has anyone ever tried using methyl ethyl ketone as an adhesive for styrene instead of buying those little bottles from Plastruct or Testors? I am not sure if pure methyl ethyl ketone is even available anymore. There is now a methyl ethyl ketone substitute.
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I know some folks who use it. You can still buy it. Klean Strip is one brand found in many home and hardware stores. Micro Mark sells "Same Stuff" which is pure Methylene Chloride the main ingredient in the NLA Tenax 7R. Its twice the amount for the same price as the old Tenax.
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.
DO NOT use MEK to clean your boots or wash your hands. It dissolves all oil. Your boots will fall apart and your hands will crack and bleed, and hurt like the devil.
MEK is widely used in the aviation industry. Aircraft mechanics have a higher rate of cancer than the general public. Stay away from MEK
Didn't realize it was being phased out, Just like methylene chloride and aircraft stripper with methylene chloride. Checked around and one store near me showed both gallons and quarts in stock but found only gallons on the shelf. Guess I have enough for myself and all my fellow club members for a while.
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!!!
I learned about MEK (and other terrible stuff) working for places like Caterpillar Tractor Company, McDonnell Douglas Aircraft and Western Gear Corp. Used lots of it in the tooling departments where I worked.
So far there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with me, wrong with me, wrong with me, with me, with me!!!!
I wonder .... is MEK so dangerous that the chemical cops at the EPA intend to limit or prohibit it because they believe it's too risky for us mere mortal hobbyists to use? I've used acetone for heavy duty cleaning; it may not be any safer. Trouble is, it evaporates very quickly.
Mike Mottler LCCA 12394
@Mike H Mottler posted:
I've used acetone for heavy duty cleaning; it may not be any safer. Trouble is, it evaporates very quickly.
I use acetone as well, mostly for painting, but do use a respirator (not just a n95 mask) and use it in a paint booth. Bad stuff, but taking the best care I can.
Makes for a great paint remover on metal, DO NOT use it on plastic to remove paint or you'll end up with goo.
Acetone is actually quite
@Mike H Mottler posted:
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".
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.
Methyl Ethyl Death, MEK. That is the nickname I have always known it as. Don't sniff it, or wash your hands with it. Use it sparingly, occasionally in a well ventilated area and you should be OK. It is dangerous, treat it with respect.
I think it is an ingredient in Plastruct Bondene. I was always told it can be a substitute for this glue. You can buy it by the gallon in most industrial hardware stores.
my favorite styrene welder was Tenax 7R which is no longer available. because real MEK seems to now have become unavailable over the counter I looked for a substitute welder. I never liked plastruct welder as it seemed weak. I have now tried STYRENE TACK-IT II. this stuff is just like the old Tenax 7R.
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.