If you’ve worked with acrylic or certain other plastics before, you might be aware that they bond best with solvent-based adhesives. Solvent-based cements provide the least mess and cleanest bonds if applied with care, helping your projects and enclosures look even better.
Solvent cements are best applied via a capillary action, where you assemble the to-be-bonded plastic pieces and let small amounts of the liquid flow into the joint. There are two main types of applicators you can use – squeeze-bottles and syringes.
Going back more than a decade, I used to purchase my plastic materials and supplies over at Canal Street, in NYC. There were specialty plastics shops that had everything I needed, and Pearl Paint carried a few plastic-working tools and accessories as well. But a couple of years ago when I went back, I found higher prices and almost no selection.
Looking online, almost all online plastics suppliers do carry several sizes of syringes and applicator bottles, but their prices seem a bit steep, even with quantity discounts. Because of this I started ordering my applicator syringes from industrial suppliers. Syringes are quite easy to find, but blunted applicator needles can be a little harder to come by.
Unless you already have a preference, I would recommend 10cc syringes. This size is easy to find, and reasonably economical. Plus this is a handy size for other uses, such as topping-off small water-cooling reservoirs. Packs of 10 are available via McMaster Carr (7510A653) and other suppliers, and make sure to get the kind with Luer Lock tips. You’ll usually save a few bucks if you don’t need graduated barrels.
There are many options for blunted dispensing needles, allowing you to choose from different materials, diameters, and lengths to suit your needs. Stainless steel needles, even of the disposable type, are quite durable and should last some time if you make sure to flush them after each use.
For my own projects, I have two reusable Luer Lock needles, 24 gauge x 1/4-inch long and 22 gauge x 2-inches long, and a pack of 26 gauge x 1-1/2-inch long. McMaster part numbers are 6710A29, 6710A74, and 75165A762 respectively. Thinner needles are more fragile, which is why I opted for disposable ones rather than the reusable kind. Plus, I am far less hesitant to bend them to improve access to hard-to-reach joints or repairs.
Whatever you do, avoid using pointed hypodermic needles. Safety hazards aside, they are messy and imprecise to use for dispensing solvent cement and other liquids.
Stuart Deutsch is a tool enthusiast, critic, and collector, and writes his passion at ToolGuyd.