Glueing HDPE

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walshjp17

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Jul 29, 2012
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Weddington, NC
As you have discovered, attempring to glue HDPE to anything using CA or epoxy is an exercise in frustration. There is a reason people use HDPE for casting molds as nothing will adhere to it (although I don't believe construction adhesive has been tested all that much ;) ).
 

Jarod888

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Mar 11, 2012
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Brighton, Colorado
I have made some pen blanks out of recycled HDPE and am having trouble glueing the brass tube inside...Any Ideas
Hdpe is specifically designed to not really be gluable. The only thing I can think of is a chemical reaction that effectively dissolves the Hdpe a little and then dries to form a bond with the brass.
 

1080Wayne

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Brownfield, Alberta, Canada.
A bit of discussion on this topic last weekend in this thread .

I have successfully done it , but it may just have been a lucky day . Original Gorilla glue , dunk drilled blank in water , put some glue in each end using a small flat implement . spread more glue over surface of roughened tube , insert tube into blank , remove excess glue from inside the tube (or plug the ends with something before beginning the process) . Always best to start with a blank longer than the tube when using Gorilla glue . Let cure for a day before turning .
 

Jarod888

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I actually think it might be easier to underdrill the blank, then precisely turn down a "filler" part with a stepped edge and press the tube into the blank.

The tube would fit over the filler piece. The step would need to be made of metal, say a brass ring and then you would use an arbor press to push the tube into the blank. Then, you could pull out the filler piece.

Effectively you are forcing a slightly larger tube into a slightly smaller blank, creating a mechanical connection, rather than a bonded connection with glue.
 

penicillin

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Feb 27, 2019
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Edit:
Suggestion removed.

I had recommended a test with Clear Gorilla Glue (silane-based, not polyurethane) because it stuck to my Rockler silicone glue brush.
-> I withdraw that suggestion. I just read the directions, and Gorilla says, "Not recommended for use on polyethylene or polypropylene plastics."
 
Last edited:

monophoto

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HDPE does not play well with ordinary glues (PVA, CA, epoxy, and polyurethane). In fact, I use HDPE in my shop to make jigs and fixtures where I specifically don't want glue to adhere to it. There may be specialty products that are made specifically for HDPE, but I'm not familiar with them.

That said, I have had some limited success in gluing HDPE to wood by using a creating an 'interlocking joint'. For example, I have a live center that accepts interchangeable 'noses', and I've made a number of wooden noses with HDPE faces or points that I can screw onto the live center. In each case, it was necessary to glue a bit of HDPE into a recess in a turned, threaded wooden block. The way I've done that is to turn a scrap of HDPE (salvaged from a cutting board) to fit snugly into a recess that I drilled or cut in a turned wooden block. Then, I've cut one or more grooves into the HDPE. Then, I apply glue liberally to the inside of the recess and to the outside surface of the turned HDPE, making sure that the groove(s) are filled with glue, and then press the HDPE into the recess into the wood. When the glue cures thoroughly, the glue in those gooves forms hard plastic ridges that are tightly bonded to the wood. While the glue doesn't actually adhere to the HDPE, the ridges mechanically lock into the grooves in the HDPE, creating a mechanical attachment rather than a true bond. I've used PVA and epoxy in this way, and I suspect that polyurethane would also work (provided the glue up is clamped so that the expansion that takes place as the glue cures doesn't disturb the physical positioning of the components). CA might be a problem because it is notoriously brittle after it cures, and the mechanical joint could more easily fracture than would a mechanical joint using glues that are more flexible when dried.

I suspect that you could do something like this to glue tubes into HDPE blanks, but it would be tedious since the groove in the HDPE would have to be inside the hole.
 
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