Tag Archives: uv light sources

Catching Some Rays: Outdoor assembly and UV-curing with natural sunlight

Summer’s here and the time is right for gluing in the street. Or in the yard, anyway.

It’s the ideal time of year to build or repair glasswork fixtures such as patio lampshades or barware, and decorations such as mosaics, sun catchers, and fountains. As discussed in the previous post, two UV light cured products available from CLK Associates are well-suited for projects that end up out of doors through the four seasons.

A UV lamp is your best option, but if you don’t have one, you can also use natural sunlight to cure these products. Sunlight’s lower UV intensity means curing takes longer – sometimes several hours – but it can yield a bond just as strong and durable as one formed with a UV lamp.

If curing with natural sunlight, take care that all parts are immobilized to ensure that glued parts don’t slide or shift as the glue cures. Creative use of clamps, clothespins, and elastic bands can help with this. Some of this fixturing material may prevent light from getting to the total glue line – once you have a hard fixture remove the fixture aids and let the sun finish its work.

NOTE:  these adhesives will also bond well to wood and paper so if the fixturing materials come into contact with adhesive that extrudes from the glue joint it may want to stay attached to the glass.

Once the adhesive has set you can clean up any adhesive that is outside the joint with a razor blade and isopropyl alcohol as sunlight isn’t strong enough to fully cure the surface of the adhesive fillet outside the joint.

Best practice is to apply and build your work away from direct sunlight. If you have to work in direct sunlight, install an umbrella to shade the work area until you are ready to let the sun begin curing the product.

For repair or prototyping a concept the sun is fine: However, if you plan on building items for resale, it is recommended that you make the investment in a black light that will allow you to better control the curing process.

Good Gluing!

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Getting Stuck in the Great Outdoors

We get a lot of questions from customers and other artisans, seeking advice on adhesives for use on glass projects made for use outdoors. (One of our top suppliers, Dymax Corp., gets questions about that, too — and they often send those calls our way.) In the course of addressing all those inquiries, we’ve gained a lot of hands-on experience with assembly and repair of garden art, light shades and fixtures, and other outdoor decorations. This is the season for outdoor projects, and the popularity of the topic inspired this post.

As with any glass assembly (or repair) project requiring adhesives, the most important consideration is the nature of the materials you want to stick together. The chief goal is to choose an adhesive that forms a strong, long-lasting bond between those materials. In an outdoor application, of course, it’s also important to find adhesives that are water-resistant.

Today we’ll look at two scenarios. Both involve bonding pieces of transparent glass to other materials, and both use adhesives that can be cured rapidly using long-wavelength (365 nanometer) UV light sources. (Moderately priced UV lights are available from CLK and other vendors; most grow-light style bulbs will work, as well.)

If you’re gluing transparent glass to transparent glass, Both Dymax Light Weld® 425 and Dymax Light Weld® 429 will provide very good results. By allowing you to shine the UV light through the glass to cure the glue “inside” the joint, these adhesives can form bonds stronger than the glass pieces themselves. Light Weld® 429 forms clear, see-through bonds, and is virtually invisible when applied carefully. Light Weld® 425 forms a somewhat stronger bond, and cures to an inconspicuous “water white” color.

If you’re attaching transparent glass to metal Dymax Light Weld® 429 is your best all-around choice for outdoor applications. It forms durable, water resistant bonds when cured using 365 nanometer UV light. One notable exception: If your glass-metal bonds need to withstand the rigors of dishwashing — as in the case of pitchers, mugs, or other glassware — not just the natural elements, you should use Dymax Light Weld® 425.

If you’re working with opaque glass or other non-transparent materials, you’ll probably want to find an alternative to light-cured adhesives. That’ll be the topic for a future blog post. Stay tuned.

Good Gluing!

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