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There are many uses for the various tools we use, but when the time comes, there is nothing like aluminum epoxy. This article will explain what an aluminum epoxy does, from the uses of an aluminum epoxy filler, and how to use an aluminum repair epoxy. We will answer the question on what the best epoxy for aluminum is as well as the question of whether JB-Weld works on aluminum. We will even include the differences between JB-Weld aluminum and JB-Weld cast aluminum. Let us get to it!
Table of Contents
- 1 Things to Remember Before Purchasing an Epoxy for Aluminum
- 2 Which Epoxy Is Best for Aluminium?
- 3 How to Apply Aluminum Epoxy
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
Things to Remember Before Purchasing an Epoxy for Aluminum
Not every epoxy will match all the criteria of every job, but you must know what your epoxy is and is not capable of adhering to. Adhere to the following factors when choosing the right epoxy for the job.
The tensile strength is what you use when referring to the aluminum epoxy’s ability to withstand damages from impacts of other harder materials. This means the length of time that the stickiness of the poxy lasts before it falls apart, and the aluminum repair epoxy no longer bods. Pick the epoxy that provides the strongest adhesive bond for your aluminum project, and if cost is not an issue for you, it’s better to have an epoxy that might be considered “overkill”, with regards to the PSI level than a cheaper and less reliable aluminum epoxy filler.
Tensile strength is translated as pounds per square inch or PSI. This can, of course, be read from the label of the product. For this reason, you should always consult your sales representative or the manufacturer’s website before you purchase an epoxy to ensure that the product matches the load it will support as well as the surface materials you are joining. To avoid disappointment, know beforehand what strength your epoxy workpiece needs once you have the strength rating of your epoxy.
There are various types of epoxies that have tensile strengths that range from 500 PSI to 3000 PSI.
Always bear in mind where the project will be spending most of its time when you are done. Will it be bracing for the weather fares? Or, will it be safely tucked indoors away from the harmful elements? Make sure that you are aware of all the requirements, even though most epoxies for aluminum are not soluble in water, they are only water-resistant, and if your project that you need the aluminum repair epoxy for is going to be outside and you live in a wet and cold climate, then you must ensure that you get a waterproofing aluminum epoxy filler.
Ease of Application
We are species of convenience, we have been brainwashed into always finding the easy route when trying to fix things, instead we usually just replace the items, and discard the broken ones. This can be very bad for the environment and the waste will just keep building up and up unless we start to re-use the broken items and make them work once more.
Even when it comes down to refilling your pen that just broke, we just throw the plastic thing away and buy some new ones, when there are pens available that come with refills so that new ones do not have to be bought all the time – yet we still buy the new ones. This adhesive has a hardener substance that must be mixed together before it can be used.
Furthermore, the methods for mixing and applying them differ, with the most common method involving you combining them in a separate container/pallet and applying them simultaneously to your workpiece. An alternative form of the application comes in the form of a syringe with two barrels, one holding epoxy and the other hardener, this is the more premium version of applications. In addition to saving you from the slight panic associated with mixing and applying the solution in time, you are able to apply the exact amount required for that particular task.
Resistance to Heat
In terms of versatility, it is possible to classify water resistance and heat resistance together, because it is advantageous and sometimes essential to use epoxy that is heat- and moisture-resistant. Considering the specifics of the application and what variables it is dependent on, you are advised to always keep in mind your workpiece’s heat tolerances and the temperature of the environment in which it will be stored.
The various epoxy grades will be resistant to various temperatures, and they will each come with a maximum heat that they can tolerate. These specifications will be found on the instructions of the product’s label or leaflet. If you ignore these instructions, you might purchase the wrong epoxy for aluminum that will not be able to form the right solution, this can be messy, and it can be toxic.
Tolerances regarding temperature are also extremely important as they will often indicate what temperatures will break the epoxy’s bond to the workpiece. There is nothing worse than finding that one’s newly repaired workpiece (and hard work) has been ruined by a freak heatwave or an icy cold front.
A good indication of these tolerances will also help you to identify where you can use epoxy for aluminum repair, for example, an epoxy that is unable to withstand heat exceeding 220 degrees Fahrenheit, or 104 degrees celsius, will not be appropriate for use in the engine bay of a car.
The curing and hardening times of epoxy resins vary from brand to brand and from application to application. Although curing times do not affect the quality of the adhesive, it is useful to know how long you must wait, especially during times when your workpiece must be completed within a limited period of time. If you are looking for an epoxy that is fast curing and hardening, you should always check the drying and hardening times before you purchase it.
