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HOW TO: Make ABS Paste


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At the encouragement of @ukswrath, here is a post I originally made a year and a half ago on the Anovos FB build group, which is handy for all makes of armor, not just Anovos.

 

ABS Paste?!?! WTF is THAT?

 

I've seen variations of this question over and over. So perhaps this will be helpful. :)

 

ABS paste is homemade glue for your ABS plastic. It literally melts and reforms the plastic into a solid piece, so it's more like welding than gluing. But as the warning phrase "it literally melts..." foreshadows, you should be careful.

 

Making couldn't be easier. Get a GLASS jar. Don't be that person who makes it in a plastic cup. You know... the one that puts plastic melting stuff into a plastic cup. You've met that guy. Don't be that guy.

 

All you need is a jar, some ABS scrap, and some construction grade acetone. Nail polish remover is NOT strong enough, even though it has "some" acetone in it. Pick up a bottle at Home Depot or the like.  (For people in other countries, like the UK, where Acetone is not readily available... you have my sympathies)

 

For containers, I feel a glass baby food jar is ideal. It's just the perfect size (unless you doing something epic!), stupid cheap (if you don't already have one somewhere), and easy to work with. I'm going to assume baby food jar, so if you choose a 2 quart mason jar, scale as needed.

 

In general, ABS paste is practically free, other than the price of a tiny bit of Acetone and maybe a buck for a jar of baby food, if you don't have a suitable container already, since your source material is scrap from your own build.  (never toss that armor scrap!)

 

A NOTE ABOUT FUMES: Pure Acetone is nasty stuff.  You really don't want to be breathing Acetone fumes.  A whiff here and there likely won't cause lasting harm, unless you have existing pulmonary issues, but still, do your best to avoid breathing a lot of the stuff.  At a minimum, you can end up with a NASTY headache.  At worse, you can actually cause damage to your lungs.  Use your own level of protection that feels best for you... some want to wear a full respirator (with a volatile organic cartridge), others, like myself, are content to work outdoors and minimize breathing it.  (Once the jar is capped, it should be fine to bring indoors.)

 

FILL the jar with the tiniest scraps if ABS you can get. I literally used the curly-que and powdered scrap from under my belt sander, after all my rough cuts, in addition to cutting up a few pieces of scrap into 1/4" square pieces, with scissors.

 

20160303174438-d38bba6a-me.jpg

 

And now the magic. Add approx 1 teaspoon of Acetone (and remember, I'm assuming a baby-food size jar... scale accordingly if you're trying to go big and make enough for your entire squad to build with!). Cap the jar, wait 15-20 min (or more, no worries) and then check on it.

 

20160303174434-acd65c9a-me.jpg

 

Poke it with a stir stick. (You can literally use a stick. Although IMO, a wooden coffee stir stick (free at Starbucks!) is ideal, and Popsicle sticks have their proponents, too, as does the toothpick crew, for detail work.) If you literally do not have a stick, a strong piece of scrap you don't care about will do, just be careful where you set it afterwards. But poke at it. Get an idea where it's going.

 

Then add about 1 tsp more Acetone. Re-cap it again, wait 15-20 min, then check again, and this time, stir it a little more seriously. Note the consistency. You'll probably want to add some more, perhaps 1 more tsp, perhaps less? You may be starting to get a feel for it by now. Let sit for a good 1/2 hr, then check and stir AGAIN. We're going slow. Slow is good. Watch some TV or read a book. You have better things to do than watch ABS melt in super slow motion.

 

20160303174413-ca45d2bd-me.jpg

 

At this point, you SHOULD be close to ready to go. If not, I recommend letting it sit overnight before checking it again. (in fact, that's not a bad idea in general, but it's not strictly necessary) Only add more Acetone if you still really think it's too thick and clumpy in the morning, after stirring it some more.

 

Repeat until you reach that magic mayonnaise moment.

