3D Printing

Friction Welding Strengthens 3D Printed Assemblies

Oftentimes, multiple 3D printed parts can be difficult to connect. Glue can work, but usually it won’t produce a strong enough joint. Scorch, of Scorchworks, recently started using Friction Welding to hold his projects together, and has produced some outstanding results. Friction welding is, “the process of rubbing two surfaces together until the friction alone has created enough heat to join them.”

Friction welding is extremely useful for assembling parts that would otherwise require bridging large areas, or for building assemblies that’ll be under high stress. It can also save you in a pinch by helping to repair broken parts.

Tools Needed for Friction Welding

All you need to start is some extra filament (ABS or PLA), a rotary tool, and a handy pair of pliers.You might have to swap out the rotary tool’s collet depending on the diameter filament you use. For 1.75mm filament you need a 1/16in collect, and a 1/8in collet is needed for 3mm filament. Now insert a segment of your filament into the collet of the rotary tool, tighten it down, and set the tool to a low speed. Apply pressure against the pieces being welded,until the plastic starts to melt.  Then, you can start laying down the bead of plastic where desired. You’ll quickly find that there’s a fine balance for the amount of filament that sticks out of the collet. Too long, and the filament will snap off, but too short and it’ll be difficult to remove the remaining plastic once you’re finished. For thicker diameter filaments, higher speeds must be used.

Friction Weld Robot

Get ready to be pleasantly surprised at how strong your prints will be!