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The last time I looked for MEK, it looked like Klean Strip had discontinued it and replaced it with the substitute.  I did however manage to find a quart still in stock at my local Ace.  I used to find it at Home Depot, but they now only carry the substitute here.

At the time, which was within the last year, Menards still listed regular MEK as available.  It was a different brand.

To answer your question, yes I have used MEK to weld styrene parts.  I wear one of the cartridge respirator masks when I use it, to protect against the fumes.  


I'm getting low on MEK, and have noticed that a 'substitute' is available.  Don't know how good that substitute is, but if like a lot of other substitutes, probably not as good.  I need to get back to looking for some real stuff at smaller hardware stores around the area before it becomes totally unavailable.

I too use MEK as a plastic solvent.  Pretty powerful stuff, you'll notice that it is unavailable in any container except for metal.  I call it the super-glue for plastics.

I haven't checked lately, but for years 'Oatey'-brand clear pipe cleaner for PVC plastic pipe was nothing more than MEK.  Hopefully it still is.  A pint can of Oatey probably cost as much, if not more, than a quart can of MEK, but it should last a long time if used for model building.  Work quickly when using it and keep it capped as often as possible, because it evaporates extremely fast.

I use MEK quite a bit, it will melt styrene...any styrene so be careful where you splash it.  And it's nasty to the human body, use max ventilation.  If you use a plastic brush, it'll melt, if you get it on your hands, it'll dry your skin out and make it crack like Forty Rod said above.  I'm positive it's not good to inhale either.  I had a gallon can of it but I transfer about a pint at a time into a metal can, the gallon can is almost empty but I've had it for several years.

Doesn't take too long to bond for handling but it does take maybe 15-45 minutes for the joint to be solid enough that it won't move on you.  I usually tack 2 pieces together then run the brush down the joint once I get them positioned correctly.

I can find MEK easier than modeling glue!!!

Acetone is actually quite 

 I've used acetone for heavy duty cleaning; it may not be any safer.

Despite its odor, acetone is actually quite safe. Stories of its toxicity are mostly myth. There is no evidence that it causes serious illness at any reasonable dosage.

MEK is only moderately toxic. Nothing to lose sleep over with occasional use, assuming the obvious precautions. That said, in the march of progress toward a safer world, it has worked its way up the list of priorities. This is a good thing, despite the occasional inconvenience.

Just because something smells funny it does not mean that it necessarily causes cancer. The data are available. It is better to trust them than your nose or "common sense".

Last edited by Avanti
@Bruk posted:

At Boeing we still have access to MEK but MPK we use religiously. Its not “as bad” they say lol

Yeah when I was at Bombardier they went to MPK.  My current job the shop forces use MEK, thank God I'm not around it anymore.  Is MPK any better?  I liken it to pesticides; eventually they all get proven to be bad for you and sooner or later they get banned.

It's my favorite "glue" for styrene.  I got the last quart can at my local ACE last year.  They only stock the MEK substitute now.  The great thing about using it is that you can slop it on a joint and it's drawn into the joint by capillary action and welds the styrene pieces together.  As long as you don't touch it until it's dry, it just evaporates off the surface of the styrene and leaves it unmared.  Unlike with super glue or plastic cement, you don't need to be neat.


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