Certain practices, such as the arts or medicine, might be just as concerned with aesthetics as they are with functionality. For this reason, if you plan to use aluminum epoxy filler for craft applications, it is probably a good idea to paint over it or sand it down to achieve a surface that is smooth and flush. When using epoxy, you should choose a type that is suitable for this application, because if the epoxy cannot be changed once it has cured, you will need to dissolve it, clean the surface of your workpiece, and start the entire process over again.
Which Epoxy Is Best for Aluminium?
Now that you are aware of the different aspects that involve the various epoxy choices, we can start to discuss what we think is the best epoxy for aluminum. We have listed a few of our favorite products that we would recommend for the various needs when working with aluminum repairs.
Top Pick Aluminum Epoxy: JB-WELD SteelStik Steel Reinforced Epoxy
JB-Weld is one of those brands that everyone has heard of, even if you are not a professional in the industrial or construction business. They are notorious for repairing the most intense repairs and they are reliable. In terms of the question, does JB-Weld work on aluminum, well yes it does, and effectively too.
JB-Weld Steelstik is an alternative to those who lack the time or the tools to conduct an appropriate repair, but in spite of any gaps, the strong adhesive bond seals it off. Steelstik from JB-Weld is not only easy to use but also of a putty form that allows it to be applied in malleable methods and various uses. No experience is needed beforehand, which is perfect for non-professionals.
JB-Weld Aluminium products, and this one, in particular, have been called by many other professionals one of the best aluminum epoxies available on the market. Having a tensile strength of 900 PSI and handling continuous temperatures of 350F without breaking, JB-Weld has become an industry icon. Steelstik is versatile enough to work with all metals and even sticks to plastics. Given that it does not take long for his product to harden and cure, you would be smart to keep some of it laying around for those sticky situations.
Highest Bonding Strength: MASTERCOOL Alum Bond A/C Repair Epoxy
The fact that some products are built specifically to work on surfaces, while others are by-products of their design, is comparable to trying to compare a supercar with a Honda Civic. The same can be applied for Alum Bond from the folks at Master Cool, as this product was specifically designed to repair lightweight aluminum air systems to ensure that they can be suspended with the least amount of risk, so they can be put into a suspended position.
As an objective matter, this is a slightly better alternative than JB cast aluminum, because it is designed specifically to bond with this metal and, in fact, the epoxy and hardener are both formulated with aluminum particles to strengthen the bonding and structural integrity of your workpiece. It may be expected that the solution will be subjected to some pretty nasty forces due to its specific design for use with aluminum workpieces, such as high temperatures, high pressure, cold conditions, and even vibration.
Aluminum Bond handles them all with ease, repairing everything from tiny scratches in the frame of your motorcycle to holes in the radiator of your automobile in a matter of minutes. This great product has a tensile strength of 3500 PSI, and can effectively endure over 8500 PSI in viscosity if given the proper cure and hardening time.
Many have recorded repairing radiator leaks, removing dents from forged aluminum wheels, and even repairing turbocharger leaks using this technique. People have raving online about how they have used this solution to solve a variety of automotive and engineering problems. It’s not surprising given its adhesive properties, so if you need strength in your aluminum epoxy, look no further than Mastercool Alum Bond A/C repair epoxy.
Worth the Cost: LOCTITE Professional Liquid Super Glue
Most of us went through a phase where we collected little ornaments. The glue that was typically used to stick them to the walls of our bedroom as a child is the same super glue by Loctite that can be used for so many different uses around the home as well.
Maybe your child has a model ship or a model train that needs fixing, Loctite is here to help. Perhaps it won’t be used to repair holes in a ship, but just in case, Loctite can fix a small hole. There is a spreadsheet that was created by Loctite themselves that this product, when adhered to aluminum, has a PSI level from 290 all the way to 1600. Not only that, but it is also high heat and also fire resistant once it has been allowed to cure for the full 72 hours.
As an added benefit, Loctite is also clear, and if you are careful and use a piece of sandpaper with a fine grit, you might be able to sand it down if necessary in the case of over-application. Furthermore, Loctite is impermeable to unleaded gasoline, motor oil, and even water to an extent, which means that it cannot withstand high temperatures.
