Model engineers ocassionally come across UV activated adhesives, which are ideal for joining transparent materials but have other uses as well. The problems are that they tend to be available in large (i.e. expensive) quantities and you need a UV source to set them – the sun isn’t always available or convenient!
In September 2016 I reviewed ‘Lazer Bond’ from JML, which is intended as a consumer product but that could well have many useful applications in the workshop. It combines a neat pen-style dispenser with a little UV-LED torch on top. A few people were sceptical of the review, not least as it was one of those JML products with a cheesy video "take your Lazer Bond to the chjeckout now!" The video even featured someone sawing a small fibreglass boat in half, then gluing it back together with Lazer Bond!
At the time I really didn't have much chance to use the adhesive, so just did a couple of test joints, which all worked OK:
The adhesive, a mix of several chemicals with very long names is a clear gel. On shining the LED at it, it moves slightly and sets firm, clear and slightly flexible with a tiny puff of vapour! The instructions say no more than 1mm thick and use the LED for 3-8 seconds, but I had no problems setting a slightly thicker layer in no more than a couple of seconds. This is an ideal adhesive for jobs needing more bulk than superglues, as you can build up fillets and join almost anything except greasy plastics. Lazer Bond from JML is available for £9.99 from JMLdirect.com and ‘selected stockists’.
Lazer Bond - Five Months On
I still have some of the Lazer Bond left, it's a pretty specialised product and there's no point busing it where cyanoacrylate of similar will do the job. But it is actually a great product!
Its great asset is that it is a gap-filling gel that gives a stroing, secure bond on plastics. I found it particularly handy when assembling some doll's house furniture I made on a 3D printer using PLA. I was able to joing chair backs to seat using Lazer Bond, then build up a little fillet to give a join that has stood up to a three year old!
Aother tricky job was the knob of a dimmer switch that has regularly fallen off over the years. The spindle and knob are a quite slippy plastic that superglue wouldn't adhere to. I used Lazer Bond and had to set it by reflecting the UV beam off of the brass backplate of the switch. The knob has stayed put for a good month and shows no signs of coming loose.
- Gap filling and you can build up a fillet in layers for greater strength
- Doesn't set until you shine the UV so you can get fiddly parts arranged just right
- Sticks well to plastics
- You need to be able to see the glue to shine UV on it, so the glue bead always shows.
- Cost you don't get a huge amount, although the price includes a a UV 'torch'
Would I replace it?
Yes, I definitely want to keep a tube of Lazer Bond handy.
A specialist product, not a general purpose glue, but excellent at what it does.