 

Correct consistency is *roughly* mayo-like. I'd say somewhere between Elmer's glue (a little too runny?) and Toothpaste (perhaps a little too thick). Too runny = bad. Remember the "melting plastic" part? You don't want that running down your armor. Too thick and you may get air pockets. Shoot for the Goldilocks zone. 1f642.png )

 

20160303174358-dae51698-me.jpg

 

When you're ready, apply with a stick. Let it dry (duration depends on thickness... maybe 20 min, maybe overnight?) and sand it down. Repeat until pretty.

 

Relatively small amounts (read: the small patches that ABS paste is generally best for) should be relatively safe to use indoors, just be aware of the fumes.  Larger projects (or sensitive spouses... not that it smells too different from the nail salon, in my mind) are probably best to work on outdoors.

 

The beauty of using the same plastic your armor is made from, to make paste, is you get a dead-on 100% perfect color match. No painting needed!  (note: The level of polish/sheen will not be the same, but the color itself will be a match.  ABS paste isn't really good for large area applications... and trying to do that will likely end up causing warping from too much acetone anyway) (2nd note: ABS paste is not as strong as the original plastic.  It's not actually a glue, even if it looks like one.  For connections needing a very strong join, use CA glue, as usual.)

 

(pre-sanding... but note that color match to the Anovos armor!)

20160303174352-d9af0e16-me.jpg

 

The paste doesn't really go bad, but eventually it'll harden and you'll need to add more Acetone. Keep it capped, and it'll last longer, of course... you can dry it out quite fast if you leave the cap off for more than a few hours.

 

Future batches you can probably go faster (read: add more acetone, sooner), but I recommend the slow approach when you're starting out, until you have a good feel for it.

 

Good luck!

Edited by kman
Added some Acetone handling warnings...
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I saw this on Walts FB thread and I was so glad you posted it there, but I'm also glad you posted it here!!!!!  +1 for adding this page as a favorite

 

 

*edit: you might want to update the photos... cannot see them, just the file name*

If you're not using a 3rd party site to post, I'd suggest doing so like Imgur or some others that people will suggest.

 

Struck through what I had said before... others can see them.  I'll try on different devices.

Edited by Btabc
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8 minutes ago, Btabc said:

*edit: you might want to update the photos... cannot see them, just the file name*

If you're not using a 3rd party site to post, I'd suggest doing so like Imgur or some others that people will suggest.

Weird I can see them!

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15 hours ago, Btabc said:

Odd... perhaps it's dealing with my computer then?  Thanks for the heads up, I'll check on another device/computer.

I self-host.  For some reason certain business firewalls have an issue with my site, which is odd, since they're just direct links to plain JPG files.  Try it on mobile, or somewhere other than work, and chances are it'll work just fine. :)

Edited by kman
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8 hours ago, kman said:

I self-host.  For some reason certain business firewalls have an issue with my site, which is odd, since they're just direct links to plain JPG files.  Try it on mobile, or somewhere other than work, and chances are it'll work just fine. :)

sad part is I didn't mention anything about being at a business computer haha, but you're right!  I was able to view it at home and on mobile so thank you for the heads up!

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  • 3 months later...
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The one thing I’d recommend is to shoot for more of a ketchup consistency — not so watery that it runs, but also not so thick that it doesn’t dry up on you right away. I’ve also found it useful to have a small jar of acetone on hand to help blend the paste with the ABS.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Just be careful about how much pure Acetone is used, especially with thinner armor (like Anovos).  That stuff eats (and warps) thin plastic very very quickly.  Thicker stuff can handle a small amount of the pure stuff, carefully applied, or runnier ABS paste, but thinner plastic can have serious issues with that.

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I can't quite tell what's going on there.  Maybe take another photo, and make sure it's in focus?  (you may be too close for the camera to focus... pull back, and crop the photo instead of trying to get so close)

 

But yes, normally you can fill a hole with it.  You need something behind it, however, at least while it's drying.  Note the warning, though: It's not as strong as the original plastic.  Especially completely unsupported.

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A photo showing a wider area of what you are trying to work on would help as well.  I would also recommend sanding down the area first to get rid of the dark areas, as the ABS paste may not cover these.  Also, what are the dark lines?  (Red arrows).

 

yDYLWut.jpg

 

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