The versatility of the previously mentioned products might not allow this product to be your first choice, in comparison to JB-Weld Aluminium, or JB-Weld cast aluminum products. But, this one does have a remarkably fast drying time, taking only 45 seconds. That being said, with this product, the benefit is the quick and easy application, as opposed to the versatility.
How to Apply Aluminum Epoxy
When you have selected an aluminum adhesive, you probably assume that you should simply apply it to your workpiece and wait for it to cure, but this could not be further from reality because there is always an element of preparation with every task in this category. Here are some step-by-step instructions on the application process.
Step 1: Make Sure That Your Work Area Is Clean
When working with epoxy or adhesives, make sure you cover the work area with cloth or tarps and keep it away from hot surfaces. Therefore, you should always ensure that you do not get adhesives on surfaces or machinery that do not need them. In addition, you should always be sure to maintain a well-ventilated working environment, as adhesives contain chemicals that can cause harm when inhaled in large quantities.
Step 2: Safety Measures
If your workplace is already code-compliant, you might want to get some safety gear to adorn yourself with. These kinds of products can be extremely harmful to our health, and the skin on our hands and arms. This means that you will need some safety gloves to wear whilst you are working with these adhesives, as well as some safety goggles and a respiratory mask so that you do not breathe in the toxic fumes. This means that you can have a more thorough check of the consistency as you are mixing the two parts.
We believe that the use of safety goggles is a bit extreme, but if you ask why you might need them, all you need to do is remember your face began to itch when your hands were dirty. Not much effort for some boundless protection, it will be worth it.
Step 3: Workpiece Preparation
Consider the fact that some preparation now could save you the inconvenience of having to redo something later. If you want to help ensure that your adhesive of choice sticks to your workpiece in the best possible way, here are a few steps you can take.
Step 4: Maintain a Clean Surface
In the same way, as you would spray paint a surface, aluminum must be free of any foreign matter which can be done with a microfibre cloth – no dust particles, oil, grease, or other objects that will interfere with adhesion. Traditionally, when using products like JB weld aluminum, or any of the others we recommended, one must clean the surface of the metal by using liquid spirits, or a similar solvent, so that no contaminants remain. In order to ensure that the metal surface is dry and that the spirit has evaporated, it is imperative that it is thoroughly cleaned before it is dried.
Step 5: Sand Down Your Workpiece
When you apply any kind of adhesive to shear surfaces, it is a good idea to use friction so that it sticks to the surface, which is the same as you would do when spray painting a surface. All that is required is to use a piece of sandpaper that has a grit of 120 and you can rub it over the surface that you will be applying the adhesive on.
Step 6: Wipe the Area With Water
This is the last step before you prepare for the adhesive application. Using mineral spirits will cause the epoxy to break down and disintegrate, which means you need a clean cloth that is not soaked in the mineral spirits you used earlier. Soak a fresh cloth in some water and wipe down the surface to collect any remaining pieces of metal from when you sanded it down or any chemicals from the product.
Step 7: Applying and Preparing the Adhesives
If you use a syringe or manually mix the adhesive, this step will differ, as some adhesives harden relatively quickly, though others may require a few hours to cure. Make sure to determine the hardening and curing times of the adhesives you will be using. Once you have mixed the two parts together, it is very important to know how much time you will need to put the adhesion parts in place because the epoxy will only harden and cure once they have been joined for some time. Lastly, determine how much of each you’ll need for the task, as anything left over will need to be disposed of once the solution has been mixed.
So, does JB-Weld work on aluminum? Now that you have read this entire tutorial on epoxy for aluminum, We are sure that you can answer the question yourself quite confidently! In fact, you will be able to include some other brands in that answer. Now it is time for you to take this knowledge and apply it practically to your work.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kind of Aluminum Glue is Available?
Currently, there are many different types of adhesives on the market, which means if you are looking to weld aluminum, you will need an adhesive that is industrial strength and capable of bonding large pieces. Various brands have adhesives that come in two parts that, when mixed together, produce an extremely strong bond.
Does JB-Weld Work on Aluminium?
Of course, JB-Weld has been created specifically for bonding aluminum and other surface materials. Tested and proven, these products have won the approval of customers time and time again. If you are considering purchasing a product from JB-Weld, be sure to read the product description carefully in order to avoid purchasing the incorrect product.
What Is the Best Way to Repair Broken Aluminum?
There are a number of epoxy fillers that can be used for a number of aluminum repairs, and you must just make sure that you have the right one for the specific task at hand. Two examples are cold metal stitching or joining with heat.