Blanche's video of friction welding mentioned in that Makezine article is where I learned about it. It's a cool technique! I tried it out with some short pieces of ABS filament in my dremel and some junked prints. After a bit of practice it's possible to make a pretty solid and clean joint. Don't try to rush the process, and wear safety glasses since you are spinning molten plastic about.
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Re: Friction welding

Postby ChefScott » 2014-May-Thu-19-May

In the 70s I had this kit from Mattel called Spinwelder. It was powered by a lantern battery. It made a nice stink when you used it too!
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